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.
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.
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.
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.
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.