We slept in after the strenuous day we had prior. We were excited about what possibilities awaited us that day. We were in agreement that it would be a great day to head to the Alcazar, but our first order of business, as usual, was breakfast. We headed to the local Starbucks nearby, where we ordered our hot beverages and each of us got a pastry. I was really excited to be able to get a cinnamon roll because that option is not available in the United States, and it was amazing!
We started off by doing some light wandering around the city, passing by tourist shops, clothing shops, and cozy cafes. We found ourselves along the the exterior wall of the Alcazar again, Here, we found a street artist selling his very small paintings of orange trees & homes for 15 Euro. Erica was quick to pick one up, and then we decided to get a move on to the Alcazar. When we got the gate we saw that line extended almost the length of a football field from the ticket counter. We got in line, but we wanted to be sure that we were in the right spot to purchase the tickets, so I headed to the left and into the large courtyard, Plaza del Patio de Banderas, attached to the Alcazar. In there I found the exit of the Alcazar and various street artists. One of which was woman doing beautiful watercolor work of the mosaic designs from various Moorish buildings in Andalusia and elongated cityscapes. Her work was captivating, but I knew I had to get back to Erica and the line. I told my sister what I had found out & we decided to check out the art after our tour.
Eventually, we were at the ticket counter. We bought our tickets, walked through the metal detector, and then headed on in to grab our free audio guide. We did our best to click through in unison, but between looking at things & listening to things, we ended up separated several times. This meant, half the time I was trying to listen to my audio guide, I was, also, wandering around looking for my younger sister which ended up with me giving up on the audio guide because I couldn’t focus and ended up in a different room with no clue of what was being discussed. I’m the type that would rather admire the beauty and try to imagine it in all its splendor than listen to the mundane audio anyways. It just doesn’t hold my attention.
We explored the halls, and admired the gardens… We even laughed when we saw that someone had placed an orange on one of the pedestals where a piece of art had been removed from. We constantly trying to figure out which part of the Alcazar was used in the filming of Game of Thrones… Yes, that’s right… FUN FACT: The Alcazar is Dorne! We enjoyed letting our nerdy side out for a bit, and relaxing in the stunning gardens. The outside was as beautiful as the inside. And the Baths of Maria De Padilla were really extraordinary to be able to walk into. They were simple, but the architecture was very beautiful. I am not sure which part I loved most at the Alcazar. Everything was exquisite. The carvings, the mosaics, the gardens…. there was constantly something catching my eye. It’s truly remarkable to think of what this place has seen since the 14th century, and how much history has taken place there.
With a feeling of satisfaction in terms of experiencing the Alcazar, we decided to head out. We did not want to miss the artist with the water color paintings. When we got to her, we were both mesmerized by her work, and we ended up buying 6 pieces all together. Four for me, and two for Erica. We were feeling so ecstatic about another acquisition. We were at 16 paintings total, and we hadn’t even been to Madrid yet!
We headed right when we made our final exit. I was hungry, so we headed to a street cafe, Alianza Restaurante & Cafe, and took a seat outside even though it was freezing. The cafe was busy that sitting outdoors seemed like our only option. I just ordered a simple pizza, and naturally as I was almost finished, my sister decided she was hungry. She didn’t want to order there since I had just finished so we decided to find something else on the way back towards the hotel since we wanted to drop off our paintings. We stopped in at a street side cafe for Erica. She ordered something & I got a crepe. (I just love crepes so much.) We hung out watching the group of girls in front of us, and exchanged light conversation and goofed off on our phones. As soon as Erica was finished, we grabbed the tab, and hit the street. It wasn’t too long of a walk back to our hotel.
While there, we did a full inventory of all of treasures and the numbers were truly funny. 1 Moroccan Rug, 16 paintings, 2 large Moroccan bowls, 1 teapot, 1 pitcher, 1 spoon rest, 2 bone inlay boxes, a small dish, 4 vases, & two baskets…. and i was still toting around my finds from Zimbabwe & South Africa, as well. It was safe to say that we needed to buy additional suitcases when we got to Madrid. We got a handle on our packing by getting everything mostly organized, and ready to go to the car the next morning. It was time for us to head back out.
We decided that we wanted to go to a roof top bar, and there just happened to be one right by the Cathedral de Sevilla, La Terraza de EME. The view of the cathedral from the room was extraordinary It glowed golden in front of the deep blue back drop that slowly turned darker with the minutes. We each had a cocktail and discussed the plan for the following day: my birthday. This drink was a little bit of a precursor considering a bulk of my birthday would be spent driving again.
With a couple drinks down, we decided to move on, and try to find a place out of the cold. We both wanted to go to a Flamenco show, but didn’t book anything in advance. We were pleasantly surprised when we came across Milagritos, a tapas bar with a flamenco special. We got to watch flamenco & get a tapas dinner that included 3 tapas, a salad, and a small dessert. It was soooooo good. The paella they served which was only about 1 cup worth was some of the best paella I’ve ever had. I also finally tried croquettes, which kind of looked like a tater tot, but were cheesy & yummy. I was kind of bummed that I hadn’t ordered them before, but I guess it’s wise not to eat too much fried food! haha. As we ate we listened the young Spanish woman sing her lungs out. Her voice was deep and strong and it resonated throughout the small cafe. The male flamenco dancer stomped and moved quickly around the small dance floor. It was so exciting to watch. Between the thundering sound of his feet hitting the floorboard & her voice blaring throughout the room, my senses were so overwhelmed that part of me wanted to run away & I wanted to laugh with enjoyment. TIP: In a nutshell, I would go back to this place to dine but I would take in another Flamenco show elsewhere, maybe one with more elaborate costumes.
After dinner, we just headed back to the room. All we wanted was to escape the brutal cold.
DAY 28 (MY 29th BIRTHDAY!!!):
We got packed up, bundled up, and made one last Starbucks run. Thankfully, we beat the mob of students into the Starbucks, but that didn’t stop a few from trying to cut the line. Funny enough, one of the other young people in the line (unaffiliated with the mob), totally started calling people out & telling them to go back. It was hilarious and awesome!! (You go, dude!!!) We got our coffee, tea, and pastries. …and, then headed to check and see if the watercolor artist was in her same spot from a couple days before. We were wanting to get a painting for my dad, but, sadly, she was not there. Nor was she there the night before.
After our small dilemma, we just headed back to the hotel. We dropped our drink & food in the car & headed up for our luggage.
We checked out & then were back on the road. Madrid, here we come!!!
…to be continued…