Managed to make it for a quick breakfast before the 10-minute walk to the coach. Temperature a very pleasant 23⁰ or so.
Colin informed us that the coach had a flat tyre! That’s a first for me. We therefore had to make a short detour to have this fixed, and we were dropped off at a remarkably large and sophisticated café in an industrial area whilst Antonio, our driver, took the coach away.
God knows how they fix a flat tyre on a 50-seater coach, but he was back remarkably quickly. We hadn’t even finished our coffee!
So, back on the road again to visit a place on the way to Sevilla – a pretty hilltop town called Carmona. We got there at about 11 a.m. and told to amuse ourselves for an hour and a half.
So we wandered around in somewhat haphazard fashion, happening upon a very imposing church by chance. There was a service going on, but we had a quick look around.
We managed to find a bar for a fresh orange juice (Jean) and a beer (me). Just the job in temperatures approaching 40⁰.
Back to the coach for the short journey to our Seville hotel. Lots of traffic.
We didn’t get there until around 1.30 p.m., and Colin had to wait at Reception to get our room keys. This was a new hotel from the Saga/Titan perspective, but surely things could be better organised once again? We could have spent less time, or no time at all, in Carmona, got to the hotel early, had something to eat and time to relax before a hard afternoon. Another black mark.
Fortunately, we were, for once, first off the list, so promptly ascended to our room. A very decent size, but showing its age in places. The much-needed aircon was rather slow in cooling mode…… No sign of our suitcases.
We hadn’t had any food since breakfast, so repaired to the bar for something to eat. Unfortunately, they were really busy, and we were due to leave the hotel at 2.35 for our trip into Sevilla to meet our guides for a walking tour. We ordered a sandwich at the bar with little expectation that we would get to eat it. A lady in our party ordered a flapjack before us. She never got it.
I went up to Reception to ask Colin to see if we could defer the start of the tour. Nope – the slot had been booked and needed to be honoured. He was looking very harassed again, as he was also being hounded for the WiFi code!
Whilst all this was going on, Jean messaged to say that our sandwich had arrived. I hared back to the bar to cram it down my neck, and we made it to the bus with seconds to spare. (It was actually very good).
At the meeting point, our guides, Ricardo and Clara, joined us on the coach for a short drive around Sevilla, with Ricardo doing the commentary. His English wasn’t great and his delivery ponderous, so I was glad that he wasn’t to be our group’s guide.
Indeed, we were in Clara’s party, and she proved to be tremendous value. Very funny at times, even if some of it was a bit heavy-handed, delivered with proper Spanish drama. The next three hours passed remarkably quickly as a result. Talking to other members of our party who were led by Ricardo, we were the lucky ones!
By this stage, it was really hot – around 43⁰. Clara expressed surprise that wimpy Brits were even allowed on a 3 p.m. tour in Sevilla in June – it is one of the hottest cities in Europe.
We spent about 10 minutes in the Plaza d’Espaňa, built in 1929 to commemorate the friendship between Spain and the Americas in 1929. Impressive, but – why??
Back on the coach for a short journey to the rendezvous point. From here, Clara led us on the walking tour proper.
First visit was to the huge cathedral, one of the largest in the world. Once again, there is plenty of evidence that the Moors started the building in the early 8th century, but the Christians added to it, often using Moorish labour. You’ll have seen enough pictures of churches by now, so I’ll try to keep these to a minimum.
We next briefly visited the Jewish Quarter of the city, where we got a chance to sit down and have a breather. Jean wandered off and bought a Spanish fan, of the type wielded to such effect by Clara.
From here, we walked back to the Sevilla Alcazar.
Alcazar is actually based on an Arab word meaning palace-castle. This seems to be more of a series of palaces than a castle. Once again, note the mixture of Moslem and Christian architecture and styles.
Amazing stuff – again.
A very hot walk back to the bus – by some measures, it hit 46⁰ at one point – so the aircon was going full blast. Twenty minutes later we were back at the hotel.
A reasonably decent buffet meal followed in the company of Jo and Brian once again. Brian is originally an East Ender, and he saw most of the big groups of the 60s in the clubs around that area. The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, The Yardbirds, Procol Harum. I am SO ENVIOUS!!! He had plenty of stories to tell, and so passed another great evening.
Tomorrow, blessedly, is a free day, but we will find something to do, you can be sure. I’ll tell you all about it later.