Day 25 continued:
Our drive into Sevilla was pretty easy. It was an hour and half, and we only missed our turn off once because as usual, we were hoping to park close to our hotel, Hotel Alcázar. That wasn’t happening, so we found some metered parking nearby, parked our car, grabbed our bags, and wandered toward the main road & on into the lobby. The guy at the front desk was a little rude, and made it clear that we couldn’t get into our room until check-in time. So, in order to apply pressure, we sat in the lobby for about 45 minutes until we could get into our room. We were dead set on being able to get cleaned up & drop our bags off before we headed out.
Thankfully, he did give us directions on where to park the car for a nightly fee. The hotel had a small parking garage just around the corner. So, while we were waiting, we headed over to grab the car from our metered spot, and navigated our way to the garage. I jumped out to press the button to open the door, and Erica pulled the car in. I had to jump out and guide her because the ramp and spaces were so narrow that it was almost impossible to do alone.
Finally, about 15 minutes before check-in time, we were given our room key. We grabbed our bags out of the storage closet, and headed to the elevator & up to our room. It was the smallest room that we had on the whole trip. We were having to rearrange things just so that we could somewhat fit. ..but it was comfortable, and we had a large balcony with an awesome rooftop view of the city.
We headed out in the early afternoon. We needed to grab some grub, but also, wanted to make our way toward Plaza de España by way of the Alcázar & the Sevilla Cathedral (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See). We took the long way there because we could not find the entrance to the Alcázar. We walked along the beautiful outer wall as we wound through the narrow cobble stone streets finding our way into the charming tourist areas. We explored the shops, and found an incredible shop filled with ceramic pieces dating back to the 14th century, and yes, you can buy them but at a hefty price. We grabbed lunch at some small street cafe where we got who knows what. The details were not important…
What was important, was that we eventually found ourselves face to face with the beautiful Cathedral in the heart of the city, just near the train tracks (it’s more of a cable car situation). FACT: The Sevilla Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. We had no choice, but to conquer the Cathedral first. We made our way around the massive structure, and purchased our tickets inside, from there we made a long walk into the heart of the church. It was overwhelming as most churches can be. There were tourists everywhere, and everything was so ornate. (Sadly, many of pictures that I took on my Nikon from Sevilla onward have disappeared, I assume it happened while trying to transfer.) We made our way through quickly, somewhat turned off by the amount of gold that was stashed behind the partitions because the gaudiness of old Catholic churches has always been repulsive to me, and I say that as a practicing Christian. We were in a rush because the church was closing soon, and we needed to reach the top of the bell tower, the Giralda. FACT: The Giralda is 104.1 meters tall, and you must climb 35 sets of ramps to the top, and then a small section of stairs to access the city views, and get a look at the beautiful & very loud bells, which will ring right over head. It was worth the calf-burning climb to the top. It was a beautiful day to take in the city of Sevilla. (I’m so disappointed that so many of my photos have vanished.) We spent about 10 minutes at the top making it all the way around, and waiting for the mobs of Asian tourists to make clearings so that we could squeeze in too! “I WANT TO SEE!!!”
We made our way down somewhat quickly, trying to get away from the crowds in the spacious hallways of ramps leading from the top to bottom and vice versa, and found our way back out of the cathedral. The weather seemed to be changing from sunny to partly cloudy to cloudy as the day went on. It didn’t seem like their was a chance of rain so we made our way toward Plaza de España.
Plaza de España is an incredibly beautiful structure near a park. The rounded building is one truly captivating. We enjoyed promenading around the center, as we felt the wind pick up the mist and dust it over us. We loved watching the horse drawn carriages circle the fountain and exit the grounds as we tried to snap photos with them as they quickly passed by. As we were getting photos of one of the bridges, the rain began… It was light rain that pushed many people onto the veranda of the building. We parked ourselves on the floor against the wall so that we could overlook the grounds and watch as the rain gently fell. After about 10 minutes, it stopped.
We headed back out under the cloudy sky to try and get some great photos of the stunning architecture. The task was achieve shortly before and after snapping a couple photos for other tourists like ourselves. As we were leaving the park it began to sprinkle again and the sprinkle began to turn into rain. Neither of us were prepared for the weather, so we moved as quickly as possible & then took cover in the bar of Restaurante Oriza where we ordered some hot beverages to help take away our cold. We removed our damp outer layers, but the moisture had seeped into our skin, and warmth eluded us. As I drank my hot tea, I felt as though I would never get warm. The cold from outside had made its way indoors, and the hot cup in my hands wasn’t enough to heat back up. We finished our drinks, and waited for the on and off again rain to finally steady itself into a tame mist before we headed back out onto the streets.
We were freezing, and had no choice, but to head back to the hotel to grab a couple more layers. We wound ourselves back a new direction, and found ourselves back in our room adding additional layers for warmth, and grabbing our umbrellas just in case… (Turns out, we didn’t need them… the umbrellas that is.) With dinner on our minds and coming up quick we decided to explore the older part of the city. We posed for pictures in front of the Alcázar, and snapped photos of the Cathedral glowing in the warm city lights. We continued wandering through somewhat aimlessly looking for dinner.
I don’t know which direction we headed or where we ate specifically, but I recall sitting on the patio in the freezing cold, under a heater & ordering a lasagna and pizza while being serenaded by a local woman with an very raspy voice. Though cold, the ambiance was perfect! It was a long meal, we considered moving in doors at one point, but didn’t want to be the high-maintenance Americans, so we just stuck it out. I followed up my meal with some Nutella flavored gelato (i know, it was too cold for gelato), only to find out that it had an orange flavor to it which I was not keen on. I ate it anyways while Erica finished off her glass of wine. We grabbed our check, and decided to take the long route back to the hotel. We called it an early night because the next morning we had a long drive & early start. We were going to Morocco…
…to be continued…