Sevilla!

11 Sep


After we left Toledo, we took a very very long bus ride to Sevilla. We were on a bus from 9am to about 5 pm, with a couple short stops along the way. We got off the bus and met our host moms and families. Savannah and I were freaking out (or at least I was for sure). Our names were called, and we met our host mom, María Angeles! She is wonderful- she talks to us in Spanish (yes, duh, but seriously. Some people switch to English as soon as we stumble over a word), she prompts us to speak and asks why I’m quiet sometimes (because I was exhausted the first few days), and makes the most wonderful food. I will hopefully post pictures of our cute apartment later, I have not yet taken any!

The first couple of days in Sevilla included a lot of exploring. We saw the Torre del Oro near the Guadalquivir river. We learned in my culture class at WSU that the tower was used to store all the gold that was brought back from the Americas, because it was right on the river. Mostly, the tower is just a piece of art, another beautiful historical monument in our city. I love that. Everywhere you step is a historical landmark!

Guadalquivir River

I think its safe to say that my favorite part of living in Sevilla is that there are horses EVERYWHERE. I’m not sure if everyone is familiar with my absolute adoration of horses, because for a while it wasn’t that much of an obsession. When I was younger, all I wanted for my birthday was to ride on a horse for an hour or so (and I got it- thanks mom!) Being in this city has brought that love of horses back into my life. Check it out:

             

Horse-drawn carriage rides are throughout the city. Statues of horses are everywhere. This is a horse-lover’s paradise. In fact, I plan to do my final project for one of my classes on the history of horses in Andalucia.

Sevici bikes.

The only downfall is that I can’t really ride a horse to class. That might be weird. So, instead of arriving to school on horse-back or walking, we have found a new preferred method of travel: Sevici. Sevici’s name comes from Sevilla+Bici (short for bicicleta). There are stations like this one all over the city. You swipe your card or type in your number and pick a bike number and you’re set! A free 30 minute ride to wherever you can find another bike rack. 🙂 It is really great, although getting a good bike is sometimes like a game. Some of the bikes’ gears don’t work (obnoxious on a 20 minute ride uphill to school, trying to keep up with roommate), some of the seats are stuck really high or really low (hard when you have to stop and go at intersections and your feet don’t touch the ground), and sometimes you pick a bike, try to start riding it only to realize the chain is completely broken or the tire is flat. Its like a guessing game. Although of all the times we’ve ridden them, we’ve only had problems with a few bikes!

La Giralda

So on Wednesday, we got out of class early to go see la Catedral de Sevilla. This cathedral is the third largest in the world, after the Vatican and another cathedral in England I think. It is huge and full of beautiful designs, statues, and history. The whole place is so ornate. I couldn’t sit still in there- there was way too much to look at. After we toured the inside of the cathedral, we climbed the Giralda. The Giralda is a tower that dates back to the 12th century. The 12th! The tower was built mostly when the Berbers had power in Sevilla. As our tour guide said- those guys were smart. They constructed a series of 34 ramps to get up to the top of the tower and rode donkeys up and down (they rang the bells at the top 5 times daily). Then the Christians took over building and made stairs… Ha (I much preferred the ramps). The tower used to be topped by spheres, later followed by a cross. During the renaissance, they added a bit more height and a weathervane. I can’t even explain how cool it is to pass this beautiful building every day. We live here. No pasa nada.

We finally climbed to the top- I’ll leave you with a few pictures from the top of the Giralda, and soon I hope to go out and take more touristy pictures of the city to show you! Love from Sevilla 🙂

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