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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

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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