Christmas in Spain – Sevilla

Yes, I know it’s February. January turned out to be a bit of a crazy month, mostly because one or another of us has been sick since we got home from Spain. So here’s the long-awaited post on what we did in Sevilla on our last day in Spain.

First of all, we drove. It’s three hours from where we were staying in little Béznar to Sevilla, the longest stretch we drove during our vacation. We don’t mind driving (kind of look back on it nostalgically when we remember our time living on the West Coast), and our kids are great travelers. But poor Axa had a bit of a sensitive stomach during this whole trip, and we did end up taking at least one puke break on the way. Unfortunately, she felt no better once we arrived. So after another puke session on the doorstep of the Starbucks across the street from the Sevilla Cathedral, Tony convinced our hotel to let us check in early, and put Axa to bed, where she promptly fell asleep.

Meanwhile, Raj and I pressed on, encountering our first queue of the trip in front of the Cathedral. Fortunately, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world was worth the 15-minute wait.

Cathedral inside

At most of the cathedrals and museums we visited, Raj and Axa were quite absorbed by the audio tours. The Sevilla Cathedral had a special kids tour, so Raj tried it out, and was unimpressed. He wanted the full story, so I gave him my audio tour, and he reported to me all the details that had been left out of the kids tour.

Raj Cathedral

Our favourite part of the cathedral was the Giralda, the giant bell tower converted from a 12th century minaret belonging to the mosque that once stood on the site of the cathedral. Raj and I climbed all the way to the top of the 343-foot structure. At every new level, you could look out the windows of the tower and see the cathedral from a different angle.

Cathedral

It’s all gothic splendor and fantastical detailing, and from some angles looks rather like a castle from a Patricia McKillip novel.

Cathedral2

When Raj and I went to find Tony and Axa in our hotel, Axa was still fast asleep. So we left Raj there with her and his pad while we went to wander through the halls and gardens of the Alcazar, aka Dorn.

Dorn

The place was both beautiful and romantic, especially since we were there without children. Unfortunately, I had left my phone with said children so I guess all you get is the above selfie from Tony’s phone of the famous courtyard from Game of Thrones.

Really, though, the Alcazar is so worth a visit. It’s not quite as famous as the Alhambra in Granada, but it feels to me more like a place that people lived. It’s extraordinarily well-preserved, and has the same sort of mix of time periods, like several centuries of history frozen in place.

Geeks that we are, before we went back to our children, we had to walk over to the Plaza de España in Maria Luisa Park, which was used as a setting for Star Wars, Episode II. Unlike many Star Wars sets, this one received minimal digital alterations for the movie. Strolling along like Padme and Anakin (with perhaps slightly less repressed teenage passion), it really felt like we were on Naboo.

As the light faded, we went in for one more kiss on the bridge before returning to our children.

Star Wars

See? I told you it was romantic.

After going home and feeding the kids dinner, we took a turn through the artisan Christmas market in the piazza outside our hotel. And this is where it gets even more romantic (er . . . cheesy). You know that scene in Father of the Bride where she tells her dad they got her engagement ring at a flea market outside Rome? Well, we’re already married and already have wedding rings, but for years we have been fantasizing about getting matching wedding bands on a romantic trip in some romantic location. We always look for rings, but never manage to find something we like.

But on this trip, our first real vacation from our real European jobs, at the end of the year where Everything Finally Happened, of course we did. Here’s the artisan who made them, resizing mine to fit my pinkie finger.

Rings

And here are our new “pinkie promise” rings!

rings2

We promise to always keep being us, no matter how crazy we look to other people. And this is the end of my schmaltziest of schmaltzy stories. After that we went out for one last round of tapas, went to bed, and then next day flew home to Amsterdam. Which really did, somehow, feel like home.