Monday, January 25, 2016

Sevilla, Part II: Cathedral and the Alcazar

Did you know that the third largest cathedral in the world is in Seville?  Did you know that Game of Thrones filmed their Dorne scenes in Seville?  Equally fascinating facts.  ;-)

After our first, lovely night in Seville and sleeping in a bit in the morning (I loved how, to keep things cool, you could close solid wood shutters over every window and make the room completely dark.) we set off to see the cathedral.  THE CATHEDRAL.

It's gigantic and ornate and has roman columns all around the outside that are pretty much just traffic barriers (because that's how Europe works.  Roman columns are just lyin' around.)

It's also kind of a hodge-podge of architecture because, so the story goes, Seville started building their cathedral and then kept hearing about other cathedrals that were going to be they just kept adding parts to it.  Hilarious.  And how you get things like these elaborate flying buttresses.

I also remember that Christopher Columbus is buried in there.  So...history.  And...not...nice...history.

But my favorite part was walking through the orange tree courtyard on the way out.  You had to be careful to not trip on one of those irrigation canals running gorgeously throughout the whole place, but it was a little piece of cool, shaded, Moorish loveliness.  And a fantastic intro to Andalusian history - the medieval Christian seamlessly integrated with the Islamic.    Love it.  LOVE IT.  Also those little geometric channels and those arches behind the fountain there reminded me of Topkapi Palace in Istabul.  I loved seeing how cultures interconnected over centuries in ways that we typically don't learn about in our European History classes here in the states.  We owe so much to those Moors.

Then we walked across the square to the royal palace aka the Alcazar - a place I didn't even know about before we went to Seville.  And it was amazing.  Look at this courtyard.  LOOK!  LOOOOOK!  Look at the Moorish first floor with the orange trees.  And then the Roman second floor!  It was so so beautiful.  And, here's my Game of Thrones moment: the Gardens there are the "Water Gardens of Dorne."  So it was funny to watch that episode with all those assassins runnin' around in the exact place I was runnin' around trying to find the bathroom.

And then we went to a Flamenco performance that evening.  Wow.  I "knew" what it was but I didn't know.  I think I could feel Hadrian jumping and dancing inside me everytime they started their stomping and castanets.  There was a lot of sweat flying.  There was a grown man playing the guitar and sobbing his eyeballs out.  There was a lot of passion in that room.  I'll never forget it.  Flamenco!

We went straight into a castanet store afterward and got a pair as our souvenir. I actually figured out how to use them for about ten seconds one time.  It was very exciting.  One of my life goals is to be able to castanet like a boss.


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