A Travellerspoint blog

In and around Seville

And very nice too

sunny 33 °C

In the morning we leave Tavira to head back into Spain. As we drive along the roads, there are stork nests everywhere. They have obviously decided the man made trees are a lot easier than the natural ones as every single electricity pylon has a nest on – some have three. The electricity companies have decided it is easier to encourage them than to have them nest in the more sensitive bits of the grid and in many places have added platforms to the pylons suitable to start a nest on!
Stork's nest in a radio tower

Stork's nest in a radio tower


As we get close to Sevilla, I notice something we have seen on TV. It is the huge solar array where hectares of mirrors reflect the sun onto towers to capture the heat. We decide to investigate, and get off at the next stop. An hour later, we have circled the installation, getting no closer than 5 kms away. We are about to chuck it in when we see a small sign to Solargeo 1, and head down there. There is no visitors centre, but we can get up to the wire with no issues and see it at close range. The reflected light on the target is so intense that it glows white hot, hurts your eyes to look at and seems to pulse in the heat. Looking closely from the side you can see puffs of smoke as unaware insects have been attracted to the glow and been vaporised in a blink. We don’t know what happens to birds.
We found it!

We found it!

Hotter than Blazes

Hotter than Blazes


We head into Sevilla to have a look around before finding tonight’s Paroador. We park near the Bull Ring, but race past on the way to the centre. First things first - to the Heladeria to get a Batido each. That’s a milkshake.
World's biggest Gothic cathedral

World's biggest Gothic cathedral


We get to the Cathedral with 30 minutes to spare, and so are travelling around a bit fast. Once we get in we are told that one of the main features, the Giralda is closed for renovations. Inside the cathedral is massive, a huge gothic building built over a mosque torn down after the Christians took over the city. A lot of the hall of the cathedral is relatively plain, the decoration is in the side chapels, the choir and the altar. The altar is ginormous and very detailed. In the back of the sacristy it is possible to see some of the original Muslim details behind all the treasures, and there is the council room, where the church bigwigs met. We exit out into the orange patio still preserved from the mosque as where the devout would wash before prayer.
The Patio of oranges in the cathedral

The Patio of oranges in the cathedral


We are staying tonight at the fantastic Carmona Parador. Yes I do love them, yes they normally are expensive, but they can be within reach if you get set price (tarifica unica) deals far enough ahead, or take advantage of other offers. Become an amigos of Paradors and get more special offers! www.parador.es Carmona Parador is an old 14th Century Muslim fortress (done up a bit since then) overlooking Carmona. You have to go up through the winding cobbled streets of the old town before going in the castle walls. Once inside there is a Moorish patio with a fountain in the middle, and an opulent lounge with a view over the fields, away from the city. And there is a pool – which is open! For some reason a lot of hotels will advertise a pool, but they only run it mid June to September – even though we would be in it now, straight away.
Carmona Parador

Carmona Parador


Settled in we head down into Carmona to grab some tapas for dinner. Where we do go has a few interesting looking things so we order. They come out as big serves, and the bill is huge too, so I think we have been taken advantage of and given full sized serves. Make sure you specify raciones (tapas size), or medias (half normal serves) if you just want a small amount. Not happy, we go somewhere else for desert but end up getting the sweetest concoctions possible. Too much!
The next morning we have to be up and away. As usual it does not really happen. But we are heading off to Sevilla at a not bad hour. Our main focus for today is the Alcazar, the seat of the Moors when they ruled. And it is very impressive – but it has been added onto many times over the years by all sorts of rulers as they turned up and wanted to put their own spin on things. Today it remains the official seat of the Spanish Royal Family in Sevilla.
The Mounting Yard

The Mounting Yard


There are some great room and halls with typical Moorish tiles wood and intricate plasterwork. The pool in the patio of the Maidens was great. The Hall of the Ambassador’s was incredibly detailed.
Hall of the Ambassadors

Hall of the Ambassadors

Patio of the Maidens

Patio of the Maidens

As is always the case, the victor made use of the palaces of the defeated. The Spanish added on, their highlights include the council chamber and particularly the ceiling in the council room (where all the loot from the Americas got divvied up) and the tapestries in the Chambers of Carlos V.
Tapestry

Tapestry


From the palace it is down stairs to see Donna Maria’s Bath, a grotto created when a Patio was filled in over a Moorish garden pool. Then the gardens which are a jumble of updates on updates, from the 16th through to the 20th centuries, almost like an attempt at a tour through the ages. It is very relaxing and soothing though.
maria's bath

maria's bath

In the Alcazar gardens

In the Alcazar gardens


Alcazar gardens

Alcazar gardens


We catch a tram to the end of the line (about 500m – they are adding more) and walk to the Plaza de Espana, a huge thing, a bit of a monstrosity from an exposition in the Moorish Revival style – but the important thing was that G recognised it straight away from Star Wars episode II.
Plaza De Espana

Plaza De Espana


Walked back to the car and got not so lost on the way out this time. Back to Carmona and into the Pool for an hour before we head down and stuff our faces for dinner. Roll back upstairs to bed.
Another great Parador

Another great Parador

Posted by lostagain 16:25 Archived in Spain

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