Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Trip Day 2 - Sevilla


Day two gonna be more exciting and tiring at the same time because we had to do a lot of walking. Especially around the Seville (English) or Sevilla (pronounced Seviyya in Spanish) city. Sevilla is the capital city of Andalucia. It is ranked as the fourth largest city in Spain.

Early in the morning, at 7 am we had our breakfast downstairs at the hotel cafeteria. I had a couple slices of toast, a bowl an cereal, fruit juice and a cup of cappuccino. Then, we checked out at 8 am heading to the city centre. Bye bye Holiday Inn! You were so comfy and amazing..)

According to our tour guide, we would be having a slight change in the itinerary. We were going to visit Plaza Espana first. Plaza Espana was historic. It is a semi circle building with great designs. There is one big fountain at the centre of the front compound and there a few bridges crossing the small waterway. Actually, we could hire a boat to tour the place but we had no enough time. I preferred walking on my own to capture photos around the monumental building. What was so interesting about Plaza Espana is that it was used as the filming location for Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones. So, I'm going to download this movie to watch the scene later when I'm back in Glasgow. We were given 45 minutes to spent our time here. Plus, there were a few stalls of souvenir shop where we bought a few fridge magnets as mementos. The magnets were sold at €3 each and 2 for €5. Most of us bought two obviously. =)

Scenes from Star Wars:

We had lunch at Restaurante Petra located at a very narrow street. It's quite common that the street are narrow in Spain. Most buildings were build very close to each other. Since the restaurant was full because we arrived a bit late due to shop hopping, we sat at the table outside the restaurant. We ordered Chicken Shwarma at €4.50. It was the fastest meal to be served compared to rice dishes. I wrote my postcards while waiting for the kebab to be served. The restaurant staffs were so kind, the provide us space for us to pray. As soon as we finished eating and praying, we asked permission from En. Fuad to walk around the city on our own because others still haven't finished eating. So we didn't want to waste time waiting for them. 

We hopped from one souvenir shops to another. We could observe a few price differences between them. I bought more postcards, magnets, miniature, decorative plate and snow globes. I think I spent more than €30 buying souvenirs here. Plus, I bought a sheet of stamps for my postcards. Luckily there was one shop selling the stamps because so far, I didn't see any post office nearby. By the way, the weather was still cold today at around 16-18 degree C.

We met the others at Cathedral of Seville and Giralda Tower. Giralda Tower used to be a minaret but was converted to bell tower for the cathedral when the Christian took over Sevilla hundreds years ago. We didn't enter this place, just took photos with the medieval architectures. 

Next to the cathedral, there is Real Alcazar. The entrance fee for adult is €7.50, but for students it was just for €2. That's a huge difference so we entered it even though it's quite late already. Real Alcazar like other building that we would visit later are all former Islamic building. It served as the royal palace. The government still maintains the Islamic architecture by preserving the carving and the building itself. On the way out, there is a souvenir shop that we didn't missed to enter. I bought a few postcards, a set of coasters, and a badge. We were the last group that leave the building. En Fuad and Haikal already waited for us outside.

We walked in a fast pace to Plaza De Toros which is located near the riverside. It is a bull fight arena but we had no time to enter it because of time constrain. I really wanted to see the arena though. The tour guide said that the bull fight gonna be forbidden next year because it's too barbaric. To see the bull fight match, the ticket might cost around €100. That's so .......

Along the riverside, we walked towards Torre de Oro (Gold Tower). The tower is located just beside the Guadalquivir river and used to function as a watchtower in the past in order to control access into Sevilla. After taking our group photos here, we headed to Restaurante Halal to buy take-away dinner. I bought Donner Kebab (€3.50) and a can of drink.

After two hours of journey by coach, we finally arrived at Cordoba. Tonight, we would be staying at Eurostars Las Adelfas, Cordoba. Plus, I saw something at the hotel entrance. It's a mailbox! So that night, Wanji and I wrote our postcards and put stamps on them so that we could post it tomorrow morning after breakfast. =)

The hotel was very comfortable and quite cold. The marble floor made the night even colder. I couldn't place my feet on the floor for too long because it was very very cold. One of the things that I like about this hotel was that it provides free wifi. But not too free because after an hour, I couldn't access it anymore. Cis! Cis! Luckily I managed to check in my Foursquare and update my blog through mobile. =)

What I bought as souvenirs today.
- fridge magnets €2.00 - 3.00 each
- key chains €2.50 each
- Giralda Tower miniature €4.00
- deco plate €2.50
- postcards €0.20-0.50 each
- snow globes €2.5
- coasters €4.00 (pack of 6)

Alhamdulillah, second day had passed. It was fun and enjoying buying a lot of souvenirs for myself and for my friends as well. We managed to visit a lot of places today, compared to yesterday and learned more about Islamic history. Tomorrow we were gonna visit Cordoba Mosque and Madinat az-Zahra. Need to restore our energy for tomorrow's agenda.



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