Skip the Queues Seville Style.

I signed up for a Skip the queue tour of the Seville Palace, Gardens and Cathedral. It seems that most towns in Andalucía have an understandable multicultural society going back over many centuries. Given that Africa, specifically Morocco, is but a few kilometres across the ocean from the southern most outpost of Spain, it is not surprising. “Stopping the Boats” was an impossible catch cry. Hence over Millenia, hordes of Arabs (Muslims) invaded Spain, to be then overrun by Christian hordes and so it alternated between these cultures. Forts, Palaces, Mosques were thankfully mostly not destroyed but “modified” by the Christian Kings.

To my eye, there is much beauty in Islamic architecture with its delicate complex mosaics and blue and aquamarine colours. The mosques were huge open plan areas of worship surrounded by an oasis of green gardens and wonderful use of natural light. Sadly the Christian conquests saw darkness descend literally and figuratively as they bricked up the arches and constructed ornate cathedrals within the mosque.

Here are pictures of the Alcázar and gardens (Palace)

Christian kings live in the palace and to their credit, additions and modifications were mostly in the Islamic style.

Here is the “bath room ” for the princess and Queen. I assume in the days of the Sultan, there were many wives. What appears to be a mirror, is water

Another picture of the gardens

As to the cathedral, only a few pictures.

The Bell Tower – which was originally the minaret of the Mosque

The “thing” in pure silver and gold that is carried along in the feast of corpus Cristie. That is the extent of my religious knowledge

The casket contains the remains ( called “relics”) of Christopher Columbus

Actually poor Columbus wished to be buried in the New World, but Spain wanted him for themselves. Over the centuries his remains were frequently exhumed and transported to various locations around the world so much so that eventually upon his return to Spain, specifically, Seville, poor Christopher was in small pieces! Hence inside the huge casket in the cathedral of Seville, there is a bit of him. On the 500th anniversary of his discovery (1992) it was rather unsettling to the civic fathers who were about to spend millions of dollars on fireworks, so poor Christopher was again exhumed and his DNA compared to the DNA of his great grandson. To the utter relief of all concerned, the DNA matched, so the thimble full of dust that is Christopher Columbus’ presumed left big toe , was safely returned to the casket and in 1992, millions of dollars of fireworks went up in smoke.

Seville

A few random shots of Seville. Day 1

Around the cathedral

And a few street shots. Seville orange trees are as ubiquitous as eucalyptus trees in Adelaide. The oranges are inedible- much too bitter and used for jam.

There are more taxis in Seville than pigeons! There are more pigeons than ice cream shops, but only marginally.

The hilltop town of Ronda

Being rushed off my feet by my 2 travel companions, my creative juices cope with a daily hour of Recorder practice at the expense of any creative writing. I humbly apologise for this lapse. Pictures must sadly suffice.

Having arrived in Seville after a rapid 40 minute train ride from Cordoba, settled in, meandered in the dusk and then the next day took a day trip to Ronda. This delightful hill top town is quite unique and home to many famous English personalities including Ernest Hemingway.

Ronda has the largest and possibly oldest bullring in Spain, which if you are the sort of person who buys barnyard eggs, you would understandably find offensive, if you get my drift? There is now only one bullfight a year on 1st September. The trip was on the first rainy day of the holiday and was simply autumnal drizzle.

Ronda means if you best guessed, “round” ! It’s perched on a hilltop with a gut wrenching view over a ravine and a “new bridge” which to my eye appeared disconcertingly ancient.

We visited one of the many aristocratic Casa, built on the cliffs

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

The Mezquita-Catedral is quite spectacular a literal and figurative clash of cultures. A serene open mosque, sunlight streaming in from all 4 sides, was raped architecturally when invading and conquering Christians, constructed not one but two cathedrals inside the open plan mosque, bricking up the huge open gates from the adjacent garden. It is still something at which to marvel.

This is the bell tower of the cathedral which was constructed around the minaret tower of the mosque, so to completely hide it.

Part of the mosque

The Christian cathedral within the walls of the mosque

Beautiful mosaic tiles surround the arches

A panorama of the organ adorning both sides of the knave

Córdoba

After a bus and Very Fast Train from Granada, we arrived at Cordoba. Here are s few photos in the early morning, whilst the typical local is till fast asleep, having probably gone to bed around 2am