Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Seville - Part One

At 11am on Tuesday morning we left Madrid to travel to Seville by train.First class travel on this particular train was rather like travelling by air. To our surprise an attendant appeared at regular intervals offering a choice of fruit juices and water and around 12.30pm we were served a delicious light lunch. All of this was included in the price of the ticket which cost less than a standard class ticket from Sheffield to London! By mid afternoon we were installed in our small boutique hotel and were ready to start exploring. Seville is the capital city of Andalusia and lies on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. It's a very ancient city being founded originally by the Roman general Scipio. The Moors were here from 711AD to 1248AD and there is still a very strong Moorish influence in many areas. During the 16th and 17th centuries after the discovery of the Americas Seville was one of the most important ports in Spain. The photograph shows the river and the Torre del Oro - the Tower of Gold. This was built in the 13th century as a military watch tower to control access to Seville from the river. It's possible to go into the tower but sadly it was closed for some reason that day.

Seville's cathedral is built where, in the 12th century, the Great Mosque stood. The only part of the Mosque that remains is the minaret which is in the centre of this photograph. The Giralda is now the bell tower and has a statue called 'El Giraldillo' on the top.
In the area outside the cathedral there were several horses and carriages available for hire and we decided that a ride in one of these would be a good way to get our bearings and get an idea of what there was to see in the city.

The drive took about an hour and was very pleasant as quite a lot of it was in the shade of trees in the Maria Luisa Park which was one of the places we decided to return to as was the Plaza de Espana. Above is our trusty steed with his carriage which was actually surprisingly comfortable. He must have nerves of steel as he coped with heavy traffic and a busy roundabout without turning a hair. He was certainly more relaxed about the roundabout than I was!

By this time it was early evening and there were far fewer people around so it was easier to take photographs. This is the south door of the cathedral with a replica 'El Giraldillo' standing in front of it.

Some of the wonderful stone carving above the south door of the cathedral.

The Lion's Gate -the entrance to the Real Alcazar,the Royal Palace of Seville.

The Giralda was illuminated at night as was the rest of the cathedral.

Next morning was decidedly grey but we decided to walk through Maria Luisa Park anyway as it's close to Plaza de Espana. It's an attractive place with plenty to see - wide tree lined avenues, pools, fountains and statues. It's named after the Princess Maria Luisa d'Orleans who gave the grounds of the San Telmo Palace to the city in 1893.The park was laid out in the early 1900s. The photo above is actually a memorial to a Spanish writer called Gustavo Adolfo Bequer and his statue is round the other side - this was a much nicer view though - I love the graceful shape of the tree.

This must be a wonderful place to escape the scorching heat of midsummer in Seville.

Plaza de Espana was built in 1919 for the Ibero-American Exposition World's Fair.There are four bridges over the moat each representing one of Spain's four ancient kingdoms which were Aragon, Castile, Leon and Navarre I think. The buildings housed Spain's industry and technology exhibits. Today it houses government departments.

You can go inside the central part of the building which overlooks the fountain in the centre of the courtyard.

Along the walls at the front of the building are the alcoves of the provinces - one for every province in Spain. Some of the tiled pictures are really stunning. This one is Pamplona which is famous for the Running of the Bulls.

Palencia is in the north west of Spain.

Last but not least we have Madrid.

All the bridges are decorated with azulejos - the painted ceramic tiles that are also used for the alcoves of the provinces.

The fountain in the centre of the Plaza. I don't think we would have found the Plaza de Espana without doing the carriage drive the previous day but it was well worth seeing. We spent quite a while here before walking back through the park to the area near the cathedral. We chose one of the many cafes where we had a lovely omelette for lunch. In the afternoon we visited the Real Alcazar - but that's for next time.


Mac n' Janet said...

We like Seville very much. Mac's father was born in a small village near there. His family emigrated to the States (Hawaii) when he was 7. Enjoyed your photos.

Rosie said...

Seville looks a beautiful city, I love the buildings and I bet it was wonderful to ride around and take it all in. I've really enjoyed reading all about your visit:)

Diane said...

You are making me want to jump straight on a plane and wander around a Spanish city! Madrid and Seville are on my list of places to visit - you sold it to me so well. Great photo's - you captured the spirit of both places so well. Great to have you back in blog land xxxx

Barb @ Bella Vista said...

Wow, your pictures are truly lovely. Such a beautiful city.


Linda said...

What a beautiful place!!! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

Sheila da Silva said...

Seville is a lovely city isn't it? The Giralda delighted me the first time I visited, with its ramp, instead of stairs. So that horsemen of old could ride up! The Maria Luisa park is beautiful, with it's huge variety of trees. The last time we were there I had a chuckle at a man and his wife, English speaking, but I don't know where from. He was keen to get going and look at the park, but she, not so much. She said for him to go ahead, she would stay on the bench and read her book. I peeked to see whats was so interesting, that she would rather stay and read. It was one of Alan Titchmarch's How to garden books!

Louise said...

What a beautiful city! I really enjoyed seeing it here.

Katharine A said...

Just found your blog. Lots to explore. Going to go back and check out your post on Blists Hill. have always wanted to go there. Great to see where you have explored.