A Travellerspoint blog

Spain Square, the Golden Tower, and the Parasol...

We have had such a great time in Seville, and the weather has been warm and sunny all week. Unfortunately this has meant we have not had any down days to write up our experiences. Too busy shopping and seeing the sights. The following photos record a brilliant day we spent at the fabulous Plaza de Espana, with side trips to the Torre del Oro, and Metropol Parasol. We will just let the photos do the talking ( google or Wikipedia will fill in the details for those interested). Alan and Leone

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Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day in Utrera

We had a great day in Utrera, 30 mins out of Seville. What a total difference to the parts of Seville we had seen already. Real quaint and laid back, loved the streets, relaxed atmosphere, the orange blossom trees smelled delicious. Linda and Carlos made us very welcome at their apartment in Utrera. As it is Holy week in Spain we started off our visit with traditional bread soaked in wine and honey (torrijas) served with cream and followed by an aniseed alcohol drink! We wandered around the streets and ended up at an amazing Church, built in 1368. I was gob smacked, wow, inside were some of the procession float thingys. Their Holy week consists of these huge ornate float things with Jesus, Judas, Virgin Mary etc and are carried by approx 40 guys hidden underneath. These processions which sometimes start at 10pm until 2am and go on all week, must generate a huge income for the Catholic Church. The crowd is like ants, they come from all over. There is also seating which has to be paid for, and people wait up to 4 hours to watch them pass. All of these processions include people dressed up in outfits with peaked hats covering their faces (like the Ku Klux Khan) and long flowing robes. They are the penitents. Very religious people who can become quite emotional at these processions. Went to a Spanish bar/cafe and met Carlos´ parents who cannot speak English but were lovely friendly people and we had a few laughs. I love the food surprisingly, each plate of food was 2.5 euros (about $4). Had a very strong goat cheese with chicken dish, pig jowl in a rich sauce and other tasty things. Food and alcohol soooooo cheap but then wages are low and unemployment high. Must have walked quite a few hundred kms over the last 2 weeks. Just as well with all the food and the lovely gelato which we can´t resist. We had a wonderful day in Utrera thanks to Linda and Carlos. Thank you Carlos for interpreting for me how to get into the toilet! It turned out I needed the number on the receipt to put into combination lock. The waitress did not speak English and I didn´t quite know how to mimic I needed to go. I could write heaps about toilets since we left home LOL Leone

In front of our apartment block

In front of our apartment block


Lunch in Seville- slicing paper thin ham

Lunch in Seville- slicing paper thin ham


waiting for a table

waiting for a table


in a bullfighters bar/ cafe

in a bullfighters bar/ cafe


Carlos got all our green peppers

Carlos got all our green peppers


Headless street accordion players

Headless street accordion players


Linda and Carlos´s 3rd floor apartment in Utrera

Linda and Carlos´s 3rd floor apartment in Utrera


from the balcony

from the balcony


in the lounge with Linda

in the lounge with Linda


big smiles all around

big smiles all around


Just standing on a corner in Utrera

Just standing on a corner in Utrera


One of several churches in Utrera

One of several churches in Utrera


Primary School door

Primary School door


looking for the keyhole

looking for the keyhole


beautiful alleyways

beautiful alleyways


Carlos parents/Carlos &Linda/Alan &Leone..

Carlos parents/Carlos &Linda/Alan &Leone..


The big church 1368

The big church 1368


floats for processions stored inside

floats for processions stored inside


another Holy week processional float

another Holy week processional float


One of the fanciest

One of the fanciest


Front view of Virgin Float

Front view of Virgin Float

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Thoughts about Amsterdam and Utrecht

As our time in Utrecht is nearly at an end, I feel a bit sad to be leaving, I have loved this place, the people, the buildings (some 700 years old), the overall atmosphere of happy people. Weather suited me perfectly, 0-6 degrees with no rain or wind. It is well known that high temperatures and myself do not agree! I am amazed at the prices of food in the supermarket just down the road, so cheap with a huge variety of yummy stuff, even kiwifruit!! I soon learnt to watch out for bikes flying in all directions OMG. What really puzzled me was, young children/babies, sometimes two to a bike being ridden by a parent and NO helmets to be seen. We witnessed an awful incident the other day when a mum had her bike on a stand and it tipped with a very young child strapped in the seat. The mum was absolutely distraught, two policeman happened to be riding by and stayed with them until an ambulance arrived. I couldn´t help but think again about helmets.

No puffer jackets here, only woollen coats including duffle coats!!!! LOL

Everybody rides bikes, even me...

Everybody rides bikes, even me...


