Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wednesday (Sevilla)...

Italy will always have a special place in my heart, but Spain is certainly a wonderful second. Layers of cultures, friendly people, creative food, a sunny climate, late-night dining and long strolls. What's not to love! We are having such a wonderful, inviting first trip to Spain that its hard to imagine we will not return...soon.

We spent the bulk of the day at one sumptuous location...the Real Alcazar. This is the oldest in-use royal palace in Europe...basically a 14th century makeover of a 10th century Moorish palace by a Catholic monarch. The building and its walled gardens are a feast for the senses. The eyes are captivated by colorful tile floors, towering mosaic walls and elaborate ceilings. The ears are entranced by slow trickling fountains, tall trees blowing the the breeze, and hundreds of nesting doves cooing to their mates. The nose picks up the sweet scent of hundreds of citrus tree flowers, the pungent bite of scattered falled oranges, and freshly watered soil. The skin tingles with the transition from warm sunny alcoved gardens to cool palace rooms to damp royal baths.

We wandered for hours, and circled around to take it all in again.

After hours wandering and staring and interpreting, we indulged with a couple of beers on the roof terrace, watching the swallows swoop overhead for late afternoon insects. The perfect time to try (in vain?) to catch up on some blogging. Or to stare at the carefree birds and have another beer :)

Our pre-dinner stroll was through Maria Luisa Park...the site of the 1929 international exposition. The Plaza de Espana and several other remaining buildings anchored the ends of long pathways with dozens of tiny gardens and features. A dozen or so parrots (or some long-tailed green birds) circled together overhead. Old fountains sat dry.

We ended the day with a late tapas dinner, a night time walk, and drinks on the roof. Rinse and repeat...with pleasure.

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