Wednesday, September 8, 2010

History Geek. Take 3.

Previously: Take 1. Take 2.

Not where I went this weekend.

I had high hopes to go to Marbella this past weekend. But after looking into the price of bus tickets and one night at a hostel, along with the food and drinks that would increase the costs, I decided against it (good thing because my friends ended up spending over 100 Euro each). Not to mention a group of us had been discussing going to Lagos, Portugal in two weekends and I wanted to save my money for that trip (this trip is happening, I booked it today).

So with my roommate and a few of my other buddies heading to Marbella, and some of the other CIEE teachers heading to the beach (which I didn’t feel like doing this past weekend) I decided I’d taken the time to scout out Sevilla.

Saturday morning I woke up and saw Steven out the door to Marbella. Afterwards I quickly turned to my computer to see what time the famous Catholic Cathedral here in Sevilla opened to tourists: 11 AM. I had asked my buddy who was going to Marbella if I could borrow his rent-a-bike pass since he wasn’t going to be around all weekend. He agreed. Basically, for 5 Euros a week, you can have access to this rent-a-bike company that has bikes all over the city. It is extremely convenient and I used it most of the day. You just go to where the bikes are, put in your information, and it unlocks a bike that you can use for up to 30 minutes. Anyway, I biked down towards Cathedral de Santa María de la Sede snapping a few pictures on my way and made it to the tourist entrance right at 11. For the next 2 and a half hours, at an entrance fee of 0 Euros for being with CIEE and 3 Euros for an audio guide, I was blown away by the detail and extravagance of this 500-year old church. It is the third largest church in the world and the largest of the gothic style. It has 80 chapels and contains the final resting place of both Christopher Columbus and his son. Check out my photo album on Facebook for more pictures but here is just a sample of what I saw.

The famous bell tower La Giralda is also attached to the cathedral, and was part of the tour. The Moors built the majority of the tower as part of their Mosque prior to the conquering of the Christians. When the Christians conquered the Moors they simply added their bell tower on top of the Moorish part and that is what we have today. There are 36 flights of ramps, not stairs, to the top of the tower. They are ramps because the Muslims used to ride their horses to the top of the tower to ring the bell for daily prayer. There were some incredible views from the tower, enjoy.

After my long tour I hopped on a bike and rode over to the other famous location in Sevilla, Plaza de España. The plaza was under construction but as you can see it was still incredible.

After checking out the plaza I had to quickly bike home because I told my senora I’d be home for lunch at 2:30. Not a bad history walk (and bike) for a Saturday.

Did the Romans have Wolverines?

Saturday night I decided that I wanted to go to Italica (while rooting for my Wolverines, Go Blue!) an old Roman city just north of Sevilla. Italica was built in 200 BC and became one of the most important cities in the entire Roman Empire; it was also the birthplace of two Roman Emperors. I was able to recruit a couple of the girls to come with and we met at the bust station at 10 in the morning. The bus cost 1.30 Euro and took us 30 minutes. When we arrived we were pleasantly greeted with the fact that admission into the ruins was free on Sundays. Sweet.

We first wandered into what was at one time one of the largest amphitheaters in the Roman Empire at a capacity of 25,000. After wandering around the amphitheater and through its two millennia old arches and halls we made our way around the rest of the ruins. Other then the amphitheater, Italica is well known for having some of the best-preserved Roman mosaics. Check them out:

After about an hour and a half we caught the bus back into Sevilla where I just relaxed the rest of the day.

Other than the audio guide at the Cathedral (3 Euros) and the bus ticket to and from Italica (2.60 Euro) I did pretty well with regards to my expenses. I’m glad I chose to stay home this weekend and see more of Sevilla. Not only that, but I saved some money I can use on that trip to Lagos. Speaking of, check this place out:

NOTE: If the Wikipedia links bring you to pages in Spanish I apologize. I haven't figured out how to access Wikipedia in English. I can understand what those pages say because my browser (Google Chrome) automatically translates it for me.


  1. I think it is fascinating that there is a heron is the one mosaic.