This morning, we packed our backpacks and ventured out towards the metro stop to take us to the airport. On the way, I snapped a couple pictures of some of the Alfama murals that we passed.
Our journey to the airport was very easy and our flight on this small TAP plane to Seville, Spain for the most part was good too.
Toward the end, though, we had A LOT of turbulence. I was seriously eyeing the barf bag in the seat pocket in front of me and even Dylan who is usually quite unshakeable started feeling queasy. I made it through the flight without loosing my lunch and was thinking I was home free...only to get ushered onto a hot bus with an incredibly unsmooth bus driver. Thankfully, I survived that too. And most importantly, our bags survived the journey too!
We took a city bus from the airport to the main touristy part of Seville. From the bus stop, we walked in nearly 100 degree heat to our hotel. Luckily, our walk wasn't too long and was quite scenic. We walked through the Jardines de Murillo, which is one of the main parks in Seville. Here, we came across a monument to Cristobal Colon, or Christopher Columbus as we know him in America.
We checked into our hotel and realized that we had a lot of day left. So we set out to see some of the sites of Seville.
First, we wandered through some scenic plazas until we got to the massive Seville Cathedral. (It's the largest Gothic church in the world, and the third largest church overall in the world.) It was closed by this point in the afternoon, but we got great views of the exterior.
Next, we walked by the Real Alcazar which is an historic royal palace that also happened to be a filming site for some Game of Thrones scenes. We realized that it was open late, so we decided to get tickets and check it out.
The palace was quite impressive! We could really see the Moorish influence in the architecture.
The palace had a cool (figuratively and literally) subterranean section with a pool of water, some impressive paintings, and a lot of painted tiles, which I really liked.
We also got to explore the gardens. Quite confidently, we decided to enter a hedge maze, only to have a bit of difficulty actually getting out. At one point, we saw a place where someone had forced their way through a hedge, breaking a wooden pole. I thought I might get desperate enough to do the same, but we made it out!
This was the other scary part of our garden adventuring. Dylan noticed the shell of a gross looking bug on one of the trees. Yuck! Everything else was quite beautiful though!
We capped off our day with a really, really good tapas dinner at a restaurant near our hotel. (We had actually tried to get food here shortly after we landed around 5pm, but were told that their kitchen was closed. This was our first introduction to the Spanish daily schedule, where people eat lunch from 2-4pm and then dinner between 8 and 10pm and where restaurants don't serve food in between. We have been operating on an eat whenever we are hungry schedule and tend toward early dinners, so we have had to really change things up.)
Ultimately, the food was worth the wait. Using my best Spanish, we ordered one of their tasting selection of tapas and then a cheese cake (of sorts) with vino de naranja (an orange flavoured fortified wine for which Seville is known) for dessert. It was delicious! We had grown found of Portuguese food, but we were quickly reminded of that fact that Spanish food is actually outstanding.