Spain/Morocco 2011:
Day 11 - Seville, Spain


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Spain/Morocco 2011: [Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 2 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 3 - At Sea] [Day 4 - Gibraltar] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Funchal, Portugal] [Day 7 - Tenerife, Canary Islands] [Day 8 - Arrecife, Canary Islands] [Day 9 - Agadir, Morocco] [Day 10 - Marrakech, Morocco] [Day 11 - Seville, Spain] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 14 - Andorra]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: Good morning, Spain! We're back! Again.

OK, maybe not just yet. We were still at sea, and were scheduled to get into Cádiz at 11:00 AM.
OK, now we're really in Spain again for real.
Looking down from our balcony, we watched the Holland America crew set up the gangway for our arrival.
We had a full day tour to Seville, so we were one of the first tours to leave.
Cádiz is on the sea, obviously, and we got a glimpse of it between each highrise, ...
... and again as we turned to head inland.
Cádiz is very nearly an island, surrounded by the ocean and connected to the mainland by a thin strip of land on one side and a long bridge.
It was low tide and these boats looked like they were in danger of being beached.
It was not quite an hour and a half drive to Seville through the beautiful Spanish countryside.
We saw an Osborne bull, one of approximately 90 black bull ads first appearing in the 50s and now turned into a Spanish icon.
More pretty scenery, ...
... and more.
On the outskirts of Seville, we saw a modern office park, ...
... and then the beautiful buildings started to appear.
Even the abandoned buildings were beautiful.
Apparently, Seville has a soccer team and stadium too. Who knew?
On the Paseo de la Palmilla, there is block after block of amazing buildings. Here's one.
Here's another.
Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, a world's fair, and many gorgeous buildings, called pavillions, were built by different countries. This is the Mexico pavillion.
This is the Colombia pavillion.
This is the Plaza de América in Maria Luisa Park, ...
... the home of these white pigeons, who we were told are descendants of white pigeons released in this park in honor of Eva Peron's visit in 1947.
Here's the Guatemala pavillion.
Our guide, Elena, took us to the Spanish pavillion.
Here's the entrance. Whatever. Looks pretty boring.
Wrong. Once we were inside the large semicircle that makes up the pavillion, we were stunned by how gorgeous it is.
Here's the view from one of the bridges over the small canal, looking to the right, ...
... and here's the view to the left. The structure is a semi-circle, not a circle, despite how it might look in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones," a portion of which was filmed here.
The entire building faces the oval plaza with a fountain in the center.
Here's the view looking back from the plaza.
The coolest features of the building are the individual alcoves representing the different provinces of Spain.
Each one features a tile mural depicting an important event in the province's history, ...
... convenient tiled benches for photography poses, ...
... the province's coat of arms, and a tile map of the province.

This panorama shot still can't contain all of the awesomeness.
The corridors of the building should be recognizable to Star Wars fans.
This place is so ridiculously photogenic, we couldn't stop taking pictures.
Here's another section of province alcoves. It boggles the mind to think how much work went into the construction of this place.
The people in this shot give a sense of scale to the staircase we used to enter the plaza.
Back in the bus again; next stop: lunch.
This was really cool: a fully automatic gas station, complete with a vending machine.
We drove past this magnificent building (and that big round one on the right) no fewer than three times, so it was time to photograph it.
This is the American pavillion. Kind of a let down after seeing all of the others.

This building is known as the Queen's Sewing Box (Costurero de la Reina), and is now used as a tourist information office.

