Tag: Cathedral

Seville, Spain

We did more than drive the narrow streets while we were in Seville in December.  We stayed at an eclectic hostel, Hostal Sierpes, where the moment I walked in, I wondered if this was the place I’d regret bringing kids to. It wasn’t. In fact, I’d recommend staying there.  It was a pleasant surprise and change of pace from the more generic places we had stayed.

Entrance to Hostal Sierpes in Seville, Spain Inside our room at Hostal Sierpes in Seville, Spain Atrium on the second level of Hostal Sierpes in Seville Front lobby of the Hostal Sierpes at Christmas

Jeff and Violet toured the bull ring and museum in Seville; Plaza de Toros.  It looked amazing! Violet can tell you all about how the bull fight works, what flag they hold up if the bull is spared, how historically horses would help and often be killed, and she will happily tell you about the time a bull was spared (there aren’t many!)

Large Red Door to the Plaza de Toros in Seville Bull ring at the Plaza de Toros in Seville Spain Patron seating are in Plaza de Toros in Seville Spain Royal box at the Plaza de Toros Seville SpainTour of the Plaza de Toros in Seville SpainTour of the bull museum in Seville SpainTour of the bull musuem in Seville SpainFamily of three girls outside bull ring in Seville Spain

 

We visited the “Tower of Gold” – it’s proper name is the Torre del Oro.   A 13th century watch tower along the river that offloaded the riches from the conquistadors returning from Central & South America.  There was a small museum inside and then the rooftop viewing platform.

The Golden Tower in Seville Spain Torre del Oro at sunset in Seville SpainMy kids on the stairs inside the Torre del Oro in Seville SpainSmiling child at the Golden Tower in Seville SpainOn the viewing deck of the Golden Tower in Seville SpainLooking out at the city on the viewing platform of the Torre del OroClose up picture of the Torre del Oro in Seville Spain

We stumbled upon the modern architecture of Metropol Parasol (that honeycomb shaped building the background below) where the girls decided to treat each other to pony rides and Violet spent her Christmas money on a leather purse.  We didn’t set out to find the Metropol Parasol but it was a nice place to end up.  There were holiday craft booths to stroll through, small amusement rides for the kids and a generally festive atmosphere.

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I saw shops and shops full of flamenco dresses for sale. But unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead and we did not make it to a flamenco show while in Seville.  Truthfully, I just wasn’t sure if it was a family atmosphere and by the time I found a flamenco performance (which was right around the corner from our hostel) they were all booked.  We were traveling during the Christmas holiday.

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It was this trip in Seville that I realized that while we dressed in functional warm outer wear most of those around us wore, warm but fashionable outerwear. We just aren’t accustomed to the plethora of plazas that are enjoyed year round in Spain.

We stood in line for an hour to get into the Seville Cathedral. It was massive and expanse and left me wondering what all this empty, yet beautiful space was ever used for. The cathedral also holds the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Not without it controversy though. The history channel  reports that it is Christopher Columbus’  sons bones that buriedare  in Seville and his lie in the Dominican Republic.  I’m going to continue to state that I visited the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Which I thought was really cool.

Part of the cathedral was the tower of Giralda. Unlike the other towers we’ve climbed this one had ramps that led to the bell tower.  The most fascinating part of the tower was the electronic people counter letting you know exactly how many people already occupied the ramps and the bell tower. We we headed up with 417 people, when we exited there were 633 in the tower. I was glad we were done.

We rented an audio guide to share with the family as we went through. And it would have been great except for the fighting that ensued over it and the subsequent waiting  for your turn that led to children misbehaving as they waited. Then add in your backpack, camera and couple of shots with the cell phone to post immediately to fb, and the guards asking us to hold our children’s hands…our hand were more than full.  And 6 months later there isn’t much I can remember from the audio guide.

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We had an enjoyable walk to Plaza Espana in Seville and a fun, quirky row boat ride through the canal on the plaza. The plaza was a pleasant surprise from the crowded, restaurant filled plazas I had come accustomed to. It was a nice, calm, relaxing plaza with beautiful tile work and a wonderful fountain set within a large park.  We didn’t make it to the plaza until near 8pm, it would have been nice to make it earlier but our days were full in Seville.

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We ran across a carnival on our way back towards the main street from Plaza Espana. It made me smile to see an ice skating rink set amid palm trees.

The girls watched street performs ranging from a puppet/marionette show, mimes, painted people to other performers hiding under tables trying to scare passing pedestrians. The girls were fascinated by the street performers and would have lingered until the wee hours.

At a restaurant, we had two very traditional meals. [look these up and explain what they are]. Both dishes were wonderfully moist and yummy.

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The hostel was located close to nearly everything. Which also meant it was located on small, winding streets. Driving was a crazy experience! And even on foot we would frequently loose our way. I have learned that I have no aptitude for reading maps; I’d have it backwards and end up walking in the opposite direction I intended.

We quite literally stumbled upon our hostel after our day of exploring the cathedral, main street, plaza espana and eating out.

It was an enjoyable and memorable trip!

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Toledo, Spain

First, it’s not pronounced like Toledo, Ohio but TOE-led-O.  Actually, the girls thought it was pronounced TORNADO.  I had to keep explaining that it was not a town hit by tornado’s but that’s just how it was sounding to them.  The city is super old with lots of history and as such was a pretty neat place to explore. We did lots of walking and sightseeing and lots of eating.  We stayed in a hostel; which I had never stayed in one before.  It was essentially a bedroom with two bunk beds and a bathroom.  There was a rooftop terrace.  There was a small kitchenette and sitting area for all the guests on the rooftop as well.

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Hostal Oasis – Toledo

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The streets of the city were narrow and used by both pedestrians and cars a like.  Although in some spots I have no idea how a car even made it through.  Even the street right outside our hostel cars would drive on.  I did not attempt to drive in the city center.  I parked at the bus station in town and we walked (read aimlessly walked for way too long) to our hostel.

The girls and I took a trolley/train tour ride around the city.  It was more fun than I had anticipated.  We got a set of headphones and could listen to the recording on the history of the city — in English.

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The train took us all around the city and gave us some great views overlooking the town.

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Here is the Plaza Zocodover which is the main Plaza in Toledo and near to our hostel.  It was alright – as the Burger King and McDonald’s detracted from the ambiance of the city a bit.  But it was a good starting point and a consistent point on the map we could always find.

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Kids are welcome just about everywhere we’ve been here in Spain.  Then again, I haven’t tried taking them to a night club…although I’m not sure I’m taking myself to one either.  But at whatever time we go and where ever we go, we can be guaranteed that our kids will not be the only ones there.  Toledo was no exception.  After walking all over the city on Saturday we had one kiddo tired and falling asleep, one kiddo overly tired and bouncing off the walls and one kiddo who just thought it was neat to be out and about.

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On Saturday evening we went to see a Theater in the street performance.  While we mostly had no idea what was going on, it was cool to see.  The Plaza Ayuntamiento was PACKED!  The performance had several large explosions of feathers and colored dye.  The performance actually started at three different plaza’s and converged at the Ayuntamiento (i.e. City Hall) for the main performance.  After the streets began to clear the girls had a grand time playing in the mess that was left behind.  The girls were a mess!  I washed their hair later and the soap lather turned yellow!

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And finally here are some pictures from around the city.  For more pictures you can check out our photo website.

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