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Four things that you NEED to do when you visit Seville, Spain

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I like my cities like I like my winter clothing - with lots of layers. If Seville were an outfit it would have more layers than a kid playing in the clothing section of a second-hand shop. With only one day in Seville I chose to focus on the weightier and more brightly colored of these layers. If you find yourself in the same situation here are a few of my favourite things....

1. The Royal Alcazar of Seville
The pearl necklace of Seville, the Alcazar is a must must must visit! Not only is the palace renowned as one of the most beautiful in all of Spain, but it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. A visit leaves little wonder as to why the site was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site almost 30 years ago. Oh and did you know that the palace is the filming set for the Water Gardens of Dorne in Season 5 of Game of Thrones?

2. Plaza De Espana
Only pictures can come close to describing the immense beauty of this place. I originally headed to the site as a place to sit and enjoy some breakfast due to its close proximity to the Alcazar (which we had 11am tickets booked for). However, when I entered I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn't fallen into my all-too-frequent naps and was actually still on the train dreaming of a Spainish wonderland. From the mosaic tiled bridges reflecting off of the stream that passed through the plaza to the fountain so misty that it yields a rainbow on a sunny day - it's safe to say that the Plaza de Espana is made up of the same stuff as dreams are.

3. The Cathedral of Seville
I actually did not know anything about this cathedral before arriving in Seville, despite it being the largest gothic cathedral and the third largest church in the world. However at first sight of the towering bell tower and gothic architecture I knew I had to see what was inside - not even an endlessly long and winding line could stop me. The interior of the Cathedral is set out like a maze of chambers containing relics and highly-adorned walls and ceilings surrounding the main chamber - larger and more glamorous than any other cathedral I can recall. The highlight for me however, was climbing up the bell tower, which is actually the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule. Access is included in the entrance fee, however there is no elevator so you must be able to walk up a steep slope until you have climbed 100 metres high. If you plan a visit be sure to come prepared (unlike me) and pre-purchase a ticket here.

4. Maria Luisa Park
With two hours to spare before our train back to Cordoba, we decided to explore the gardens of Maria Luisa which was conveniently located at the south entrance of the Plaza de Espana. Every time I enter a park I hope for a turtle pond ever since I randomly stumbled upon one when when wandering around Athens. Tired and exhausted from wandering in the 47C heat, we settled for a comfy bench by pond where several ducks were happily playing. When we went to exit the gardens however, we took a detour and guess what we spotted in the corner of our eye? Tiny little turtles swimming in the pond besides us AND a papa bird feeding it's baby bird! It's times like this I wish I had a better zoom on my camera. So if "turtles and baby birds and ducks - oh my!' is something that you can see yourself thinking than a visit to Maria Luisa Park either for a picnic or just for a rest is a must do for you!