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Journal 19 - A Day Trip to Sevilla

April 16, 2006

On Wednesday I took advantage of a free day during the Semana Santa week to visit Sevilla, the capital city of Andalucía.  The city is also well known for their traditional events, and their Semana Santa is probably Spain’s most famous.

It was a 2 train ride to Sevilla and I arrived around noon.  I wanted to start out with the tour bus ride that Moira told me I should do to get an overview of the city before walking around, so I asked around until I found my way to Avenida Portugal where the bus leaves from.  Right before I got on the bus I had my first surprise of the day.  I was wearing my SGA shirt, and as one guy got off he read it and said, "Hey, Eastern Mennonite University!" He was a JMU student who's doing a semester abroad in Granada and he was visiting Sevilla with his family during the Semana Santa.  It was a fun little connection.  Small world.

So I took the bus tour in which I got to see part of the city across the river that I probably wouldn't have seen if I had just been walking. I saw the ratty abandoned modern stuff that Moira had told me about.  Sevilla is famous for their traditional and old stuff, and when they had set up for a world fair in 1992, they invested some 8 billion dollars in all these modern looking pavilions and lights and buildings, but since then it hasn't been maintained at all and it is now is left overgrown with weeds, falling apart and just doesn't go with the rest of Sevilla.  

At that point, I had some lunch at a little restaurant and started to explore the city on my own, taking some pictures of the city hall and other buildings.  Everything downtown is classy, old and well kept.  I took advantage of my student ID for a cheep entrance to the cathedral, and I wasn't inside for more than 15 minutes when I had my second surprise of the day.  Chuby, the one Finnish/Nigerian guy who comes sometimes to the Baptist church and one other Finnish guy where there!  The other’s name is Pase and his mother is from Madrid, so he speaks Spanish well.  Since he's studying the language, he's a walking talking textbook with the grammar and all.  Anyhow, we spent the rest of the afternoon together downtown.  

From there we also visited the Alcázar, which is an old Arab garden/fortress that is absolutely beautiful.  There are more gardens in Sevilla that I didn't get a chance to see, and I’m sure I would be able to make a few more day visits and still have more left to see.

Later we walked down to the Torre de Oro, and the Bull fighting coliseum, and then we made our way up through the center to see some of the Semana Santa processionals on our way out of town.  They had traveled by bus and I had used the train, so at around 8:00 we split up to go to our different stations.  It was a great day, and I was glad to share it with some others.  My train arrived in Cádiz at 11:30, and the walk back to the house took a good 45 minutes trying to find streets free of the crowds and processionals.  I ate what was probably my latest supper yet at around 12:15 or so and called it a day.