Getting from Morocco to Spain through the strait of Gibraltar was not easy. Our overnight train from Marrakesh to Tangier was very nice. However, once in Tangier we found out that due to strong winds, all boats, fast and slow, were cancelled except one. So we all piled on. The water was rough and one of our party got a bit woozy and had to stand in the gateway staring at the horizon most of the ride. The docking also seemed to be rather difficult since we had to wait for another ship to pull out first. After putting our travel companions on a taxi to meet their friends, we headed to the train station to take a ride to Seville, a planned and rail pass covered journey. But alas! we had missed the last train of the day. So we opted for a two-hour direct bus ride. Anyway, we managed to get to Seville before 8pm and checked into our lodging, Naranjo B and B, right in the center of the old town. We went out right away toward the biggest attraction and center of the city's activity, the Cathedral. We found a small restaurant facing the Cathedral Tower and had a great selection of tapas. At 10pm, the night was still young for Sevilleans. There was excitement in the air in anticipation of a national general strike scheduled for next day.
Next day came, and sure enough we heard the shouts of strikers (photo, protest) from our hotel room. No trains, buses or trams were running, so our original plan for a day trip to Granada with our online-purchased tickets to Alhambra Palace was kaput. Instead, we spent five hours inside the Cathedral (photo, big church) did not even attempt to attack the Alcazar. Seville Cathedral has the largest indoor space of any European church, as certified by Guinness World record. The certification is on prominent display in the entry. We saw wall after wall of religious icons, sculptures, rooms after rooms of treasures and saints and never ending architecture of, much of it Muslim converted into baroque and renaissance. By the end of the day, our eyes were tired, and our minds saturated with too much beauty and too much wonders. An ascent up to the tower (photo, Giralda) gave us a bird's-eye view of the entire city (photo, overview) with roofs of while, yellow and red. It was worth every step of the climb. We took a very late lunch at a legendary neighborhood restaurant Bodega (photo, good eatin'!) and had some delicious authentic local tapas with beers. In the evening, we crossed the Guadalquivir to the north bank and found the famous Casa Anselma flamenco club owned and operated by a wellknown dancer.
Day three in Seville, we went to Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria, the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain (photo, bullring). It being just before the season starts at Easter, workers are doing preparations. We visited the small museum on site and went out to the field where Barbara climbed up to the royal box. (photo, climbing up). We continued to Alcazar (photo, palace gate). Alcazar is the oldest European palace still in use by a royal family. It started as a Moorish palace in the 11th century, was converted to a Catholic Mornac palace and knocked down to be rebuilt in the 15th century. Again we are in for seemingly endless beauty, the courtyards (photo, courtyard) intriguing Arabic calligraphy, gardens (photo, hedge maze) and treasures. We came back to hotel to take a nap and then went back out to see another flamingo performance in a more formal setting with emerging young artists. The emotional singing, robust dancing and mesmerizing Spanish guitar playing are very authentic and of high quality. A perfect end to the beautiful Andalusia.