I arrived in Granada this afternoon, and it is quite cold and rainy – a bit too much so for me to enjoy much sightseeing on foot today (I even splurged on a cab from the station). However! I think that makes it the perfect time to sit here on the (covered) rooftop terrace and catch up on my travelogue. Oddly, I feel like I should have a cigarette and some cafe (neither of which will actually be happening).
If you look just to the right (ha, you can’t look to the right), you’ll see the Alhambra. (I didn’t realize this until I sat down here to write, and the camera is back in my bedroom. So that will be part of my private travel experience, I guess.)
I traveled from Cordoba to Sevilla on Monday, and the visit did not get off to the easiest of starts. So. I had a glass of wine and an expensive salad, took a short walk, and then a nap. I just wanted to get oriented to the city layout, so I wandered to the Cathedral and back to my pension. I wish I had a picture that could capture the enormity of this church – it was amazing (more on the Cathedral later in the post).
Here are my bartenders at the Bodega Santa Cruz, who would keep track of my bill by chalking it on the bar. So much for a candid shot; I am not the first tourist who’s walked in their door.
Later that night, I took in a flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria de Al-Andalus. It was good, and very different from the show in Madrid; I think I’ll say more about that in another post. After the show, I wandered for just a few blocks around my pension and took this shot of a nearby lane. I can’t believe I didn’t get more pictures of Sevilla’s wind-y ways! They were similar to those in Cordoba, but this picture shows one that is wide by Sevillan standards – many were half this size.
The next morning, I attempted to find the lavanderia to have my clothes washed, but the recommended establishment was closed (and at the time, it looked like it was closed forever). So I carried my clothes around with me like a bag lady and went to the Plaza de Toros and Museo Taurino.
I have to admit, there were times when I was feeling very photo-weary in Sevilla, and I was downright frustrated with things when I walked into the Bullring entrance with a bag of dirty clothes and a hungry belly. (Breakfast? Spaniards don’t eat breakfast.) Thankfully, this place was beautiful and inspiring, plus the tour was in Espanol and Ingles. I may have gotten a little carried away with the camera…
I know it’s brutal, but I kind of wish I’d been able to see a bullfight (the fights don’t really start up for another week or two). (Oh, don’t even think it – this city was beautiful to see, but I can’t even imagine trying to enjoy it during the actual tourist season.)
Game of Heads – did the tour guide say, “game of heads”? Yes, I think she did. Apparently, this is something that went along with bullfighting in the good ole days. She assured us that it was only papier mache heads, though (so… where’s the fun in that?).
After I found a cafe where I could sit down and write and have a little late breakfast, and successfully dropped off my dirty clothes at the (now open) laundry, I was feeling revived, and brave enough to take on the Cathedral.
This is the third largest church in Europe, and the largest Gothic church in the world, so…
… things were really tall.
These are some shots from inside the Giralda Bell Tower, part of the Cathedral. Instead of stairs, there is a circling ramp to the top, to accommodate riders on horseback who were giving the Muslim call to prayer (the tower was formerly a Moorish minaret).
I found a quiet window alcove where I could just stop for a few minutes and take in the view. It was romantic to see the city spread out like this, and it was a much-needed break from the crowds following me through the church and now up the ramp. The rooftops made me sad, though. I so wished I knew someone in this town, a friend that I could share a bottle of wine with up on one of those tiny patios, and talk about the day, and then go inside and have a proper dinner together. In the end, I found Sevilla to be awfully lonely.
Really wish I hadn’t cut off the top of the spire in this picture.
The next morning, I went looking for the Universidad, and instead found the Plaza de Espana. At the time, I had no idea what I was looking at, and I couldn’t find any signs to clear things up (all I knew was that I’d run into a handful of soldiers milling around on the back side of the building, and the entrance was marked as a military zone – apparently, several government offices are located here nowadays). Still, this “building” was something to see. It stretches for a half-mile of semi-circle, and the moat runs in front of the entire complex.
Can you pick out all of the tiny lampposts in the picture above? Each one of them looks like this:
I couldn’t get over all of the ornate detail everywhere in the plaza.
I did finally make it to the University, where I took a writing break, and then I wandered around for the lunch hour.
If this guy plays the theme from The Godfather one more time, I’m going to rip that accordion right out of his hands and throw it in one of these cute little lanes.
In the evening, I went to the Alcazar, where I took a lot of pictures of ceilings:
The style of architecture is called Mudejar, and it is awesome:
The gardens were equally impressive.
Now I’m just taking pictures for the backyard remodel…
I could say I took this next picture because it made me stop and realize how special life is, but you can probably guess from this post that my attitude in Sevilla was a bit more on the snarky side. At the time, this sign was telling me, “Hey, tourists. We speak English, and we totally get you. For a truly memorable experience, you should spend your money here.”
Sevilla. Of course I am glad I went, but I do not think I will look back on it with overly fond memories. It’s all in the attitude, the timing, the fullness or emptiness of your tummy at the time – so don’t take this as a thumbs-down for the city. I simply chose to make Sevilla the place where I embraced the universal travel experiences of loneliness, hunger, fatigue, and claustrophobia. What can you do? I asked for experience, I got it.
At the end of this writing, I am more than 2 days into my stay in Granada, and it has been glorious – if I return to Spain, I will definitely take a longer stretch in this part of Andalucia. But that’s for another post (or two; that’s how awesome Granada has been)…