A Travellerspoint blog

Spain

Museum of Fine Arts Sevilla

On my last day in Seville I met Linda and Carlos by the Cathedral again to catch up with her before I moved on to Rome. He wanted to show me the Famous Golden Tower which Has stopped Seville being invaded by ships up the river for 700 years. A big chain was stretched across from one bank to the other. It was also reputed to be the place where a lot of the gold which was taken from the Americas by the conquistadors was ofloaded and stored. We then found our way to the Museum of Fine Arts that Linda had not seen before. After a tour of their amazing local artwork (mainly religeous works from the 14th to the 16th centuries that took me to one of the famous bullfighter cafe/bars to try Spains version of a burger. It is death by pork and absolutely filling and delicious. We had a look round some shops and then both parties called it a day and after hugs all round, took of in different directions. I had to throw in a lunch meal I had in a cafe I found the other day, where for 8 euros I got a salad, a pork and roast potatoes, bread, beer, and a fabulous chocolate orange desert. I'm writing this from Rome where at the local supermarket I picked up and heated up for tea a double portion of homemade minestrone soup with every vegetable known to man in it. I will just keep taking it like medicine until I catch up on all the vitamins and minerals I've been missing out on.....

Entrance to Museum

Entrance to Museum


Seville's own 16th century artist Murillo

Seville's own 16th century artist Murillo


Shady tree in front of museum put to good use

Shady tree in front of museum put to good use


lovely 14th century piece about 15cm square

lovely 14th century piece about 15cm square


detailed expressive piece of pottery

detailed expressive piece of pottery


Jesus as a child dancing 15th century, innocence

Jesus as a child dancing 15th century, innocence


one of the saints

one of the saints


One of the saints

One of the saints


looking out to courtyard

looking out to courtyard


Inner courtyard of Museum

Inner courtyard of Museum


Looking down the length of the room

Looking down the length of the room


Hall of Murillo masterpieces

Hall of Murillo masterpieces


Showing the scale of Murillo masterpieces

Showing the scale of Murillo masterpieces


and a little of the ornate ceiling

and a little of the ornate ceiling


'Death 'of the Maestro' - Jose Villegas Cordero

'Death 'of the Maestro' - Jose Villegas Cordero


so cute I had to include it.

so cute I had to include it.


Interesting expression

Interesting expression


cheeky altar-boy

cheeky altar-boy


quintessential postcard from Spain

quintessential postcard from Spain


This one beautifully captures movement

This one beautifully captures movement


another interesting expression

another interesting expression


captured his essence better than a photograph

captured his essence better than a photograph


socio realism from 20th century

socio realism from 20th century


Linda's favourite painting

Linda's favourite painting


Kids still had same look in 1850

Kids still had same look in 1850


The Tower of Gold built in 1220

The Tower of Gold built in 1220


classical flamenco guitarist at the cathedral

classical flamenco guitarist at the cathedral


One of the most beautiful buildings in Seville

One of the most beautiful buildings in Seville


detail from the building

detail from the building


bullfighting cafe/bar

bullfighting cafe/bar


No matador heads..funny that.

No matador heads..funny that.


Roast pork Serranitos for lunch 4.5 euro

Roast pork Serranitos for lunch 4.5 euro


Sorry officer I was only borrowing it..

Sorry officer I was only borrowing it..


potato salad and pork and fried potatoes

potato salad and pork and fried potatoes


chocolate orange cheesecake for dessert

chocolate orange cheesecake for dessert

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Virgin of Hope Macarena, bullfighter's Patroness

