Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Poplars of Hercules

HERCULES AND JULIUS CAESAR WELCOME VISITORS TO LA ALAMEDA.
THE FIRST OF SEVERAL COOLING FOUNTAINS IN WHICH TO PLAY CAN BE SEEN AT CENTER.

The Quadalquivir River (Sevilla's river) used to run right through the city center in what is now La Alameda de Hercules, an enormous plaza in the center of the city.

THE RED AWNING IS CAFE ALAMEDA, WHERE WE HAD AN EXCEPTIONAL DINNER LAST NIGHT.

The river through that area was cut off by a damn in 1383 and then, in 1574, the Count of Barajas drained the remaining water, built irrigation channels and fountains, and planted trees.  The alameda trees (poplars in English) give the plaza — and the neighborhood — its name.

ANOTHER FOUNTAIN.  ONE OF A FEW PLAYGROUNDS AND MANY CAFES IN BACKGROUND.

Last night, after IKEA made their fourth delivery to our apartment (the apartment without the "luz"... maybe tomorrow?), I assembled the slats for Jerry's main bed (my third set of slats; I'm now a pro), we picked up our new sheets and towels from the laundry, and we then went to dinner.

THE LIONS AND SHIELDS OVERSEEING ANOTHER REFRESHING FOUNTAIN.

At Jerry's inspired suggestion, we broke from tradition and did not walk over to Carmela in Santa Maria La Blanca.  Instead, we walked over to La Alameda, which is only about 5 minutes away from our apartment.

THE REMAINING ROMAN RUINS TODAY.
CALLE MARMOLES (MARBLE STREET) IN THE BARRIO SANTA CRUZ.

There are four columns that mark off a promenade through the trees of La Alameda.  Two columns were retrieved from a nearby Roman temple.  Two are "contemporary" reproductions made in 1574 (after one of the original Roman columns was broken during moving).

CASA DE LAS SIRENAS (MERMAID HOUSE) ON THE ALAMEDA.
ONCE A PRIVATE PALACE, NOW A GOVERNMENT EXPOSITION CENTER.


ONE OF TWO MERMAIDS.
So, the two columns at the southern end of the square are the original Roman columns topped by Hercules (according to myth, the founder of Sevilla) and Julius Caesar (referred to as the restorer of Sevilla during Roman rule).  Those "contemporary reproductions" at the north end of the square were topped in the 18th century by lions with shields, representing Sevilla and Spain.

Through much of the 20th century, La Alameda was one of the poorest neighborhoods in Sevilla. Plagued with drugs and prostitution, in 1989, there were around 35 brothels. Until the later part of the 20th century, it was one of the most often flooded areas of the city.  But improvements have been made and flooding is now a significantly low risk.  In recent years, it has become a very nice neighborhood with some of the best nightlife in Sevilla.  It's now a thriving, diverse, and kind-of-bohemian neighborhood (which of course means there's a large gay population).

THE ECLECTIC EAST SIDE OF THE PLAZA. RESTAURANTS, CLUBS, A GARDEN SHOP, AND
DOBLEZERO, A SHOP THAT PROVIDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO GROW CANNABIS AT HOME.

18 comments:

  1. I have those same pillars of Hercules and Caesar in my bedroom. Yes, I do have very high ceilings.
    m.

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  2. David:
    I have so many more pictures, but the post would have gone on forever!

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  3. Mark:
    It must be so hard to dust!

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  4. Really beautiful pictures. I love the colors used in this part of the world.

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  5. Kristi:
    It really is beautiful. I have so much more to show.

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  6. It's good you check out the neighborhood. Love the pictures. BTW, my good friend Mark [yes, from that 2nd comment] loves high maintenance. ;)

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  7. Mucho congratulations on your anniversary! However, You guys are having too much fun and are making me sinful as envy is a sin, of course. Enjoy!

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  8. That does look like a wonderful neighbourhood. I was hoping for details of the fabulous dinner.
    Also disappointed to hear of the lack of juice. I thought for sure that Monday was the day!
    OK, Thursday is now the day...

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  9. Still no luz?!

    I'm waiting for details of the dinner too, like Craig. You can't tantalise us by commenting that it was "Exceptional" and leaving it at that!

    I'm loving the photographs. Keep them coming. A real eye-opener to a Kiwi homebody like me. Such an exciting and exotic life you lead, Mitch.

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  10. Peter:
    I love it. Yes, I think I'm beginning to understand Mark!

    FDeF:
    Aw,thanks! Does it help any that we're still living in the dark? (Anyway, sinning is good!)

    Craig:
    I was so busy eating (the food was perfection) that I forgot about pictures until it was too late. I promise to do better next time. (Salmon on a bed of asparagus was amazing!)
    Yeah, Monday was the day... to be told that it would be on within four days. Don't know for sure if that means Thursday or Friday. And don't know if that's "more or less." I'm just a bit tired of this!

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  11. Hello Mitch:
    What fun you are having, even without the 'luz'. This part of Seville looks so interesting and has such a wonderful variety of architecture. Clearly, you are also well provided for with regard to interesting and delicious food. Just the 'luz' needed now and it will be perfect!!

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  12. Judith:
    I apologize again for not sharing pictures of the meal... and descriptions. I will NOT slip up again. Thanks for always visiting! So many more explorations to do here. I will share until you're begging me to stop sharing.

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  13. J&L:
    We sit and fantasize about what it will be like to have "luz" and to be living in our own place. The day is coming soon (we think). We have barely begun to explore the city. Just wait until our first trip to the public market, which is housed in the main level of El Metropol Parasol. So much more to come.

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  14. MItch,
    I am really enjoying your walks around neighborhoods and recounting what you say, how you felt and the overall loveliness of Sevilla. I am beginning to feel as though I have been there myself.

    Thanks
    Scott
    www.travelwithscott.com

    P.s. When I do come over there, I may not be able to write about it for my own blog. I feel as though I've already done it. Hats off to you Sir.

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  15. Mitch,

    Please forgive my being remiss on commenting but I have been so awed by your postings that I have been finding it hard to find the words to express how much I have been enjoying sharing in your adventures. And while even know I struggle with words I did want to drop a little note if for no other reason than that of an ice breaker. Hoping that soon you will be posting of how your new apartment is ablaze with “luz”, I love that word, it sound so internationally metro. It is sounding , however, that when the lights do come on you guys have pretty much already moved in so that the only thing you really need to do is chill a bottle of celebratory champagne. Take care and I look forward to reading further posts on you adventures. - gary

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  16. Scott:
    Thanks! But, when you finally do make it to Sevilla, I'm sure your take and the way you describe things will be enlightening.

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  17. Gary:
    I'm honored and very grateful for your comments. Yes, one positive of having no luz for so long is that the apartment is much more put together for move in. The champagne is a great idea. I had the brilliant thought of putting it in the refrigerator today to start it chilling! I had the brilliant thought last week -- since without "luz," there's no air conditioning -- of just bringing over a fan. (Maybe I'm electrically challenged.)

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