April 12, 2015: Sevilla

Our first morning in beautiful Sevilla.  Dominica and I were up at nine thirty.  It took a while to get the girls out of bed.  They were up so late last night, they did not get nearly enough sleep.  Even letting them sleep until ten thirty only gave them about eight hours which is not enough for little girls to be their sunshine selves.

The bathroom handle in our apartment came apart this morning.  Little bit of a problem there.  We can make it work but it could result in the girls getting locked in there so we have to be super careful about it now.

Our plan this morning was to head out and try to do the “Green” trail for kids from the guide that we got yesterday.  We only made it to the other side of the Prado de San Sebastian before we encountered the City Sightseeing bus salesman and, since we had talked about doing this anyway, decided that it would be a cheap and easy way to get to see a lot of the stuff that we were never going to get a chance to make it to anyway.

We had to wait twenty minutes for the bus to come, which did not make the girls particularly happy.  We managed to get seats up top even though the bus was pretty full and Liesl sat with me on the right hand side of the bus and Luciana sat with Dominica on the left hand side.

Liesl actually put in the headphones and listened to most of the tour.  She enjoyed.  Luciana was not so inclined and was pretty bored.  The bus tour took about an hour.  We got to see a lot of the parks and across the river through many neighbourhoods.   It was a nice, quick tour of the city although I had seen a fair amount during my walk last night.

We rode the bus all of the way around to one stop short of where we had gotten on (we got on at stop number two and got off at number one) at the Gold Tower – and ancient Moorish defensive tower that still stands in the heart of the city.  On the trip we got to see old and new parts of Sevilla and we even saw the big department store, El Conte Ingles, that both Dominica and I thought would be perfect for finding me a razor.  We made plans to take the bus back there this evening to see if we can get one.

From the Gold Tower we walked north into the college area where I had been last night which was handy because I already knew my way around. As we headed up the street we found a little restaurant that we popped into and enjoyed a nice little lunch.  The girls ate well too.  Luciana just loves getting calamari.

In the big square there we got ice cream which was very good.  It made the girls happy which is always a struggle when sight seeing.

Our big stop this morning is seeing the Sevilla Cathedral, the world’s largest cathedral and the third largest church – one spot bigger than St. John the Divine in New York City which I have been in a few times.  We were stalling with the ice cream because we had arrived before the church would be open for viewing.

We were near the beginning of the line to get into the cathedral.  It was still a bit of a wait and all of the guidebooks telling us that the church was free on Sundays were incorrect.  It was eighteen Euros for us to go in.

The church was very impressive.  So big and so old.  There was just tons and tons to see inside.  It was very dark so quite difficult to get any pictures.  I did what I could.  The resting place of Christopher Columbus was inside as well.

Dominica had an audio guide and managed to get through about half of the church.  The girls were pretty restless and I spent my time wrangling them and getting pictures when I could.

The big thing that we had been promising the girls was that we were going to climb the incredibly tall church tower.  The steps in the tower are actually ramps meant for horses to climb, which seemed insane that a horse would actually have gone in there once we saw it, but it meant that it was safe for the girls to do.

It was quite a climb but the girls did it like old pros.  They went right up the entire way.  We were SO proud of them!  They were pretty bored up top, though.  It was very crowded and hard for them to see or do anything.  I took a lot of pictures and videos from up there.  Really great views of the entire city in every direction.

Then the long walk back down the tower and into the orange grove courtyard which was really beautiful.  We stayed there for some time.  Dominica and I relaxed while the girls played with the fountains.

By this point it was the middle of the afternoon.  We had had a busy day.  We had been promising that if the girls were good that we would take them to the playground that I had found last night.  So that was our next stop.  The long walk back nearly all of the way to the apartment by way of the University of Sevilla.

We spent maybe an hour on the playground.  The girls had so much fun.  They are all about playgrounds.  There is just no getting around that.  It is their favourite thing ever.  No matter where we go it is all about the playgrounds.

We ended up having to leave the playground earlier than intended because Luciana clearly needed a potty break.  We were hungry as it was around six or six thirty so we went to a restaurant in the big park to the south of where we were.  Dominica took Luciana into the bathroom there and discovered that she had had a huge accident which pretty much ruined the afternoon.  It was a huge mess and incredibly stressful for Dominica to deal with.

To add insult to injury, it turned out that the kitchen was closed and we were unable to get food!  So frustrating.

So we gave up on dinner for a little bit and set out to catch the bus to take us to the department store so that we could deal with the razor as that has been such a big deal for so long. But, sadly, the bus never came.  It was supposed to be running every twenty minutes but after an hour we gave up and started walking to see the Plaza de Espańa while we were so close.  No department store for us.

While trying to get into the plaza, Dominica dripped on a pothole and fell on the street spraining her ankle.  It was a real fall.  It really scared the girls.  Several strangers stopped to try to help.  Dominica was not able to get up for a while and was in significant pain.

Eventually she was able to hobble back towards the apartment.  All of our plans are done for the night.  Hopefully she will be able to walk tomorrow.

It was a slow walk back but Dominica’s ankle got a little bit better as we returned.  But it was still really bad.  We tried to get food at one of the places right in front of our apartment but, to add to the disaster of the evening, they were all closed.  All of them.

We I got Dominica and the girls settled into the apartment.  Luciana ran and climbed right into bed telling Dominica that she was ready to snuggle her to make her feel better.  And I set out to walk the city to see if I could find any food that I could bring back.  For all we knew, nothing was going to be open anywhere.

I tried looping around some streets really near to our apartment but found nothing.  Thankfully I decided to try going north in a direction that we had never been to see if I would stumble on something new.  And I did! I found a Mr. Pizza.  This is the first pizza place I have seen in forever.  I ordered two large “Maxi” cheese pizzas which took under twenty minutes and briskly walked them back to the family.  We ate nearly everything!

As soon as we were done eating, about eleven, Dominica and the girls went to bed.  At eleven twenty I set out for an evening stroll.  By midnight my daily total was over thirty thousand steps and thirteen miles walked during this twenty four hour period.  Not too shabby.

My first stop was to go to the Plaza de España and actually figure out where it was and how to see it.  Even at night it completely takes your breath away.  One of the most amazing architectural works that I have ever seen.  It was just incredible.  Actually seeing it at night might have been far  better because it was so personal.  There were only a couple of people there and the space is so big that it was like being completely alone anyway.  Nearly everything was open so I explored the plaza.  Even so far as to climb the steps and stand on the balcony!

It was so amazing.  I am so glad that I took the time to do this walk.  Totally worth it.  This is a memory that I will have for a long time.  I really don’t know how to describe such a gorgeous structure.  And by the time that I left, just before midnight, I was practically the last person there.  I can’t wait to bring the family here tomorrow.

From there I walked south east and explored the 1929 Exposition buildings that were built there and took a long loop around the park before heading back to the apartment a little before one in the morning.  It was a very nice walk and I know the city a little better now.