Headed off to our first of three stops for the day...the Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija. (Passed dozens of designer fashion and shoe shops...smiled fondly for Sherie :) The Palacio is the early 20th century mansion-turned-museum of the late Countess of Lebrija. Clearly an independent woman, she married at 49, widowed at 50 with no kids, and set off on a solo around-the-globe shopping spree soon therafter... picking up antiques and artifacts, china and furniture, paintings and tile from all corners. The ground floor is famous for its collection of Roman mosaics...many of which are installed as regular-use floors in the mansion, and yes, we got to walk on them. The Countess didn't hesitate to move a wall to accommodate the shape of her "new" floors. Shelves loaded with ancient archeological fragments. China from China...as well as Europe...with one set only the second in existence with the other at Buckingham Palace. A pricey painting from the Dutch master Bruegal. And who doesn't need their own private chapel with a glittery altar...perhaps for those days the chef makes sinful desserts?
On to the Catedral de Sevilla, past the pack of Gypsy women outside the gate offering twigs of rosemary. The cathedral is the 3rd largest in Europe behind Rome's St. Peter's and London's St. Paul's. (Ooooo, we have completed the tri-fecta!) Built primarily during the 15th and 16th centuries, portions pre-date the main construction (the 12th century Moorish mineraret (now bell tower) and exterior courtyard/patio) and portions we're built for centuries to follow. The caverous Gothic interior is filled with glittery church-stuff, including beautiful stained glass and an impressive 65-foot-tall golden high-altar. Workmen feverishly polished all things silver for some upcoming celebration (including hand-carried "floats" topped with silver statues). Local hero Chistopher Columbus' massive and somber tomb drew a snapshot crowd.
A warm afternoon walk past the Lamedas de Hercules (Jeff dubbed them the "pillars of Hercules)...four marble pillars anchoring either end of a huge oval plaza. (Our theory is this is the site of the city's former Roman circus... something to research.) Visited the small Basilica de la Macarena and its famous altar with the Weeping Virgin. This towering display glitters to entertain the eyes, but draws you in to stir the soul. Its difficult not to sit in silence and stare.
Left the Macarena...and spent the remainder of the day humming that incessant song! Circled a portion of the old city wall and returned to the hotel via a LONG river walk. Spotted a bridge by Calatrava (Maybe? Probably?) Joggers and sunbathers and skateboarders. Rockclimbers scaled the undersides of arched stone bridges.
Another wonderful late evening. Mojitos on the rooftop as the sun set. Our first paella for dinner. An evening return to the Pillars of Hercules, which transforms at night to a hotspot...with dozens of restaurants and bars...overflowing with cheery locals. We walking until we felt like the last people on the streets. It will be hard to say goodbye to Sevilla.