Seville and the ungodly heat

Un viaje de España – Days 3 & 4 – Onward to Seville

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We left Cordoba after visiting the Mezquita and the patios in the morning. It was after having lunch that we boarded our VW, squeezed out of Cordoba, and headed onward to where one can find Chicago winter drivers in Spain – Seville.

No mistake about it – Seville was in the middle of a heat wave. If Cordoba was hot, Seville was a ghost pepper of heat. 115’F on the main day we were visiting, attempting, like the psychotic American traveler I am, to see both the Cathedrale de Seville and the Alcazar in one day. I did it, but it took about a camel’s hump worth of cold water, two large bowls of ice cream, copious amounts of shady corners, and a fan.

Whilst the interior of the Cathedrale was cool and full of mind-boggling wonders, including a massive gold-plated altar and the tomb of Christopher Columbus (of ‘I sorta discovered America’ fame), the views from the tower were enough to brave the heat and sweat going up the sloped floors. 30+ sloped sections later, I ended up at the top near the bells, looking over the city and its famous Plaza del Toros, or bullfighting ring. Stunning views but hotter than a Thai curry you said you wanted “mild”.

We spent a good two hours or more inside the cathedral, took a break for lunch (more tapas!), and then queued up for the Alcazar. With architectural details similar to the Alhambra, the Alcazar was a beautiful treat to visit even when sweating to the oldies. The royal gardens were a shady refuge from the heat, and the interiors were dark and cool, deliberately so, as Seville was probably that hot most of the time. Just staring into the intricately carved and geometrically perfect ceilings put my mind at ease. Then, of course, there were the gorgeous courtyards where the mere thought of taking a cooling dip into the pools was enough to drive a sane person mad.

I sank into a chair in the garden cafe and ordered a potato tortilla (perfect if you’re peckish), two bottles of cold water, and an iced coffee. I sat in the icy cold air con for as long as I could manage it prickling my skin with its chilly fingers before sucking it up and heading back outside into the gardens. Partially shaded from the hot mid-day sun, I could explore the garden paths with little interruption. Barely anybody else was as insane as me to be out in that weather.

I now completely understood the necessity of siesta time.

Yes, going to both in one day was a bit much (and Lonely Planet does warn against such excesses), and I would have liked to enjoy each place more and spent more time meandering at each, but alas, with only a full day to explore the city, we got ‘er done with some stunning photographs to remember the cathedral and alcazar by.

Because I wasn’t ready to admit defeat and exhaustion yet, that evening we hopped on a boat cruise up the Guadalquivir to view the Triana neighborhood of Seville along with the beautiful riverfront and bridges. As the sun blazed its way out of the sky, the slightly cooler temperatures allowed us to at least enjoy the boat tour that only had a few people on it.

By the end of the day, we returned to the hotel and found a bottle of champagne chilling for us. I’m not sure if a) it was the wrong room, b) they do this for all the guests, or c) they couldn’t sort out that we’re just friends annoying each other on a road trip in a foreign country, but I’ll take a bottle of the good stuff any time. It was particularly tasty even the next morning, but I sadly didn’t have any orange juice on hand to make mimosas. So, I just drank the rest.

I just couldn’t fathom pouring it down the sink.

Courtyard around Seville Cathedral

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