Trip Start Sep 12, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Friday, September 18, 2009

so the train from madrid was 3 hours on the high speed train
if we had those 300km trains we could be in montreal in 2 hrs instead of 7 on Via
there were dark clouds and heavy rain all the way but luckily it cleared by the time we got to cordoba and remained clear to seville
didnt really like madrid.. dont like big crowded cities
seems more grand than london coz i guess the spanish empire had gold while the british empire only had tea, coffee, sugar!
so the symbolic capital of muslim spain toledo fell in the 11th century and started a domino effect with the muslim kingdoms of portugal, valencia, and murcia falling.. the only kingdom that remained was cordoba which is today the province of andalucia and became the caliphate of cordoba.. jews continued to live in muslim spain as they were offered protection, respect, and positions of importance. perhaps all people need to learn their own histories instead of rewriting the past with jews and muslims bad mouthing each other today.
seville is the capital of andalucia and has a mixed past. it is home to roman emporers hadrian and trajan. after the muslims it was the gateway to the americas and all the riches flowed back thru seville with the construction of many grand homes.. columbus is buried in the cathedral.. you see the muslim past quite evident now.. there are what seems obviously mosques wiht a cross and christian art outside. seville is a flat city which make a big difference on your shins but still a maze of alleyways so need a map to navigate.. they no speaka da englees!
first place i went was the alcazar which was the muslim palace
hard to believe this place is almost 1000 years old and predates the taj mahal or anything in turkey or india.. the shock factor from zaragoza has gone as kinda used to it now... the arches are more like palm trees as they are not smooth round arches but instead have alcoves within the arches... when the spanish took back seville they were amazed by what they saw and did not destroy.. instead they added more wings to the palace... there are so many corridors and passages u keep finding more places inside there... unlike other buildings the colours havent faded from the marbelwork
the grand cathedral was built in different stages.. the old mosque is the minaret and an open rectangular courtyard.. added to that was an extension which is the main cathedral part.. the people of seville adopted the muslim architecture as their own and continued to build in that style for long periods with a lot of buildings in town
today went to the bullring museum in the morning and wasnt a load of bull!
only 3 people have been killed in 200 years
if the bull kills a matador the bulls mother is killed!
best seats in the shade are 150 euros!
seen some bullfights on tv and something cruel but funny where they set the bulls horns on fire and chase around the town square
then went to the museum of the indies but the photo police out in patrol again
there is this hotel like the royal york which is for the wealthy and is very grand like in the movies but they let u take pictures
the university is where the used to bring the tabacco leaves so the storage rooms are now the classrooms.
the park marie luisa was used as the planet naboo in the star wars movies where queen amidala came from.. the long arched bldg and they added all the waterfalls by CGi. also there are the archeological museum which has stuff from the roman times and prehistoric man
they have this thing where Eu citizens have free admisson to some musuems but i keep having to pay.. i should just say im from england and try bluffing as they ask for id... you can look inside the railings of houses at their courtyards inside. the doorways are decorated with elaborate ceramic tiles
had fish paella yesterday.. who said this was like biriyani.. its wet and sticky like uncle bens rice.. they even give bread to dip in it... today found a place that had shrimp omelette and later found a fried fish place so had take out
the hostal is really nice
it is a 300 year old home in the jewish quarter in an alleyway with no cars
all the rooms face the courtyard in the middle which is the reception
my room faces the reception so i have to keep my windows closed
remember i said spanish people dont shut up, this big group came at midnite and were singing and dancing and woke up the whole building banging their cutlery
the room in madrid was bad too as the people in thebuilding watch tv really loud till midnite too
weather is 26 instead of 38 which is comfortable but rain forecast for evening
cordoba has also dropped from 42 to 32 thank god!
tomorrow onto cordoba which am quite excited about as will be the best part of the trip. bought ladybird castenettes for the baby to smash around

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