Oh! My! God!
The Seville cathedral is massive. It is, according to the Guinness book of records, the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world. It’s also the third largest cathedral in the world (behind the Vatican and St Paul’s in London). And it seriously is huge. This, however, does not necessarily make it interesting. In fact I didn’t like it at all…well, apart from the Saint Sebastien I found at the end.
If I was to be completely honest, I thought there were two interesting things (three if you count the lack of humour). Firstly, the tower which was originally an Islamic tower and was the model for the one in Marrakech – oh how I remember that one! Secondly, the memorial to Christopher Columbus. The rest was either empty space or just too gaudy for me.
And the memorial for Columbus probably does not contain his remains. They are possibly in South America. No-one really knows. Still, the memorial is pretty cool.
There is a plaster relief hidden away in a small room depicting Yoda in his younger days but you really had to dig hard to find it.
Of course we had to queue though it did move quite quickly, much to Mirinda’s joy and relief. It was faster than the queue at the Alcazar which wasn’t moving at all. That was probably because it wasn’t open yet.
Actually the best thing we saw today was completely unexpected. We were early for the Hop On/Hop Off bus and the guy who sold us the ticket suggested we stroll over to the Plaza de Espania which was the main area for the international fair held in Seville in 1929 to celebrate Spanish ingenuity, industry and artistry. It was also supposed to help the flagging economy. As in most things, the latter didn’t happen.
They tried again in 1992 with the International Exposition but, again, it almost sent the country bankrupt rather than gloriously wealthy. But back to the 1929 legacy…
The building above is absolutely amazing. It is surrounded by water and ceramic fencing with tiled seats depicting all the regions of Spain. The whole place is an extraordinary statement of artistic intent from the Sevillians of the time to future generations. I reckon it would be close to impossible to create now.
There were a couple of disappointments today (as well as the cathedral). The Alcazar was only open for a short time today so we didn’t get to see it which was a major shame because I reckon it would have been a lot better than the cathedral. The second disappointment was the commentary aboard the Hop On//Hop Off bus.
There has to be many, many amusing anecdotes and mysterious slices of history that could be talked about and shared with visiting tourists. Even a few jokes. But no, the entire commentary, while not being as bad as the dire one on the boat or the appalling audio guide (and human guide) at Casa Pilatos, it was flat and, basically uninteresting.
We didn’t even manage to go all the way round. We hopped off at the river and headed back to the hotel ahead of our second dose of flamenco.
And this is where the day started to brighten up. After a short rest, we walked down to where the flamenco was to be and enjoyed a wonderful ice cream before the ‘off’ and then took our (not as uncomfortable as the last time but still uncomfortable) seats. And then the fun began.
It was very different to both Madrid and Cordoba and yet just as exciting, strange and entertaining. Though it was a bit odd that the woman singing looked like a Spanish Christine Greenough (an ex-nomad actor). The dancers were excellent with the prerequisite amount of stamping, clapping and clicking. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
The company has a real handle on how social media works as well. They actively encourage photographs and even video, asking the audience to post them to the company’s Facebook page or Twitter handle. Brilliant! Naturally I’ll give the Tablao Alvarez Quintero (Seville) a big plug.
They even announced that they were giving free flamenco lessons after the show if anyone wanted to stay behind. I was surprised that Mirinda didn’t want to. My feet refused to move…except through the door.
Then we went to the most wonderful restaurant for dinner. Mirinda had read about Casa Roman and said we should try and eat there before we head off tomorrow…so we did tonight. And what a great place. Excellent atmosphere, terrific food and very entertaining waiter though Mirinda did piss him off a bit. But I plastered over the cracks in our budding relationship and we were all soon the best of mates.
I think we’ve had enough of the big city and are both looking forward to heading to the country tomorrow on a bus to Arco de la Frontera.