A day in Seville
On Friday, we remained docked in Cadiz, but decided to spend the day in Seville.
We got up early in the morning, had breakfast, and took a direct train from the Cadiz train station (conveniently located next to the cruise terminal) to Seville’s San Bernardo station, which is one stop short of the final and main station in Seville, Santa Justa. In slightly over one hour we were downtown Seville.
Seville is the fourth largest city n Spain, capital of the Andalucia region, so trying to cover the main landmarks on a single day is ambitious, but we managed to pack the day with beauty visiting:
- Santa Cruz neighborhood (former Jewish quarter) with its charming maze of coble stone streets and patios, next to the Murillo gardens (which were closed when we arrived).
- The Royal Alcazar: A walled palace complex built in different historical stages. The original palace was built in the High Middle Ages. Some vestiges of Islamic art are preserved and, from the period after the Castilian conquest, a Mudejar palace and another in Gothic style were added. In later reforms, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque elements were added. It also hosts the largest repository of historical documents from the Conquistador era (Archivo de las Indias) and it’s the residence of the members of the Spanish royal family when they visit Seville, making it the oldest royal palace in Europe still in use. Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site, together with the Seville Cathedral and the Archivo de Indias, in 1987. Its gardens are really spectacular.
- The Cathedral and its converted minaret of the old Moorish mosque, La Giralda tower: it’s the largest gothic cathedral in the world, which took over one hundred years (the whole XV century) to be built, on the site of the demolished mosque of Seville. Over the following centuries several additions were made. Inside you can see over 600 pieces of important art, like paintings from masters such as Goya or Zurbaran, and the tomb of Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon), who was a horrible ruler of the “New Indies” and died not knowing the “new lands” he found were not located in Asia. Of course, climbing to the top of the stepless Giralda offers an amazing view of the city, although cover your ears is the bells stall tolling! After the exhausting visit to the Royal Alcazar and the Cathedral, we took a small break at a bar in the Mateos Gago street, where it’s not easy to choose as there are SO many nice tapas bars. A goat cheese salty tart with almond and honey later, we walked along Avenida Constitution all the way to the city hall, then down towards the river by the Maestranza bullring.
- The Golden Tower (Torre del Oro): A XIII century defensive tower on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river, which used to have a big thick chain that cut access to the river to prevent incursions by enemy ships. Today it hosts a small Naval Museum, which we did not have time to visit.
- Plaza de España: You may have seen it as a background location in movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, or Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones. The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle located in the Maria Luisa Park, built as an emblematic space for the 1929 Ibero-American Expo to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits, combining a mix of Art Deco, Spanish Renaissance Revival, Spanish Baroque Revival and Neo-Mudéjar styles. The buildings are accessible by four bridges over the moat, which represent the ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. Today the buildings of the Plaza de España have been renovated and adapted for use as offices for government agencies. Toward the end of the park, the grandest mansions have been adapted as museums, like the city’s archaeology collections.
After a long, exhausting, and exhilarating day, we headed back to the train station, making it on time to board our ship and have room service deliver our dinner in our suite.
There are no words to describe the beauty of those buildings, streets and gardens, so marvel at whatever I could capture in some photos here.