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After four days in Sevilla (four, really? In some ways it feels like we’ve always been there; it also feels like we just arrived), we have returned to Madrid so that we can catch our flight back to the States tomorrow. Before we left Sevilla, we decided to go to the General Archive of the Indies. Most of the information was in Spanish and hard for me to decipher. The information I was able to gather was very interesting. The diary of Christopher Columbus is housed here. The maps, portraits, and letters were beautifully displayed and the building housing the information was equally impressive. Digital archiving is a special interest of mine, and the archive is currently working on digitalizing their entire collection. Cool stuff!
We also took our last stroll through Sevilla this morning. It is an unforgettable city and I would recommend that anyone who travels to Spain should spend a significant amount of time in Sevilla. We were both sad to leave this city, especially the area in which we spent the majority of our time, the Barrio Santa Cruz.
While driving to Madrid, we stumbled across this impressive castillo off the side of the highway in the Extremaduran area of Spain. It turns out that it is a major monument in the city of Trujillo. Trujillo was the birthplace of the Spanish conqueror of Peru! There is a unique statue of this man, Francisco Pizarro, in the Plaza Mayor of the city. The castillo is actually an old fortress, dating from the era when Spain was conquered by Muslims. We didn’t have much time to spare, so we headed back to the highway before exploring any farther.
Luckily, we made it to Madrid in time for dinner (around 20:00) and have been enjoying cervezas and tapas ever since. Oh, and one last round of chocolate and churros. Bright and early in the morning we’re going to give El Prado another shot before saying goodbye to España (for now!).
I forgot to post this earlier! Video from the flamenco at Los Gallos last night.
Yesterday was another day of absolutely beautiful weather in Sevilla. No rain, no clouds: just blue sky and sunshine. I was so tired by the time we returned to our hotel last night that I didn’t have the energy to post anything.
We switched hotels yesterday because they were doing some type of construction and it was LOUD. All day. We would return to our hotel for siesta and couldn’t rest because of the noise. We are now in the Palacio Alcázar Hotel only a couple of blocks away from our old hotel (and a couple of blocks closer to Tom and the plaza!). This hotel is beautiful and has a rooftop terrace where both the view and the mojitos are incredible.
We went to the Casa de Pilatos, which was very reminiscent of Italy with its Roman statues. The audio tour that we were given seemed to be made for architecture students, as it gave a lot of information. A few rooms in, I decided to just enjoy the beautiful rooms and gardens and lay the audio aside. While this house was not as well maintained as the Alcázar (of course), the tile work was beautiful.
Last night we were lucky enough to get to see traditional flamenco dance at Los Gallos. It was an amazing 1 hour and 45 minute display with only guitar, singer, and dancer. The intricacies involved in this type of dance are difficult to understand. Is it all preplanned? Or are they improvising all the time? A very beautiful and moving display.
On our return to the hotel, we went up to the terrace to have a drink. We met this wonderful Spanish couple from Valencia who were here on vacation. They told us that next week (Holy Week) is a great time to come to Spain, especially Sevilla. How I wish we could stay for the festivities!
We walked around quite a bit yesterday and also drank quite a few sangrias (and mojitos)… And tapas. Oh, the tapas.
I had a realization yesterday: I have not had vegetables in days. We’ve been eating tapas for lunch and dinner everyday since we got here. Thus, our diets have consisted of cured meats and cheeses. I am determined to have a well balanced meal today!
Lesson learned today: Don’t close the shutters to your balcony if you plan to wake up early. The darkness of our room prevented us from waking up at a normal time and we missed breakfast at our hostel. We had just enough time to get our bags packed before it was time to check out. As there is no parking near Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, we had to lug our luggage (ha!) quite a ways to get to our car.
We walked around Salamanca to see the Convento de San Esteban, Convento de las Dueñas, Escuelas Mayores, and many busy streets. Because we slept late we did not get to spend as much time in Salamanca as I would have liked, but it was still a great experience.
After Salamanca we began our drive to Sevilla. We stopped a couple of times along the way to admire the gorgeous scenery and to (attempt to) get lunch. Unfortunately, we picked a bad place to stop. The people in the restaurant were not serving lunch and were not so hesitant to let us know we were not welcome. A bottle of water later and we were on our way!
We are now safely ensconced in our hotel room in Sevilla after driving around the city for what seemed like hours and getting honked at by drivers who were not happy with our choice of parking spots. Hotel Alcántara is wonderful thus far and I am impatiently awaiting breakfast!
As we get ready to leave our hotel for the trip to Salamanca, I want to take a moment to say how wonderful this place has been. Continue reading