Some Marmalade, Madam?


Since Tavira is only 18 miles from the Spanish border, it would have been rude of us not to have paid a visit to Spain during our short stay in the Algarve. How fortunate then that Seville, Andalusia’s magnificent capital seemingly built by the hand of virgins, cherubs, and angels, is just an hour and half drive away.

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Although the scenic coastal route was tempting, we kept to the motorway and soon were crossing the great Guadiana, the river boundary that divides the two countries. Almost immediately the landscape changed becoming much flatter and given over to agriculture, mainly field upon field of bright sunflowers. I gave up counting the stork’s nests that had been built in almost every electricity pylon that we passed. There must have been over two hundred of them dotted along our 175 km route. Some of the pylons had single nests; others were more popular with 4 or 5 nests built perilously onto the tiers of the giant steel frameworks of the Spanish national grid. I couldn’t help thinking how frightening it must be, for Stork Junior to have to take his or her first leap of faith from one of these gigantic structures over 100 feet off the ground.

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At the point that I was beginning to get bored with the drive, a distant view of Seville came into sight. On first glance it didn’t look anything special. The sprawling outskirts seemed to go on forever but our Tom Tom insisted that we were just 5 minutes away from Sevilla Centro. And so we were because suddenly the ugly ‘burbs were behind us and we’d arrived in the heart of this great city. After finding somewhere to park, we bought a street map and went to get some coffee. With Spain being one hour ahead of Portugal it also meant that it was just about a socially acceptable hour for Mrs to order a large Rioja on the side and some tapas.

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By midday it was showing 40 degrees on the thermometer and it was hot, extremely hot. Because of the heat we sought shelter from Andalusia’s rays in the cathedral. I doubt we could have found a better place to while away a couple of hours. It’s been a very long time since I’ve visited a building as impressive and beautiful as this. Not only is it Christopher Columbus’ final resting place but also, it is the largest gothic cathedral and, the third largest church in the world. It also has the longest nave in Spain. I can’t pretend that either, Irishman or I, knew any of these amazing factoids when we visited the cathedral (being the sort that are far too mean to buy a guide book) but this is why Wikipedia can come in very handy when writing about such things after the event.

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I’m sure if Pete and I do settle in the Algarve, Seville will be a place that we will visit often. We didn’t even start to scratch the surface on this first visit but there is plenty enough there to tempt us back, Museo de Bellas Artes being top of the list.

MrandMrsNevin

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26 thoughts on “Some Marmalade, Madam?

  1. Fantastic. What a lovely surprise. I thought the first photo did not look very Javanese and it was after reading I discovered you are now in Spain. What a luck while we are shivering mid-winter.
    Are you on holiday is it work that finds you back in Europe?
    Anyway, keep up the good work. I haven’t been too busy lately, taking it easy for while.

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    1. Alas, we are no longer in Spain or Portugal. We were there 2 weeks ago just for the briefest of visits. London was our first port of call and then we had a reconnaissance in Portugal, a possible place to move to after we’ve finished work here in Jakarta. So yes, a holiday of sorts 🙂 It was so nice to bask in sunshine and sit and drink coffee and wine in flower filled squares.

      I’ve been back in Jakarta a fortnight now and as I sit writing this the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling a gale, very odd. The rains should have stopped in April but they haven’t persisted yet. Lovely to hear from you Gerard and hope your socks are keeping you warm! 🙂

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  2. I’m up late and I happened to see the post notice in email. Fact is that I was about to delete since I looked hastily and thought that it was a comment notice for the post re: sardines. I’ve gotten too quick to click. But aside from my nonsense. Your pictures are so enteraining. The painted buildings are so pretty. The cathedral is spectacular. And as usual, I love reading what ever you write. Great post, Lottie.

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    1. Thank you Yvonne. I’m very glad that you didn’t click the delete button or you wouldn’t have seen the 2nd part of my iberian peninsula adventure! It’s night time for you and early afternoon for me. Seville was wonderful and I hope to go back again soon. So many things to see and do, it would have been nice to have stayed longer but hopefully next time.

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    1. I hope you agree then that Seville was created by virgins, cherubs and angels? There is much debate about preference of Spain over Portugal and vice versa – I think Spanish food is in general much more varied and interesting but I love both countries. Portugal appeals to us because it is a little more off the beaten track and is much less populous. Talking of which, here’s another factoid for you Andres….there are more people living in Jakarta than there are in the whole of Portugal. Get that!! 😉

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  3. Fab photos Lottie. I drove through Seville once. Nightmare. I’d like to do a grand tour of Spain with Mrs.Ha some time. I’ve only ever been there on business or birding. Spain or Portugal? Don’t know. Either would do me.

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    1. I hope you do get to take Mrs Ha on grand tour of Spain sometime. Pete and I love Spain too. If we can find something close to the border then it will be the best of both worlds. I sympathise with the nightmare drive, Seville wasn’t the easiest of cities to drive in. When my children were quite young, we drove from N. Yorks down through France, Spain and to the west Algarve in a very worn out beat up long-wheel base landrover – and two weeks later back again. Actually it was one of the best drives of my life, certainly the most memorable!

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      1. That sounds distinctly like our trip down here from Newcastle to France, Spain, and after a few months up the Spanish coast to Murcia and then back down to Gib, to the Algarve, then up to Lisboa and Sintra, and back across the middle through Mérida, and down to where we bought our finca.

        Did I mention it was in a Series III LWB? Plus towing a Sankey trailer. Indeed best and memorable in our case too.

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  4. Perfect photo tour and commentary. I particularly like the streets scapes. The colours and light are magnificent.
    Warmed up my breakfast time. But now I have to make toast for the marmalade.

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    1. Thanks Rod 🙂 My dear Ma was a great marmalade maker and she insisted on using Seville oranges for the job. I wasn’t sure what to call this post and then I thought of her and it all became clear! Seville is a majestic city, everywhere I turned to look there was a photograph to be had or something beautiful to gaze at and admire. The colours and architecture were wonderful and everything seemed to jump out at us from the backdrop of a perfect azure blue sky. I can’t wait to get back and do some more exploring!

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    1. But Sherry, I’m a European! I know, I feel just the same about you now, I can’t see you in the US either! 🙂 Speaking of which, I hope you are having a great time xx

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  5. Super group of photos, Lottie. And very nice writing too. I don’t think you and Pete should settle anywhere but travel and create these articles. You do a really nice job and they are quite entertaining.

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    1. That’s very lovely of you to say so, thanks Steve. I don’t in truth want to settle anywhere, but we do need a bolt hole and we do need somewhere to store our stuff. If I had my way I’d be a nomad but we need a base. I hope that I can entertain you with many future adventures. 🙂

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    1. Thank you Lydia. Funnily enough I was talking about you yesterday to Pete. We are planning a trip to Vietnam soon – unless I am going totally potty I’m sure that you went there? Yes, I’m convinced you went there! When I’ve got a moment I shall go back to your blog and re-read the posts. Hope all well with you. Lottie 🙂

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      1. I did! Went with my parents (so much nicer hotels!) and we all loved traveling there — wished we could have stayed longer.

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    1. I would absolutely LOVE to join you but sadly I can’t. If it was this time next year I’d be totally on for it. It’s been on my list of things that I’d really like to do for many years. Very excited for you! 🙂

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