The Royal Alcázar was built in the 10th century and is oldest building in Europe that still functions as a royal palace. It was always a Christian Ruler's palace but it was built by Muslims in Islamic style architecture.
The Queen of Spain built this wing, the Admiral's Hall, after Columbus "discovered China," so that more trips could be planned. It was here that the Italian map-maker and explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, named the newly found continent.
The throne room of Christian King Pedro is full of Arabic script saying things like, 'none but Allah conquers.' At this time, before Christians took over and kicked everyone else out, anything Arabic was considered cool. Christians and Jews who spoke and read in Arabic, and lived life like a Muslim were called Mozarabs (which means wanna-be Arab). It is still unbelievable that a Christian Ruler would have writing in a Christian palace that praises Allah!
The Royal Gardens have only been open to the public since 1931, when the Spanish king was exiled.
Alright, on the road with the rental car. Luckily GPS was included, we had no trouble finding our hotel in Arcos de la Frontera, just over an hour away from Seville.
I parked the car in front of the church, just after passing the hotel, asking the hotel owner for help... this just couldn't be right! I have never been so scared driving (and a rental car of all things, with no insurance but US insurance, hopeful it would be covered abroad).
The turn around the corner leaves about an inch on each side. The British hotel owner told me I was a bloody good driver, but that didn't calm my nerves. Even after folding in the side mirrors the space felt way too small for our Opel SUV.
Tapas were had at a cafe on the main drag (I should say only drag, this is the only street that goes through town).
I ordered the fried eggplant with goat cheese and honey, again, and Eric got spicy potatoes (patatas bravas).
It is interesting how little variety there is on menus. I guess it makes ordering easier, and is the reason why the waiter will ask you what you want before you have even finished sitting down at your table.
La iglesia de Santa Maria, built on top of the original 13th century mosque.
Yes, and under that are probably Roman ruins...
I drove on this street!
Next to a 15th century convent, on the tiniest road ever, the only street through town.
As if it were necessary in this tiny hilltop town, la iglesia de San Pedro exists.
God, please allow all donors to go straight to Heaven.
The view from our hotel, Casa Campana, is fabulous.