Thursday, January 21, 2010


Our 2nd day in Seville we spent walking through the streets of the new and old parts of town.

We enjoyed seeing the different types of architecture -

and different means of transportation.

However the "Old Town" was the most interesting with its narrow old cobblestone or brick streets and alleyways ending often in beautiful squares.

We discovered this old wall build with stone wheeles in its base.

On many corners were beautiful tile pictures of saints.

And shops with large variety of merchandise were everywhere.

Some displayed Spanish dresses and souvenirs,

and some had whimsical displays.

Where our stomachs called we were beckoned by wonderful tapas.

Bars like this displayed their specialties for all to see.

Monday, January 18, 2010


An Arabic palace from the 14th century, the Royal Alcazar was originally a Moorish fortress. Nowadays the Alcazar is residence of the Spanish kings.

It is a treasure of Moorish style with opulent tile on the walls and ceilings of the main rooms. The dome, with interlaced tracery designs, is also gilded. The frieze below depicts alternating castles and lions. Below that is a border of decorative Kufic inscriptions and 32 female busts. Below that Gothic niches contain portraits of Spanish kings.

This is the main room of a complex of rooms used for public events and affairs of state. (For example, it was the setting for the marriage in 1526 of Charles V and Isabel of Portugal.)

The Sala Grande - on the upper level is room with enormous and beautiful tapestries of the Conquest of Tunis by Carlos V. They were painted by Juan de Vermayen and woven by Guillermo Pannemaker (1535-1554)".

Beneath the main rooms is a pool supposedly build for a favorite concubine of the Sultan.

Jardín del Estanque -
This garden was named after the large water reservoir which formed the basis for the pool, a cistern which once collected water for the palace and for irrigation.

The Gardens of the Alcazar are beautiful even in the off season.


Our 1st day in Seville we set out to explore the sights. The Cathedral was a short walk from our hotel in a beautiful square filled with horses and carriages awaiting customers.

Built on the site of a Mosque the Cathedral is the 3rd largest church, and the largest Gothic Building in Europe. It was completed in just over a century(1402-1506) quite a feat considering its size and Gothic details.

Measured by area, Seville Cathedral is the third largest in Europe after after St. Paul's Cathedral in London and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, but measured by volume, it surpasses them both.
The total area covers 11,520 square meters. The central nave (the longest in Spain) rises to 42 meters.

Entering the Cathedral the first impression is of gold - gold is everywhere. Just inside the South entrance is the tomb of Christopher Columbus. His remains were removed from Havana in 1902 following the Cuban revolution.

The Center of the Cathedral is dominated by an incredible Gothic altarpiece. The supreme masterpiece of the cathedral was the life's work of a single craftsman, Fleming Pieter Dancart. Composed of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, it is carved in wood and covered with staggering amounts of gold. It is the largest and richest altarpiece in the world.

The 15th Century stained glass rose window.

To the left of the Cathedral is the entrance to the wonderful Moorish minaret, La Giralda, which now functions as the cathedral's bell tower. It is well worth climbing to the top, but being there when the bells are rung is a deafening experience.
Climbing La Giralda provides many different views on the way up the circular stairway, and from the top one can look over all of Seville.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


We have been back in the Colorado Mountains for over a month now, Christmas is over, the family has left and we are waiting for them to send new snow from California storms. Since I have taken few pictures here thus far this year, I decided to spend the next days/weeks posting some photos from our wonderful November trip with VBT "Biking under the Andalusian Sun" in Spain. We began our trip in Seville with 2 nights in the charmingly unusual "Hotel Las Casa De La Juderia".

The hotel as the name implies was near the old Jewish area of the city, and was composed of a group of houses or Casas, joined by an underground passageway.

This is a diagram of the underground passageway.

The passageways varied from unadorned tunnels, to ones that were elaborately tiled, to some columned with artwork, but all were interesting and beautiful.

Traveling along one would come upon beautiful little rest areas -

and then surface to lovely patios and courtyards.

In the evenings after dinner the piano bar was a great place to have a late night drink and listen the beautiful music.

And breakfast was a gourmet delight, with every kind of fruit and pastry imaginable in addition to the normal American fare.