Expo 92, Sevilla

Trip Start Oct 18, 2007
Trip End Nov 20, 2007

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 16 - 2 November 2007, Cadiz - Seville
Awake as we sail in to Cadiz, another lovely commercial port.  No idea but I thought some of the ports would be more .... picturesque.  What does it matter when it's what's outside the port that counts?
Somehow time gets away and we have to race up to brekkie so we can gulp some cereal and get down to the Queens Lounge to get our bus stickers.  Bus is loaded and five minute after we board we're off with Jose and Suzanne.  Suzanne's accent is a great as our guide from yesterday.  For some reason we think the bus ride will take hours but it won't even take an hour and a half - Seville is only 115 km from Cadiz.
Countyside is quite interesting and we drive through an area of the vineyards that they grow the grapes for sherry production.  Very dry, white sandy soil, very smoky and it turns out they are burning off the waste from the previous cotton crop preparing for the next sowing.     
Seville is nothing but a large city as we approach but within a couple of kilometres we are driving down an amazing street lined with the most beautiful buildings that were the pavilions constructed for the Spanish American Expo of 1923 (ish).  They have all been converted into private residences, hotels, places of work etc.  They are gorgeous.  Seville was also the host of Expo 92, the one following Brisbane's and we're told we'll drive past the newer Expo site later in the afternoon.
We get off the bus and it's immediately apparent we're going to have a problem.  The tour has been sold as 'strenuous activity' - requires active participation walking long distances often over steep and uneven terrain - but there is a guy with a stick who is quickly left behind.  It turns out he has two prosthetic legs, not sure if above of below the knee.  His wife keeps an eye on him but why do people do this?  I know everyone has a right to participate but if it hinders a group they are just being selfish if they can't keep up.  Fire away everyone who feels the need...
Seville is spectacularly beautiful.  We go first to the Alcazar.  I spy a beautiful museum shop as we enter but don't go back that way so the tiles I saw slip through my fingers. We could spend a whole day here but only get maybe an hour.  It is incredible.  Next we head through the Jewish Quarter and we get our twenty minutes of shopping.  Make a couple of purchases and head for the Seville Cathedral - the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and has the largest floor area of any cathedral in the world.  When we get to the cathedral square someone tells the guide that we're missing a few people.  She heads back to where we were shopping and brings six people back with her.
Into the cathedral - WOW!  It is stupendously big.  So big it is in the Guinness Book of Records as having the biggest surface area of any cathedral in the world.  Not sure if this means all surfaces - vertical and horizontal.  Whatever, it is huge, and opulent and really makes you question the priorities of the church.  Why did they and do they continue to poor money into monuments that achieve nothing instead of into social welfare??   Off my pedestal and back to the cathedral - the vaulted ceiling is awesome, the artworks spectacular, the many gilt alters amazing, the organ gigantic (on two sides of the church!) and to top it all off Christopher Columbus' remains.
Back on the bus and to the Hotel Macarena for lunch.  Tom is waiting there for us.  The lunch is good and the hotel quite nice.  Once we'd finished our coffee we were back on the bus again and off for a scenic tour of some of the remaining highlights of Valencia including Spanish Square. 
Apparently Valencia is till paying for the 1923 fair and Spanish Square was the pavilion of Spain.  No wonder they're still paying.  Just like the Cathedral it is a HUGE building, and beautiful to boot. Then we drove along the road beside the river, past the bullring, then past the 1992 expo site that is now abandoned and falling in to disrepair.  So sad.  I can remember seeing stuff on tele about Expo Seville and seeing the buildings and now it is virtually a ruin.
Time's up and we need to get back to Cadiz.  Both have a sleep on the bus.  It's been a really good tour only slightly let down by our need to slow down due to our disabled fellow passenger
Instead of getting back on board we walk back in to Cadiz.  It is very pretty and it's a shame we don't have a bit longer to wander around.  Little narrow streets like we've seen everywhere else but just a different 'maritime' feel.  There is ocean on both sides of the old town.   We both really enjoyed our day and we could easily spend more time in and around Cadiz.   Early start tomorrow in Casablanca, we're off to Marrakech!
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