Saturday, December 22, 2012

Goodbye Seville, hello Granada

Katie at the entry to Granada center.
Me walking down the hill from our hotel.
I was sorry to leave Seville this morning, but I'm happy with the taste of Granada that I got this afternoon.

I still can't believe what a beautiful city Sevilla is. I knew Katie loved her program, but I didn't understand how much being in the city played such a big role. Yesterday we didn't go to any attractions except an artisans' showcase where we admired the beautiful work and bought a few things.

But most of the day we walked around. "Un paseo," they call it. We walked past the cathedral several times, and each time I just wanted to stop and look at it in all its grandeur. At night, photographers with fancy cameras stood in a group, trying to capture the Giralda, or tower, as it glowed in the night. ("You were up there!" Katie said.)

People shopped, but many stood or sat and enjoyed each other and watched people. Well into the night, the crowds of people having a drink or eating grew. It was unlike in New York or Boston, where everyone always has to be going someplace.

At night, we went to a flamenco performance and then had dinner outside around 10 p.m. If you go too much earlier, they look at you like you are uncivilized.

Our hotel in Granada is on top of a long steep hill, next to the Alhambra, where we will go tomorrow. We walked down the hill (and later, back up...thank you Michael, my physical therapist, for helping me get stronger). Then we went into the cathedral and chapel, a monument to Queen Isabel and her husband, Fernando, and into the adjoining museum.

Katie, an excellent tour guide and interpreter, had already been there and explained the history. We stood at the grand, intricately sculpted monuments to the monarchs lying in rest and went below to the crypts where they are buried. Eeeew.

John the Baptist's head has been another fascinating and somewhat creepy sight. We saw it in the Seville cathedral and later today in the Granada cathedral, and I looked up the story of the demise of this major New Testament figure.

In Seville, a sculpture of his head lay in a glass case, the sinews and tendons of his neck exposed. In the Granada cathedral, we stood in awe of a large altarpiece of scenes in the life of Jesus Christ, including his birth and his baptism by John the Baptist and then John's head on a platter.

I looked it up and learned that Herod, subking of Galilee during the Roman Empire, drunkenly promised Salome, the daughter of his wife, Herodias, anything she wanted. Herodias, jealous of John's influence and angry about his criticism of her unlawful marriage to Herod, told her daughter to ask for John's head on a platter.

I never knew that while having fun I would learn so much history.

Above, Katie stands next to a sculpture of Queen Isabel.

Left, John the Baptist loses his head, which is about to be placed on a platter.


PJ said...

John's severed head reminds me of a childhood trip to the Met where the Medieval tapestries attracted and repulsed me.

Glad you're having so much fun and have the energy to do what you want. Are you going to Barcelona?

Anonymous said...

Super! what a trip! Katie -- way to go--guide! interpreting is not easy -- good for you!

So thrilled that you both are enjoying the riches of Spain...and history...

when i look at the photos, it feels like i'm there with you! and i am in spirit!

Merry Christmas!


Ronni Gordon said...

PJ, we're going to Barcelona tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

just got a super paper on the Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona! Enjoy the Gaudiness...incredible that the adjective has nothing to do with the pioneering architect -- who made Barcelona his!


Robin said...

Looks spectacular! Happy Holidays.