Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Plaza de España

To complete our year-long visa requirements, we have to submit some paperwork at the local immigration office. Mario made an appointment for us for next Thursday, but we decided to walk to the office today to make sure we know where we're going and what we're doing. The walk over was interesting and the building itself was stunning.

On the way over, we covered some new territory. We encountered a group of elementary school aged children playing soccer:
We crossed yet another bridge over the canal and were astonished to see a full-sized cruise ship docked there:
Neither Laura nor I thought that a ship that size could navigate the canal. Indeed, the bridge we crossed was far too low to accommodate the passage of the ship (and not a drawbridge). It looked like the next bridge south was also too low, but on closer inspection, it was clear that it was a drawbridge. The next bridge far off to the south carried a major highway and seemed high enough to accommodate a ship of this size. Already curious about our canal to the east and river to the west, I read a bit about the geography of the two bodies of water online.
Our apartment is at the blue dot. We saw the ship moored at the red circle. The drawbridge was the next bridge south, then the highway bridge, then, according to a map, there's a lock that connects the canal on the east with the river on the west. The canal does not connect with the river at the north where you might expect (marked with a red line segment). The canal is actually just a long spur.

The canal was constructed in 1946. Our neighborhood, Triana, is between the two watercourses. The rest of Sevilla is to the east of the canal. The canal actually runs in an old bed of the river. The river itself, the Guadalquivir, is navigable to the Atlantic Ocean with its mouth near Cadiz, Spain. Indeed there is a relatively thriving shipping port near the junction of the river and the canal.

Enough about rivers and canals, our next surprise was how beautiful the government buildings, called the Plaza de España, are. The whole building is actually a large semicircle with offices all along. The semicircle is punctuated with a large central building:
And symmetric, north and south towers. Here is the south tower:
and the north:
There is also a central plaza with a fountain and an arc of water upon which you can row a boat. There are several beautiful footbridges that cross the water. Here's a broader picture, though it's hard to capture it all:
Almost every surface was adorned with the ubiquitous painted tiles you see all over Sevilla. There were stations along the arc of the building with painted tiles depicting all of the important regions of Spain, for example,this one for Malaga:
This for Sevilla:
Of course with that much ornamentation, upkeep is a constant battle:
On the landing of the staircase up to the main building there were some flamenco players and dancers:
We found the immigration office. Mission accomplished, we walked back towards home looking for a pizza place that Julie Sachs recommended. We only had the name, San Marco, and there were like three different restaurants with that name. We stopped at one on the way home, and it had pizza, but it seemed a bit too upscale for our sweaty selves, so we went home. Is this it Julie?
On the way home, we encountered some really narrow streets:
Laura went to day two of her language class. I worked most of the afternoon on math. I did make a quick trip to the neighborhood grocery store. Here's a time-lapse of my return trip this evening: