Saturday, June 5, 2010


The ship docked in Cadiz. Seville is about 115 Km (about 70 miles) north. We had decided to save some money and just hang out in Cadiz, because the ship’s tours were expensive. When we got off of the ship there were taxi drivers hawking their taxis for trips to Seville. Jim and I kindly refused, but as we left the port I checked the ship’s prices and realized what the taxi driver quoted for the trip to Seville plus a quick tour of Cadiz was considerably less, so we walked back and accepted his offer.

Josef loaded us up into his air conditioned, hybrid Toyota, and we raced towards Seville (the speed limit was 120 Km/hr/75 mph), but he often hit speeds of 150 Km (93 mph), and cars were passing us, some of whom got pulled over. Again, we drove through a lot of farm land where they grow olives for the oil, sunflowers for the oil, wheat, sorghum, and corn.

It took an hour to get to Seville. The first place Josef stopped was Plaza de Espana, a beautiful garden surrounded by three former palaces, two of which are now museums. He told us we had 15 minutes to walk around.

There was an small area with a vendor selling food for the pigeons, thus there were a lot of pigeons hanging around .

The Spanish Plaza normally contains water in a small moat, but it is under construction. It was still quite impressive. The Spanish Pavilion has tiled maps with every province of Spain. We had 15 minutes again to walk around. I bought some souvenirs for five of my favorite little people while Jim took pictures.

The final stop was the Barrio de Santa Cruz, which contains the world’s third largest cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, (after the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s and London’s Saint Paul) with the Giralda Tower, and the Alcazar Palace. It was a little before 11 AM and Josef told us we needed to go inside both places, and he would pick us up at 1 PM. We spent the first half hour wandering around the square and streets while Jim took pictures.

We went into the Cathedral first. It was constructed where a mosque was built 1000 years ago. The bell tower was the original minaret of the mosque, which has remained standing.
Christopher Columbus’ tomb is here, allegedly containing his remains.

Time was slipping by too fast. I asked Jim if he wanted to walk to the top of the tower. He hesitated because it was getting so late, but relented when I suggested there might be great views to photograph. The climb up was ramped rather tan stairs. Jim stopped on the way up to take pictures from the window wells. As I neared the top the bells started to ring-it was noon. People continued going. There was one flight of stairs up to the observation deck, and I was three steps from the top when a little old security guard appeared, speaking Spanish, and stopping everybody. The long and the short of it is the bells ring for 45 minutes at noon, and while they are ringing nobody is allowed on the observation deck because it would blow their ears out. So he made everybody who was on the deck leave, and everybody on the stairs had to go down to the ramped part and wait. If we waited, we would miss the palace, so we walked back down, a bit disappointed-so close, yet so far.

There were windows on the way up, and Jim was able to get some pictures from them.

We made our way over to the palace and were amazed at the beauty that awaited there.

Inside the walls was a maze of beautiful gardens with fountains. It reminded me of a scaled down Tivoli, Italy.

One o’clock came all too fast, and it was about 1:15 PM when we left and found Josef. He drove us past the bull fighting stadium on the way out of town.

As we entered Cadiz we were surprised to see it enshrouded in fog, which reeks havoc on picture taking. We drove through the walls of the old town, along the beach, and stopped at the cathedral.

Josef showed us two old, huge ficus trees.

The Castle of Sant Catalina was built in 1596 to fortify the city.

We are so glad we made the decision to go to Seville and would like to return someday

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