Monday, 8 August 2016

Seville, day three: Attack of the Giant Killer Waffles From Outer Space!

Seville, Spain (Sevilla, España)
November 2015
Leaving the house at the record-breaking time of 1pm, we headed directly for the Archivo General de Indias to behold some historical documents. The Archivo is housed in the 16th-century Seville merchants' exchange and contains archives of Spanish history in the Americas and the Philippines. Entry was free, however it turned out that every room was closed to the public except for a temporary exhibition of photographs from Guatemala. They were interesting, but not what we were hoping for so we left with moderate disappointment.
In the gardens outside, we noticed a dog statue with crazy eyes that lifted our spirits just a little.

Taking a stroll over to the river, we lined up a nice photo with a flower in the foreground, the Torre del Oro in the midground and La Giralda in the background. Can't you tell I know so much about photography! (I had to look up the word for midground.) The Tower of Gold was built around 1220 as part of the city's defences and served as a prison for some time during the middle ages.

On our stroll we encountered more oranges, one of which I dropped into my teacup to symbolise the vast amount of orange juice we had been consuming in Spain.

Making out way through the streets we passed by many beautiful buildings, some of which utilised the popular painted tiles. I feel that this should be more widespread as it is so dang attractive!

We figured that we may as well check out the Metropol Parasol, known colloquially as Las Setas because they look like a strange form of giant mushrooms (or waffle spaceships). The largest wooden structure in the world, Las Setas caused public outcry because of the unnecessary cost to build it. Originally projected to cost €50 million, delays and changes of plan mean that it is estimated to have eventually cost double that. Apparently the area was quite ugly before, but why replace a downtrodden eyesore with an overly expensive eyesore? I guess the powers that be decided they needed a huge mushroom forest.

An interesting fact about Sevillans - they love to munch on sunflower seeds. While this practice is present in other parts of Spain, it seems to be the most prevalent here. Everywhere you go, you can see little striped shells signifying that someone had a snack there. We witnessed sunflower seed cracking on the steps of Las Setas.

Underneath the ugly, expensive and frankly silly mushrooms sits a museum. As with much of Europe, if you ever try to dig in order to construct something (in this case it was an underground carpark), you'll invariably stumble across some ancient remains. Seven houses and a garum factory were unearthed, which is nothing to sniff at. Some of the remains date back to the first century BC, and continue to the 12th-century AD, spanning Roman and Moorish history. Many of the mosaic floors were in good condition, and 3D displays allowed you to see reconstructions of the houses and your position inside the house so you could picture what it may have looked like more easily.

The garum pits were found with fish scales and bones still inside them, which could be seen in the nearby display cases. Garum was a fish sauce that was so popular among Romans that it was part of a soldier's rations and text has been found making fun of women with especially strong garum breath. A metric craptonne of tiny oil lamps were found here too, filling up several display cases.
As it still hadn't been terribly long since we had a breakfast of doughnuts dipped in hot chocolate, we forewent the helado and returned to our AirBNB where we had a relaxing rest of the day.

Today's post was almost called: Sevillian Frutas in my Tehcup