Friday, May 13, 2016

Day Trip {Sevilla #2}

We are having unusually nasty weather right now -- rain, wind, and thunderstorms, but we decided to brave the weather and head to Sevilla for another day trip with my parents.  We actually got very lucky and anytime we were inside it would be pouring rain, but when we were outside it was clear (well, at least not raining).

This time we started at the Real Alcázar -- a Moorish palace built in the 10th century.  It was redone in the 14th century and is still used today as a royal palace (the oldest in Europe).  The palace is decorated in a style called Muejar, a mix of Islamic and Christian elements.  The layout is very confusing but this was to make it more exciting and surprising apparently -- me, I just found it confusing!  

The Alcázar is also not very stroller friendly (this must be a Moorish trait!) but since Sevilla is stroller friendly, we brought our stroller.  We would take turns watching the stroller and going into the various rooms.  Serafina wanted nothing to do with staying in the stroller because she wanted to jump in the rain puddles and climb ALL THE STAIRS which she had just learned how to do!  So someone was on Serafina duty, someone was on stroller duty and the other two would go to look at exhibits, then we'd switch.  It worked because we had plenty of adults -- so be prepared if it's just one or two of you with a kiddo!  

I was a little underwhelmed by the Alcázar but I think that was mostly due to the fact that we had just seen the Alhambra which is hard to beat when it comes to Moorish Palaces and also because the gardens at the Alcázar were closed due to the weather.  We have been told the gardens at the Alcázar are just spectacular and with the little that we were able to see out the windows, we agree!  So I would say that the Alcázar is a "if there's time" sight -- if you have many days in Sevilla, then yes, go for it -- but if you are strapped for time then stick with the Cathedral and other sights!  And also make sure the gardens are open.
more gorgeous details and carvings

We also went to the Cathedral again -- which I am glad we did.  I saw things I hadn't seen the first time.  Serafina slept through this visit to the Cathedral which is a great place to take a nap because it is dark and quiet(ish) inside.  Plus it was really fun seeing my parents's reactions to this massive and gorgeous church.
A quick note about tickets for the Cathedral and the Alcázar -- both places have online ticket sales that allow you to purchase advance tickets and get into a shorter line.  For the Cathedral, the website is only in Spanish so I struggled to find how to exactly buy tickets.  Best I could find was being rerouted to a third party sight that made me create an account and then purchase tickets.  This made me a little nervous, so we opted to just wait in line once we got to Sevilla.  The ticket line for the Cathedral is mostly in a courtyard so it is easy for babes to run around (and this time around the line was pretty long but we still only had to wait no more than 30 minutes).  For the Alcázar, the online sight is much more user friendly (and in English).  You pick a time that you want to enter and how many people you are purchasing tickets for -- remember to include the kiddos!  While you won't pay for their ticket, most places still require babies to have their own ticket.  We didn't know you could buy tickets in advance for the Alcázar, but the line moved quickly and it all worked out!

{I should also note that many of my pictures for these places turn out blurry -- you aren't allowed to use a flash in most of these places to protect the old (old) items.  And when most of these places are dark already, no flash can cause for some tough scenarios to take pictures, but hopefully even the blurry pictures can capture just how gorgeous these places are!}

We also walked along the two main shopping streets and I was pleasantly surprised to find that most stores were open during the lunch time break!  Sevilla has wonderful shopping, especially for shoes -- Spanish shoes are just gorgeous and I have been eyeing a few pairs...  (To get to these streets from the Cathedral, you will exit the church in the orange trees courtyard and basically just head straight away from the church towards city hall/Plaza San Francisco and you will end up at the beginning of the shopping area.)

Sevilla is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities and I can't wait to continue to explore some of the lesser known areas in the future.  If any of you have been to Sevilla -- let me know where we should go on our next trip up there!

1 comment :

  1. Check out the Basilica de la Macarena! As you enjoyed Semana Santa, I think you'll enjoy this. It's the church that houses the most important Virgen Maria in Sevilla. She's beautiful. There are a few other statues there too. If I remember it's a bit of a walk from the cathedral/Barrio Santa Ana, but it was very cool to see. I also hear that Sevilla's Bullring and accompanying museum are very good, but I've never been there. If you can stay a night, definitely go stroll around the cathedral in the evening. Sometimes there are musicians and the lighting around the church are magical!


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