Day 25: Sevilla - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

March 2, 2024

Day 25: Sevilla

This time we did expect the Spanish Inquisition

Heart 0 Comment 0

 We walked down to breakfast at our not cheap "boutique" Hotel Europa. And sure, the walk was pleasant, with the marble steps and tiled walls on the landing. 

Heart 3 Comment 0

But you can't eat tile, and when we got to the "breakfast room" we found an alcove only, stocked with not much, and what was there - cheap packaged sweets and clearly stale bread. There were a lot of clients, so it was necessary to wait for a shot at the stuff. The idea was that you could then eat standing up, sitting on a couple of spots in the lobby, or one of the few tables in a small room off the lobby. Another option was to take your plate on the elevator back to your little room. This was an option touted in the Booking listing as "breakfast in your room".  My review in Booking will post the truth of this.

There is some food in there!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Well, if you call this food.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The breakfast downer is all we have for the negative side of the Sevilla ledger for today. The rest of it was terrific, stunning, wonderful!

We began with the short walk to the Cathedral. This took us through old narrow streets, lined by balconied buildings, any one of which would be so cool to have an apartment in.

A corner block near our hotel.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Narrow, with great buildings.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

We knew that the Cathedral only opened for tourist visits at 10:30 a.m., but being us, we arrived well over an hour in advance of that. The Cathedral is huge, like the mosque in Cordoba, covering basically a city block. But we arrived at one particular spot, where a beggar was drawing back a leather curtain for people to enter the building, while hoping to collect some donations for himself. 

As it happened, this entrance was for believers heading for the mass which was to precede the influx of tourists. So with some coins to the beggar, in we went. In was not lost on us that 532 years after the fact, here were two more or less Jews masquerading as Spanish Christians. This was the exact reason that the  Spanish Inquisition was needed - to weed out such riff raff pretenders!

We arrived at one of the many carved facade walls of the Cathedral.
Heart 5 Comment 0

Having slipped in, we took the risk of snapping some quick shots before taking seats at the back of the mass. The Cathedral is cavernous and of course has some glitsy decorations, but generally with this building there is more wow factor to the outside than in.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

With the mass, I try to be (somewhat) respectful, but I "confess" to having to suppress giggles at some of the rituals. However it does genuinely concern me to see otherwise young  and intelligent looking people bowing and praying  and going along with the whole thing. And when seeing an approximately ten year old in the Communion line, I am with Richard Dawkins in calling that child abuse. These positions will upset some readers (and friends) but they are honest.

As to my own dishonesty in being there, I got outed by Steve Jobs, or at least my darn cell phone. I had been following along with the service on Google Translate in conversation mode, when I thought it said the priest said something about "naughty (or maybe bad) German girls". Say what??

This had me jabbing for the transcript replay button, or just trying to scroll the display backwards. But as always happens, the phone had a mind of its own, and in louder tones than I usually think it is capable of, it began to shout the most recent words of the priest out loud, in English. This had me jabbing the power off button, and the phone  responded - "shut down?, ok, hang in there, I'm working on it", while continuing its oration for impossibly long seconds. 

Heart 1 Comment 0

The service was "mercifully" over quite soon thereafter. But I have something else to add. Behind the priests and the altar was a massive and high very golden carved wall, with alcoves containing carved scenes. The light conditions were very difficult, but the photo below does give the general idea.

Heart 0 Comment 1
Sue PriceI see that and the first thing that comes to mind is how hard it would be to clean!!!! 😳
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

In aggregate, these just look glitsy and impressive. But let's have a closer look:

Yes, those are babies impaled on Spanish swords and spears. These images were created in another age, and we would not necessarily want to denounce the priests today for standing in front of them and saying their stuff. But sheesh!
Heart 0 Comment 4
Laurie MarczakWho are these impaled babies? Is this the Inquisition in process or a claim or persecution of Christians? Who can keep track….
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Laurie MarczakQuite likely the Inquisition. Hard to accept celebrating such brutality, and even harder to think that the people in the church have probably never studied the imagery that closely.We are
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Sue PriceHow horrible!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jacquie GaudetI'm rather glad I missed that when I was there.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

Of course, I was pushing my luck standing up there with my camera, and indeed, Security came to  give me the boot.  But they booted me past something I had really come to photograph - Christopher Colombus' tomb (Tumba de Cristobal Colon) . So readers, at great personal risk - here is what it looks like:

Heart 0 Comment 0

Meanwhile, Dodie was also being marched out of the place. But Dodie had her stick, and played the old crippled lady card (giving me the time with Columbus). She slow walked her way out in record slow time.

Dodie gets slow walked out.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Readers, is this tale one of too much disrespect? If yes, you could write a flame in the Comments...

As mentioned before, the outside of the Cathedral is more impressive than the inside, and it offers really an unlimited number of impressive architectural angles. The half dozen shots below are just a sample.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 1
Karen PoretI vote for the tree..:)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

Surrounding the Cathedral there are very many caleches, all of the same colour and design. The horses, of course, are individuals, but they mostly just stand around looking bored. Here below, two may be discussing how business is going.

