Spain – Spectacular Gardens & Gaudi Tour 2016
Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla, Barcelona and the Costa Brava Coastline
June 7th – June 16th, 2016


June 11th

Exploring Sevilla

I love Sevilla for the amount of things to see…gardens, tilework, amazing and beautiful architecture…the time so far on tour has really been a mixture of all three but Sevilla is such a walkable place to wander and discover. The Hospital de los Venerables Sacerdotes was founded in the 17th century as a retirement home for priests and now houses such a small but amazing collection of works by Diego Velazquez and a beautiful patio area filled with old seats to sit in. Inside ceilings, walls and floors covered in priceless works. After this as we walked - I loved the rattan coverings they used on the windows to shade the sun…such a smart idea and so heavy they do not move in the breeze. We are now in the Jardines del Alcazar, designed in the 16th century. So much tilework here, so many walls covered in hand carved woods. Outside in the gardens, coolness and charm lead you through to the end where huge water features bid you farewell. Ancient trees with such stories to tell, wandering peacocks, purple jacarandas and magenta bougainvillea’s drawing your eyes upward. We continue walking until we reach Vineria San Telmo for another incredible lunch and finish our day with the stunning Plaza de Espana, a centerpiece of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo. Seville's most impressive and majestic after the cathedral, for its sheer scale and grandeur. All that tilework – from guardrails to finials on the roofs and everything in between - you must see this in person to truly appreciate that each tile piece is unique. The building is a semi circular brick building, Renaissance/neo-Moorish in style, with a huge tower at either end. All along the wall in front of the building are 48 alcoves with benches - one for each province of Spain, each with a relevant tableau and map, all designed on colourful azulejos (painted ceramic tiles). In front of the building, following the curve of its façade, is a 500-metre canal crossed by four bridges. Lots of boats on this lake with people happily paddling as they made their way around. It was simply amazing to stand on one of these bridges and take it all in.

Did you know? The Giralda minaret is a masterpiece of Almohad architecture built in 1184 to 1197. It stands next to the Cathedral with its five naves; the largest Gothic building in Europe (and holds the tomb of Christopher Columbus). Make time to visit if you can as it is worth seeing and yes – do walk all the way up to the top of the minaret for an incredible memory. (I did) to discover that there are no steps, just a wide ramp because when the minaret was built the Imam used to ride a horse up to the top for the call to prayer! (or so the story goes)

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