Exploring the past in Seville, Spain!

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, or otherwise just not know as many neat factoids about the areas they travel while visiting around the world as they perhaps should. Whether it be doom or ignorance, I’m here to help cure the ailment. Today we touch upon Seville, Spain and its vibrant history as it has been passed down the empires of history.

Seville, Spain is an interesting city from a historical standpoint. It was founded approximately 2,200 years ago by the romans, who called it Hispalis. According to mythos Hercules himself founded the city, sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar (An article about Gibraltar can be found here) and founding the trading posts at Cadiz and Seville. If one looks closely you can still see the remnants of Rome in some sections of the city, such as the columns of La Alameda de Hercules as seen above, or the last vestiges of the aqueducts which are now crumbling in many places. In 712 the Moors, Muslims from the North of Africa, took the city and renamed it Ishbiliya. It was the capital city for the kings of the Almoravid dynasty and the Umayyad Caliphate from the 8th to the 13th centuries.

It was not until 1247 that the Christian King Ferdinand III of Castile turned his eyes to the city, capturing it the next year. This led to much growth in the city’s public sector which included a large amount of churches being built, including the Seville Cathedral (pictured above) which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world! The city also has the distinction of being the last seat of the infamous Spanish Inquisition, which was held in the Castle of St. George.

After Christopher Columbus’ expedition to the so called New World netted Spain new avenues of resources, Seville saw a massive boom due to the fact that it had a monopoly with the Crown when it came to trading from the West Indies. All goods from the new world had to pass through Seville before being distributed to the rest of Spain. Due to this a ‘golden age of development’ began in Seville. Merchants from all over Europe came to buy the precious trade goods from North America. During this time the city’s population grew to over a million, and Seville knew untold wealth. All good things must come to an end though, and in the late 16th century its previous monopoly was at last broken when the port of Cadiz was also authorized as a port of trade. To make matters far worse the Great Plague of Seville in 1649 wiped out half of Seville’s population, devastating the city.

In the 18th century Charles III of Spain promoted Seville’s industries. The Royal Tobacco Factory, pictured above, began construction in 1728 with several additions to it over the next 30 years. At the time of its completion it was the second largest building in Spain, only surpassed by the royal resident El Escorial. In more recent times it has been the seat of the rectorate of the University of Seville. In the 20th century Seville fell very quickly at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, due to the fact that a general carried out a coup within the city and captured the city center without much resistance.

 

Seville has a very rich history, and it still shows in the city today. It has a vibrant old town where its Roman and Moorish past can be easily seen, and its grand constructs of the Christian faith are a reminder of how closely tied to the Catholic church the city has been throughout the years. Seville is a beautiful city that has transitioned to the modern age about as well as any European city, and we’re super excited to be stopping there as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the details on this exciting trip, go here.

The Rock of Gibraltar!

Gibraltar is a very small country, a little over two square miles, located at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the Mediterranean Sea. It has many attractions despite its small size, but none are more famous nor loom as large, both literally and figuratively, than the Rock of Gibraltar.

The Rock of Gibraltar is a monolithic limestone promontory, which basically means it is a big slanting piece of land. It is one of the Pillars of Hercules, denoted as such because it was one of the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. It stands 1,398 feet tall and is a part of the Betic Cordillera mountain range. When one stands atop the Rock you can see the African coastline if you look towards the south, while the heart of the Mediterranean ocean awaits your visage if you stare eastward.

Inside of the Rock there is a labyrinth of tunnels known as the Great Siege Tunnels. The construction of the tunnels began as a way to withstand the Great Siege during the Revolutionary War. France and Spain wished to retake the Rock from Britain and so the man in charge offered a handsome reward for anyone who could find a way to move goes from the northern face of the rock. The idea was a great success and helped quite a bit in the efforts to fend off the overwhelming force. Such was the success that the tunnels were expanded during World War II to further help the war effort.

