12 Dec The Splendour of Seville
It is more than three years since we returned home from our “Voyage to Antiquity”. I’ve written 19 blogs that almost cover our cruise across the Mediterranean, but until now, I haven’t written anything on the last two destinations. I’m still not fully aware of why I procrastinated for so long. But I think it has to do with the feeling that, I have not and cannot do justice to what I saw. However I’m pleased to tell you that I have been able to put those feelings aside and complete the second last episode. I hope you find some enjoyment from it.
It was late on the afternoon of October 28, 2016 when we arrived in Seville on the cruise ship Aegean Odyssey. That day had begun somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean between Casablanca (Morocco) and the Spanish south coast. We were heading to the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, to cruise approx. 44 Nautical miles up the river to Seville. This was special, as very few ocean cruising ships are small enough to be given access.
A rural riverside village
Of course we had to travel at low speed to minimise damage to the river banks.
I believe this is La Puebla del Rio (approx. 15 kms southwest of Seville)
Over the section of the Guadalquivir River we travelled it certainly seems wide enough to accommodate larger cruise liners than we were on. Though the river depth may be an issue. Regardless, negotiating the loch just south of Seville is an entirely different prospect and as we approached it I wondered how Aegean Odyssey could possibly squeeze through.
The Captain, with the local “pilot” next to him, guiding the ship from the open Port Wing
Although it doesn’t appear so, the gap between ship and the wall of the loch on the port side was about a meter. The captain and crew had negotiated this loch many times and did it again with relative ease.
Also to our advantage, the water levels before and after were similar, so the wait within the loch was short.
Commercial docks and warehouses
A higher degree of difficulty could be attributed to birthing the ship (its birth can be seen behind the river cruiser on the right side of the photo below).
Bridge – Puente de las Delicias
Prior to the event the captain had described the manoeuvre in terms similar to the following. We will be guided by a tugboat for the last section of the journey, pass through / under an opened bridge, do a 360º turn immediately after passing the bridge, then reverse into our birth.
It was executed perfectly.
Coming alongside the Seville passenger terminal, near Pabellón de Argentina
That night we remained on the docked ship, after a remarkable day of cruising.
Seville was the last port of our 28 day cruise across the Mediterranean. So early on 29th October we disembarked for the final time, to begin a two night / day stay in Seville, which included an excursion to Cordoba on the second day.
In 1929 Seville hosted the Ibero-American Exposition. The Plaza de España, our first destination for the day, was designed and built for that event.
Plaza de España – Plaza of Spain
The Plaza de España is now home to various central government departments.
One of many ceramic works in this plaza, depicting events in Spanish history
Approximately 15 minutes walk from Plaza de España is the Columbus Monument in the Gardens of Murillo.
Monument to Christopher Columbus’ 1492 “discovery” of America
Behind the Gardens of Murillo is the Royal Alcázars of Seville, a royal palace built and developed over a 500 year period, commencing in 11th century. It has been the palace of both Islamic and Christian rulers and today the upper levels (closed to the public) are still used by the Spanish Royal Family as their official residence in Seville.
Entry / Exit of Royal Alcázars with Seville Cathedral in background
In close proximity is Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter, a very popular tourist area.
While we were kept busy on day 1, there was so much of Seville we didn’t see. However, being free to chose the location for our evening meal, we and our friends returned to Santa Cruz to dine on traditional Spanish fare. The food was wonderful and the service extremely friendly.
Perhaps understandably, We would love to revisit Seville and venture into other Spanish cities, if given the opportunity.
Coming up in the next episode: an excursion to Cordoba, the final destination of our “Voyage to Antiquity”.
Feel free to leave a comment below about this blog, your experiences in Seville or Spain in general.
Cliff BlackburnPosted at 13:52h, 12 December
Have no fear Alistair, you have done a fabulous job of portraying Seville. It made me want to visit there myself. I love the way you have brought out the vividness of the blue and yellow ceramics – just wonderful! Love your work.
alistairstravelPosted at 13:59h, 12 December
Thank you so much for your comments Cliff. I hope you do have an opportunity to visit, not just Seville but other parts of Spain as well.