Thursday, 6 September 2012

Day 2 - Seville Tour

Woke up early to do the free morning tour. After the free breakfast, a guide met us at the hostel and walked us down to the main meeting area where people from other hostels were also congregated.

The first place on the tour was Seville Cathedral, it's architecturally really interesting because it used to be a mosque back when the area was Muslim, and the original minaret is still part of the cathedral.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and had a lot to tell us about the cathedral as we went around the whole building.

I found this particular wall really interesting. Maybe because it's a mystery as to what these markings mean. They discovered them by accident one day while they were cleaning the building. There are a couple of theories but nothing confirmed.

The whole building was very interesting to learn about. Made me miss those Classics lessons back in school. I might have to start reading more about architecture!
It's the Muslim influences that beguile me the most. It's what makes this area of Europe different.

This is the statue on top of the minaret. It was added during the conversion to Christianity. I'm sure if you wanted to learn more about it you'd google it.

This is the Plaza De España. It's so beautiful, I would like to spend some more time there next time I'm in Seville. We didn't get to walk around the whole place, but there was a lot of meaning in it's construction. Which surprisingly was only in 1929.

Each area of Spain was represented there with it's coat of arms, a map and an image depicting something that area is well known for. Cordoba apparently is known (unofficially) for having the most beautiful women in Spain! I don't find that very difficult to believe!

Our very informative guide also told us the secret sign language of the fans that women used to use to convey their interest in a prospective male back in the day when flirting was forbidden. Or at the very least frowned upon. I wish we still had this level of coyness rather than some guy whistling at you.

Our guide telling us more information, probably about the building behind him. A lot of the buildings have this red and yellow colour scheme. It's very specific - the yellow represents the sand and the red.. Well I wish I could remember. I'm pretty tired.

Our three and a half hour tour ended here, at the Isabel Columns. Very concupiscent story about Queen Isabel - She might just be my new found hero. If there isn't a movie about this story, there should be one!

When the tour finished, it was so hot I was hunting for shade. I had no idea it was 38C (100.4F) apparently, in the summer it can reach the 50s (aprox 131F) I don't know how I'm going to survive!
I decided to follow the map that the hostel had given me to hunt down a copy of the Lonely Planet Spain so I didn't feel so blind.
On the way back to the hostel, I walked past a structure nick named "The Mushroom", AKA The Metropol Parasol. While it was impressively big, it seemed a bit misplaced in Seville where the rest of the city had been very historic, there's a monumental piece of modern sculpture.

I'm still not entirely sure what the purpose of it is, other than there's a restuarant underneath it. It's cool in the same way "The Bean" in Chicago is. In that it's big, it makes for some good photos and it's novel. Getting planning permission for that must've taken some balls.

Onwards! To the train station!
Where I ordered a mini chicken baguette type sandwich which turned out to be tuna. It's a good thing I'm not a fussy eater. I must learn more Spanish!!

I'm staying with a host family who are so friendly and hospitable I think I'll forever be in their debt! It's a great opportunity to really immerse myself and learn about Spanish culture and their way of life.

Things I must get used to:
  • Kissing on both sides of the face as a greeting.
  • Eating dinner late at night, tapas style.
  • Siestas! And the subsequent closing of shops.
  • The heat.
  • Jambon is ham, but cured meat - not the same as we have.
  • Yoghurt here is kinda sour, but not gone off.
 I'm sure there'll be more things, but for now, that's the list.

Hola Cordoba! You and I will become great friends!

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