Sticking underground anyone who visits here should check out St. Michael’s cave! It has been visited for thousands of years as a point of interest because it was believed to be bottomless. Because of this rumor started to spread that the cave was possibly connected to the continent of Africa by a subterranean passage of some length, which also was used to explain where the apes came from. During World War II the cave was prepared as an emergency hospital but was never needed. These days it is known as the Cathedral Cave and makes a wonderfully unique auditorium for all sorts of events.

No trip to the Rock would be complete without discussing the Apes’ Den, which is home to the world famous Barbary Macaques. It is a popular legend among the people of Gibraltar that if the apes – often mistaken for monkeys – leave this place that it will no longer be British. They are descended from North African populations of the same kind. They may be adorable but let me be the first to warn you they are more than a little feisty and they are indeed wild animals, so while you can admire them don’t do so too closely or you might be in for some trouble!

We are proud of the fact that we are going to be stopping in Gibraltar as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the details about that trip, you can go here. 

Drag Stars At Sea: EUROPEAN ALLSTARS (OFFICIAL PAGE)

 


ALandCHUCK.travel proudly presents

BREAKING NEWS

Drag Stars At Sea: Europe / aboard Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas
October 2 – 9, 2015 sailing London, Southampton, Vigo, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona

Drag Stars At Sea: North America / aboard Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas
January 23 – 30, 2016 San Juan, St Thomas, St John, St Croix, Antigua, St Lucia, Granada

DRAG STARS AT SEA: Europe  /  “Cruising With the Queen”
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas,  October 2 – 9, 2015
THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS CRUISE

8 Days from $799 plus government taxes & fees

We are very pleased to announce the 2nd Installment of Drag Stars At Sea Europe aboard the HUGE 139,000 ton Explorer of the Seas sailing from London to Barcelona featuring Southampton; Vigo, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Seville & Cadiz, Spain; and Gibraltar.  This incredible cruise experience will also feature optional tours including our famous London PILLAGE & PLUNDER “Off With Her Head” pre party.  Your 3 Day / 2 night stay is the perfect way to start your Vacation experience.  You can choose a 7 Day / 6 night Taste of Europe pre tour that includes Amsterdam, Paris, and London Pillage & Plunder or a 5 Day / 4 night Paris & London pre tour.  After the ship arrives in Barcelona you can add a 3 Day / 2 night Best of Barcelona post tour or a 5 Day / 4 night Taste of Spain tour including both Barcelona and Madrid.  Best of all, Drag Stars At Sea Europe “Cruising With The Queen” includes the largest gathering of Drag Stars in Europe’s history, fantastic shows, incredible theme parties, unique and exclusive shore excursions, and many other special activities to make this a vacation of a lifetime.  There is NOTHING like this in Europe and it promises to be a vacation of a lifetime!

ON LINE RESERVATIONS will open on Friday, January 9, 2015 EXCLUSIVELY for past Drag Stars At Sea guests.   All other guests can start to make reservations on Monday, January 12 (exclusively on line).  Phone reservations will not be accepted until beginning Friday, January 16.  See ALandCHUCK.travel website starting on Friday, January 9 for all cruise details and the booking reservation link. (note: the Facebook 2014 group pages will close on Friday, January 9.  We invite you to the new 2015 Europe and 2016 North America group pages which are now open and where all the conversation will be.)

IMPORTANT FEATURES OF DRAG STARS AT SEA:

