ALTERED: our strategy for a day in Seville

It’s best to know when to toss aside your day’s travel plan, and, when you do, to give in gracefully to defeat and reshape the day so that it becomes memorable. Who knows? As time passes, we might not even remember that the brilliant day on our journey wasn’t even our original plan.

Case in point: our second day in Seville. The plan was to take the train from Jerez to Seville and to arrive at the Cathedral in mid-morning. Two hours should be enough for viewing the church. We’d dine well at a place nearby which had great ratings. Late afternoon we’d stroll over to the Plaza de Espana before taking a train back to Jerez.

What a vibrant city! We should have planned more days in Seville.

We love to watch birds and couldn’t believe that our first sighting ever of the rose-ringed parakeet was in urban Seville.

We caught our intended train but as the train approached the station in Seville, our English-born friend turned to us and said she needed a cup of tea. “Tea? You just had a cup at breakfast!” As Beth doesn’t drink any caffeinated drinks, it was hard to understand why we would have to delay our touring for a cup of tea. Beth looked at her watch. Clearly, the tea would set us back, but maybe not by too much.

We stood in line at the Cathedral which gave us a chance to look around as we waited. Another slight delay, but we’d scheduled in this one.

The Seville Cathedral is both the largest cathedral and the 3rd largest church in the world. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How old is the Cathedral? The Cathedral actually started as a grand mosque, with construction beginning in 1172. Within a century, the mosque underwent its own conversion to become a Christian Cathedral under King Ferdinand III.

Seville’s wealth grew and so did the Cathedral. “According to local oral tradition, the members of the cathedral chapter said:  ‘Let us build a church so beautiful and so grand that those who see it finished will think we are mad.’ “ The Cathedral continued to be expanded and enhanced until its completion in 1511.

We spotted a crowd in the distance and guessed this must be the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

We were surprised how impressive the tomb was. The pallbearers seemed to be eerily life-like and one appeared to be looking down at those who gathered around.

As in many other important churches, the artistic materials, details, and workmanship were outstanding.

It was almost painful to watch people walk across the marble floor, a beautiful work of art.

When did we realize that even though we hadn’t finished touring the Cathedral, we’d taken so much time that our chosen restaurant would soon end serving lunch? We had no choice but to head straight for the restaurant, where we discovered many people ahead of us in line.   The disappointing decision was made to go somewhere else for lunch.

After settling ourselves in at another restaurant a few doors away, we checked the time. Beth had forgotten to bring her camera on the day’s outing, and so Joe used his iPhone for photography. When Beth takes photos it usually adds extra time to any outing. Without her camera, we assumed we would spend less time rather than more in the Cathedral. We had sorely underestimated just how much there was to see and how interested we were in everything around us. Then, too, we realized just how tired we were from the touring.

Looking back, we were sorry the day hadn’t gone as originally planned, but clearly that plan had a few major flaws. The Cathedral merited the extra time that we gave it.

The plan forward was clear. After lunch, we took a taxi directly to the train station and headed for a little café for our friend to get a cup of tea before we caught our train to Jerez.


October 2017

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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12 Responses to ALTERED: our strategy for a day in Seville

  1. I failed to take a good picture of the tomb of Christopher Columbus during the visit of the cathedral, but you did it perfectly. Very impressive.

  2. “Beth had forgotten to bring her camera on the day’s outing” – what is happening Beth? Burnout?

    • Oh, this was bad – but the only other time was even worse! We were at Angkor Wat and had taken a tuktuk 37 km out to Banteay Srei, one of the most scenic of all the temples. It wasn’t till we arrived that I realized that I’d left my camera behind. What a crushing disappointment. Joe’s iPhone photos were adequate but I’m wanting to revisit again to see that beautiful place AND take some photos!

  3. The Cathedral is a beauty, isn’t it? The first time we visited, a mass was taking place and we were able to hear the organ which was magnificent. Our last visit there allowed us to spend a few hours wandering around and I climbed the original minaret (God knows how many steps!) for a panoramic view of the city. If you ever wondered where all the gold went ended up that Spain looted from the New World, the Cathedral is a good place to start! Anita

    • We did think the same thing about the gold. Having visited Ecuador and Peru last year, the stories of confiscated gold were fresh in our memories. So here was undoubtedly that same gold – decorating the cathedrals of Spain.

  4. icelandpenny says:

    Somebody once said, “Life is what happens while you are planning something else.” We all have to know when to just dive into that “something else,” don’t we? Glad it all worked out.

  5. plaidcamper says:

    What a magnificent building! I hope you can return to Seville one day…

  6. Columbus’s tomb is amazing. That would have been worth the effort on its own. Perhaps your English friend needs to invest in a thermos flask so she can carry her tea with her and have it on the way. 🙂

  7. leggypeggy says:

    Amazing how being a tourist always takes more time than you expect.

  8. Mary Joplin says:

    You definitely need to return to Sevilla. Apart from the Plaza de España, there are other magnificent churches, like El Salvador, and many beautiful mansions, as well as the “callejeo” – just getting lost in the narrow streets of the centre and peeping into baroque doorways to se the shady courtyards within. But there’s so much world to see…

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