Seville, Spain Metropol Parasol Structure
Our Seville rental, or as the Spaniards say, Sevilla, immediately appealed to me since another Calatrava masterpiece would be in view from our balcony and immediately outside the front door. My mistake. As it turns out, this world’s largest wooden structure is not a Calatrava at all, rather it was built by some German unfamiliar to me, Jürgen Mayor.
The Metropol Parasol in no way fits in with the 100-year-old surrounding buildings, but obviously it was not meant to. What it does do is provide shade from the hot sun for shopping, restaurants, tourists and serves as a gathering place for weekend entertainment. This world’s largest timber structure offers an archaeological museum, a farmers market, plaza, multiple bars and restaurants underneath the parasols, as well as a panorama terrace on the very top of the parasol. Juggling acts and circus-like gymnastic rings were set up on the weekends. More of that eking out a living routine. On our last night in Seville we paid the €3, ($3.33) admission and took the elevator to the top of the structure and walked around at sunset. This is the best deal in the city as the €3 includes one beer or wine. A beer in the States could easily cost twice that or more if the bar had these views. Of course, prices often follow local wages, so wages are low here as well.
Walking around the Metropol Parasol shortly after sunset, searching for nice curves and design elements is a joy for photographers. The vivid blues are a result of photographing approximately 60 minutes after sunset as well as blue lights within the wooden structure. This time of the evening is called the blue hour by photographers, for obvious reasons.
Alcázar Moorish Fortress of Seville
Alcazar fortress and palace was built by Moorish Muslim Kings. Unlike the more famous Alhambra in Granada which was looted, used by squatters, neglected and deteriorated over the years, the Alcazar has been in constant use by Spain’s royal family since they ran off the Moors. The upper floors are still used by the family today. Broad panorama photos without people in them are not possible in such a popular tourist attraction, so my tendency is to focus on the details. Turns out that is my natural photographic inclination regardless. The goal of my blogs on the places we visit is not to give a detailed account of the entire place like a travel brochure of Wikipedia might compile, rather as I tour I simply photograph what appeals to me. You may not necessarily get a feel for the grandeur of the place.
For good reason, tripods are not allowed in such crowded places as people would literally be tripping over one another. But what about sprawling on the floor and setting the camera on the ground pointed up at the ceiling for stability? Turns out crawling around on the tiled floor is also not looked upon favorably by the guards. They will tell you to stop it and get up… twice.
To show the detail which exists in the ceiling photo above, below is an enlarged section from the center of the golden ceiling. It also shows the value of the Sony A7Rii with 44 megapixel photos. So often, high above you are amazing details in the design elements, from Chicago to Lisbon, which the public never pauses to observe. Partly because few of us carry binoculars….
On the other hand, did you know the statue of the goddess Ceres (where we get our word for cereal grains) on top of the Chicago Board of Trade has no face? The designer felt it was unnecessary since the statue would be erected so far from the public eye.
The bath house scene below appears calm and serene. Nothing could be further from the truth. School kids are jumping up and down on metal ramps listening to the deafening echo while the teacher yells at them to stop. Other tourists think it is a good idea to toss coins into the water causing ripples and messing up the gray-haired photographer’s long exposure. Little boys cannot believe the perfectly still water, so of course they must conduct a field test and splash their hands in it wildly. The teacher again yells. Of course, you have the endless selfies going on all the while. Since tripods are still not allowed, I propped my camera up on a wall off to the side, leveled it with coins and waited patiently.
The Gardens of Alcázar Palace
There are acres of gardens and fountains surrounding the Alcazar palace. The Jacaranda tree blooms were falling off and into the ponds with gold-fish, along with some red Bougainvillea blooms. This made for some interesting, but hard to capture, colorful scenes. This photo is included here only since I worked so hard and long on trying to capture the blooms and fish, In the end, I did not get much more than a snapshot.
Through my years of photography it has become apparent abstracts are among my favorites. This is based on the number of photos in my Abstract Gallery. Finding such designs in the details when the more common photo composition is the entire gate and sky is enjoyable for me.
Detailed Plaster and Tile Work of Moorish Design
The detailed plaster and tile work is quite impressive. I do not know if the skilled craftsmen who designed and built this were paid and treated well for their skills or if it was more along the lines of slave labor.
The symmetrical tile design below is about three feet tall. If I posed for a selfie in front of it, you would of course know that.
Sunday Catholic Procession
Another Spanish town, another Sunday religious procession. This one started off with a 30 piece band which included several tuba players. Now that’s a church band! Hearing the music from our balcony, I eventually grabbed my camera to investigate the celebration. Each town we have visited in both Spain and now Portugal have had these marches between the local churches. This priest visited three other churches, going inside each one, showered with rose petals along the way. Upon his exit the band and loud drums would start again as the procession worked it way through the narrow streets on to the next church.
Typical Seville cobblestone street scene along the church procession route. Notice how the locals are not wearing shorts and flipflops, despite the heat?