Over breakfast this morning Helen and I were debating the weighty topic of whether to risk going out without a coat this morning. Our weather apps concurred that it was only eight degrees outside. Eight degrees in the UK in February is enough to send me running for my coat along with my hat and scarf but here it seemed a bit of overkill.
Of course there are a few differences between the Seville and Reading climates. For a start the sun is shining here and brilliantly so (that’s why we are here after all). Secondly eight is the minimum temperature here and in the UK that’s probably the maximum. Taking into account all these factors (it was a scintillating breakfast conversation) we decided to go without coats and never regretted it particularly when a friend back home informed us that it was snowing there!
That important decision taken we headed off to our first destination – the Plaza de España. Built for an expo in 1929 it is set in a park surrounded by some beautiful architecture. The Plaza de España is a semi-circular building with two imposing towers at either end. At the base are small bays made of mosaic and each one pays homage to a major city in Spain. It is a fine place to spend a sunny morning and gave me my first opportunity in 2020 to have an ice cream.
I consider the first ice cream of the year to be an important milestone and a step towards summer (I wish!).
The last time we were in Seville we had walk around the exterior of the bull ring but this time we decided that it was worth paying a visit to the inside.
I know that some would be horrified by this but I was a little disappointed that there weren’t any bull fights on – the season doesn’t start until April. You may consider it to be a barbaric sport and our guide said that no bull survives the ordeal but it would have been an amazing spectacle to witness nevertheless.
The tour was less interesting than I had anticipated. Rather than a “live” guide we had one of those audio guides which under your own steam they are fine but with a tour of about 30 people all going at the same pace it wasn’t ideal. Also we had to visit a couple of rather dry museum rooms which held little for me before we could go and visit the more interesting areas.
Like when we visited the Barcelona football ground a few years ago here too was an ornate chapel that the matadors could use prior to going out into the arena. And then they would head out through the heavy wooden doors and into the sandy arena.
It really reminded me of the Roman coliseums – round with steep banks of hard stepped seating. It must be an amazing atmosphere when it is packed with Spaniards baying for blood. And it brought to mind the gladiatorial combat that would take place there too only here the matador is expected to come out on top unlike the hapless Christian.
The tour only lasted 30 minutes and the time in the arena only half of that at most but it is worth a visit if nothing else to see the inside of what is a beautiful building that took 120 years to complete.