July 22nd, 23rd, and 29th, 2002
Of course, since I'm the thrifty shopper, I found some really cheap tickets on the internet. The one catch was that the flight left at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning! Yuk!!! As many of you know I am not a morning person and neither is my oldest sister. We had to get up at 4 a.m. to take a taxi to the train to get to the airport... I am convinced that I cannot start a single trip without some kind of incidence. Well this one was not of our doing at all. We got to the airport in plenty of time for our flight and proceeded to the tram to go from the south terminal to the north terminal. When we get to the tram area where the little banner announces the next train, the banner says "train not in service" and nothing more! As this has never happened to me before, I'm not sure what we are supposed to do and the people are starting to stack up in the terminal. Everybody looks confused and as far as I know there isn't a walk way to the other terminal. Well we are all standing around staring at each other when a work guy comes by and announces that the trams are off line because some idiot pulled the emergency alarm. Of course, they have to fully check it out with the authorities before they can get it running again. So after a 15 min delay we are back on our way again!
Monday afternoon we arrive in Seville, Spain. The girl at the
information booth is extremely helpful, giving us the local bus
schedule, list of hotels with pricing, and list of bus trips to
other cities. We head outside, find the bus to town, count our
money and tell the bus driver "tres persona por favor". Well as
the bus is speeding along it becomes apparent that they do not stop
at all stops on the list and there seems to be a shortage of street
signs. We watch as a few people get off here and there and desperately
look for signs. Then at one stop almost the whole bus gets off, so we
figure this must be the town center and off we go! Well we gather our
bags, get out on the sidewalk with our maps, and try to figure out
where we are exactly and where we want to be. We go up and down the
street looking for signs and can't find any! Finally we agree on a
direction and start walking, assuming that we have to come upon a
street sign or something eventually. Well we did come upon some
policemen who were very nice and pointed us in the right direction
(seems we got off at the University stop and not the town center
street). The good thing about getting off in the wrong spot is
that you get to see things you might have missed otherwise :)
Anyway, after getting a hotel room we procured some ice cream cones a
nd began walking the old part of the city.
Seville is largely known for it's Flamenco dancing, so we got tickets for that night. Flamenco dancing is traditionally performed by the gypsies and the accompanying music is made up of a couple of guitars, and a couple of people clapping and singing. The music is extremely fast at times and the costumes are quite vivid. The dancers keep a rigid upper body while clapping and stomping/tapping there feet and flourishing out their skirts. It reminds me very much of the body style of a tango dancer. The show was very enjoyable and entertaining. Since my mom's family background comes from the gypsies of Czechoslovakia is was also interesting to see the similarities in the people.
Tuesday morning and we are still in Seville to see the Alcazar and
The Cathedral before leaving town. The Alcazar is an Arabic palace
which was completed by Peter 1st and later altered by Christians.
It was really neat how everything was tiled from head to toe. The
tiles were very colorful and in many patterns. Some rooms were so
busy with tile it was almost dizzying. The domed ceilings were also
magnificently designed with carvings and colors. One of the rooms
is supposedly where Fernando and Isabel welcomed Columbus back from
America. Outside of the building are vast garden grounds with
interesting water streams and a shrubbery maze.
The Cathedral (third largest in the world) took over 100 years to
complete and is the largest Gothic edifice ever constructed. The main
mosque was built in 1184 and the mosque became a Christian Cathedral
in 1248. It has a golden wall of intricately wrought figurines
depicting 36 biblical scenes. It also holds what is believed to be
Columbus' tomb with huge carvings of coffin-bearers representing the
grateful kings of Castilla, Leon, Aragon, and Navarra. The total
building surface is 23,500 sq meters and the maximum height of the
tower is 96 meters. The vast expanse of the building was just amazing
when you were inside. After lunch we headed to the bus station to
depart for Cadiz.
Sunday afternoon found us on the return bus to Seville. Since we already had reserved a room for our return trip, we deposited our bags and searched for dinner. The next morning the last hurdle was to again tackle the city bus to get back to the airport. Well we couldn't find the correct bus stop anywhere. We walked up and down several streets and even talked to the person at the main bus station. Finally we found a bus with the right bus number on it, but the guy said he wasn't going to the airport (I assume it was setting off in the opposite direction). So completely irritated at this point, we broke down and hailed a taxi! Since we didn't have much cash left at this point, we asked the taxi driver how much to the airport. By the time we got to the airport, we had 1 Euro 30 cent left!!! We made it back home!
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