Of course, the first place Koos and I always go is to the waterside (eerst naar de waterkant, as they say in Dutch), and we were much impressed by this amazing old tree leaning over the banks of the Guadalquivir. On the subject of the river, the stretch that runs through the city is actually still water. Its main tidal course was re-routed to the west of the city in the 20th century to prevent flooding, and continues on to Cordoba and beyond. Apparently, however, navigation is only possible up to Seville, and only when the tide is coming in. The port of Seville is in the reach of the river that runs through the city, and is behind a large lock. From what I've read, though, flooding can still be an issue as in both 2006 and 2010, the city suffered from severe floods, and it was even worse in 1963.
For those interested, there's an interesting article about Seville and the Guadalquivir here.
We had a lovely walk along the riverside, which is very popular with the locals. I liked the sculpture above; it was created for some very philanthropic purposes that I'm afraid I've forgotten now. I completely failed to make a note of the plaque that told us who the sculptor was and what it was for. Maybe one of the readers here knows what it commemorates?
My apologies for the slightly skew photos below. I normally straighten my snaps as it drives me nuts if things aren't level or properly vertical, but my usual laptop has crashed and I don't know how to use the photo editor on this machine yet. Anyway, these were some of the sights from the river I captured when we went on a passenger cruise on our second day there.
|Traditional Spanish galleon moored on the riverside
|The Golden Tower, first built by the Moors
|This bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava.
It reminded me of our own Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam
Like many cities focused on tourism, there was the possibility to do a tour of the sights from the comfort of an open carriage. I couldn't help feeling sorry for the horses, however. They seem to spend hours just standing there with no water or food and, in the summer, no shade either. I hope I'm wrong and that they’re relieved or at least given water at regular intervals. They’re very lovely, though, so I had to take some photos of them.
|Beautiful, patient horses.
|One of the many elaborate screens
|Unbelievably ornate and opulent
|I preferred this
|The simplicity of the earlier structures
was more to my taste
It isn't possible to talk about Seville without mentioning the oranges. They’re a real feature of the city streets, and if you are wondering what happens to them, they’re collected and cleared now and then by the city council. Apart from the fact they're far too bitter to eat, it isn't permitted to pick them as they belong to the local authorities. From what I've read, they're used for a number of purposes, including medicinal and culinary. I remember my mother buying Seville oranges to make marmalade when I was a child, but we never ate them raw. It was lovely to see them on virtually every tree in the city streets, though.
And the last thing to mention about Seville itself in this week's post is the music. We saw and heard music everywhere from day one, even being serenaded while we had our meal the first evening. Koos was also given the chance to play by one kindly busker, which made his day.
The man in the photo below was playing flamenco guitar with great skill in a passage.
These three were busking next to the tram stop and were doing an excellent job of covering great rock songs. The guitarist, in particular, did a very professional and convincing performance of Brian May's guitar solo on Bohemian Rhapsody. I have to say it was a very pleasant way to wait for the tram.
We also saw some wonderful impromptu flamenco dancing at the Plaza de Espana (more on that amazing place next time). I find flamenco very inspiring and soul stirring, and loved seeing this young group performing in public.
Well, I think that's enough for this time. I'll write more about some of the other places we went and the people we met in my next blog, but for now, I hope you've enjoyed this snippet of our experiences in Seville, allemaal.
Have a good week and all the best from a very cold and frosty Netherlands. That Spanish sunshine is already becoming a distant memory.