This was a short journey I made to see our Lady of Hope (Senora de la Esperanza), which is a bejewelled statue of the Virgin Mary and is the most revered religious icon in Seville. It is held in the Basilica de la Macarena, and during the Easter Festivals is paraded in all her splendour through the streets of Seville. This 16th century statue (also known as the Queen of Seville) is dressed like a queen and surrounded by all of the regalia of royalty. She is made of wood and down her cheeks flow five glass teardrops. The early 20th century basilica is small but furnished in the most extravagant style in gold, silver, and jewelled decorations. It is one of those jaw dropping experiences when you first see inside and you can't help but whisper "oh my God, this is beautiful " She is also known as the Patroness Saint of Bullfighters, and on his death bed Jose Gomez Ortega ( the maestro bullfighter) left five rose emerald brooches to be attached to her dress. During his funeral is the only time in history that the statue has worn only black vestments as a sign of her respect for the famous bullfighter Before I made the 2km walk back to my flat in the 34degree 3pm heat I called in to a Chinese cafe/bar that was advertising a 5 euro lunch and was well pleased with what I got, No dinner for me that night...

The basilica of Macarena

The basilica of Macarena


Only a small church

Only a small church


looking towards the alter

looking towards the alter


La Macarena in all her glory

La Macarena in all her glory


another view

another view


A side chapel in different vestments

A side chapel in different vestments


another side chapel

another side chapel


and another

and another


My sixth floor apartment block

My sixth floor apartment block


salad, chicken noodles. fried bread 5 euro lunch

salad, chicken noodles. fried bread 5 euro lunch

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Plaza de Espana Seville is Amazing

On another scorcher of a 35 degree day I headed out to see the number one attraction in Seville, which is what Tripadvisor calls the Plaza de Espana ( sounds better than Spain Square in English). In my humble opinion, it is a cracker of a place and well worth the effort to find it, ( of course I got off at the wrong bus stop and had to ask an Aussie, who had just visited it, how to find it). "Just follow your nose mate, it's just around the corner", he said, and blow me down, it was. It was built in 1928 for a World Fair, and is a beautiful piece of what you might call " Spanish ArtDeco". The buildings behind the facade are now used for Government Offices, and also used as the headquarters of the Spanish army. The have a really good free museum to explore in part of the building. It was interesting to find out that groups of people come from all over Spain to have their photos taken in front of the alcove which represents the province they come from, (a little pilgrimage). It is the thoughts behind and the amount of detailed tiling that goes into each individual alcove that for me turns the Plaza from a impersonal architectural statement to a place where individual Spaniards can feel holds a piece of their home at its heart. I found it too hot to explore the park areas surrounding the Plaza, which are supposed to be worth seeing. Maybe if I return another time when the temperatures are at least 10 degrees cooler than they are at the moment. Very few places in the world have that absolute WOW factor, and this is one of them..

Near entrance to park and Plaza

Near entrance to park and Plaza


El Cid near Plaza

El Cid near Plaza


bloody van driver...nice building though

bloody van driver...nice building though


My first sight of plaza...wow

My first sight of plaza...wow


double wow

double wow


triple wow

triple wow


south tower and river/moat

south tower and river/moat


view to south tower across Plaza

view to south tower across Plaza


central building of semicircular complex

central building of semicircular complex


central building with bridges across moat

central building with bridges across moat


Even the pebbles are pretty

Even the pebbles are pretty


North tower of complex

North tower of complex


58  alcoves, showcasing each province of Spain

58 alcoves, showcasing each province of Spain


one alcove showcasing Salamanca

one alcove showcasing Salamanca


shaded colonnaded gallery

shaded colonnaded gallery


Star wars scenes shot here

Star wars scenes shot here


half a mile of tiling just on gallery ceiling...

half a mile of tiling just on gallery ceiling...


battalion flags from all over Spain

battalion flags from all over Spain


displayed in an inner courtyard

displayed in an inner courtyard


courtyard

courtyard


courtyard ceiling

courtyard ceiling


a two level military museum

a two level military museum


toy soldiers

toy soldiers


military hats

military hats


The artillery

The artillery


a military uniform/ the birth of the hoodie

a military uniform/ the birth of the hoodie


generals little uniforms for little men.

generals little uniforms for little men.


Whereas common soldiers wear normal size uniforms

Whereas common soldiers wear normal size uniforms

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Magic mushrooms, but not what you're thinking..

