21. Apr, 2017

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FRIDAY 21-4-17

Thankfully the crane driver had a lie-in, so we had a peaceful night's sleep.

It was a nice hot shower this morning as we had plenty of water and I am now confident we have enough LPG onboard to last the trip. This was followed by toast for breakfast and plenty of it. The bread coming from the fresh crusty baguette leftovers, as they dry out so quickly.

Today we were going to complete our sightseeing in Seville, followed by a Flamenco performance at 17:00 held at the only Flamenco museum in the world.

It was a cool, cloudy start to the day, but that didn't stop us hopping on the tour bus the other side of the road bridge once we'd crossed it. That had the advantage of saving our legs at the beginning of the day in case it got hotter later on, and we had to walk between the sights as we did yesterday.

We stayed on the bus we'd boarded,  jumping off at the Museum of Navigation, built on the very large former site of Expo '92. They'd made a good job of presenting sailors stories and recreating the sea using lights. The floor consisted of wooden paths between the lighting, and using mirrors below the lights made it look as if you could step off the path and finish up in the water. There were three interactive games to be played as well. The visit was disappointing in two ways. Firstly that presentation was it, apart from some static models. There were no ancient navigation aids etc used by sailors of the time, not even replicas. Nothing like as good as our Greenwich Maritime Museum. On yesterdays tour bus there was a poster advertising an exhibition at the museum covering the running of the bulls in Pamplona, but after enquiring when we got there it seems it closed in January.

Back in to town for a tour of the Bullring. It's the oldest one in Spain. We both found it interesting. It seems bullfighting as we know it started off with mounted soldiers practicing their skills by tying objects on to the bulls horns out in the wild, and then try and get them off using their lances. Later bullfighting took place 'on foot' as using horses was seen as a pastime of the rich, while a man standing in front of the bull appealed to the poor.

The average 'show' consists of six fights. These are staged seven days a week during April as part of a festival, then every Sunday for the rest of the season which ends in October. If a bull shows great courage its life can be spared by the President of the arena and it goes for stud. But let's face it, that doesn't happen too often. I asked the guide what happens to the bulls meat, and was informed that it was delicious and very popular in Spanish tapas. As with most bullrings you pay more for the seats in the shade, and as summers in Seville can reach as high as 50˚C they are very popular.

After the visit it was lunchtime. Two filled baguettes and a drink which we sat outside of the establishment and ate.

Next The Chef wanted to visit the inside of the cathedral, the largest in Spain, and the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world. I waited outside at an agreed point and sat in the sunshine people watching. The Chef turned up about an hour later not over enthused by what she'd seen, further deflated by the fact it wasn't free, it was €9, and having eventually reached the front of a very long queue she was going in, come what may.

Soon after meeting up again I spotted black smoke appearing from behind the buildings further down the road from us on Constitution Avenue. It got worse, and after a while numerous fire engines came screaming along the road. The fire engines weren't as big as those back home, but I suppose that's because they have so many VERY narrow back streets here.

We then eventually found the retirement home for RC clergy which had some link or other to ceramics, but found it closed. It's only open from something like 1000 to 1300. So even though they do nothing all day, they seem to feel they need a siesta as well.

It was then time to make our way to the Flamenco Museum. We were there early as planned and bagged seats in the front row. That way we'd get to see the dancers feet as well. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, there were two dancers plus a singer and guitarist entertaining an audience of only about 150, a nice intimate event lasting an hour. We were so close to the dancers that black paint chipped off the stage by their boots landed in my lap. Taking photographs was tricky. You could take them, but understandably, no flash was allowed. With subdued lighting the pocket camera was using long exposure times and so many of the photographs came out blurred because of it, especially when the dancers were throwing their arms around or moving quickly across the stage. Never mind, it will go down as probably the highlight of the trip. So today we've done 'traditional Spain' - 'bullfighting' and Flamenco.

I'm not sure of the history of Flamenco but it started in the gypsy community. I believe these days it's used as a means of distraction while the ol' man is round the back ripping an ATM machine out of the wall with a stolen JCB.

Finally we revisited Plaza de Espana. I had hoped to take more pictures there with the SLR camera, but it didn't work out that way. Instead today I took a few more with the pocket camera. A very nice spot in a very nice city. We would certainly come here again.

Tomorrow we make our way to Cordoba, planning Sunday as a play-the-tourist day before heading out of town Monday.

I shall attach the most blurred picture. Look upon it more as a work of art in the style of the famous Greek artist and photographer, Donna K. Babb.