Saturday 20th November 2010
We took a day trip organised by the ship and travelled by coach via the new suburbs of Cadiz – to Seville, which was about 60 miles away.
Our guide explained about the Great Exhibition of the Spanish Colonies the planning for which began in 1913. The Exhibition itself was planned to open in 1929. Neither of these dates were auspicious! Many wealthy people in Seville funded the project and sadly there were a great number of bankruptcies. However, there remains a legacy of beautiful buildings erected by countries of the Empire but now given over to embassies and offices.
Our first stop was at the Royal Alcazar Palace, a spectacular building in the Moorish style, even though it dated from the Christian era. It dates back to the year 700 but later became the home of Spanish monarchs and has been added to throughout the centuries. It was very reminiscent of other Arab buildings we have visited but there were also other rooms dating from the 18th century.
While we were there, the rain that had been threatening, proceeded to come in torrents. In consequence, our view of the gardens had to be from the shelter of a covered walkway. We could still see that these were very splendid gardens, with many trees, topiary hedging and fountains.
We then had only an hour and a half to have lunch, look at the outside of the Cathedral and return to the coach. Sadly there was insufficient time, because of the great queues, to go into the Cathedral and see the tomb of Columbus.
We then drove a short way to the Spanish Plaza, an elaborate horseshoe shaped row of buildings and arcades around an enormous square which together formed the centre of the 1929 Exhibition.
Unfortunately, as we left, a rear window of the coach was broken by the branch of a tree. After some deliberation, it was decided that even though this was only the outer skin of a double-glazed window, it would be safer to change coaches and one was sent to pick us up. We met up with it a few miles out of Seville. It then became a race to return to the ship before 6.00 p.m. when it was due to leave (we should in fact have been back on board by 5.00 p.m.!) We arrived back at about 5.55 p.m. and had a rush to change in time for the evening meal.