Heart 1 Comment 0

Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Real (Royal) Alcazar. This is a palace begun in 913 a.d. as a fort built over a former Visigoth church. That fort  was expanded, demolished and rebuilt many times and in many styles. Ferdinand and Isabella made the top floor the royal residence. Today there are many gardens and royal rooms to be seen there. Last year, I got some  "Real  Alcazar" socks there. These remain a treasured but getting worn out possession.

The Real Alcazar
Heart 1 Comment 0

Having already visited (and bought the socks) last year, we looked on smugly at the long line to buy tickets.

Heart 0 Comment 0

 Nearby, mainly in the palm trees, were many parakeets. There are two types, the Monks and the Rose Ringed. We were happy to now see the second type for the first time.

24154 Rose Ringed Parakeet
Heart 3 Comment 0
Wow, orange eyes
Heart 3 Comment 0
A pair of Rose Ringed
Heart 2 Comment 0
Monk's Parakeets - with number tag and the distinctive blue wing.
Heart 1 Comment 0

With some glances back to the Cathedral, we next passed into the "Santa Cruz" district, which is the Jewish Quarter.

Heart 1 Comment 0

We passed by the restaurant where we had met up with Susan Carpenter last year. Good memories.

The restaurant.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Weather vane atop the Cathedral
Heart 2 Comment 0
This is a whole other church: San Luis de los Franceses - nice roof.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Although yes, here is a Portuguese custard tart shop, a main theme in this part of our walk seemed to be Flamenco, or at least Flamenco style clothing.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Fancy dress
Heart 1 Comment 0
Costume jewellery
Heart 1 Comment 0
Some narrow streets were crowded, giving them some vibrancy.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Others were fairly empty. Of course, no cars!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

We ran up against a city wall, and then into some extensive gardens, called the gardens of the wall (Jardines de Murillo).

This old Islamic city wall is also a border of the Alcazar.
Heart 0 Comment 0
See the broad roots, and maybe the new trees from suckers? We think this is a Ficus.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Just beyond the tree we heard music and tapping, and came upon a small troupe of Flamenco artists. Flamenco is really big in this town, which we know first from this tourist shopping bag:

Heart 0 Comment 2
Kelly IniguezI wanted a cool shopping bag as a souvenir from Spain. I saw nothing like this!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Kelly IniguezBack to Spain with you! Sevilla is really big on Flamenco. But you have to accept being in a very large, busy city.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

And from this tourist photo business:

Heart 0 Comment 0

But the troupe was the real thing, so into it, and in good training.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

If you liked the photos, check out the video!

 Walking on through the garden, we see how water features are important in this hot country, or for the Moors, from even hotter places.

Many fountains in the garden.
Heart 3 Comment 0
And a female Black Bird
Heart 0 Comment 0

The furthest extent of our walk was into the Maria Louisa Park, which is the largest green area of the city. The park is large, but it contains a jewel, which is the also large Plaza de  Espana. Although one might call it a square (Plaza) it is mainly a huge semi-circle of gorgeous buildings, with a tall tower at each end, and a lower one in the middle. There is a semi-circular moat that parallels the buildings, with rental boats rowing along, and a fountain in the centre of it all.

Here is part of that layout:

Heart 2 Comment 0
The north tower
Heart 2 Comment 0

There are so many gorgeous aspects of this place. A key one is the tile work, which is to be found everywhere. For example in the lamp posts:

Heart 3 Comment 2
Karen PoretColors resemble Delft, do you agree?
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretMaybe...although Delft tends to purely blue and white.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Heart 2 Comment 0
or the roofs or arches.
Heart 4 Comment 0
or in the detail on the buildings.
Heart 0 Comment 0
or near statues on the buildings
Heart 1 Comment 0

There are four bridges, Venice style, over the moat, making for wonderful images:

Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

The four bridges represent Castile, Leon, Aragon, and Navarre, the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. But then all around the semi-circle are 52 tiled niches, each depicting a province of Spain, with some kind of tiled image, and usually a tile map of the province and its surroundings.

The niche for Alicante
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
The steps in the central tower look like this:
Heart 1 Comment 0
Made with tile, of course.
Heart 2 Comment 0
And the ceiling in the centre tower:
Heart 0 Comment 0
Looking toward the South Tower and the fountain in the centre.
Heart 4 Comment 0
Heart 4 Comment 0
24155 Mute Swan - the only swan in the moat.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
I was shooting the tile but also got a romantic moment.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Back through the park for a bit now - Bird of Paradise grows so well here and through Portugal!
Heart 1 Comment 0
More tile on a roof. It's The Capilla de la Virgen del Carmen,better known as"La Capillita"because of its small size, is located next to the Puente de Triana bridge inSeville, and is home to the patron saint of the sea and the Spanish Navy, and the protector of fishermen. The building is a symbol of the Triana neighbourhood.
Heart 2 Comment 0
How about this beautiful place. It's a gardening school and school of environmental studies.
Heart 3 Comment 0
And this is a government office building - the Palacio de San Telmo!
Heart 2 Comment 0
This building was a watch tower by the river. It's called the Golden Tower, because of its colour, which comes from straw in the cement mix, not gold. To actually turn straw into gold you need Rumpelstiltskin!
Heart 3 Comment 0

We had walked  a lot and needed to find a restaurant. But we found most crowded, and also based on somehow eating outside standing. We have seen that in Germany, in the StehCafe (standing cafe), but we needed as seat!

