Seville, Spain – Around Town

We continued to be enchanted with elegance and beauty of the Alfonso XIII hotel. The heavy wood tones, mirrors and gilding of this somewhat intimate elevator made the ride up and down the few flights a royal experience.

In the first post, I presented a picture of the courtyard from the inside corridor of the hotel. Below is a photo of the exterior aspect of the distinguished courtyard.

One of our favorite “touristy-type” things to do when visiting cities that are new to us, is to walk up and down the streets to enjoy the architecture and local ambiance. Seville had plenty to offer.

We appreciate the beautiful colors of the buildings as well as the accompanying wrought iron and floral touches.

Often as we walked the avenues and pathways, we would stumble upon historic sites or markers. At the Plaza de Dona Elvira, we came across a museum dedicated to the painter Amalio Garcia Del Moral. He was born in Granada and began his artistic studies there. He was quite accomplished and was awarded a number of scholarships. He died in Seville in 1995, but shortly before his death he established a foundation to promote his artistic legacy and inspire continued exploration of the arts.

You can read more about Amalio Garcia del Moral

In any country, observers will find cultural artifacts of both past and present characteristics of the area.

The marker below denotes the place where José de Zorilla found the inspiration to write the Opera Don Juan Tenorio during his stay in Seville.

It was surprising to see a placard with the likeness of Washington Irving as we strolled along even though I was aware he wrote Tales of the Alhambra – (1832). Evidently, Irving visited Seville in 1828 as an accomplished author and became a diplomat. He stayed in the old Jewish quarter for a time near the area where this memorial is located. Irving was also interested in the history of Christopher Columbus and thus Seville was a good match for him. Who knew?

You can read more about Washington Iriving, his writings about Christopher Columbus and other activities in Spain HERE

The picture below is of an old water system dating back to the 11th or 12th century which contains pipes from the “Christian period.” These pipes supplied water to the city and the Alcazar.

Once again we found ourselves in the Murillo Gardens which is a lovely place to spend time enjoying the plants, water features and to people watch.

It is also near the street where horse drawn carriages can be hailed to take an open-air ride around town. Indeed we boarded such a carriage to travel to a special location in Seville.

The Parque Maria Luisa which is the site of the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition.

The main attraction is the Plaza de España, a semi-circular brick building with ornate and colorful touches. The towers that anchor each end of the building, much like the Giralda, can be seen from many parts of town.

The main section of the pavilion is also quite impressive. The canal in front of the building has given it the moniker “Venice of Seville.”

Along the base of the building, there are 48 alcoves with colorful tile murals, benches and maps representing Spain’s provinces.

The fountain in the middle of the large, granite tiled plaza adds another focal point to the square. Note – At times the area can get crowded.

Read more about the Plaza de España HERE

While it appears that we have seen so much in Seville, there was quite a bit more to enjoy before it was time to say adiós!


Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –

Portugal – Historic Evora

As noted in my previous post about Evora, the town is quaint with typical Portuguese trappings such as the red-orange tile roofs, tiled walls, etc. It is the typical mix of the very old, the old and the new.

Historic Evora with tile roofs

Most towns in Europe, and Portugal is no exception, have a major square. This is the somewhat understated square in the center of Evora.

Evora's town square

It was another beautiful day enjoyed by all. Small balconies open on to the square to allow even the smallest apartments to have a view of what is taking place below.

A dog sitting on a small balcony

This unusual storefront is an example of the old style mixed with modern accents. Notice the contemporary wooden door and the security system in the upper-left.

A shop with a mix of the old and the new

The drain pictured below was part of the ancient aquifer system…

A pipe from the ancient aquifer

and this water box was part of the Silver Water aqueduct storage facilities.

Ancient water storage facility

Narrow side streets in the old part of town where support beams cross the alleyways to help stabilize the walls of the buildings had many twists and turns.

A side alley

Once again we see tiles used as artistic accents outside this ceramic and craft shop. The name of the shop, Artesanato Beijinho, translates to Handicrafts Kiss.

A craft shop with tiles and ceramics

Little did I know prior to this trip that Portugal produces nearly half of the world’s supply of cork. Apparently those countries in and around the western Mediterranean have ideal conditions for the cork oak (Quercus suber L.) When considering countries that have the ability to grow this tree, it is said that: “…Portugal, rightly occupies the foremost position. It has 500 factories, which employ about 20,000 workers…” and “Cork is the most important of Portuguese exports and alone represents about 16 percent of the total foreign income derived from trade.**”

** The cork industry in Portugal

At one stop, our guide showed us a piece of the bark from this tree as she explained role Evora plays in this prolific Portuguese industry.

cork tree bark

Here she demonstrates the thickness of the bark and how corks are punched from their casing. We were able to find many items made from cork including hats and pocket books.

How corks are punched out of the bark

Evora is also home of fabulous ruins of The Roman Temple. Read more about the Temple by clicking HERE. Our guide had a pictorial representation of how the original temple appeared when complete.

Ancient Roman ruins

Picture of the completed ruins as they were

Évora’s cathedral (Sé Catedral de Évora) has architecture influenced by the Moors and thus resembles a fortress. The Christians who later inhabited this area, made their own modifications to the structure. This is touted as the largest medieval cathedral in the country. While it’s main facade can be seen from far away, I particularly liked this side view from a nearby courtyard.

A side view of Evora's Cathedral

The main chapel contained an ornate altar constructed and trimmed in the Baroque style and is one reason why it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Main chapel of Evora's Cathedral

Perhaps one of the most curious artistic touches is the statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary.

statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary

Before leaving, we had a pleasant and very worthy lunch at the historic Pousada Convento de Evora – Hotel Loios.

sitting room of the Pousada Convento de Evora – Hotel Loios

Even the sign for the men’s restroom had a creative, artistic touch!

Men's room sign of the Pousada Convento de Evora – Hotel Loios

Our last stop in Evora this day was at another historic hotel and spa, the Convento do Espinheiro, developed from an 1834 monastery. We occupied one of the older heritage rooms which was crafted from monk’s quarters and exuded old world charm.

 the Convento do Espinheiro

As one might anticipate, there were areas of the old monastery that were preserved as unique and beautiful examples of religious architecture. The Church of Our Lady of Espinheiro is open to guests and they are encouraged to visit and admire the various artworks.

Church of Our Lady of Espinheiro

Also worthy and unique was the Restaurante Divinus with vaulted ceilings in the dining area. It was quite romantic and offered excellent cuisine.

 Restaurante Divinus with vaulted ceilings

 Restaurante Divinus with vaulted ceilings

There is much to explore both inside and out. The sitting room below was laden with antiques and had cozy seating areas!

sitting room with antiques

There was a special resident we were pleased to find as we explored the hotel grounds.

resident cat

As devotees of gardens and plants, we were also delighted to pay homage to an olive tree that was more than one thousand years old.

Very old olive tree

Before settling in and preparing for dinner, we walked to the front of the hotel and crossed the small village road opposite to take a distant glance at Evora from afar.

Evora from afar

Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2019 –