Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Show and Tell

Roger and I became tour guides when our friends of almost 30 years, Kathy and Randy Cardon, came to visit us for 4 days during their whirlwind trip of Europe.

We had a great time showing some of our favourite spots, and exploring those on our “must go see” list. As in most things, some of the best things in life have been those we just stumbled upon.

After spending a day where I showed Kathy around Valverde, and Roger took Randy to the mine, we had a wonderful dinner in a restaurant just down the road from our apartment.
The next day we started off by going to see Grutas des Maravillas in Aracena, the caves we had seen when we first arrived. Kathy and Randy were as awestruck as we were of the deep caverns, lakes and formations that we explored on our tour.

Afterwards, we drove to Alamonster la Real where we hiked to a 10th century mosque and got a great view of the picturesque village below. Roger gave me a boost so I could see over the wall!
Although we’ve driven to Sevilla a few times, we have never walked around the city and had always been told it was one of the most beautiful in Spain. We were not disappointed and it held up to its top billing. After reading guidebooks, we thought Toro del Oro, the Cathedral and Plaza de Espana would be the highlights, but instead, our favourite places were those we didn’t plan to see.
We were walking by the Plaza del Toro, the bullring that took 100 years to build and by chance saw it had a museum. We checked it out and decided to take a tour which was incredibly informative and gave us all a new appreciation of this part of Spanish culture.
The guide told us how there are several staffed operating rooms within the complex ready to care for injured matadors and that bulls that fight the perfect fight are spared by the matador and then used for breeding.
The bullfighter’s chapel is very beautiful and the bullring itself seats 14,000 spectators.

We then came across a plaza that was teeming with families out for a Sunday walk and checking out the Salvador Dali sculptures. The atmosphere was so vibrant, we enjoyed just sitting on some steps, listening to music, having a beer and eating chips, olives and almonds sold by street vendors.

Sevilla’s Cathedral was breathtaking – not only because of its sheer size, but for the beautiful stained glass windows and towering ceilings.

We strolled to Plaza de Espana where a Star Wars movie was filmed – the plaza was built 80 years ago and relatively speaking seems like it’s a “youngster” in terms European architecture but it was still beautiful to walk around and the tiles are incredibly intricate.

Sevilla really is a beautiful city – there is still a lot to see, but it was special seeing it for the first time with good friends.

Hasta luego.

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