The walking tour was an excellent way to get orientated with the city, learn a bit about the culture of Seville and to tick off some of the major tourist in just under two hours. Our softly spoken guide - a Betis fan who wasn't at all happy to see Seville win the Europa League the night before - took us round the district of Santa Cruz.
We started off in the main shopping streets of Sierpes and Cuna, stepping inside an amazing Gothic church, through a district of shops selling flamenco dresses and learning about the fiestas which are the major cultural event of the year for Seville residents.
|Becks relaxing in the window of Casa Roman|
After a quick rest in the square it was into some of the small pedestrian streets at the heart of Santa Cruz. There were some great views of squares filled with Seville orange trees and blossoming jacaranda trees rising up between buildings.
|Orange trees in the courtyard of the Cathedral|
Recharged, we headed to headed to Seville's main event, the Cathedral. You read horror stories about the queues but we luckily only had a short wait to buy a ticket. A good job too as the heat of the sun was searing down on us as we waited.
The highlight of the cathedral for me was the Giraldi tower. The tower is over a hundred meters high and it is ramped all the way to the top. Originally donkeys carried visitors up the tower, but we had to walk with the ramp giving the calves quite a workout. From the top there were some great views of the city and not too many crowds.
|Bells in the Giralda Tower|
Tickets in hand we strolled through the Jardines de Catalina de Ribera up to the northern end of the Santa Cruz district where we stopped for a couple of tapas at a small bar run by the sister of our guide. The bar was closing as we left, close to 4 o'clock, for the afternoon siesta which seemed a lot more prominent in Seville than it was in Madrid.
|El Real Alcazar|
With the heat (or could it have been the early start ?) getting to me we headed into the gardens for a rest under the shady trees. We spent a good half hour lying under the trees and it was only a group of noisy school children eventually drove us on.
After our break we walked round the more formal part of the gardens and finished visiting the remained of the palace, but I have to admit my heart wasn't in it.
|Inside the Alcazar|
Built in 1929 the plaza is an enormous semi circle of Renaissance Revival buildings. Truly grand, although I'm not sure if the buildings had much purpose other than to look good and as a place to promenade.
|Plaza de Espana|