  • Reservations are available ONLY with exclusive booking through ALandCHUCK.travel  Guests with reservations from any other travel company or the cruise line directly will not be participants for Drag Stars At Sea.
  • NO OTHER ALandCHUCK.travel GROUPS (or its subsidiaries) WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CRUISE.  ONLY Drag Stars At Sea guests will be allowed to make reservations for this cruise and you will be our ONLY special guests aboard the ship.
  • THIS WILL BE A MORE INTIMATE EXPERIENCE achieved by allowing a MUCH smaller number of guests than the full ship experience we have done in the past.  It allows our cruise to be more intimate and filled with very personal vacation experiences. Our goal is to create a more intimate vacation and travel experience where you can interact with all guests and stars.
  • YOU ARE HOSTED BY ALL THE QUEENS, no Queen selection is needed.  New for DSAS, you will have interaction and be hosted by ALL the queens on the cruise.  More time is provided for interaction, meet/greets and many special activities aboard ship.  Our goal is for you to see ALL the talent and have a more intimate experience aboard Drag Stars At Sea.
  • SPECIAL MEET & GREET WITH EVERY STAR ON THE WORLD FAMOUS ROYAL PROMENADE ABOARD SHIP.  This unique four story high indoor mall-like room is perhaps the most amazing public room on any ship in the world and runs nearly the entire length of the ship.  You will enjoy a special meet/greet with EVERY STAR in one place along the Royal Promenade becoming the largest photo meet/greet in history!
  • EXCLUSIVE VIP EXPERIENCE WITH THE STARS.  New to Drag Stars At Sea we are providing a very intimate experience with your favorite star.  This VIP experience is just $99.  The VIP Experience is with just a maximum of 8 guests as you interact with your star.  Begin with a 30 minute cocktail meet/greet with your star and exclusive guests (cash bar).  Next you have a special dinner table and enjoy dinner with your star.  It is the ultimate opportunity to talk to and KiKi with the performer at your own dinner table.  Finally you enjoy a show that includes your star with VIP front/near row seating. This VIP Experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  (advance reservations will be available on line)
  • SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE SHORE EXCURSIONS AVAILABLE ONLY TO GUESTS OF DRAG STARS AT SEA.  Special private tours are available in every port at special reduced pricing exclusively with ALandCHUCK.travel guests hosted by our staff and selected Queens.  You can start to make reservations for these special trips on Friday, January 9.
  • FOUR SPECIAL PARTIES ABOARD SHIP. Participating in Drag Stars At Sea will allow you to participate in four special parties. Enjoy ROYAL BALL which will be our welcome aboard Masquerade party.  We also will have three additional theme & costume parties aboard ship.  These elaborate events welcome you however you see fit.  But if you wish to fully participate, you will enjoy some of the most amazing costumes, drag presentations and a special $500 prize to the best presentation for EACH party aboard.  It makes Drag Stars At Sea a cruise like no other.
  • ALandCHUCK.travel CONCEIRGE DESK ABOARD SHIP.  An exclusive benefit for our Drag Stars At Sea guests is a Concierge Desk that we operate daily.  It will provide information on every aspect of the cruise and goes much farther than what is available through the cruise lines Guest Services.  This concierge service is provided exclusively by ALandCHUCK.travel staff.
  • WELCOME ABOARD MEETING & STARS MEET/GREET. On the day you board the cruise ALandCHUCK.travel will host a Drag Stars At Sea Welcome Aboard Presentation that will include a welcome to all guests, the latest information on the cruise and meeting all the stars of the cruise.  It is an exclusive for DSAS guests.
  • “AT A GLANCE” COMMUNICATION BULLETIN. Your electronic documents will arrive 7 to 10 days prior to departure and will include “AT A GLANCE” the exclusive on board communication tool for Drag Stars At Sea.  This concise summary of all events aboard the ship will help you plan and remember every detail to ensure it is a vacation of a lifetime.
  • MAKE UP CLASS.  We offer an exclusive Make Up Class hosted by a star that if you choose to participate can be outstanding for those in Drag or for every day needs (additional charge and advance reservations will be available on line)
  • BAR & DRINK PACKAGES ARE AVAILABLE.  ALandCHUCK.travel is happy to announce that unlimited soda, wine, bar and other packages will be available to Drag Stars At Sea guests.  (advance reservations will be available on line).
  • OUTSTANDING DINING CHOICES.  Guests of Drag Stars At Sea will be able to participate in a fantastic featured dining choices including:
  • MY TIME DINING:  You enjoy open seating for dinner (all meals are included aboard ship FREE in the buffet or main dining room) to dine when you want and who you want to dine with. The ultimate choice.
  • PORTOFINO Gourmet Italian Dinner:  One evening this specialty restaurant is a feature for Drag Stars At Sea guests to enjoy with ALandCHUCK.travel staff and select Stars (small additional charge and advance reservations will be available on line)
  • CHOPS GRILLE Gourmet Steakhouse Dinner:  One evening this specialty restaurant is a feature for Drag Stars At Sea guests to enjoy with ALandCHUCK.travel staff and select Stars (small additional charge
    and advance reservations will be available on line)
  • CHEFS TABLE Gourmet Dinner Experience: One evening this specialty WORLD CLASS dining experience is a feature exclusively for Drag Stars At Sea guests to enjoy.
  • DRAG STAR AT SEA JACKPOT BINGO PARTY.  During the sailing you will enjoy a jackpot Bingo party hosted by select Queens.  It will be a fun and entertaining event aboard Drag Stars At Sea.
  • STUDIO B WHITE ICE PARTY.  During the cruise you will enjoy a special WHITE ICE PARTY that will be held in the largest Ice Skating venue aboard a ship in the world.  Enjoy skating (small additional charge for skates) and music/bar to make the party fun. Dress the part as we offer this special WHITE PARTY unlike has ever been done before.
  • BRITISH OPEN GOLF PARTY.  During the cruise you will enjoy a special round of golf (well, 9 holes of Goofy Golf) as we host a party called the “British Open.”  It promises to be lots of fun!

