Thursday, March 19, 2015

Monday - Alcazar

Day 1: Flight to Spain and first evening in Seville
Day 2: Sunday in Seville
Day 3: Monday at the Alcazar

Day 4: Huelva

I had picked up some cereal and milk the day before, so we had a quick breakfast in the apartment.  We were on our own for the day.
Kids in the Courtyard of the Maidens

An arch in the palace, viewed from below
We took the light rail for the Alcazar.  There was long line to get tickets, which I wasn't expecting - otherwise I would have bought tickets online the day before.  After 1/2 hour and 19 euros (adults 9.50, kids free) it was totally worth it.  It is spectacular and pictures don't really do it justice.

The Alcazar was the palace in Seville when the Moors ruled Spain.  It was built in parts largely between the 10th and 16th centuries.  The entire property seemed to be about a square kilometer, about 2/3 of which were gardens.

I could go on about some things I read on Wikipedia ,the Unesco website, or the Real Alcazar's own website, and risk sounding like a smartypants.  Or, I could simply link to them.  I choose the latter, and will let a few pictures do the talking.  I will say that while most people probably come for the buildings, the gardens are also gorgeous.
Patio de Levi ... my son's favorite spot.  Also, fish.
Orange trees are everywhere around the Alcazar, and in fact all over Seville.

Levi in the maze
The kids, and Sammi in particular, seemed to enjoy the Alcazar much more than I thought they would.

Metropol Parasol

After a few hours at the Alcazar, we walked about a mile north toward the Parasol.  On the way, these guys were playing the accordion:

The Metropol is an interesting structure that I saw on the Internet during my trip planning, but it is in a pretty depressed area, kind of like a business district that was booming 30 years ago, and while it looks pretty cool in a picture, unlike the Alcazar the whole thing looks kind of shabby in person.  A paint job would help.


This day was our wedding anniversary, so we splurged on a fancy meal in a nice restaurant.  We went to the area near Santa Cruz, just outside the Juderia where we had eaten the night before, and we found another nice restaurant, 3 d'Oro.  Nancy started with a salad (about 9 euros), Levi ordered a large rib steak (entrecote, a super value at 16 euros) which I ate about 3/4 of, and it was quite good, and we also shared paella for 2 (30 euros).  I think Sammi also got one tapa that I can't recall.  We shared a flan for dessert.  Everything was very good except the flan, which was a little too sweet and a heavy consistency. 

All of that including my half-bottle of wine and drinks for the others came out to 85 euros, all in, for an elegant full-service restaurant with a few courses, including a half-bottle of wine and soft drinks.  I believe this would have cost at least $150 for a comparable restaurant in California.  They also had a prix fixe special which seemed very inexpensive, I think around 15 euros per person, but was for specific menu items and we wanted the surf and turf.

Another observation about food in Spain:  If I didn't already mention it, dining out is cheap compared to the U.S., considering that everything is included in the bill.  You don't have to add tax and there is no expectation of a tip.  Also, if you like to order beverages, they are usually 1 euro or so, compared to $2-3 nowadays at most restaurants in California, which adds at least $10 to the family tab.

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