Monday, April 22, 2013

Cruising in another dimension

Last week I was cruising both down and upstream on the River Guadalquivir. You may well wonder where that is, and if I'm truthful, I had never heard the name before I went there. Geography was never my strong point at school, and the only rivers I ever really cottoned on to were the really big ones. You know, the Thames, the Avon, the Ouse…okay, I'll admit it, the English ones. About other rivers, I might have given you the Seine, maybe the Nile, and perhaps the Amazon, but not much more than that.

It's living on a boat that's done it. Now I know more rivers than you can point a stick at and probably know my way across Europe by water better than by car. No kidding!

I think that is the Puente de la Cartuja in the distance

Anyhow, the Gudalquivir is the river that runs through Seville in Spain and has its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. It is wide and lovely as it passes through the city, but sadly, you cannot get much further north than Seville because they've built a dam across it, probably to prevent flooding. There is also a canalised stretch that reaches round the city and which is probably there for the same reason.

Even so, you can hire boats or take a boat trip up and down the river, so as I happened to be in the neighbourhood last week, or as Christina James might say, I found myself in Seville, I decided the boat trip was a must, and very very agreeable it was too.
Going downstream from the town centre

Back upstream and the Puente de Triana is in sight

The Puente de Triana with its beautiful ironwork
We started off at a jetty in the middle of town almost opposite the Bullring (which I would prefer not to acknowledge, but which is rather a beautiful building). The boat then cruised downstream for about a kilometre before turning and taking us upstream to the northern most reaches of the city. We passed under some lovely bridges, one of which is the Puente de Triana, the oldest and most elegant in Seville, originally called the Isabel II bridge. Another is one that is mentioned in the Guiness Book of records for having the longest unsupported span. It's not particularly beautiful, but it is remarkable. It is called, romantically, the Puente de la Cartuja. The third and most familiar bridge to me is the Puente del Alamillo designed by Santiago Calatrava. It looks very much like the Erasmus Bridge here in Rotterdam and in fact, Calatrava designed another bridge here in the Netherlands of a similar style.

Apart from the bridges, we had a wonderful view of many of the sites for which Seville is famous and I learnt a good deal of the very noble history of the city into the bargain. Did you know that three Roman emperors came from Sevilla? I didn't! One of them was Trajan. It's so odd as I always think that Roman emperors must have been Italian, but it seems they were much more international in those days than I gave them credit for.

On a purely selfish note, the weather was just gorgeous - up in the thirties and wall to wall sunshine. It was just what I needed and had ordered. An added bonus was witnessing the first days of the famous Feria de Abril where Sevillians dress in their finest and ride their most elegant mounts around the city before drinking and partying the night away for six full days. Now I'm back in a chilly, but sunny Netherlands with a heavy cold and a temperature. Ah well, it was great to feel the sun on my skin and to be out on the water again. Simple pleasures are what it takes and the water is always a pleasure.

This bridge used to open for water traffic, but does no more

Attractive waterside buildings

The river traffic control tower

The Puente del Alamillo

The trip boat with my partner in travel


  1. You just can't keep away from boats, can you. It all looks lovely.

  2. Oops...! I didn't know that the Guadalquivir was so impressive down in Seville!
    I've only seen it upstreams in Cordoba a few times late in the summer and then and there it was more or less completely dried out so you would have had problems crossing it in a rowboat :)
    The reason for me being in Cordoba was because of my work and I was mostly travelling between my hotel and the factory.
    Impressive pictures as usual Val!

  3. Hah, Ros, no I can't! I love being on the water and where better when it's hot?

    Hans, the Guadalquivir is pretty impressive downstream. I didn't make it to Cordoba although I would have liked to. I'd like to go further downstream to the coast though. That would be a lovely trip!

  4. Hi Val - Seville is on my large list of places to visit .. that boat trip looks a great way to see the city sites. One day I shall get there .. hope you feel better soon - 30 degC .. that's too much! Cheers Hilary

  5. *sighs* Chugging up and down a river, sunshine ... *sighs*

  6. Looks lovely and relaxing. My geography is terrible too but I suppose you learn the rivers Anne's quickly if you're using them. How lovely it must have been to have heat again and see the sun.

  7. Hilary, put it high on your list! It is a lovely city, but if you don't like the heat, maybe earlier in April would suit you better. I like it hot, but I know it's not for everyone. x

    Jo, I know you know that I know what you mean :-) x

    Anne, you learn to read rivers like roads as they have their own maps and 'road signs' too. There is such a huge network of rivers in Europe, it's amazing. And yes, it was delicious to feel the sun again! Thank you x

  8. That looks amazing! And sunshine too, I am so jealous xxx

  9. Ooh all that lovely blue sky!! Do you alwaays have a boating holiday...? Pics are lovely!

  10. How delightful! And I thought that wasn't a Dutch name although I confess I thought it would be in Latin America somewhere. I'm enjoying your book by the way ! :)

  11. Wow Val, they don't seem to be able to keep you off the water! I live near the River Severn and the Gloucester to Sharpness canal which runs alongside it - but I don't get to go on stretches of water as glamorous as the ones where you spend your days. Nice pics too!

  12. Carol, not always, but we always make sure we are close to the water wherever we go.

    Jenny, thank you! And yes, it was great to feel real sun.

    Chris, I'd give a lot to cruise on the English canal network. I'm just trying to sweet talk my brother into lending me his narrow boat one of these days. Then, you might see me drifting by! They have it moored on the Kennet and Avon, I think.


Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops!

However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name. Even if you leave a nice, relevant comment, I won't publish it without a name.