Sunday, January 31, 2010
I had a great weekend in Sevilla! It was definitely worth the brutal 6 hour bus ride it takes to get there. We arrived in the gorgeous city just after midnight Friday morning and headed straight to our hostel. The facilities were good for what we paid, and the staff was excellent! They were super friendly, spoke great English and went above and beyond to make our stay with them great. My roommate Chloe and I had a room to ourselves, and our other roommate Danielle shared a room with 2 other girls from SLU-Madrid who we went with.
We woke up on Friday morning early enough to catch the tail end of the free breakfast (toast & coffee) and then were on our way to explore the city!
Our first destination was the Cathedral- the 3rd largest church in the world! I've seen my fair share of beautiful, ornate European cathedrals in my day... but I have a feeling this one will not just blend in with all of the other ones! Perhaps the most famous part of this cathedral is the "Giralda"- the bell tower. On the same site that the cathedral is now, there used to be a mosque. And the Giralda is left over from that (Although the very top was added by the Christians). The cathedral is so big, and so close to everything else that it's hard to get a good picture that shows how big it really is... this is just a sliver of it, and the Giralda is on the right.
It seems like this was perfect timing for me to go to Sevilla. Last week in my Art History class I learned about many of the buildings there- especially the cathedral. Looking at the arches, ceilings, doorways and designs I was able to distinguish which artistic styles they were and could recall the names for the different elements in my mind... not gonna lie, I felt pretty cool :) haha
I took this picture just thinking it was a cool statue... but I found out the next day that it's Christopher Columbus's tomb. Now I'm glad I took the picture :)
After spending some time in the Cathedral, we decided to make the trek to the top of the Giralda. To get to the top you have to walk up 34 ramps- but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. They're short and not too steep. I was surprised to find out that back in the day (when it was someone's job to go to the top to ring the bells 5X a day) the guy rode a horse up it! The views of the city from the top were amazing.
Something I learned in my Art History class, is that the Giralda has a twin in Kansas City, since the two towns are "sister cities". Seeing the Giralda in person made me feel closer to my best friend Alex, who lives in KC and who I miss very much!
Then we made our way to the Alcázar...
For lunch we found ourselves at a Chinese restaurant... and the very first thing that caught my eye was this...
...Is the same one at House of China in Dubuque??????? Next time one of you are there, keep your eyes peeled and let me know! haha it's really bugging me!!!
On Saturday, we went on a walking tour of the city that was offered through our Hostel. It was on that tour that I learned the "statue" I took a picture of in the cathedral was actually Columbus's tomb, and we also went past this building, which is the point he set off from when he "discovered" the Americas.
It's located right on the river... which made me think of home :)
The tour guide also took us down a street that is called "the street of death" (or something along those lines), because of a massacre that occurred there. And, do you see the tile with the Scull on it in the picture below? In that place, for 100 years, dangled the head of the girl who was at fault for the massacre..... creeeeeeeeeepy! How can people live on that street?!?!?!?
We didn't roll back into Madrid until after midnight, so I slept in today as late as my body would allow me to. Today has been pretty low key so far, and the rest of it will be dedicated to studying and homework... after all that is what I'm here for, right? (every once in a while I need to remind myself of that fact!)