The fences around one of the parks featured these beautiful decorations.
Here's the Palace of San Telmo, ...
... with a statue of the man himself (AKA St. Elmo), holding a model of a boat.
Even the buildings housing the local McDonald's are beautiful.
Here's the Plaza de Toros where bullfighting still occurs.
We drove down the Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, then turned around and drove the other way for a while, giving us some glimpses of more interesting stuff across the river. Clearly, this is a place where you could spend days seeing the sights. Yes, even us -- the fans of single-day tours.
Here's a cool bridge, ...
... and here's another one.
We passed the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Macarena (Church of Our Lady of Hope Macarena), on our way to ...
... the Hotel Macarena, ...
... our lunch destination.
Tom was feeling pretty lousy, so he didn't eat much and we spent some time relaxing in the lobby to avoid the hordes of fellow tourists.
We got back on the bus, no matter how tempting this garden looks, ...
... and back off of the bus, because we had more walking to do.
We passed this excellent moat. Maybe it's not a moat, but it sure looks like one.
More interesting buildings, ...
... and more, plus a nice little tram system.
We must be getting to something interesting.
It's a toss-up as to what was more interesting -- this vending machine or the building in the background. We voted for the vending machine first.
But the building turned out to be pretty interesting as well. It is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as Seville Cathedral. We'll come back to it in a little while, ...
... because we were not going there at the moment.
Instead we passed under these amazing Palo borracho blooms ...
... on our way to the Alcázar of Seville, a building that served as both a Moorish fort and a royal palace over the centuries.
We did a lot of looking up on this tour too, to take in the incredible detail of the ceilings.
Here's a gorgeous courtyard.
Beautiful arches, ...
... and more beautiful details.
Some details are a little odd -- here's a tiny face carved into one of the arches.
This room was packed with people and every one of us had our cameras pointed up.
We headed out to the garden, ...
... and walked toward a fountain with an unusual water feature -- a firehose of water shooting toward it from a second floor ceiling.
The effect is nice though. There were koi in this pond too, and Debbie resisted the urge to photograph them. Just kidding, she did but didn't post the photo here.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for visiting Reales Alcázares (Royal Alcazar). This way to the exit.
Just outside, we could see the Seville Cathedral, our next destination.
It's said to be the third-largest church in the world and we believe it.
As we walked around the cathedral, we passed Plaza de la Virgen de los Reyes, where beautifully tended horses await passengers for their carriages. The fountain/light in this plaza has an identical twin (called the Seville Light Fountain) in Seville's sister city of Kansas City.
As we walked, Debbie spotted her new townhome. If she can't own this building, then she certainly deserves to have her home's roof rebuilt to contain three levels of patios and a spiral staircase, right?
We made it to the large courtyard of the cathedral.
There's a simple fountain in the center, ...
... and a brick floor that guarantees that at least one tourist will twist an ankle daily.
We entered the gigantic church, and couldn't begin to capture its opulence. But we'll try. Inside this caged area in front of the pews, ...
... is this gold-covered wall behind the altar. It's incomprehensible to think how much money went into its construction.
Spain's hero, Cristóbal Colón, is buried here with full size statues over his grave.
Here's a partial view of the church.
Here is just one extremely ornate side of the organ. The other side is just as ornate.
Rich people could own their own chapels within the church.
There were quite a few of these, all marked "Private" and all locked down with heavy bars. Wow.
One of the stained glass windows cast pretty colors on a church column.
On the way out, we passed this lifesize figure of Jesus behind glass. The effect was more of a fortune teller machine than of a holy figure, but that impression may have been influenced by our negative state of mind after seeing the excesses of the cathedral.
This is the cathedral's famous tower, La Giralda, the sister tower to Koutoubia Minaret we had seen the day before in Marrakech.
After our visit to the cathedral, we walked down narrow sidewalks past beautiful cafes with beautiful tile decorations like this one.
We headed to neighborhood of Santa Cruz, which was formerly the Jewish Quarter.
The streets here are very narrow.
We stopped at this small souvenir shop for a bathroom break and some shopping.
We bought a small mirror with a tile design similar to what we had seen in Seville, plus a refreshing can of Minute Maid "Limon & Nada" which tasted exactly as advertised -- like lemonaid and nothing else.
We passed beautiful architecture, ...
... shops with gorgeous tile work, ...
... and street signs that put ours to shame.
Our guide explained what these things were for -- disposing trash. The trash goes into the top portion, then is spun closed, which drops the trash to an area below the street where it is whisked away. Cool.
We had another hour and a half drive back to our ship. Tom had marked the position of this aqueduct on the GPS on our way to Seville so we could get a photo of it on the way back. Score!
We crossed the bridge back into Cádiz and could see the lights of our ship way off in the distance.
When we returned to our cabin, we had missed our dinner seating once again, so we ordered room service instead and enjoyed "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I" on the ship's movie channels.

Sail out was shortly afterward and we waved goodbye to Cádiz.

Day 12 >


Spain/Morocco 2011: [Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 2 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 3 - At Sea] [Day 4 - Gibraltar] [Day 5 - At Sea] [Day 6 - Funchal, Portugal] [Day 7 - Tenerife, Canary Islands] [Day 8 - Arrecife, Canary Islands] [Day 9 - Agadir, Morocco] [Day 10 - Marrakech, Morocco] [Day 11 - Seville, Spain] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Barcelona, Spain] [Day 14 - Andorra]

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