Saturday, May 28, 2016

Seville Day 1 - Alice in wonderland

Metropol Parasol is the world’s largest wooden structure and stands tall in the ‘La Encarnacion Square’. It consists of six huge parasols and standing below them, I felt like I was enacting a scene from the Alice in Wonderland simply because the shape of the parasols resembles huge gigantic mushrooms. That is the reason, the Metropol Parasol is also referred to as ‘Las Setas’ which is the spanish word for mushrooms.
So the history goes that this square was a market place in the 19th century and as the building got dilapidated, it was finally torn down in 1976. The first attempt in 1990 to redevelop the area was put to a halt as ancient ruins from Andalusian era were discovered during the construction. The second attempt began in 2005 with a view to create this unique wooden structure but soon it was discovered that the design was technically infeasible (does this remind us of India?). So the work again halted in 2007. Finally, a new technique using glue as reinforcement was used and finally the Metropol Parasol opened up in 2011 for the visitors after spending more than 100 million euros.
Ok, good, so I no longer find it bizarre that India needed a ridiculous 10 years to construct something like the Bandra-Worli sea link, there are others as well!
Although the people of Seville like to call it mushrooms, the husband and I liked to refer it as waffle due to Metropol’s interweaving waffle-like wooden panels that rise from concrete base to the crown. The ticket queue was surprisingly short and shockingly cheap – 3 euros per person to go to the top of the Metropol and it also includes a free drink!! I mean in London, they wouldn’t even let you step on the tube if your oyster card has that low balance, forget visiting a touristy site.
The lift in the Metropol Parasol will leave you at Level 2 which hosts the restaurant. The panoramic terrace starts from there and is simply amazing offering one of the best views of the city Centre. You can also see the top of the Seville Cathedral, from which this architecture was inspired. In the words of the architect, this is a ‘cathedral without walls’!
The husband and I were already elated due to the cheap entry ticket and the prospect of a free drink but we decided to behave like good tourists and walked around the entire walkway stopping and taking pictures, enjoying the views, soaking the shining sun and meanwhile thinking about the free sangria that was waiting for us.
After a full round, we were back at the restaurant. Finding a nice table outside on the terrace is crucial and only a person who has travelled during the peak time in a Mumbai local can do so. Some tips to finding a good table – be quick, be shameless, stand near the table where you can see the glasses almost empty and hedge your bets and get the husband to stand near another table. If you aren’t able to grab a good table, in either case, do sit down for a while and enjoy the city from above.

All in all, I felt that Metropol Parasol has a fantastic, daring, creative and inventive sculpture-like repetitive geometric plan, making it a must visit if you are in Seville! The parasols provide for shade, the game of light and shadows is definitely attention grabbing and unique and it’s a contemporary landmark merging the historical medieval city and the contemporary city beat! 

The view of Las Setas from the square


Level 1 - Market

Level 2 & 3 - The panoramic terrace



HeartFelt Template by Ipietoon Cute Blog Design and Bukit Gambang