The heat hammered the pavement, slamming against our skin from both directions. Leaning forward in my seat I stretched my hand toward our tiny sidewalk table and the glorious beer it bore. The small glass was slick from the moisture gathering on its sides. I clutched it tightly. I’m typically not a huge fan of beer, but I’m quickly learning the drink is a godly reprieve from my advanced melting-into-a-puddle condition. I’m telling you, heat is kryptonite to us Canadians.
Here’s how I toured the city. Comfortably.
One thing you pick up lightning quick in hot climates (aside from beer and tea being god-sends) is that the most pleasant place to hangout is near a source of water. Any kind will work: the sea, a river, canals, fountains or misting sidewalk cafes. Thankfully the people of Seville understood this when they built the city. A fresh dose of moist air can be found intermittently and many of the best sites are close to Canal de Alfonso XIII, an offshoot from the massive river, Guadalquivir.
So note one: hug a water source if possible. Check.
Tip two? Seek—wait… ok I should pop this suggestion here near the beginning since my partner, J, who grew up on a tropical island has observed this through her entire youth and remains baffled.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE TIME OF DAY.
You will not see the residents of Sivelle—or any other hot place—out in the early afternoon.
“Only mad dogs and Englishman are out,” said J every time we broached the subject.
Aim to be cruising around in the early morning or late evening.
Don’t worry about hanging out after dark. The city is adapted to this, you’ll be fine after sunset. The rituals of colder climates cease to exist here. Restaurants open at eight and stay open till two or three in the morning. There is plenty of lighting at night and tons of people milling around doing their chores.
Ok back to tip two, now three… seek a sanctuary of shade if the sun’s rays are starting to beat down. In Seville you’ll have many choices. One of the main destinations for tourists is the majestic Seville Cathedral.
When it comes to cathedrals, I’ve seen a respectable number in my travels. The most recent were the Berlin Cathedral and the Ely Cathedral. The name of the game was to build a space to house worship, a place to match the reverence, wealth and faith of the people.
Or in Seville Cathedral’s case it is said the church elders stated:
Let us build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad.
When you see the size of the space enclosed within this cathedral you can’t help but find it a little bit crazy.
While I was visiting I saw people wandered aimlessly across the floor, their necks arched as their chins reached for the distant ceiling. I was tempted to just plop down to the ground and stare up at the grand arches overhead.
Many cathedrals take generations to build and this gothic structure was no exception. Construction started in 1402 and didn’t end until 1506.
As far as size, this cathedral is the third largest in Europe (after St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome). However, locals are quite happy to point out that the Seville Cathedral places first when measured by volume.
The height of the central nave is 42 meters. In contrast the Ely Cathedral’s central nave sits at 21.9 meters.
At a ludicrous 11,520 square meters the cathedral was built over the site of a grand Almohad—the ruling Moorish dynasty—Mosque. The spot was won during what is known as the Reconquista, where Christian rule eventually took back the Iberian Peninsula from previous Islamic conquest. As a result of this back and forth battle the peninsula is littered with Islamic-Christian hybrid worship structures.
Note four: when you’re moving fast you get a lovely breeze. The cool thing about Seville is how many different modes of transportation you can use to tour the city.
- There are great bicycle paths and various spots where you can borrow a city bike.
- You can rent a neat four-wheeled golf-cart turned into bicycle thingamajig to cruise around with the family if you like the idea.
- If you are feeling extra lazy but decide not to make everyone else petal you around you can also give the work to a horse!
There were carriages all around the big points of interest—they rested under the trees, they strolled down the parks and trotted down the roads.
If you can speak Spanish the drivers are great tour guides. From what I read of other’s experiences on TripAdvisor the guides could often speak a touch of English too—just enough to point out the main sites on the carriage route.
The cost is regulated and rests at €45 per tour. If you’re one person you’ve got the whole price, but if you’re two or three or four you can split the €45 amongst you! Sweet deal huh!
These are some of the beautiful buildings we saw on the tour. To learn more you’ll have to drop in for a spin around the block yourself! 😉
You’ll finish up the tour within 50 minutes, so as the afternoon heat is settling in you can hit the road and travel home. Next stop is a siesta (afternoon nap) or some chillaxin and then… guess what?
It’s time for another beer.