3.09.2015

Catedral de Sevilla + Casa Roman

Still green Seville oranges frame the city's massive gothic Cathedral.


You can't miss the Cathedral of Sevilla. The Cathedral's massive size and presence dominates the skyline of Sevilla's old quarter. La Giralda, a former minaret converted into a bell tower, stands so tall over the city's old quarter that I often used it like a compass to find my way home after a day of exploring. Reflecting Spain's Golden Age of discovery, the basilica is dominated by immense columns, elaborately tiled floor, and a soaring, ornately carved ceiling. After my visit I was un-surprised to learn that it is the largest Gothic church in the world. It's pretty epic.

La Giralda towers over Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville, Spain.
A statue of Christopher Columbus at the massive Cathedral of Seville.


A UNESCO World Heritage site, the cathedral was built over the Great Mosque the 1400s. Only the minaret and interior garden survived Christianization. The basilica also houses the (alleged) remains of Christopher Columbus. But good luck finding the monument, there's so much to see and so many tombs. I was distracted by the way that the stained glass windows filtered colored rays of light throughout the massive space. A few extra euro buys you a ticket to climb up La Giralda for a grand view of Sevilla. I skipped this in favor of a trip to the top of the Metropol Parasol later in the day.

Dramatic baroque tiles cover the floor of the Seville Cathedral in Spain.
The epic vaulted ceilings at Seville Cathedral.
Tree trunk like columns dominate the space at Seville Cathedral.
An ornate alter to the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral of Seville.
The ornate interior of the Seville Cathedral in Spain.

A sunny day in the center of Sevilla - Barrio Santa Cruz.

And it was time for lunch. I stumbled my way to Casa Roman, another restaurant recommended by Shawn Hennessey, and had an incredibly simple, perfectly delicious meal. Like Las Teresas, Casa Roman has a lot of traditional Spanish charm.

Interior of the ultra charming Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
An appetizer of grilled zucchini and a tinto at Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
Along with my now customary tinto, I decided I needed something green (I ate a lot of pork and potatoes in Spain). So a tapa of grilled zucchini seemed like just the thing. As is typical of many Spanish vegetable preparations, the zucchini was smothered in olive oil, rendering the flesh smooth and silky. Served cold like an antipasto, it was lovely.The main course was even better. I had the Grilled Presa Iberica, tender little strips of ibérico pork charred just so and liberally seasoned with coarse salt. A bed of fries below soaked up all the meaty juices.

After ending the meal with a coffee, my tired feet and full belly decided it was time for a siesta. I searched the skyline for La Giralda then followed it homw to my hotel. A short siesta later and I was ready for an evening adventure at Las Setas and another lovely meal at La Azotea.

A delicious plate of grilled pork at Casa Roman.
High quality jamon hangs from the rafters of Sevilla's Casa Roman.
Dining on jamon at Casa Roman in Seville, Spain
A cortado to finish the meal at Casa Roman.
Grilled Presa Iberica at the traditional Spanish spot, Casa Roman.

Green Seville Orange trees line a path towards la Giralda and the Seville Cathedral right in the heart of Barrio Santa Cruz.

2.25.2015

Good Morning, Prague

Sunrise over the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic
My first full day in Prague started with a misty early morning walk across the Vltava. The fog felt so appropriate, shrouding the Art Nouveau facades and pastel exteriors in a bit of mystery. The subtle beauty of the city revealed slowly, quietly the closer I explored.

Biking across the Region Bridge over the Vltava.
A window into Prague's Cafe Savoy.
An elegant breakfast at Cafe Savoy in Prague.
Espresso with milk and water at Prague's Cafe Savoy.

I stopped for breakfast at the lovely Cafe Savoy. All of the servers wear smart white collars, black vests, and bow ties lending an instant elegance to the already stunning interior. Soft boiled eggs are never on the menu in my part of the world. But I wish they were. There's something so satisfying in process of their consumption. Toast soldiers to dip, then a tiny spoon to scoop.

Cafe Savoy houses its own patisserie, check it out downstairs.
The generous bread basket at Cafe Savoy.

Alongside the egg there was sliced cheese and prague ham, plus a barely sweet wedge of nutty marble cake. And a generous bread basket with butter and two jams. And hot chocolate. How could I forget about the hot chocolate? All supplemented by an espresso served in the most beautiful little china cup. In Prague, espressos are often served with a miniature pitcher of steamed milk and a glass of water, it's such a thoughtful touch. Make sure to take a bathroom break before you leave, if only to peek into the pâtisserie where the pastries and breads are made each day.

A misty morning over the Vltava River in Prague.
The oh so elegant, Cafe Savoy in Prague.
The Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Prague.
A bridge to bridge view, Legion to Charles in Prague.
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