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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Walking Around Beautiful Sevilla

Most of our time in Seville we were walking around admiring the town. The whole place is an enormous repository for the wealth of empire and it shows. The sheer decorative excess of the Alcazar was wonderful, tile, plaster, marquetry and painted surfaces of all kinds vied with garden vistas, fountains and tranquil ponds. Everywhere there was more to admire until I had to sit down and have a cup of tea!

The gardens were lovely with a formal layout, but in comparison with London I found them a little run down and to me they appeared to be understaffed. This was in stark contrast to the Alhambra in Grenada where the gardens were fabulously tended and where the garden staff abounded.
The cathedral dominates the center of the city and the Girald  (the cathedral tower which was originally a minaret) was reminiscent of the Venetian towers we've seen along the Adriatic. This was my favorite part of the cathedral and it was fun to climb the internal ramp which was far easier to negotiate that a spiral staircase. I was underwhelmed with the cathedral itself, in part because we couldn't see the golden altar which was undergoing renovation but also because the interior isn't one open space of worship. Instead there is only a small space between the main altar and the choir stalls, presumable for the wealthy congregants. I always prefer a wide open nave where the altar has the space and placement to awe its audience.
From the top of the Girald, you can see the famous bull ring in the center of the view above. You can also look down at the cathedral roof as you can see below.

The cathedral is very large and was added onto in a number of different styles at a variety of different times. There's  so much going on that it no longer looks like a single church and we found it confusing to find the entrance. You'll find the tomb of Columbus here, it will be easy to locate as it is inevitably surrounded by large tour groups taking thousands of pictures! 

Tip: After viewing the cathedral head across the road to the Dona Maria hotel. It doesn't look like much and you have to walk through the lobby to the lift at the back. It's worth searching out because they have a rooftop bar with a lovely view of the cathedral that's popular with locals and tourists alike.

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