 

PRE TOUR OPTIONS Available for Drag Stars At Sea Europe

  • LONDON PILLAGE & PLUNDER “OFF WITH HER HEAD” PARTY. This 3 Day / 2 Night package is just $299 and additional nights are just $99.  Your pre stay includes: first class city center hotel, Pillage & Plunder Party, London Sightseeing, Transfers from hotel to Southampton pier.

 

  • TASTE OF EUROPE PLUS LONDON PILLAGE & PLUNDER. This 7 Day / 6 Night package is just $899. Your pre stay includes 2 nights in Amsterdam, 2 nights in Paris, 2 nights in London (all first class city center hotels), Sightseeing in each city, Transfers from Amsterdam to Paris, Paris to London, and from hotel to Southampton pier.  Of course, you also enjoy the London Pillage & Plunder Party.
  • BEST OF PARIS PLUS LONDON PILLAGE & PLUNDER. This 5 Day / 4 Night package is just $599.  Your pre stay includes 2 nights in Paris, 2 nights in London (all first class city center hotels), Sightseeing in each city, and Transfers from Paris to London, and from hotel to Southampton pier.

POST TOUR OPTIONS Available for Drag Stars At Sea Europe

  • BEST OF BARCELONA. This 3 Day / 2 Night package is just $299.  Your post stay includes 2 nights in Barcelona at first class city center hotel, Barcelona Sightseeing, Transfers from pier to hotel and transfers hotel to airport.
  • TASTE OF SPAIN. This 5 Day / 4 Night package is just $699.  This post stay includes 2 nights in Barcelona and 2 nights in Madrid (all first class city center hotels), Sightseeing in each city, Airfare from Barcelona to Madrid, and all transfers in Spain.

SAILING ITINERARY FOR DRAG STARS AT SEA EUROPE:

Friday  /  October 2, 2015  /  Sail from Southampton, England  /  4:30 pm
Saturday  /  October 3, 2015  /  Fun day at sea
Sunday  /  October 4, 2015  /  Vigo, Spain  /  10 am – 5 pm
Monday  /  October 5, 2015  /  Lisbon, Portugal  /  9 am – 5 pm
Tuesday  /  October 6, 2015  /  Seville (Cadiz), Spain  /  10 am – 8 pm
Wednesday  /  October 7, 2015  /  Gibraltar  /  8 am – 5 pm
Thursday  /  October 8, 2015  /  Fun day at sea
Friday  /  October 9, 2015  /  Barcelona, Spain  /  6 am arrival

*special events are subject to change or modification as required for the operation of the ship.

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