We arrived in Cádiz around 8:00 am. We had visited Cádiz in 2017 and decided to book an excursion for a tour of the city of Seville which is about an hour and a half bus ride from the dock.
Our first stop was the Plaza de España, a huge complex built specifically for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It was built to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits.
In the plaza, there are four bridges that cross a moat which represents the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. The spindles of the bridge are made of ceramic and are very beautifully tiled as well.
Along the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. There are a couple of bookshelves on each side the the alcove where visitors could get information about the province.
The next stop was the Seville cathedral. This building is unique because the basis of the church is an Islamic mosque that was converted after the victory of Spanish Catholic forces over the Moors. The bottom of the bell tower is the mosque’s minaret. The cathedral has 80 chapels.
A surprise awaited us inside, the tomb of Christopher Columbus! This is his final burial location as his remains were interred in several other locations before ending up here. It’s a very beautiful tomb.
We spent about an hour inside the cathedral with our guide showing additional points of interest then it was off to lunch.
On the way we saw a very historically important building, not the building itself but what it contains. It is called “The Archivo General de Indias”. In it are the log books of most Spanish ships, maps, diaries, and other documents pertaining to the voyages of discovery and trade of the Spanish empire from hundreds of years ago. Columbus’s personal diaries are kept here also. This is the place that anyone researching a Spanish shipwreck goes first.
This being the Saturday before Easter we also saw many balconies that were decorated with palm leafs. The streets were lined with decorated barricades to ready them for the processions/parades of religious bands and floats during this time.
After lunch we toured the royal palace called “The Alcazar”. This magnificent palace is built in multiple architectural styles but the most beautiful is the section done by Moorish architects. The second floor of the palace is still used by the royal family today. We were lucky that they weren’t in town or it would have been closed.
We were headed back to the bus when we noticed a plaque honoring Washington Irving (Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle fame.) Are you surprised? I was. Apparently he was an ambassador to Spain for years where he wrote several histories about 15th century Spain. He is fondly remembered by the Spanish.
P.S. We looked high and low on our tour for a barber… a Barber of Seville. No luck.