Travel

Seville Sign-Off: Horse Piss, Stunning Views and Roman Remains

Seville is fucking beautiful. Take the Giralda for instance, the 12th century minaret turned belltower.

photo(1)Quite the pleasant monument, no? (The answer’s yes.) However, the area around its base, indeed the entire area around Seville’s UNESCO-loved Cathedral, stinks, absolutely REEKS, of piss. Horse piss. The reason being that there are about a hundred (I’m not exagerrating, this is balls to the wall stuff, guys) horses and carriages loitering around the centre of the city’s old town, trying to pick up tourists. And the horses urinate. A lot. And often unexpectedly. I felt a splash hit my shins on more than one occasion. Yet another reason (other than the decimated dignity and style) for me to not want to wear shorts ever again. I eat muesli for breakfast now. I should’t be in shorts.

Over the last couple of nights I have managed to find excellent Vegetarian food, something I struggled with initially. The best tapas I’ve ever had in Spain I had at the charming Bar Catalina on Wednesday, and I had a good, gourmetish pizza at Osteria L’Oca Giuliva yesterday. Both internet recommendations, Bar Catalina being delicious and inexpensive. The Italian place a bit touristy, a little expensive for Seville, but under €20 for a glass of wine, bottle of sparkling water and a huge, good, pizza is still pretty fucking cheap. Thumbs up. Particularly up Bar Catalina.

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I’ve also been exploring the Roman history of Seville. Yesterday I visited the Museo Arqueologico, which boasted a surprisingly good collection of Roman art – a lot of marble sculptures and some MASSIVE mosaics, as well as the stunning leg of a bronze centurion. The above Venus being quite representative of the size and quality of the works displayed. Excuse the shit iPhone photography.

This afternoon, after my normalised lunch of beer and tortilla sandwich (I’ve already conspicuously put on weight), I visited the city’s other, newer, Roman museum, Museo Antiquarium. It is located beneath the Metropol Parasol de la Encarnación, an underground series of walkways over and around the walled, mosaiced, tiled and sculpted remains of the centre of Roman Seville. Some beautiful details remain, but the light levels made it impossible for me to get any pictures worth sharing. Apologies.

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After that I took the lift up to the top of the weird, modern complex, and strutted about on its walkways enjoying the view. In the top right is the Cathedral and the Giralda, the odd plywood-looking thing is the Parasol itself.

I have had a lovely time in Seville, especially enjoying its cheap food and drink and frequently free museums. (The Alcazar a real highlight. In fact, I think I’ll go back this afternoon.)

I did not, however, enjoy the smell of horse urine that pervaded Seville’s centre. I was glad, though, that all the carriages have been fitted with a special poo-catching shelf to prevent the streets from being filled with any solid waste. Why not strap spongues over the ends of the urethras? Would really make a difference to the ambience of the city.

Right. I’m going to go enjoy my last evening here. Tomorrow: Granada!

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