Smitten by Seville & The festival of the three kings.
Thursday 4th January 2018
We left Portugal and within 3.5k we were in Spain. A big sign told us that we had arrived but it really needn’t have, the roads immediately changed from rattling to amazing. We were definitely in Spain. The stunning and FREE two and three lane A road took us all the way to Seville without a bump or pothole in sight. We found our city centre Aire with ease although when we arrived it was not as advertised but was in a great spot.
We knew nothing about Seville so wandered over the bridge and immediately found ourselves in gardens resembling a tropical paradise of peace and tranquility with the stunning (and I know I use that word a lot but this was truly stunning) Plaza de Espania beyond. WOW what an impressive building. A semi circular palace with its own man made waterway passing under bridges and each major town in Spain meticulously illustrated in a tiled tableau.
Pretty horse drawn carriages waited to be hired but we decided to venture on foot towards the centre and each turn or twist in the road revealed another glorious view. Wide streets and tree lined avenues with orange trees everywhere, horse drawn carriages, amazing historic buildings, pretty squares, coloured houses with balconies still containing flowering plants, the old royal palace that is still used by them today, vibrant Tapas bars, modern tramways, the largest gothic cathedral in the world the list goes on. There is more to Seville than just its looks though, it has a ‘feeling’ and emanates a relaxed yet suave ambiance. To say we were immediately smitten is an understatement. Seville has definitely become one of our favourite cities. It must be truly magical in the spring and summer.
After an age wandering the wide streets we found a small bar in a side street and sat outside downing a few Gin & Tonics and watched the world go by. Mopeds and motorbikes wizzed around and their noise mixed with the clip-clop of horse drawn carriages in the adjacent street, hoards of locals thronged the pavements. It was lovely and we really had to drag ourselves away which turned out to be just as well as the bill for four drinks came to €30!
Friday 5th January 2018
Today is the procession of the three kings and we have been told how stunning it is. We decided that Molly should stay at home as it may be crowded noisy and difficult for us to have here with us. So that she would settle I decided to go for my first run of the year. What a fantastic place to run. If it hadn’t started raining I think I would probably still be running now. Just under 10k later we had been able to explore more of the hidden parts of the city. It just got even better! We grabbed a brunch of Patè on toast and after settling her lady ship down for the afternoon set off for town. On my run I noticed police barricades and a TV crew setting up just off of one of the major avenues so we headed in that direction. People were already lining the streets so we thought it would be as good as any. It turned out to be better than any as unbeknown to us it was the start of the parade and the crowning of the kings would take place right on the balcony behind us. It was an hour and a half wait but we had a good elevated spot and decided to wait it out. We watched the crowning of the kings and the floats load up their precious cargo of children.
At 4pm on the button the drumming started and the procession began. Despite “Haggrid in high heals” turning up and standing right in front of me and then a multitude of upside down umbrellas being erected we were still able to get a good view. Float after float past us, each intricately decorated and each totally different from any other. Each full of children dressed to a theme of the float and each float carrying tones of sweets. 90 tonnes in total would be thrown out into the crowds who seemed to be in a sweet collecting frenzy paying little or no attention to the stunning floats passing them by and baying the kings and their helpers to throw more sweets into their upturned umbrellas and then scrabbling around the road to pick handfuls of them up. People had carrier bags full and some small children struggled to walk under the shear weight of sweets they had gathered. We picked up a few handfuls (just to join in of course) and shoved them in our pockets. Between the floats brass and drum bands played as noisily as they could and hundreds of black painted Arabian knights walked danced and sang. It was a real carnival atmosphere and the floats just kept coming, we lost count. After about an hour and a half the final float passed by and was immediately followed by a flotilla of bright yellow road sweepers in strict formation to suck up any un gathered sweets. Behind them dumper trucks to off load the sweepers when they were full. It seemed a huge waste of sweets to us as the roads were covered with them.
We headed into town in need of a coffee and a sit down taking in a few sights on the way. The two coffees were great and we soon ordered a large beer, a white wine and 5 really filling hot and tasty tapas of calamari, cod cakes, swordfish with potato , grilled chicken and chips and Prawn skewers . €25 for the lot felt like good value.
Rested, refreshed and refilled we headed for home mindful that it was 7.30 and Molly was “home alone”. As we approached the bridge to the Aire the sound of drums once again filed the air and the beginning of the procession was just coming over the bridge towards us after having spent the last 3.5 hours circumnavigating the city. This time they were illuminated. WOW what a spectacle. We watched the whole, now illuminated, pageant for a second time and the floats were even more stunning than before. A heavy downpour of rain did its best to dampen the proceedings but the actors carried on regardless. We were drenched in our waterproof coats so felt for the procession who had none and had been walking or sitting on the floats since 4pm.