So far, not many cycling gems to be seen, but I’m suspending belief for now, as I’m in love with the place. It’s a sunny city of avenues planted with Seville oranges (creating refreshing shade and visual contrast to the buildings and paving), ornate buildings in beautiful condition, and clever new additions mixed with the old. Some are loved, like the Amarillo suspension bridge built for a World Expo in the early 90s.Some are more contentious, like the Metropol Parasol, completed only 4 years ago after years of tussling by Arup Consultants who had to make the architect’s dream stand up. I’m hiring a bike today, so will have more to report from the road. What I’ve seen so far are the public bikes, which are found in most international cities, heaps of bike hire businesses and about the same number of people that I’d see in Central Auckland tooling around on bikes.
Our top floor apartment is surrounded by narrow cobbled lanes with 3 and 4 storeyed charming apartment blocks (with wrought iron balconies, shady courtyards and ornate tiled entrances), and cafes spilling out into every patio (square) from which the laneways radiate. The squares vibrate from late afternoon with noises of chat, eating, drinking, singing, greetings and laughter.
Deliveries to the narrow streets are by bike. Anyone need meat or eggs?From what I’ve seen so far, Seville’s cycling infra is not connected in the way that I found in Paris, Berlin and Switzerland. It’s fitted in where possible, and isn’t gold plated in the way that we are building in Auckland. Some pathways for people on bikes are hard to distinguish – Mike was nearly bowled by a man whizzing past on a folding bike along the tramway in the square by the stunning Seville Cathedral. I noticed one bikeway sign on a pole as we walked on. Unlike the other cities I’ve visited the density of people cycling is so low, that you don’t look out for them. The 9% of people reported to be tripping by bike are hard to see!
There’s no disappointment to me in Seville. Mike describes it as a city that embraces you – and he’s an engineer!
It’s a city of such warmth, treasures and charm I’m happy to suspend my cycling expectations for now.
More to come – Barb C