Thursday, 20 May 2010

16 May 2010 - Coach to Seville

Seville was the first city we planned to visit when we moved to Spain, but it took us four years to get around to doing so.

We arranged to travel with Les and Jen, who had also visited Granada with us in May 2007. We had to rise at 6.30am in order to be in Calpe at 8am to join the Gandia coach for the 410 miles journey to Seville. We have become used to rising with the sun, and 6.30 am is very early for us these days.

We were seven hours into the journey, and well over half way, when the coach started to shudder. We pulled into a service station and discovered that something important had snapped, and the coach was off the road. Fortunately there was an empty Gandia coach at Granada, and a telephone call brought it to our location. The two coaches could take all the passengers from the broken one, and we continued on our way. We were impressed to arrive in Seville no more than an hour late.

We arrived at the Hotel Paco just after 7pm. Time for a quick wash and brush-up, dinner with a well deserved bottle of wine, and then out on foot to explore Seville.

The hotel was in the Old Town – just! Armed with a tourist map, and following directions from the hotel receptionist, we set off to find the river Guadalquivir. The river runs through the city, so pretty well all roads lead there. It took us about half an hour, and we even arrived where we had planned to be.

The river embankment was very popular, with crowds of locals and tourists. It was similar to Paris, with a wide a pedestrian path leading to the cathedral and the centre of the Old Town. It was a lovely warm evening, and very pleasant walking along the river.

As darkness fell, and the city lights came on, we reached the Torre del Oro, or Golden Tower, built by the Arabs in 1220 to keep watch over the access to the old port. We knew from our map that if we turned left here and walked away from the river we would reach the cathedral.

The trams on the Avenue de la Constitucion are an ever present danger. The masses of people spill over the pavements and street and the trams seem to creep up on you. By now it was quite dark, and the whole area a blaze of light.

We walked around the area with ever changing views of the cathedral. Like most cities, Seville looks its best at night with the beautiful buildings lit to show them to advantage. However the route back to our hotel seemed to avoid the well lit and popular avenues, and we made our way along narrow streets which got darker and narrower. Our tourist map did not let us down and we finally arrived back at the hotel Paco just after 11pm. A long day, but an excellent start to our Seville holiday.

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