Me and Anne (in Utrecht)

Me and Anne (in Utrecht)


Mamas got some brand new shoes...

Mamas got some brand new shoes...


stained glass in Utrecht Cathedral

stained glass in Utrecht Cathedral


Cross made for Buchenwald Remembrance Chapel

Cross made for Buchenwald Remembrance Chapel


gotta keep those cyclists under control...

gotta keep those cyclists under control...


The sheep following the horses...

The sheep following the horses...


middle of town

middle of town


Sinkle and Winkle Restaurant

Sinkle and Winkle Restaurant


Too early for tulips in the fields

Too early for tulips in the fields

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

The day of the Nightwatchmen...

Wednesday, made a late start traveling to Amsterdam after dealing with an I.T. crisis, when the laptop and tablet both broke down and had to be taken to repair shop. Once underway though on a beautiful sunny, but cold day, Amsterdam turned on itś charms for us. A shortened visit to a markets, was followed by a walk to Rembrandt Square where we got close and personal to some Bronze statues from the ¨Nightwatch¨ painting. Then by tram to the Rijksmuseum, where Leone was not too impressed with the Van Goghs, but fell head over heels in love with Rembrandt´ś works. Then onto The Anne Frank House, which Leone thoroughly enjoyed. We finished the day with a table full of spicy Tapas, at Tapas Lámour (by Amsterdam Centraal) which Leone didn´t thoroughly enjoy. Alan helped to polish them off though. Half an hour by train back to Utrecht, then two tired little travellers decided that a rest- day was needed on the Thursday to recharge the batteries...

Outside the apartment

Outside the apartment


from the kitchen

from the kitchen


At our apartment

At our apartment


The lounge with Alanś airbed

The lounge with Alanś airbed


Leone doing here thing...

Leone doing here thing...


Look where I am..

Look where I am..


Just another beautiful canal...

Just another beautiful canal...


The man himself

The man himself


Her words were ¨unbelievable¨

Her words were ¨unbelievable¨


patting Rembrandtś dog.

patting Rembrandtś dog.


a charming child

a charming child


she pulled his finger & he farted...

she pulled his finger & he farted...


May I have this dance madame?

May I have this dance madame?


stand at attention Alan

stand at attention Alan


Outside the Rijksmuseum

Outside the Rijksmuseum


Leone´s favourite..

Leone´s favourite..


Vermeerś Milkmaid

Vermeerś Milkmaid


The Nightwatch

The Nightwatch


Leone fascinated by the rich detail

Leone fascinated by the rich detail


Examples of colourful stained glass

Examples of colourful stained glass


Rich colours

Rich colours


The queue for Anne Frank house

The queue for Anne Frank house

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Recovering from Jetlag

We had a good flight from Auckland to Guangzhou. Both of us nodded off for a few hours out of the 12 hour trip. The rest of the time we watched movies and ate two good meals. Breakfast will never be the same since we were offered yummy tubs of Kapiti Icecream to finish ours. Guangzhou accommodation once again was very flash. We stayed at a hotel next to the Marriott, which served a good breakfast and had rooms with blackout curtains to allow us to sleep a few hours before our next 12 hour flight to Amsterdam. We arrived in Amsterdam at 5.30am to zero degree temps but then enjoyed the sunrise on a blue sky day. Caught the train and a taxi to our apartment in Utrecht and pretty well crashed for the rest of Monday the 14th. The next day we both felt rested and wandered into the centre of Utrecht under a grey sky with a max temp of 8 degrees. Five hours later we staggered back home with armfulls of shopping. Needless to say, Leone loves Utrecht. and reckons she could live here ( words uttered while experiencing shopping euphoria). Tomorrow we take a train to Amsterdam to check out Markets, Museums, and Ann Frank House. No rest for who?

Outside Dongfang Chinese hotel

Outside Dongfang Chinese hotel


Leone in reception area

Leone in reception area


reception area detail

reception area detail


Alan's room after a good sleep

Alan's room after a good sleep


Inner city canals area

Inner city canals area


Not your typical dutch person

Not your typical dutch person


Another McDonalds

Another McDonalds


streets full of Dutch buildings

streets full of Dutch buildings


Dom Tower at 370 feet high

Dom Tower at 370 feet high


Hurry up it is dam cold

Hurry up it is dam cold


Utrecht 1382 gothic Domtoren

Utrecht 1382 gothic Domtoren


Other side of Cathedral

Other side of Cathedral


St Peters Cathedral

St Peters Cathedral


Typical streets

Typical streets


All the houses are so cute

All the houses are so cute


One of the canals

One of the canals


Leone's new glasses?????

Leone's new glasses?????

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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