September 23, 2005


We´re extending our stay in Sevilla to four nights because there´s a bullfight we want to see on Sunday evening. We chose that instead of going on to Granada and seeing the Alhmabra, the grand Moorish palace complex.

Sevilla is a surprisingly extensive city -- fourth largest in Spain -- I´d be surprised if it has less than a million people -- and the central, older part is pretty, with lots of whitewashed or brightly painted buildings with wrought iron balconies. The most central hotels were full up, but we found one in a slightly less crowded, more neighborhood-style area with lots of places to eat, and well within walking distance of the attractions.

The biggest attraction here, physically and otherwise, is the cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Unlike the one in Toledo, it is massive without being overwrought. The sheer circumference of its columns is awe-inspiring, and its many side chapels are finely done. Whaat overwhelmed me most was a raised sepulchre off to one side of the centermost area, on a big marble pedestal, with bronze statues of four kings as the pallbearers -- they represent the original four kingdoms of Spain, which are Castile, Leon, Navarra, and (I think) Aragon. The casket they hold up is cloaked in a bronze drapery, and inside, a small sign underneath tells us, are the remains of Christopher Columbus.

I was overwhelmed to see it.

There´s also an Alcazar, that is a walled medieval fortress, and within those walls, an old Jewish quarter, now quite desirable as real estate. And a magnificent royal garden adjacent, with fountains and tiled benches and centuries-old trees whose trunks are as thick as the cathedral columns.

Now on to a couple of more leisurely, I hope, days walking in Sevilla, and then the bullfight and then a long straight route back to Barcelona.

By the way, I plan to post photos after I get back.

We´re keeping informed on Hurricane Rita through the Herald Tribune and El Pais, the Spanish paper. It looks horrific, and Austin looks as if it´s just on the western edge of the storm. I hope this time more efective measures are taken in advance, as well as afterward.