Having the opportunity to view Sevilla in times like these, felt like a blessing. Feeling like ‘A listers’ who had organised for Sevilla to be closed for the week, just so we could wander freely without paparazzi, was an alien concept but that’s how it felt. Joking aside, there were no tourists that we saw, just the everyday comings and goings and the usual buzz around cafes and bars, heightened by the new later curfew of 9.30pm. We were the only two in the Alcázar for quite a while (normally they limit online bookings to 750/half hour slots) we were among a scattering at Plaza de España and at times when we were off the beaten track in the non touristy Barrios, we were alone among the narrow streets and squares. The photos reflect the solitude and the pleasure we were able to find, in the smallest things really, as we weren’t being herded, nor jostled by selfie takers. A time most likely never to be repeated and a time we’ll savour. Blog is in two parts as we spent a week here and we don’t to bore you!
The Plaza de Espana is normally a tourist hot spot as the adjacent gardens, Parque de Maria Luisa, are glorious and vast, with lots of themed planting and some curious art installations. Its actually not that old, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Expo, we’d know it as The World Fair, the following year. There’s lots of tiled plaques to that effect. Its a mix of some art deco, tricky to find, with we think, more renaissance and baroque (says us, the uneducated architects!) Either way, its a tilers paradise. All around the edge of the semi are tiled alcoves, each reflecting different provinces.
A feature here that we really admire has been the renovation work undertaken in recent years as all of it is in keeping with the original. Not a pre cast bench or cheap import lamp post in sight. We’ve both commented that this seems to be the case in many areas we’ve been to, a fabulous resistance to our “cost effective and functional” street furniture etc. Anyhow, here’s some more pictures from there. The iconic horse and carriage guys looked pretty lonely.
The Royal Alcázar is a day in itself. Wandering around here at a pace slower than slow, admiring the intricate stone carvings, the quirky hidden baby faces and the more elaborate use of colour than at the Alhambra, its easy to get lost in the gloriousness of it when all you have for company is the odd security guard. We were able to move from room to room, marvelling as we went before heading outside to the same solitude and aroma of orange blossom filling the air. The place is immense, more intimate than the Alhambra but in some ways, more charming. The tiling, colours and carvings are not on the same scale but the quality is there and they actually seem better preserved. I guess we are lucky to be able to describe it this way, having enjoyed it the way we did. Akin to most of these buildings, it has been ‘built’ over centuries under various rulers and thus reflects numerous styles. We decided between us that the most dramatic room was the Salon de Embajadores with its stunning ceiling and tiling although to choose was tricky. Apologies for the number of photos but there was so much!
The Patio de las Doncellas (Maidens Courtyard) is a stunning example of an Islamic inner courtyard
The Stunning beautiful ceiling of the Salon de Embajadores
The gardens are as elaborate in their own way, early spring there was the aroma of orange blossom with us but little by way of flower colour. The vast area is divided into various rooms with water features throughout. By all accounts there are over 180 different species of plants and trees from all around the world, which have come together gloriously. Some parts were designed originally as allotments, used to provide food in Moorish times as well as the aesthetics and cooling sounds of the water features. The gardens, like the buildings have numerous influences with an Islamic cross shaped flower garden, the modern maze and English gardens and the Dance garden. Peacocks strut their stuff in the wider open sections of the garden.
Part two of the Seville blog will reflect more off the beaten track sights and explorations, we don’t have much signal where we are at the moment so impossible!