Spain Trip Recap
November 11th – 20th, 2014
Bella España – Beautiful Spain!


November 15th

A full day and a day full of wonder…I was spellbound by this city, the tilework was such as I had never seen before and never so evident as here. And I have also forgotten to mention how great the shopping is and how inexpensive it is. Horse and buggies took people around to all the hot spots, out door cafes with people sitting around and chatting, plates of pastries and cups of coffee…just a super day.

I did quite a bit of walking in Sevilla, it was just so easy and comfortable and I am glad I did as I discovered not only Maria Luisa Park but The Plaza de España built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. I have to tell you I was simply speechless as I walked around. The amount of tile work alone could keep you busy for hours but I will try to show you in photos just how lovely it was here....and yes there was even a moat here... The Plaza de España, designed by Aníbal González, was built on the Maria Luisa Park's edge to showcase Spain's industry and technology exhibits. González combined a mix of 1920s Art Deco and 'mock Mudejar', and Neo-Mudéjar styles. The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the center is the Vicente Traver fountain. By the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain.

Walking through Maria Luisa Park was lovely. Full of trees, a couple posing for wedding photos, children getting food to feed the ducks and this wonderful sculpture dedicated to Gustavo Adolfo Claudio Domínguez Bastida who was a Spanish post-romanticist poet and writer. The three ladies depict Dreaming of Love to Come, Love in the Moment and Love Remembered...I thought it was beautiful.

The Cathedral of Seville (Catedral de Sevilla) is an expression in stone of post-reconquest confidence and wealth. Built on the site of the Almohad Friday Mosque, it is the third largest church in Europe and the largest Gothic building in Europe. It also boasts the largest altarpiece in the world. It was huge!! I wanted to see it as this was where Columbus is. The copy of the weathervane that you see here was made when the original was taken down for cleaning...It is on the very top of the minaret now bell tower. Measured by area, Seville Cathedral is the third largest in Europe after St. Paul's Cathedral in London and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, but measured by volume, it surpasses them both.

The Cathedral also has a lovely patio filled with orange trees. Originally it was a quiet place to study the Quran and was filled with other plant material. Columbus was originally buried in the cathedral of Havana, on the island he had discovered on his first voyage in 1492. But during the upheavals surrounding the Cuban revolution in 1902, Spain transferred the remains to Seville. A monumental tomb was sculpted for the explorer's new resting place in Seville. Sculpted by Arturo Melida, it was designed in the Late Romantic style and is held aloft by four huge allegorical figures representing the kingdoms of León, Castile, Aragón and Navarra. There have long been doubts about the authenticity of the remains in Columbus' tomb, and DNA tests are currently underway to find out if they really are those of the explorer.

And yes, I walked up to the top of the bell tower as you can see by the sign saying 34. Now it is not steps, it is ramps up and why? When it was a minaret the Imam used to ride a donkey up to the top five times a day to call those to prayer. Imagine that. You can see the picture next to it showing what the ramp looked like. A lot of walking for me but what a view, it was worth it to see the bells so close as I heard them each day while there.

The Palace of the Governors Over Andalucía, better known as House of Pilate, was built by Fabrique de Ribera in 1519, it owes its name to a legend that it was modelled upon Pilate’s house in Jerusalem. Processions during Holy Week used to leave this building, winding their way out of the city to the Cruz del Campo, the distance believed to be exactly that from Pilate’s Jerusalem Praetorium to Golgotha, where Christ was crucified. The house, organized around a great patio, is a fascinating mix of Mudéjar, Flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance elements. An antique sculpture collection, adorning the main patio and the Jardín Chico (small garden), reflects the humanist tastes of its original owners. This garden also has a delightful pool, which was the water tank of the original house. This, and the Jardín Grande, have a marvelous variety of plants, including clusters of citrus and banana trees that thrive in Seville’s warm climate, and myriad flowers. The walls that enclose the gardens and their loggias are covered with brilliantly coloured bougainvillea and wisteria. Paths with yellow sand, also used in the bullrings of southern Spain, add yet more colour. Mature palms and figs give the gardens ample shade.

Located at Plaza de la Encarnacion, the stunning sequence of undulating parasols comprises the world's largest wooden structure. The form was inspired by the Cathedral. The plaza is a gathering place to people to sit and enjoy chatting over coffee...full of life. I got turned around a few times in those narrow streets but you know, when you loose yourself in the moment, it always finds you.


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