Alcaz....ergh

The Alcazar is one of the top two attractions in Seville, along with the Cathedral. Lonely Planet recommends not doing both of them in one day, that's how intense they are meant to be. Here is an excerpt of their long winded entry so you can join me in anticipation. 

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Heaven on Earth? I was excited. I am going to dedicate a whole entry just to the Alcazar, and nut out the rest of the day separately. I wouldn't want anything raining on the parade of the Alcazar...

We entered through an understated arch wall thing. Simple. Elegant. I liked it. Perhaps this was the calm before the anticipation storm. It opened into a plain brick looking courtyard with sections off each side to explore. Ooh, what first? Left, right or straight ahead. Karl choose right, so I followed. I learnt that at finishing school. 

Alcazar entry...

Alcazar entry...

Nothing could have prepared for me what I saw next, unless I didn't bother reading Lonely Planet, or listening to any of the tourist information in Spain. This building was a monstrosity, but of what? Bad render, ugly walls, hideous objects. I was squinting with pain at how boring it was. Seriously. Check out the wall below. That gorgeous pot plant, well positioned, complemented beautifully by its pot. Don't forget the marble pole, I mean pillar, which is clearly holding up.... nothing. The chipping paint, skirting board and antique door finish the scene off nicely. 

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Moving on, we have a room full of beautiful glass cabinets with... pretty ordinary tiles. That's more like it, what's the point of having nice tiles if you just put them on the walls, ceiling or, heaven forbid the floor. I like my building products in glass cabinets too. Note the gorgeous pot plant, these antiquities were everywhere. 

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It was one grande doorway into boring room after another. I was blown away by how ordinary it was. It even had crap lighting. Luckily there was a fire extinguishing to put out the flames.. What flames? This was heaven, not hell.

Another grande doorway

Another grande doorway

We entered the main section and that's where it started to get really crazy. They had taken the tiles from the cabinets and placed them on the walls. You can see the care they have taken in the picture below. Karl is checking how straight the walls were. I can report without asking him (so that means I'm guessing) that it wasn't.

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The central room of the main church lifted its game with a nice gold dome for the roof. I overheard a tour guide saying that a Spanish princess had been married here and 'if only these walls could talk.' They can't, but on their behalf I will say that she was obviously being punished for something, adultery perhaps.

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Soon I started to notice the exquisite carpentery. In the photograph below, I have tried to capture how the cupboard is a centrepiece in the room, also noting the way the workmanship typifies the era in which it was constructed.

I didnt want want to take too many pictures because I was getting in the way of all the other tourists who wanted their photo opportunities too. Who am I kidding, I was way too distracted by the dazzling beauty of 'heaven on earth' that I was hatching plans to die so I could quickly get to the pearly gates. 

Exquisite carpentry. Beautiful.

Exquisite carpentry. Beautiful.

Probably my favourite thing in the building was this painting. It was huge and it dominated an entire room, mostly because there was nothing else in it, not even skirting board or doors.

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We walked outside and...Shut the front door. I was getting a good picture of this, no matter who I got in the way of. This. Was. THE MOST magnificent water feature I did ever lay my eyes on. People were pushing me out of the way to get pictures, but I stood my ground. There was no way I was missing out on capturing this in all its glory. This is the kind of 'waterfall' I want in my back yard. Oh to be a king or queen. To think I would have settled for rainfall pouring from our roof gutters and creating a backyard river.

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I needed to sit down and let the beauty of this place sink in, so we headed to the gardens, a refuge from the tourists and... Woah... Genuinely, really beautiful. There were properly tiled gazebos, park benches, manicured lawns. And.....A REAL LIFE MAZE! Karl lost his proverbial shit and deliberately got lost. He was in heaven. See it was heaven.

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He was ripping around the place with a pram, cutting the corners and... Yes. I casually showed him the branches that were begging to tear Matisse's eyes out. 

Branches waiting patiently to take an eye out. 

Branches waiting patiently to take an eye out. 

A cleaner sprucing up the gazebo. 

A cleaner sprucing up the gazebo. 

I was tempted to miss the "bathrooms" in the building but I needed to go, so we headed there. Sadly, there were no public facilities but there was this really impressive 'bath.' It was like chalk and cheese to the rest of the building. There is something magical about a water chamber in an old stone building. The cool, stillness of the place is haunting and peaceful. I want one. 

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In summary, don't dedicate a full day to wandering around this monstrosity of boredom. The streets of Seville have a million times more to offer with their architecture, gardens and arguably, the best tapas in Spain... so far. If you want to see a deadley water chamber, go to the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul.

Basilica cistern. Istanbul, Turkey. 

Basilica cistern. Istanbul, Turkey.