Seville is a town that I have taken a while to get the feel of. It is big and the tourist attractions or sights are scattered all over the place, It doesn't help that I chose to stay away from the centre so I have to be aware of the many buses and the routes they take around town, and how I can get back to where I am staying from where I am going. It doesn't help that I don't speak Spanish and few people speak English, and it doesn't help that daily temperatures are hitting 35 degrees. Having said all that I feel like I am getting the feel of it. Today I took a trip to see the Metropol Parasol or as the people call it the five mushrooms, which was completed in 2011 at a cost of $160 million nz, and claims to be the biggest wooden structure in the world. It looks amazing , but like the Valencian structures I saw last year, it has turned into a white elephant. There is a fish and produce market on the first floor, and you can get a lift to take you for $5 to a walkway on the top, but today once again was too hot for people to be up there. Walking in the backstreets in the area I found a cafe that was advertising a 3 course lunch menu with drink and coffee for 8 euro, and as it was 2pm I thought I'd give it a go. My choices were what you'd expect since my grandmother was Irish. It was just luck that I ended up with two plates of meat and potatoes and gravy, followed by a big pudding. It was all delicious and after filling myself up with enough carbs and protein for two days I had to head home for a long siesta to sleep it off. I took one trip into the city to meet up with Linda and Carlos last Friday at the Cathedral. This involved a bus followed by a 20 minute walk. It is a truly awesome sight ( much bigger than anything I saw in Paris). Next to it is the Giralda tower, which was built in 1150 as a mineret for the mosque which was later built over by the Cathedral. The tower has 34 ramps that you climb up to the top for a view over the city, the ramps were put in so that the muezzin could ride his horse to the top when it was time to make the call to prayer. It takes an effort to climb 35 ramps in 35 degree temps so I might pass this trip. The tower was converted to the belltower for the Cathedral when the Christians regained power. A couple of other photos were taken on short foraging trips, and a bus trip I took to find out where to catch the shuttle to the airport at 6.30 on Saturday morning. I managed with Carlos's help to buy a plastic loadable ten trip bus card and so my bus trips now only cost about $1. Of course I couldn't find out where to buy them, and it turned out that only tobacconists sold them.

Magic mushrooms

Magic mushrooms


the old and the new

the old and the new


Stunning artwork

Stunning artwork


An unbelievable alice in wonderland sight

An unbelievable alice in wonderland sight


from every angle

from every angle


students playing hackysack football game

students playing hackysack football game


Spot the ball?

Spot the ball?


Impressive cathedral

Impressive cathedral


Massive Cathedral

Massive Cathedral


huge entrances

huge entrances


Giralda Moorish tower/ing over cathedral

Giralda Moorish tower/ing over cathedral


Linda and Carlos admiring architecture

Linda and Carlos admiring architecture


Old town walls at Macarena since Roman times

Old town walls at Macarena since Roman times


in 1836 a moat constructed to repel invaders.

in 1836 a moat constructed to repel invaders.


Old town gate at Macarena

Old town gate at Macarena


The back of bus station plaza de armas

The back of bus station plaza de armas


Christopher Columbus's ship high & dry

Christopher Columbus's ship high & dry


300 year old shadetree

300 year old shadetree


Even the horses need shade at 35 degrees

Even the horses need shade at 35 degrees


1. calamari and potato curried soup/stew

1. calamari and potato curried soup/stew


2. Melt in mouth chunky pork in a tomato gravy

2. Melt in mouth chunky pork in a tomato gravy


3. double creme caramel/chocolate sauce and cream

3. double creme caramel/chocolate sauce and cream

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Utrera....a place in the sun...

