The roads were busier today but my plan was simple – to follow the same route into the city and park the car in exactly the same place. There were alternative scenarios available but this seemed to be the safest. Feeling a bit more familiar with the city roads today I have to say that my driving and the search for a parking spot were much less frantic.
Misled by the warm sunshine in Carmona and the heat of the sun through the car windscreen we were foolish enough to make alterations to our clothing arrangements before we left the car park but once outside on the street this seemed a less than sensible thing to do because it was much cooler here, especially in the shade of the buildings and there were patches of thick cloud beginning to smear across the sky.
We walked along one of the city’s main roads, the Calle de Menendez Pelayo until at its southern end we arrived at the University and an area of green parks and gardens. We stopped for a drink outside but to be fair it was getting cooler so this wasn’t too successful and then walked to the Plaza de España, which is one of Seville’s most easily recognised buildings and represents the 1920s Moorish Revival in Spanish architecture. In 1929 Seville hosted the Spanish-American Exhibition and numerous buildings were constructed for the exhibition in Maria Luisa Park, among them the Plaza. The Plaza is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over a moat by numerous beautiful bridges and in the centre is a large fountain. It was a beautiful building but we didn’t see it at its best because it was chilly, the fountain wasn’t turned on and the canal had been drained down for the winter.
We left the Plaza and walked to the river but everyone had had enough by now and we were all sorry about the cancelled midday flight. Micky still had his man flu and the girls were cold and their feet were aching because to be fair we had done an awful lot of walking. We all decided that it was a good time to look for somewhere for lunch so we found the eating part of the city close to the Cathedral at the Plaza de San Fransisco but were disappointed by the choice of restaurants and menus. Finally we had to concede that it was one of these places or nowhere and we choose a retaurant with a moderately priced menu del dia. It wasn’t very special but it was edible and it passed an hour of the afternoon in our long wait before going back to the airport. At half past five we were asked to leave because the place was closing so we decided to go back to the airport a little earlier than originally planned.
I liked Seville but on reflection I have to say that I am very glad that we didn’t stay there because this was a typical city with little time for tourists and in comparison with next door Carmona with very little trouble taken to make us feel really welcome. I think in future I shall avoid the cities and seek out smaller places where the pace of life is slower, the hotels and bars are cheaper and it is possible to enjoy the sights and sounds of the real country and the genuine company of local people.
It seemed a long walk back to the car park and it was getting even colder. It has to be said that this weather did rather catch us all by surprise because it wasn’t just that we assumed that southern Spain would still be warm in November, the BBC weather web site had suggested that it was going to be about 20° but in all four days it barely struggled beyond 12°, even in the sunshine. There were a few spots of rain in the air as well by now so for the last few hundred metres we were in a bit of a mad rush to get back before the heavens opened. We made it and left the car park and made for the airport with the accompaniment of a chorus of cries from the back seat, ‘Put the heater on…’
We arrived back at the airport with plenty of time to spare and as we waited for the flight to be called we time to reflect on four exceptionally good days in Andalusia. The cities of Seville and Córdoba had been excellent, even though we hadn’t seen Córdoba at its finest, but best of all had been the complete surprise of the lovely town of Carmona and the Hotel San Fernando, the friendly people of the town, the good food and the convivial bars and restaurants, and now, on reflection, even that horrible scruffy dog!