September 27, 2014

Seville, Spain - Running Along River Guadalquivir

End of the run. Take a while to enjoy the morning
This is the time of the year for Unfit Runners annual getaway trip. This year, we are going off to Spain, along with Alcoholic and Big Bone Guy (BBG)

We touch down at Barcelona and spent 4 days tapas hopping, visiting Gudi's buildings and bumming around in general. Big Bone Guy came down with a bout of food poisoning and we had to cancel our run at Barcelona. But not to worry, we will end our trip at the beach-side city of Barcelona and should be able to clock in a run or two before leaving for Singapore.

The next stop after Barcelona is the capital of Andalusia, Seville.  Seville was founded during the rise of the Roman Empire, and conquered by the Moorish Muslim during the 8th century. Subsequently, the northern Christian Kingdoms invaded southwards and the Moors were pushed out of Seville during the 13th century and the fragmented Christian Kingdoms of Iberia unified into the present Spain during the 15th Century ushering the dawn of her golden age. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth. The influence of 3 great cultures are evident in the buildings around Seville, making the city a delight for history and architecture lovers.  

Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain and boast 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tomb of Christopher Columbus is also located at Seville at the Seville Cathedral.  However, we will not be covering these main landmarks, as the objective of our overseas runs are to explore the lesser landmarks. The city also runs along the Guadalquivir River and that is where the Unfit Runners will be running along this morning.

At this time of the year, the sun rises at around 8am, so when we started to set off from our apartment at 730am, it is still pitch black outside. One interesting observation about Spanish culture is that they start the day late. The streets were virtually empty at 8am. The quietness of the morning is quite unnerving for this city boy, who is used to the bustling morning streets of an Asian city.

The empty streets at 730am
Taken from the east coast of the Guadalquivir River
The pavement along the river. Deserted...
Heading south I ran past the Torre Del Oro , a river watch tower build during the 13th Century and it is the key to the coastal defense of Seville via the use of a metal chain. The chain when raised, will prevent any ships from entering into the heart of the city.

Torre Del Oro Watch Tower

Love the way how the street lamps reflect off from the river
Running  across the Puente de San Telmo bridge and taking a while to admire the morning glow, I entered the Triana district. The people from the Triana neighbourhood view themselves differently from their Seville neighbor across the river. They even have their own festival which is different from downtown Seville, making this district having a slightly different cultural feel and taste to the way that they live.

Along the coast of the Triana district, lies the most happening place in Seville with its concentration of pubs and clubs along the Calle Betis street . With all the pubs closed at 8am and the drunks safely back at home (or not...) the street is strangely deserted with the exception of a lone cleaning truck. Further north, there is a small chapel called Moorish Revival Chapel of El Carmen at the Puente Cristo De la Expiracion Bridge.

The Triana district.
Interesting statue to capture attention for the information below
The very happening Calle Betis street deserted in the early morning
Moorish Revival Chapel of El Carmen
To the north west, there lies a building that is totally out of place as compared to the low historical buildings around Seville. The Cajasol Tower will be the tallest building in Andalusia (Southern Spain) at 40 stories when completed in 2015. This building created much controversies among the locals as many feel that the tower is built too near to the historical district of Seville, making it an eyesore over the horizon.

Running across the Puente Cristo De la Expiracion Bridge, I reached the colorful Plaza de Armas, also the location of the main bus terminal of Seville. This is when I decided to take a break from the run and spend some time to enjoy the beautiful city of Seville at Sunrise.

The Cajasol Tower. The eyesore to many locals
Bicycles kiosks are plenty in Seville. Try cycling around the city. You will love it!
The few bridges that I know that actually provide shelter for the pedestrians
The colorful Plaza de Armas Bus station view from an angle
The boring side of the bus station.

Wow. Merz is really cheap here as compare to Singapore
At this moment in time, I felt a slight throbbing on my left knee again. Despite resting for 3-4 months, my knee issues doesn't seem to ever go away. Let's hope that this will not affect the rest of the trip like the one that troubled me during my Germany trip last year. meanwhile, its time to look for the rest of the Unfit Runners and search for some decent breakfast.

The City of Seville

Selfie time!

Location: Seville, Sevilla, Spain


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