Thursday, 26 August 2010
Why does the devil have all the best music?
Or so they say! I'm not sure that he does (Gregorian chant, Hallelujah Chorus, Verdi's Requiem anyone?) but even if he does, I would have to say that after today's offering, I think God wins hands down in the art and buildings stakes! (This one is by my new favourite artist, Goya, by the way)
Today I arrived in Seville after another very successful Spanish train journey from Cordoba. If Cordoba was hot (29 degrees at 9.30 am), then Seville is officially scorchio - and I have the puffy ankles and heat rash to prove it. Not to mention the slightly green tinge to my skin caused by the dye from my cheap Rastro dress mixing with sweat and staining my back!
But, oh was it worth it. Even though I only got here at lunchtime I managed to pack in a trip to Seville's Cathedral and Giralda as well as the Alcazar. Two completely awesome places to visit right next door to each other. The Cathedral was built deliberately to show off (what lunatics can do in praise of God apparently), while the Alcazar was pretty much the same but in a secular vein. Both were largely Christian endeavours but drawing heavily on Seville's Islamic history, and in the case of the Cathedral encasing the minaret from the previous Mosque inside the Giralda bell tower. Just like Cordoba - spot a trend here!
Another interesting fact about the Giralda? It doesn't have steps up to the top inside but has a ramp instead. This was so the guy going up to call the prayers (the Muezzin) could ride up on a horse rather than walk. All I can say is, poor horse!! But the views from the top were lovely.
The Alcazar was sumptious. There is no other word for it. Both the building and the gardens. Unfortunately, although the gardens look cool and lush, they were anything but. Sitting in them was like sitting inside a hairdryer - expect not as cramped as I expect a hairdryer is.
I continued practising my Spanish all day - and continued not being able to understand what was being said to me other than the simplest phrases. Leading to much hilarity in the bar I stopped in for mid afternoon tapas. I'm still not sure if they were laughing at me or the young waiter's attempts to chat me up. I think it was actually the latter - poor soul!
And then back to the hotel, via the former Royal Tobacco Factory (now the University) of Carmen fame. Also via the Seville tram system - a transport network so pointless, it makes Edinburgh's one look like a paragon of sense!
The other breaking news is that I broke my not going out in the evening duck tonight. It was enforced since the hotel wasn't serving food and had no bottles of water for sale (other than the pointlessly minute ones in the mini bar). So it was back out again to discover that completely by chance I've managed to book myself a hotel in the hip and happening part of Seville with plenty of tapas bars to choose from.
This trend is forecast to continue tomorrow too as I've taken the plunge and booked a ticket for an early evening Flamenco show - early being 8pm and finishing at 10 pm. A veritable matinee by Spanish standards!