Day 4: Archive & Seville CathedralFebruary 19, 2017 in Spain
Busier day of sightseeing today, as we settle in to our new location and Schnitzel gets more comfortable with the place as well. First stop this morning after breakfast was the General Archive of the Indies, just a short walk from our apartment. This is a large library where the archives from Spain's colonial era are all stored. Unfortunately not a lot is actually on show for the public, but it's still a very impressive building.
Originally built as the merchant hall for the golden era of trade in the 15th century, it fell into disuse when the trade routes moved south to Cadiz, and from the was turned into the archive building and museum that it is now. Some of the stuff we saw included the journal of Christopher Columbus for his journey to the new world in 1492, and the Treaty of Torsedillas which divided the globe between Spanish and Portuguese possessions. Also lots of colonial era maps of Spanish settlements in the Americas, and some artworks by Goya.
After lunch and a brief Skype session with mum, we headed out for a walk with Schnitzel and kept him busy. He was very well behaved and didn't bark at any of the horses - finally he's getting used to them!
Schnitzel exhausted, we dropped him back off at the apartment and headed to the Cathedral, one of the finest in the world. It's apparently the third-largest cathedral in the world by volume (behind only St Peter's in the Vatican and St Paul's in London), and was built by partially demolishing a mosque that already occupied the site. Remember that at this point in history (14th century), Spain was gradually being reconquered by Catholics from the Moors (north African Muslims), so there was a lot of Muslim influence still in evidence.
After a wait we finally got inside the cathedral and it didn't disappoint! Soaring high ceilings, ornate decorations, gold everywhere, and lots of artwork. Christopher Columbus's tomb is also in here for some reason, along with a small chapel where he, Magellan, de Gama and Cortes all prayed before setting off on their history-making voyages.
After thoroughly inspecting the cathedral we ascended the main belltower, known as La Giralda. It was originally a minaret from the mosque, but was retained during the cathedral conversion. Long climb to the top - 34 ramps of 1:7 gradient (fairly steep), eventually emerging about 50 metres above the city. Got some good photos as usual, just like everyone else was doing!
Back downstairs and hung around in the courtyard for a while, enjoying the ambience under the orange trees and chuckling at tourists from A Country That Won't Be Named tripping over themselves, as the ground was uneven and people couldn't tear themselves away from their phones!
Late afternoon by now, so we retreated to the apartment where Shandos had a siesta and I watched the Man United FA cup game on TV. Nice that I'm in a time-zone where football isn't on in the middle of the night! Will take some getting used to, I'm sure. Good game and a good result!
Headed out around 9pm for dinner - there was a tapas restaurant a couple of blocks away we'd spotted the previous night that looked quite interesting, but alas it was closed! Sunday night and the vibe was noticeably quieter than the previous two nights, with more restaurants closed than usual. Apparently Seville has more bars per capita than anywhere else in Europe, and I can believe it! We opted for another one nearby that had looked promising, and it was also quite good! Shared oxtail croquettes, honey-baked cheese, and an eggplant/tomato/bocconcini stack. All tapas sizes, plus a pair of drinks for about 15 euros. Back home around 11 - not too late for me but Shandos was starting to struggle, despite her siesta. Looking forward to visiting the Royal Alcazar tomorrow!Read more