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Brian’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 27 Aug 2011

Location: Madrid, Spain

MapAh! Sevilla (Seville)!!
It’s sitting in the train typing time again. Just 5 more minutes and our high-speed Renfe AVE train will be off to Madrid.
Sevilla was an enjoyable 4 day stay. Our hotel was very handy to lots of sights (and sounds) so we saw lots and did lots – including eating and drinking!!
Perhaps the highlights were;
• Going to the top of the Giralda at the Sevilla Cathedral – up 34 ramps and 17 steps to the top of the 93 metre’s tall bell tower;
• The Alcazar – the Royal Palace – its rooms and gardens;
• The Plaza de Toros where we learned about bullfighting – its rules and customs. I now know that there are usually 6 bulls and 3 matadors (they get 2 bulls each and 20 minutes to “subdue” it, but can claim a 10 minute extension) There is also a marked difference between what a novice and an established matador is paid. 1800 euros to 180,000 euros per event and from this they have to pay their “team” and other costs. Each bullring has its own private chapel and hospital. Our guide mentioned Belmonte as perhaps the greatest matador seen in Sevilla. AND our favourite restaurant was named after him and 8 heads of bulls he “subdued” adorned its walls. Great tapas and cold cerveza and verdejo!!
• The Inquisition Museum (Castilla St Jorge) This was where the Inquisition had its “headquarters” for 3 centuries and was aptly called “a place of reflection”.
• The Plaza de Espana and the Maria Louisa gardens; and
• The general “buzz” of this vibrant and historical city!
• DISAPPOINTMENT – not finding The Barber of Seville!!!
Not looking to do too much in Madrid over the weekend. Do the hop on-hop off bus to get an overview and then pick a couple of places to visit. I also hope to get tickets to take Creaky to a bullfight on Sunday for her birthday. Checked into the Hotel Silken Puerta Castilla in Madrid and am reading through the tourist blub to get orientated before we head out. From the length (and cost) of the taxi drive from the station her we arrived, we seem to be a bit out of the city c entre but the Plaza de Castilla metro station is just across the road from the hotel.