Driving for the first time on a toll road in Portugal, we were amused at the tweet emitted from the toll transponder as we went under the toll detectors. Warren said it should be a “whoosh” as it is the sound of money leaving your wallet – which was all too frequent. We avoided toll roads in Spain as the transponder was only for Portugal. Turns out Spain has very few toll roads anyway and the gas is much cheaper than in Portugal (although using our credit card was a mistake, even in restaurants, as we were never given the option to choose Euros so we got a crappy exchange rate).
It was about a 3 hour drive from Lagos to Seville and we arrived at the Sevilla Center hotel a bit tired but glad to be off the road. The lobby was quite impressive and when checking in we were informed that we got upgraded to the “junior” suite which had a separate living room, bathroom and bedroom. Nice to have a little bit of space (and class) every now and then. Loved the room, hated the scale that came with it (note to self, never weigh yourself when traveling).
We still had most of the afternoon, so off to the Cathedral we went. Seville cathedral is the third-largest church in the world as well as the largest Gothic church so you can’t visit Seville without checking it out. After our “contribution” of 18 Euros plus 3 for an audio guide, we were able to tour the immense structure. It has over 80 side chapels and the main alter is the the largest in the world. For us, living in the new world, we were able to see the final resting place of Christopher Columbus. It took us hours to just scratch the surface of the cathedral. A quote that would always stick with us is when they asked one of the founders why they were building it this way, he stated, “Let us build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad.” Yep, mission accomplished.
The next day we drove Over2 and a half hours to Malaga to visit Warren’s aunt and uncle. One the way we saw a long caravan of tractors and vans pulling flowered wagon homes along a local road through a field. We thought they might be migrant workers but a google search on “migrant” was completely futile! We also saw Shepard’s herding their sheep right next to the highway. The dichotomy of what we saw along the way was fascinating. The landscape changed from mostly flat to quite mountainous. Aunt and Uncle live in a beautiful villa nestled below the mountains just 25 minutes from a long, gorgeous beach. We had lunch at a seaside restaurant and had a great visit with them both. It was such a short visit, but we had to make our way back to Seville that evening.
The last day we devoted to touring all the other sights of the city which included:
- Barrio Santa Cruz (Jewish Quarter) with its windy very narrow streets with buildings that are barely an arms width apart. We heard a tour guide describe one “street” as the kissing street since it’s so narrow that you and your neighbor across the street could lean out your window and kiss each other. It was a very charming area with numerous cafes stuck into small squares.
The Metropol Parasol is apparently the largest wooden structure in the world. It is kind of weirdly nestled in an old part of town. You can’t walk on top of it any more but it is still an interesting piece of modern art.
- We did “walk bys” of Real Alcazar and Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza. The palace line was way too long and we had no desire to pay good euros to see the bull fighting arena so we moved along.
- Parque de María Luisa and Plaza de España – We made our way thru the university to this wonderful park and came upon The Plaza de España which is a beautiful
Mudejar plaza (gothic and Islamic mix) with a section for every province of Spain and includes a very large palace behind the open plaza. It was built for the Latin American Expo of 1929 and contains beautiful ceramic tile bridges and artworks. The plaza also contains a tile display of each Spanish province which denotes it’s history.
One of the best features of Seville was it’s variety of different foods. We enjoyed dogfish “bites” tapas (which we later figured out was a type of shark and reminded us of alligator – fleshy and moist ), mini 1 euro sandwiches at 100 Montaditos (we hapened to stumble upon them on the one euro for any sandwich day) and last but not least, mystery croquettes at Mr. Beer. One we thought one was fish, but a sweet black colored one left us stumped. At least nothing came back to haunt us the next morning . 🙂
Check out the entire Seville / Malaga gallery here.