I have written quite a lot of blogs during my stay in Spain (well 4 actually), however I wasn't able to tell you about all the stuff I did because at times I do succumb to lazyness. Therefore I wanted to create this entry to tell you what I did when I didn't feel like writing a blog.
Although I do know that the coastal city of Cádiz has been a popular destination for us Austrian visitors to Spain, I still think you might get to know something you previously didn't.
Fellow traveller Lisa (Hammerl) and I first went to the Museo de las Bellas Artes or art museum of the city where we also found a beautiful archeological exhibition about the Roman Gades or nowadays Cádiz. We then also visited the beautiful Catedral de la Santa Cruz Sobre las Aguas of the city, a Baroque style church which interestingly enough is not only the seat of the diocese of Cádiz but also of the Spanish enclave Ceuta on the African continent.
Last we found a Roman ruin of what used to be one of the biggest theatres of the time and still in surprisingly good shape.
In the picture you can see a David still clueless of the sunburn he was about to discover when he got home. His skin would burn for the rest of the week. He is poetically staring out at the sea (Lisa's idea, makes me look thoughful apparently).
Giralda and Pilates house
Also I visited the must-visit-place in Seville next to the Real Álcazar, the Giralda-Cathedral. Like the one in Córdoba it was originally a Mosque until being turned into a Christian facility after the Reconquista.
While I was there, I saw not only the tomb of Christofer Colombus but also the famous Virgin from Murillo, also a native born Sevillano as well as the altar, over 10 metres high, made out of gold which had been taken from the Aztec empire by the Spanish Conquistadores of the South-American continent. What a sight it was.
I also climbed the Giralda tower (that’s the actual Giralda), funnily enough the passages to get up to the top of the tower are wide enough to fit a horse so that the look-outs had a fast way of communicating with the citizens in case of emergencies in the past.
So there I was having almost visited all there is in Seville when I noticed the beautiful Renaissance-mansion la casa de Pilatos I pass everyday on my way to work. So I decided to take a look at that too and I was not disappointed.
This mansion was built by the wealthy Marquéz (or duke) of Tarifa, of the Ribera-Enriquéz family and he decorated it so wonderfully in an ancient style one might think this is straight out of Roman times.
I also saw a kinda eerie painting of a man with a beard breastfeeding a child. The story behind that is that apparently one of the duchesses of the family grew such an enormous women's beard during her pregnancy that she resembled an old man more than the gracile woman she was ... talk about letting yourself go.
Visit to Real Álcazar and all museums of Seville
When I was bored on the weekends as I couldn't go on a trip nor had my friends time to do something with me, I decided to go to one of the many museums Seville has to offer.
Call me your grandpa but it was actually really nice. Even though most was in Spanish. I went to the Museo de las Bellas Artes de Sevilla (bigger and better than the one in Cádiz) where I saw everything from a sculpture of John the Baptist to art from Murillo and his Sevillian predecessors as well as successors of the local renowned Art-school.
What also very much impressed me were the architecual works incorporated in the building complex. It was even visited by Spanish Monarch Alfonso XIII in the 1930s. Still not the most beautiful years of Spanish history nor ours. But on to more museums.
I also visited the military museum of Seville, part of the Plaza de Espana, the huge and beautiful main attraction of Seville (and also used in Star Wars, that’s why I love it even more). When I entered I was welcomed by lots of banners and badges from all sort of divisions of the Spanish Impirial Army as well as the army of Franco.
They seemed especially proud of a banner of a batallion which fought in the so called Rif-war where Spain tried to get a foothold in Africa by supporting France in taking Morocco and West-Sahara (which was then held by Spain).
In the battle of Taxdirt the Spanish army used for the last time in combat history a Cavalry-attack against the indigenous Rif-people. It worked.
But they won the war mostly due to the use of gas which killed the Rif in thousands. Also a tactic. Gotta love the 20th century.
Generally I liked the museum though.
Then I also visited the Torre del Oro, a muslim defence installation right by the river. It contains the maritime museum of Seville which I also quite enjoyed. It was rather small but full of stories of admirals of the Spanish Armada who worked as spies in England and had to escape or fought alongside the French at the Battle of Trafalgar againt the British (and died there mostly). Or they were part-time maths teachers or almost as famous amongst women as rockstars today.
One even went so far as to partake in a duel with a journalist who had critised him. He was wounded badly and lost some limb (or body-part I don’t remember) but was more worried about his reputation as he screamed in agony "What will my colleagues think of me?" Very funny at least to read. Even won the duel in the end, so no worries.
Also I visited the museum of the famous Archivos de Indias which is a collection of over a million pieces from the overseas colonies that the Spanish Empire held during its reign.
The exhibition I went to concentrated especially on infrastructure and engineering. It was so interesting to see plans for roads, dams and cities like the plan for the project to build the city (at least the non-indigenous part) of Guatemala city and several others in South America.
It also contains one of two copies made of the treaty of Tordesillas (the Pope divided the world into two parts, one Spanish the other Portuguese) although this one is in Portuguese as the Spanish one is in Portugal (they were swapped as a sign of peace). Arguably one of the most influential pieces of paper of all time.
The flamenco museum was quite boring however we got to see the show for which you usually have to pay, because Flo and I watched it "illegally" from the first floor as there was a patio in the middle of the building where the show takes place. Apart from that it wasn't that great tbh.
My visit to the Real Álcazar was already the second I made to this important monument. Orginally built by Moors, it was then converted into a Christian royal castle, much like the one in Córdoba (read my blog!) with which it also shares a lot of history.
I went there with Jenny, Sarah and Silvio who had at that point just arrived. However the sun made it really difficult to enjoy the stay as it was so excruciatingly hot during the heat wave (up to 47 Degrees Celsius) in Spain).
The absolute highlight for me was a secret passageway created by King Pedro the 3rd (I believe) who had it built to have a secret escape route in case he felt threatened. Even his own mother tried to kill him once so that’s not really a surprise then. It ties with the other highlight, being that me and Silvio both took audioguides, but one for children and one for adults so that we could swap when we didn't understand a thing.