No seat here
Heart 0 Comment 2
Karen PoretIs the man on the left panhandling in the restaurant area?
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretClearly. Beggars, unfortunately, are everywhere.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Or here
Heart 0 Comment 0

So we took (another) chance on a fast food burger - at a place called The Good Burger. It features a bike in its logo, that's something.  And in fact, it was good!

Heart 1 Comment 0
What we got for 18 euros.
Heart 0 Comment 0
My lame try at food photography.
Heart 1 Comment 2
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Jacquie GaudetThank you.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

Around  the corner, at a "real" restaurant, a burger was twice the price:

Heart 0 Comment 2
Karen PoretTwice the price because they add an “e” in burger ;)
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Karen PoretDarn, did not realize we were paying by the letter!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago

We finally returned to our "home" street, and were interested to see that we are considered to be on the Camino. That's cool, because actually, we are. We will be in Santiago de Compostella before too long.

Heart 2 Comment 0

One more thing. Before the lame breakfast, before our early arrival at the Cathedral, we got up extra  early to go visit the bikes in the distant garage. They needed a visit, because they both had totally flat front tires! We pulled the tubes and replaced them with new ones, looking in vain for what had caused the flats. Looking, or doing anything was made tough and annoying by an almost universal European thing now - the use of motion sensor lights. These lights turn on when they first see you and turn off, usually about 60 seconds later. By that time you are in the middle of a staircase, or mostly motionless in a toilet stall, or in our case today, needing about 60 minutes of light to fix two bikes. For those 60 minutes, we had to break off what we were doing and run around waving our arms, to wake the lights back up! So we must have done this 60 times?

We took pleasure in smuggling the two damaged inner tubes back into our room, where we treated them to a dip in the boutique hotel's bathtub. A bathtub is a luxury for finding a leak, compared to a sink! Dodie's leak was a standard puncture, along the running surface of the tire/tube. And mine was the same - nothing to do with the late night repair in Penaflor. We patched the tubes and put them away - for next time!

Today's ride: 9 km (6 miles)
Total: 1,075 km (668 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 10
Comment on this entry Comment 5
Laurie MarczakJoni says her favourite part of this story was imaging how hard it must have been for you to pick out just a few tile scenes as evocative of the whole business. We also watched the flamenco video quite a bit - beautiful singing (and dancing of course)!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Laurie MarczakShe is not wrong. Amazingly detailed work, ALL of it.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Jeanna & Kerry SmithMy background being a bit different than yours, I was exposed to the Southern Baptist religion as a young child. I have long said that taking children into a Baptist church and having them told that if they do not accept Christian beliefs, they will burn in hell forever is very real child abuse. I find it horrible to teach such things to children. It's also a pretty horrible thing to say to adults.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Andrea BrownEx-Catholic here. If you go into a mass, you get what you get, the Catholic ritual, just like any other house of worship. One can be befuddled or beguiled, but you made the choice to crash a Catholic mass, so I'm not sure why the intelligence of the faithful needs to be questioned here. You're the guest. That being said, personally, I'm offended by the stolen gold and stupid pomp of most cathedrals, but the impaling of infants AS A BACKDROP TO THE ALTAR was a new level of hypocrisy for me. It is impressive to see what edifices humans were able to erect with the limited technology of past centuries. But the content of their sacred imagery is often so counter to the message of their guy (as I choose to interpret it, anyway) that it is nearly as stunning in its horror. I can hold these two thoughts in my head at the same time. In the end, it all seems so stupid, and yesterday's cathedrals basically taught today's evangelicals how to turn religion into entertainment, with the premise that enough glitter/high production values will bring people into the fold. I am pretty much over the temples in Thailand for the same reason. They just keep building bigger and gold-er Buddhas, which really, really, really seem to miss the point.
Reply to this comment
1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Andrea BrownThanks for your thoughtful comment Andrea. It gave me something to think about while pedaling. I think we are sort of respectful while visiting churches - no shouting or waving banners certainly, no talking, trying to stand and sit when the others do, hat off (vs hat on, as would be demanded by my own lapsed arbitrary religion). We recognize the guest status, and usually avoid services in progress. But yes, in this case we disrespectfully crashed the party, and the truth is we have no respect for nonsense, especially when it has been used to harm people. But the buildings and art truly are tops.

p.s. I often wonder why "believers" always trust the FAA, rather than pray and believe their plane will rise into the air and stay there!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago