We arrived in Spain, the last country where we set foot before we return to Canada. Including Seville, we will discover five cities in as many weeks before the end of our beautiful family adventure on the road. At first glance, Spain reminds us a lot of Italy. Here, life is rather calm, stores close in the afternoon and Sunday is synonymous with rest. The Spaniards “work to live” and people hang out on the patios in the afternoon during their Siesta time and return to restaurants later at night. The food is excellent and the wine is also delicious. People are rather relaxed and friendly and there seems to be a lot of children and young parents, which has not often been the case in Europe. We found it surprising that people speak virtually no English, a big contrast compared to Portugal where we were offered services in Portuguese, Spanish, English or French. We still managed to communicate, with the rustic Spanish of Karine and the boys and a mixture of hand gestures and Italian for Simon?.
Cathedral and Giralda
The largest Catholic Cathedral in the world (according to some) stands exactly where the Great Mosque was in the 12th century. There are still some remnants of the Mosque such as the Giralda (former minaret) which acts as a bell tower today. Moreover, it is possible to climb the 34 sections of this tower in order to have access to a panoramic view of the city that was breathtaking. There were very little description signs in the church, so we decided to use an audio guide to learn a bit more about this place. We’ll be honest, it wasn’t the best audio guide but we learned a little more about the multitude of small chapels that were all around the parameter of the church. We were fortunate to see the tomb of the famous explorer Christopher Columbus who apparently rest in this Cathedral. Whether the remains are really there or not, the tomb is of an extraordinary beauty.
The construction of this royal residence dates back to the year 913 and was occupied by Muslims and Catholics. It was possible for us to see influences of both communities in this imposing castle. We spent several hours visiting the different sections of the castle and the garden. The boys had a lot of fun playing in the labyrinth, but they were quite disappointed that there was no way out. We’ll let you judge of the beauty of the place in the pictures below.
Regional Military Museum and the Plaza de España
As soon as we entered this museum, we lost our boys who had a blast in this place dedicated to the Spanish army. We had never seen so many firearms in one place, from the smallest weapon to the biggest piece of artillery. Costumes, flags and medals were also on display for the enjoyment of our little fans of history of war. After spending some time in this museum, we walked on the Plaza de España. It is the most spectacular place in Seville and it was designed and built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Some scenes of the Star Wars episode were actually filmed there.
Walking in the city
We found a guided walking tour of the city that led us through the different alleys of the old town while observing some buildings and several churches. There is a multitude of small pedestrian streets in the shade of buildings, shops to visit and cafes to stop and do some people watching. Seville is an ideal city to get lost walking, the historical district is huge. It is also possible to visit incredible gardens and to admire the mixture of old stone fountains, statues and pergolas with a mature nature that create an incredible environment for relaxing during a hot day under the sun of Spain. We took some time to visit the General Archive of the Indies, which preserves a multitude of valuable documents relating to the different Spanish colonies. Unfortunately, all the explanatory signs were in Spanish and we could not understand much. By chance, there was a documentary with English subtitles where we learned a bit more about the purpose of this institution and all it contains.
Have you ever heard of Flamenco? In 2010, UNESCO included flamenco on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This dance is of Andalusian origin (Seville is in the province of Andalusia) and what better way to see a Flamenco show than in Seville? We did not know what to expect, but we hoped that our boys would enjoy this traditional show as much as they had in Hungary. We arrived early which ensured us good seats in the front row. The group was composed by a couple of dancers, a singer and a guitarist and they gave a great show. Our eyes and ears were dazzled during this engaging experience and we loved that the show was kept in an intimate setting.
Soccer is the second religion in Spain. The Spaniards love this sport and participating in a sporting event was on our to-do list during our trip. Since we literally lived 3 blocks from the football stadium, we decided to go see a game. We were lucky and were able to get cheap tickets in the middle of the stadium. The only downside was that we were in the opponent’s section? In fact, the opposite team fans gave us a real good show, they sang the whole time and were very noisy and demonstrative, which contributed to the atmosphere. As early as the Seville hymn, we saw that these adverse supporters were literally surrounded by local police and security officers. Despite being very noisy, those fans kept some order and there were no incidents. As for the soccer game now … let’s say we were expecting a great game when the 3rd team in the standings (Seville) was meeting the 18th team in the standings (Gijon). The game ended 0-0, so no goals but we got plenty of good acting. So many players were good at “pretending” to be hurt by the opponent, it looked like a Wrestling show!
We loved our stay in Seville a really beautiful city and we immediately fell in love with Spain. Throughout the city, the orange trees were in bloom and the smell was exquisite. The colors in the orange and lemon trees and the plants by the windows were magnificent. We took advantage of our stay to taste some tapas accompanied by local beers, to stroll the streets and play in the many parks of the city. With a great smile of satisfaction, we thought this is exactly in a country like this that we wanted to conclude our journey.