We had a lot to accomplish. First, I wanted to go buy a new smart phone. Then, we were going to meet Helen and Tony where we would all tour the fantastic Seville Cathedral, then back to Louis the motorhome in order to head to the outskirts of town to do a big grocery shop, then a two hour drive to a small town in the mountains to an AirBnb accommodation where we will spend the next week.
Let's see how smoothly that all goes...
I wanted to buy my phone at the big El Corte Ingles department store. They have in house facilities to process the tourist refund on the taxes, plus an English speaking customer service girl to make sure there aren't any misunderstandings due to language.
We had made arrangements to meet Helen and Tony at the Cathedral when it opens at 11:00am. We already had our tickets, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. So Ruth and I arrived at the department store at 9:55am, ready for it's 10:00am opening.
The phone purchase went smoothly. I bought a brand new unlocked model Samsung A3, which is a slightly smaller (and 20% cheaper) version of the A5. The A3 is only available in Europe. The only problem this might make for us is the two year warrantly is also only available in Europe. So, if we have a warranty problem with the phone back in Canada, it may not be easy to get serviced. A chance I'm willing to take.
Also, the girl made a strange comment that I have to make a Spanish phone call using a Spanish SIM card for five minutes duration in order to unlock the phone to be used with SIM cards in other countries. Strange!
I paid €329 ($468 CAD, $350 USD) taxes included. But VAT is high in Spain, so I should get about €40 ($57 CAD, $43 USD) back if everything goes according to plan with the tax refund.
Next up, I wanted a new SIM card to use for our last two weeks in Spain. We walked to an Orange cellular store and took a number, but it was pretty busy and things didn't seem to be moving too quickly. We were just getting ready to leave when our number was called. Got a new SIM and so we're all set to remain connected with you over the next two weeks! €20 ($28 CAD, $22 USD) for 2 GB of data, and 30 minutes talk time.
Then, a quick walk over to the Cathedral where we bypassed the huge lineup and were let in right away because we had purchased combo tickets the day before. We had made arrangements with Helen and Tony to head straight up the tower and meet there before the crowds were let in.
That's where we're headed...to the top of that tower!
Sure enough, we found the tower entrance quite easily and started the long walk up. There are no stairs...only ramps that go up each side of the interior of the tower. And there are about 35 of them! So we definitely got our morning exercise. Once at the top, we admired the views...but Helen and Tony weren't there.
Looking down on the world's largest Gothic cathedral.
And the plaza located 96 meters below.
Sure enough, Helen and Tony arrived. And so did about 30 school kids! Man, what a zoo. Fortunately, the school group didn't stay at the top of the tower very long, and we did end up with some peace and quiet for a while until we were ready to head back down as the next school group made it to the top.
This is a photo of a photo that was taken in 1874.
This was taken yesterday!
Seville's only skyscraper.
Sometimes you have to look up as well!
Today's header photo.
Exterior roof of the Cathedral.
And then it was time to head down to see the main part of the Cathedral. It's massive. And it's all a bit much, really. We are not religious, and we don't really get the whole expense and "religious bling" as Tony calls it. I'm pretty sure that some religious people don't get it either.
However, just the fact that some of this stuff has even been built is truly amazing.
There are about 18 of these massive columns holding the whole thing up.
The bulk of the Seville Cathedral was built between 1434 and 1517, however parts of the structure were built between 1184 and 1198 as part of an Arabic mosque.
The detail is incredible.
You can click on any photo to make it full screen.
The organ is in two sections.
Hard to get a decent photo of it, so I've taken a short video for you...
The pictures don't really do it justice.
You spend a lot of time looking up.
Zoomed in on one of the ceilings.
There are also quite a few side altar rooms. Some of them have been turned into display areas for various religious treasures. Again, I've taken a short video for you...
Lots of gold and silver.
The tomb of Christopher Columbus.
The remains of Christopher Columbus have been in the Seville Cathedral since 1898. Isn't that something? We were stood only a few feet away from the bones of the old explorer. His expeditions were financed by the Catholic Monarchs.
I think that's the first time we've ever paid to go inside a church. I still have mixed feelings about that, but it is what it is. If you want to see it, you have to pay. We admit that if you're in Seville, you have to see it. Totally amazing structure.
Busker on the streets of Seville.
It was almost 1:00pm when we made it out of the Cathedral. Tony and I walked back to their hotel to pick up their bags, while Ruth and Helen went straight back to Louis the motorhome. From there, we drove to the outskirts of town to a big Carrefour store to do a big grocery shop.
Then, it was a two hour drive south east to the town of Villanueva de San Juan (pop 1,400).
Scenery along the way.
It was a nice enough day, but the sun was always in some kind of haze all day, almost like it was forest fire smoke. There was never a really blue sky, but not clouds either. We're not sure what that was, but it was there all day, even in the cathedral views above.
We had booked an AirBnb in this little town. We weren't quite sure what to expect because it was only priced at €25 ($35 CAD, $27 USD) per night, plus the small AirBnb fee. And the photos weren't very good. And that price was for all four of us! The contact girl online through the listing spoke only Spanish, and she said she wouldn't be here when we arrived, but that her mother would meet us.
We arrived a few minutes before 5:00pm, and sure enough a guy came and tapped on Louis' window as we were waiting. He turned out to be Jose, the father of the girl I had been communicating with. He showed us to the apartment, and it's perfect. And, it's brand new, and it's huge! Three bedrooms (two double beds and a single) and one and a half bathrooms. And a fully equipped kitchen and laundry! Wow!
It's a brand new listing, and there were no previous reviews. We get the impression that they've priced it really low to get some reviews on, and then the price will rise during busy season. Not that this is a tourist town...it's most definitely working class with very few tourist facilities.
What a deal! Did I mention that it's brand new??
Watched a movie (Brigitte Jones Baby, not bad) and got my phone working and set up. It's going to take some getting used to! Sure enough, there was a thing in the instructions about the five minute phone call in Spain to get it set up for use outside the region. Still can't figure why they would do that, but okay!
We had originally booked for three nights, but now we're going to stay for a full week and simply park Louis right out front. We'll do a few day trips from here, but today we're just going to enjoy the town and take a relax day.
Three different deals on "Deal of the Day" today...
And in Canada....