Well, I loved my visit to Utrera, which is a twenty minute train ride out of Seville. It is a really ,picturesque town of 50,000 people and one expat kiwi called Linda. She arrived in Utrera six months ago to follow the urgings of her heart and create a new beginning for herself with a new partner in an unknown land. It is a real credit to her that she has overcome all of the obstacles that life has thrown her way. She could not speak Spanish, had no job in a place where unemployment is high, had nowhere to live, and virtually no money. She trained for and got a position teaching English, and eventually secured a really nice studio apartment at a price she could afford. From a fairly sheltered existence in New Zealand she has learned to stand on her own two feet, and has learned that as long as you have food, shelter, and warmth, together with a passion for someone or something, all your needs are taken care of. Everything else is merely surplus to that. Everyone who knows the risks that Linda took to follow her heart, would and should be as proud of her achievements, her courage and perseverance, as I am. Life is still a struggle for her but she is a much stronger person, able to cope and flourish and begin to enjoy the fruits of her struggle. Looking at the pictures I have posted, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that everybody spends all their time eating and drinking in the cafe/bars located on every streetcorner. Well I suppose it would be possible, the drinks and the tapas are really cheap. The reality is that Linda wanted to show me her favourite places and plates of tapas that she had tried maybe once a week with teacher friends from the English schools in the town. It is a way of life, where whole families meet on certain days and nights to socialise and have a nice time, but it is one she cannot yet afford. I was lucky not to have called there last week when the temperatures reached 40 degrees and it was scorching hot. This week it only hit about 35 degrees, but was 30 degrees at 8pm and only dropped to 24 degrees during the night. Linda is lucky to have airconditioning and will really get the benefit of that over the next 3 months of summer. I was sorry to leave Utrera, and head back into the big city, but we will see what I can squeeze into this week....

8pm on way to main square

8pm on way to main square


Waiting for the kitchen to open at 8.30pm

Waiting for the kitchen to open at 8.30pm


Streets are full of families at 9pm

Streets are full of families at 9pm


4 or 5 tapas to share

4 or 5 tapas to share


10pm and the night is still young, for some...

10pm and the night is still young, for some...


view from town centre up Linda's street

view from town centre up Linda's street


1832 the date Linda's apartments refurbished

1832 the date Linda's apartments refurbished


Linda's room near entry gate

Linda's room near entry gate


Inside courtyard of apartment complex

Inside courtyard of apartment complex


Reading on the windowseat at Linda's

Reading on the windowseat at Linda's


one end of studio, kitchen, tv, wardrobe/storage

one end of studio, kitchen, tv, wardrobe/storage


other end of studio, bathroom/laundry on left

other end of studio, bathroom/laundry on left


middle of studio, table and couch

middle of studio, table and couch


Theatre 100m up the street

Theatre 100m up the street


Guess what play is on at the theatre?

Guess what play is on at the theatre?


Spanish breakfast, ham and olive oil on toast

Spanish breakfast, ham and olive oil on toast


11am small glasses of Anise after breakfast

11am small glasses of Anise after breakfast


500 or 600 year old town wall nesting swallows

500 or 600 year old town wall nesting swallows


town square at 8am

town square at 8am


town square at 8 am

town square at 8 am


haven't got a clue/sign outside cafe

haven't got a clue/sign outside cafe


One of those amazing streetviews

One of those amazing streetviews


Linda lives in the furthest building on left

Linda lives in the furthest building on left


streetview

streetview


600 year old church near castle

600 year old church near castle


other side

other side


amazing view of church belltower

amazing view of church belltower


Enrique Montoya, Utreran gypsy flamenco guitarist

Enrique Montoya, Utreran gypsy flamenco guitarist


nice shady cafe/bar garden by statue

nice shady cafe/bar garden by statue


My warm calamari and blackrice with aoli, yum

My warm calamari and blackrice with aoli, yum


together with goatscheese with honey & balsamic

together with goatscheese with honey & balsamic


Exquisite alley/street

Exquisite alley/street


beautiful entry

beautiful entry


inside alley

inside alley


other end

other end


handmade decorations for corpus christi festival

handmade decorations for corpus christi festival


Convent where Linda is on the waiting list

Convent where Linda is on the waiting list


moorish window high in convent wall

moorish window high in convent wall


Utrera 14th century castle

Utrera 14th century castle


showing its age

showing its age


Moorish water feature below castle

Moorish water feature below castle

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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