We were up early to walk the dogs before it got hot and also due to that unmistakeable whisper in your ear which only a mosquito can make, which is like an old fashioned bell ringer alarm in its ability to bring you from snooze to wakefulness almost instantly. Dogs walked and mosquitoes dispatched (complete with blood stains from your own supplies 🤢) it was time to move on.
We decided to visit the town of Palos de Frontera for a coffee on route as we did not make it the evening before and we had time to kill before our booked visiting slots in Seville. This was where Christopher Columbus set sale for the New World over 500 years ago, when the now inland town was coastal before silt built up around. It’s a pretty little town which trumpets, quite rightly the three home-grown Pinzon brothers who camp rained the two accompanying sips of Niña and Pinto and was chief navigator on the Santa Maria. The streets and school is named after them and statues abound. Even the water cast iron grid covers celebrate the three ships. I think the iron bust may have been Christopher Columbus but it was unnamed which probably goes to show how the town viewed the Italian born show-grabber! It also has the only active bullfighting ring I have seen proudly displayed. It is also another strawberry growing area shown by the large strawberries on the roundabout incase you missed the miles of poly tunnels.
Next we were on our way to Seville! This has always been on our list for this trip but since the weather got hot we have been trying to work the logistics. We have tried out the aircon on a hot days to leave the dogs as we have quickly concluded they can’t stand the city heat even in the shade at the peak of the day for walking. We found a secure parking with electricity supplied 20mins walk from the old city area. They even had shade fitted on some spots a month ago, though sadly these were all reserved when we arrived. We also for all the main sites needed booked slots for visiting.
We had booked for Seville Cathedral this afternoon. Arriving bang on time for our slot after a lovely but hot walk through parks and past glorious architecture. Even with the booked slots the cathedral was very busy and it is only May. The cathedral as you would imagine is in the centre of the old town area is the world’s largest gothic cathedral built between 1434 and 1517 over the remains of what was the city’s main mosque, made into a church in 1248. It’s exterior accordingly looks rather varied and extended. With pre-booked online tickets we at least by-passed the queues and walked straight in.
The first and main point of interest is the Giralda tower which at 104m tall gives a great view of the city which has been sympathetically built around it below that height. There are 35 ramps which climb to the top of the bell tower built as the minaret for the original mosque to enable moorish horseman to ride to the top. Compared to your average Anglican Church tower narrow stone steps which I have climbed in the course of this blog and with the large airy windows holes and darken shaded exterior it was actually quite an easy climb even at 35 degrees outside. The views from the top were worth the climb. Reaching beyond the city to the hills below in the far distance and showing the multiple structures of the cathedrals and the many parks and historic buildings and narrow streets closer in.
The rest of the cathedral was equally as expansive and opulent. To my rather simple eye it looks just as grand and gilded as St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. we encountered Christopher Columbus in person / remains on this visit as his tomb is in the cathedral carried aloft of the shoulders of noblemen. Apparently DNA tests had to be done in 2006 to prove it was him as his remains have been relocated many time since his death as far away as the Dominican Republic.
Next we stopped off for a tapas at one of the over 3000 tapas bars in the city. We were able to sample a couple of the local dishes we have on our list – Secreto Ibérico (Secret Pork) and Espinacas con garbanzos (Spinach and chickpeas). The pork appears to be a particularly lean cut and the spinach and chickpeas is a rare vegan option. Both were lovely with the de rigueur patatas bravas, which actually was as you expect and not French fries with spicy tomato sauce which seems the norm in the north.
Although we had left the dogs with air conditioning we did not want to risk it for too long so we headed back to the van via the Plaza de España. An elaborate building project for the 1929 Expo. It has a lake where you can hire a boat and sits in the middle of the Parque de Maria Luisa garden, a 34 hectare green oasis right in the middle of the city which formed half of our route back to the van. It was absolutely beautiful and we obviously timed it well to see the glorious purple and blue blossom trees.
Back to the van for the heat of the day maintained at an impressive 22 degrees by the aircon unit, though warmer nearer the windscreen. We may invest in an external silver screen to help that. The girls were therefore absolutely fine when we arrived back. We have hidden away during the heat and had a lovely cool shower. Hopefully we explore the old town later with the dogs when it has cooled down a bit. Hopefully before midnight 😥🤣