Oh, I said. Look how close we are to the cathedral, I said! The problem with not being religious is that you forget what religious people do! They ring things! We awoke to the sound of bells! It’s Sunday in Seville. The sound was muffled by the shutters in our room so we were quite happy to get up at 9 am and wend our way to Mateos Gago to get some breakfast in a little cafe right around the corner.
We had agreed to meet our tour guide, Peter, of Seville Concierge, in front of La Giralda, the minaret-turned-bell-tower right by our hotel. He was there right on time and immediately sat us down on the side of the fountain in the middle of the square to tell us about Seville’s history. It’s fascinating, starting with the Phoenicians, then the Romans, the Carthaginians, the Visigoths, the Moors, and finally the “modern” era starting in the Middle Ages. And don’t forget the Spanish Inquisition. Each culture left their mark on the city. Then we started our tour. Peter really knows everything and it’s great to get answers for all our questions. Like what powers the tram that runs down the Ave de La Constitution? It’s an electric tram, with trolleys that run along the wires — but where we were, right by the cathedral and city hall, they had to keep taking the wires down for the many processions that celebrate the religious holidays during the year. So (and we watched this and it is SO COOL!) when the tram parks at its final stop in the Plaza Nueva, the trolleys extend to an overhead structure that charges their batteries until they can return to the trolley wires further down their route.
There’s so much that Peter told us that I just can’t write it all down. About the Black Death, the earthquake that destroyed the old mosque and led to the building of the current cathedral, the ships that brought goods from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to Seville, the discovery of a Viking ship ruin under the city hall, the kings and the dukes and the princes, the plaques commemorating the places mentioned by Cervantes and Franco.
All the time showing us the streets and squares of Seville, little private places and broad public places. So interesting! Plus we found ourselves down where the Airport Shuttle had dropped us off, so it IS possible for us to make our way there for our flight to Paris (but why bother when Shawn told us we could get a cab to the airport for 25Euros?)
When the tour was winding down Peter asked us if we would like to have lunch at a great place. And it was one of the tapas bars that Shawn had shown us last night, Las Teresas. We had some more lovely tapas, jamon (they have huge hams hanging above the bar), anchovies in olive oil and vinegar, and something with huge white beans and ham. All delicious, accompanied by a tasty sherry.
We have seen several “sculptures” of figures bringing to mind the painting by Velasquez of Las Meninas. They apparently are to promote recycling. And encourage tourists to take their picture:
Then back to the hotel for a short siesta and a martini on the rooftop terrace. Tomorrow we must go out to buy swimsuits because for some reason we forgot ours. The first time we looked at the pool it was surrounded by young women in bikinis. But today the older ladies with the wrinkles and the pudge were out, so I may join them.
We walked down to the shopping district, picking up a chocolate ice cream cone on the way, and scoped out the shops that might sell us some swimsuits. Looks like there’s lots of sales! Nothing is open today, Sunday, but tomorrow it’s shopping as usual. Then we hopped into a tapas bar recommended by Shawn, right next door, La Azotea. Turns out the recommended dishes are not served at this location, but hey! Shawn says they’re all right, and they really are. We sat at the bar and had some white wine and tapas, cheese and ham rolled into filo pastry with a lovely sauce. MMMMMMM! Then we broke away from the tapas and had some pork ribs slow cooked served with roast potatoes with a horseradish/sour cream concoction. Muy bueno! We were full by then, so just had a scotch rocks (gotta get those grains!) and cafe con leche for dessert. It was a joy to watch the kitchen work, everyone did every job and they all were enjoying themselves so much. Also they had
our favourite lamps, the one we have in our cucina. So natch, we felt right at home. When we were leaving we saw a young couple perusing the menu, and told them they should go right in. It’s bueno!
Early to bed again. All this walking gets us tired!