Our second day is Seville began with breakfast at the hotel. I think I am in love because the buffet had scrambled eggs with bacon, ham, fruit, bread, juices and coffee. May sound like your basic Holiday Inn Express breakfast but in a country where the usual breakfast is a pastry with jam, it was a big deal!
After breakfast we visited the Alcazar. Originally a 10th-century Moorish palace, it was “updated” in the 14th century. While this is one of the largest tourist attractions in Seville, it is still in use by the royal family when they are in town. (I doubt they visit in July, though, since it is 103 degrees or higher every day!!!) The elaborate, Arabic architecture and beautiful gardens were awesome and we enjoyed our visit even though it was 103 degrees. Did I mention that it is 103 degrees every day (or higher!)??? I don’t care where you are from…you don’t get used to 103 degrees!!
Our next stop of the day was at the Seville Cathedral. This is the largest cathedral (by area), in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records). When building began, in 1401, the architect and builders announced their intention to build a church so big that “anyone who sees it will take us for madmen”. And they were right! Building something this big is crazy!! Inside there were many original paintings from the 16th century, as well as treasures of the church that have been preserved through the years. The Seville Cathedral has a massive organ which has over 7000 pipes and is played daily during Mass. The altarpiece is made up of carvings covered with gold that took generations to complete. One of the most famous artifacts we saw was the tomb of Christopher Columbus. (The Dominican Republic and Cuba also claim to be the burial site of Columbus, but Seville has the legitimate DNA claim.) I can’t really express how big and massive the building is inside, but the guy changing lightbulbs had to use some type of crane.
The Giralda Tower is the only remaining part of the previous mosque that was torn down to make way for the cathedral. After climbing 330 feet up a spiraling ramp, we were rewarded with a fantastic 360 degree view of the city. There were 35 spirals (levels) winding around the tower that made up the trip to the top. We were glad we didn’t know that before we started, or we might have stayed on the ground! The ramp was originally designed for riding a donkey to the top five times a day to give the Muslim call to prayer.