Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One of many, many churches

Walked to Plaza San Lorenzo where that church is I mentioned in a previous post. It’s Basilica de Nuestro Senora del Pilar. I went inside and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Gold covered altar, a dome on top of the apse to let light in and many people worshipping so no pictures taken of the inside, just the outside. Note the key-hole shaped window at right: it used to be a mosque.

Church arch over very tall door

Beautiful mosaic, most churches here have them
The mosaics I've seen on many church walls are beautifully done but I don't know whom they depict, perhaps a patron saint or the current or past head of the church.

Looked for a booklet or pamphlet in their gift shop for further explanation but didn’t find anything that would suffice. So I Googled it and it has had a long and troubled past including torture and incarceration which I won’t go into here. We spent the afternoon at a cafe soaking up the sunshine and eating a couple of tapas. Wonderful! Seems we are doing that a lot while the weather is warm and it’s very nice to be outside.

Bell tower, and have to say I really like this picture

Took the “hop-on-hop-off” bus around the City. We do this in many cities, even though it is very touristy, it gives an overall guide to what is there and perhaps to re-visit on our own. Sunny day, slight cool breeze so it was a good day to sit on the upper deck of a bus and get toured around with commentary in our ears. Commentary comes in a multitude of languages through a tape you plug the earphones into. A system used in most of the cities we've been to. The commentary is standard, name of an interesting building, when built, Architect, some history, same with neighbourhoods and why they exist as such.

View from the bus, can't see it but the river (Rio) Guadalquivir is between us and the buildings

Single horse drawn carriages are used to convey tourists around Sevilla as a more old fashioned way of going, been there, done that on our last trip. The driver does a commentary in Spanish and with the distance between the driver and carriage you can’t hear it or with us, understand it. The carriages are open so you get a real street view of the neighbourhoods. 

Large, old fica or ficus tree in front of the next photo of a church
Church in the Triana District of Sevilla

Flamenco is a very large part of entertainment here as well, you probably know. On our previous trip we booked into a club which, I found out later, was rated the best in Sevilla. Sitting right next to the stage and the women’s skirts were brushing my cheek! Certainly didn’t put my hand or elbow on the stage it would have been stomped on… Absolutely an experience to remember so, not to water it down, we have decided to skip Flamenco this trip. Sometimes you just cannot better an experience by repeating it.

The previously mentioned gazpacho soup is wonderful, I put it in a cup and drank it, found out later many people do unless you are being served in a restaurant. 

Lexi had a long overdue four paw pedicure one morning. She really hates that! I have to hold her and cover her eyes so she can’t see the clippers coming at her. She yowls and cries like we’re trying to kill her or something. Bruce is good and practiced and never hurts her so it’s a bit of an act I think.

Saturday and the streets are buzzing with shoppers. I noticed many women “of an age” with rather elaborate hairdos. They were for the most part, teased, sculpted and likely sprayed. I remember one of my grandmothers used to get a “wash and set” and I suppose that’s what these women have done at a salon. To my knowledge that doesn’t happen in Canada anymore but certainly it does here. Nice, really, they get to feel “dolled up” for shopping on Saturday, church on Sunday and it’s always a treat when someone else washes your hair.

Also noticed elderly women and sometimes men with a younger companion or helper. Many times the helper bears a family resemblance and most of them are women. As mentioned before family is important here so they take care of each other, much the same as everywhere, but more obvious here I think.

We were at our “local” bodega Amarillo Albero where the waiter almost, knows our name, and were watching the cars go by. As said, narrow streets here too and I would guess about 80% had scrapes down the right hand side. Now, sitting on the other side of the road and watching cars go by, not so much, they seem to leave room on the drivers side but miscalculate on the passengers. Just another observation, a good car body repair person could make a mint here if people were interested in getting the dings fixed.

Took the “hop-on-off-bus” again, since it’s a 24 hour ticket. We saw many different things than we did yesterday, in part because there was a marathon running through the Expo site. Chillier day and of course I wore my lighter coat so we were a quite cold at the end.

We saw the bull ring for the second time and it is enormous. Didn’t get a picture but beautiful building so Google “bullring Seville” under images and you will see. What those photos do not capture is the size! It has a museum inside of all things related to bull fighting which we haven’t seen either. Bull fighting is not something we want to see but acknowledge it’s importance and sport here in Spain. Unlike Flamenco, also important, but we did see and enjoy. Everyone to their own…

After, being chilled, we decided to check out a Chinese restaurant for some nice warm soup and green tea.  All I can say about the place is that it served the function of warming us up. Most tasteless food I think I’ve ever had, even soy sauce didn’t help. It certainly isn’t because we were ordering a foreign food in the city. We’ve had very tasty Oriental food in many European cities, including Spain, just the wrong restaurant. Won’t be back. I think we’ve been extremely lucky in our choices of where to eat and have not encountered anything truly bad for a very long time so I’m glad about that.

Our English/Spanish guide Ivan has come back to us with the promised itinerary. We will be having much to report back on in the next month we are here.

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