Our African Safari Begins – In Spain

Holly & I are off on a 3 month trip that will take us to 8 African countries. To get to Africa we flew from LAX to JFK to Madrid, Spain. The flights were unremarkable, I slept a little and re-visited the first season of Netflix’s House of Cards on the seat back entertainment center. (A terrific series – highly recommended.)

Upon our arrival in Madrid we were greeted at the airport by our youngest daughter, Rebecca. Rebecca, a Pepperdine University student, is enjoying her year-long study abroad at Pepperdine’s London House. We arranged to meet up with Rebecca in Spain during her Christmas break. Later we will meet up with our other daughters, Kate and Natalie in Casablanca to travel through Morocco as a family. Our final family trip before Kate marries this July and we gain a son-in-law.

Following the Morocco portion of the trip, our girls will disperse back to their lives and the core contingent (Holly and me) will continue on to Nairobi Kenya to begin an overland tour of seven African countries driving our own Land Rover terminating 8 weeks later in Cape Town South Africa.

Two lovely, languid, laid-back days in Seville

Formerly a bullring, now Seville’s bull-fighting museum.

Upon arriving in Madrid, we collected our luggage and our youngest child and headed straight to the Airport Metro station to catch the subway to the train station where we jumped on a high-speed train to Seville. I definitely plan on returning to Madrid – I didn’t see much of the place from the subway train – but clearly there is much to see and do.

High speed trains are hands down the best way to travel. Modern, clean, fast, and you can see the countryside as you speed along. We arrived in Seville in the late afternoon, took a taxi to our hotel and ate Tapas for dinner that evening.

Our bodies racked by jetlag and what little fitful sleep we accomplished sitting upright in our less than generous coach seats on Delta Airlines, we deposited our exhausted bodies in our beds and awoke the following morning at the crack of 11 a.m. (local time). Our goals for Seville were to: 1. See a little of the city and 2. Allow our middle-aged bodies to recover and adjust; not necessarily in that order. We therefore decided to take it easy. When one awakes at 11 a.m. a goodly portion of the productive day has passed, so we decided to see the Seville Cathedral and then play it by ear. This seemed about as ambitious an agenda as we could muster.

Rebecca in front of Seville’s Golden Tower (Torre del Oro).

Seville Cathedral

The Cathedral in Seville is the 3rd largest Cathedral in the world (after St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London). There are many beautiful chapels, but the most interesting thing to me was the monument to Christopher Columbus. That’s Columbus’s coffin being held by four kings representing the medieval kingdoms of Spain: Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra (from Fodor’s). Columbus’s son is also interred in the cathedral nearby.

The altar of the main chapel.

Holly and Rebecca posing with the saints.

No Cathedral visit is complete without climbing the bell tower for a view of the city.

After visiting the Cathedral we were ready for lunch. We found an outdoor table on a nearby square.

Alcazar

“The Plaza del Triunfo forms the entrance to the Mudejar palace built by Pedro I (1350-69) on the site of the former Moorish Alcazar (fortress). Don’t mistake the Alcazar for a genuine Moorish palace like Granada’s Alhambra – it may look like one, and it was designed and built by Moorish workers brought in from Granada, but it was commissioned and paid for by a Christian king more than 100 years after the re-conquest of Seville. The palace is the official residence of the king and queen when they’re in town.” (Fodor’s Spain 2014)

Patio del Leon (Courtyard of the Lion).

Here are some other photos taken at Seville’s Alcazar:

 

 

 

The baths at Seville’s Alcazar:

I have often found in visiting new cities that buying a ticket on a hop on/hop off bus tour is a good way to get oriented and get around the city. I found that the Red Seville Hop on/hop off was OK for getting oriented, but useless for getting around. At two separate points the bus stopped for what seemed like an inordinately long time. We realized that we could get where we wanted to go faster by walking than by waiting for the bus. Our hotel was across the river from the central historical area of town in the Triana area and we found that the sights we wanted to see were easily reached by foot.

Flamenco – Tablao El Arenal

Because we were tired, we decided to take a taxi to a Flamenco dinner show. This was a mistake. Our taxi driver picked us up, drove about 100 feet down the street, turned right into a street jammed with cars and we came to a dead stop. We then faced the question of should we get out and walk, or stay in the car and hope the traffic would clear. (It didn’t for a very long time.)

Although we arrived about 10 minutes late for the show, we didn’t miss much. We really enjoyed the energy of the dancers.

After the show, we walked back to our hotel and took this photo on the bridge:

Seville whetted our appetite to see and experience more of Spain. I definitely hope to return to Spain for an extended trip. For now, on to Gibraltar!

 

2 replies

  1. Keep the blog coming. Seville is a popular destination from the UK at present and the pictures show us why. Have fun.

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