Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cadiz and Seville

Cadiz is a port and city on the southwest coast of Spain. It is located in the Andalusia region of the country. It is the oldest city in Spain, founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. Rumor has it it's also the oldest continuously inhabited city in all of Europe. 

I first visited Cadiz 12 years ago. That visit too, was via a cruise. We spent the day wandering about the small city, enjoying it very much. It's cathedral is very pretty and as is the case with most European cities, makes up one of the four borders of the main plaza. 

This time I took a private tour (with about 20 of us) out to Seville. Seville is a little over an hour's drive from Cadiz, through pretty countryside full of green rolling hills and lots of farmland. The morning was very foggy but eventually burned off and the sky was blue and the weather was warm and sunny. 

Seville is the capital city in Andalusia and with over 1,000,000 residents, is the 4th largest city in Spain. There is the Guadalquivir River (hey, that rhymes!) that divides the city in half, into the Sevilla and Triana sections. 

Our first stop was at the Plaza de Espana. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition in 1929. 

It's a beautiful example of regionalism architecture and designed by Seville's "Gaudi" Anibal Gonzalez. It's built with local materials including red clay and colorful tiles, a pretty fountain surrounded by a circular river in the middle. There are numerous tiled alcoves surrounding the plaza which represent the different provinces in Spain. 

The Cathedral of Seville is one of the largest in the world and was constructed in the 15th century, over a 12th century mosque. It also houses the remains of Christopher Columbus. The line was well over an hour long so we did not have time today to go inside. Maybe for another visit?

Our main visit in Seville was the Real Alcazar, which is also the Royal Palace. It is a large fortress originally built by the Romans, who were then overthrown by the Visigoths, then again by the Muslims and finally the Christians. From the Middle Ages forward this has been the residence of the Kings of Spain. It was built using different materials from Roman times to the Middle Ages. Some scenes from the Game of Thrones - Martyr's house and water gardens - was filmed here. I've got pictures so maybe some of you might recognize the fountain in the garden. 

While the Palace is a formidable place, both in size and in amazing architectural styles blended together, I think it's the gardens that make this place spectacular and so worth a visit. 

After our visit there, we had about an hour of free time before we had to leave to go back to Cadiz. I was hungry and so found a small table inside a tapas place and availed myself of some delicious tapas and a glass of Manzanilla, the area's famous sherry. It was not exactly to my liking so I ordered a sangria to help wash down the yummy food. 

Tomorrow is Casablanca in Morocco. My first time there. I'm taking a ship's tour out to Marrakech. Will I be riding on the Marrakech Express? Bahahahaha. 

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