With my imminent return to England, I thought I’d take a trip to one of the most loved places in Andalucia – the city of Seville. Although only there for one night, I too did fall a little bit in love with the city.
The journey to Seville was an amazing thing in itself. We had to travel through the inland city of Ronda to reach Seville, which involved the bus driving around mountains. Normally a view I see from the plane, we travelled further and further up until it felt like I was on top of the world.
After a collective four hours of travelling, Rebekah and I finally reached the city of Seville. Here are some of the things I loved about Seville.
If there is something Spain does well, and I can say this without a doubt, it’s that tapas are excellent!
And Seville did not disappoint!
In a traditional tapas restaurant ‘Casa Román’ in Plaza de las Venerables, I tried one of Seville’s specialities – solomillo al whisky – as the name suggests, strips of meat soaked in a spicy, whisky sauce. But this description does not do justice to the taste – the juicy and delicious flavour that I’ve only ever experienced with meat cooked in whisky! The following day we tried something a little different at a Gastrobar, this time treating us to a modern take on tapas, which was very different but just as delicious. One to mention was the ‘baclao dorado’ [cod], which was served to me in a cocktail glass. Yes, a serving of tasty cod, with a fried egg on top, sprinkled with crisps, in a cocktail glass.
After this particularly immense paella on Saturday night, we went for a wander around Seville in search of some night-time atmosphere in the city. This soon became a fully fledged hunt as the city seemed strangely quiet. Whether the Sevillanas were saving themselves for the Sevilla Feria that begins this week, I guess we’ll never know! Eventually, we reached the ‘Alameda de Hercules’, another recommendation. An area lined with a few bars and mostly ‘botellons’ in street, we stopped for what was an incredibly good mojito, before heading back to the hotel. It seems that a mojito can be classed ‘as making the best of a situation’!
During our travels around the city, we passed the Real Maestranza bullring– one of the most famous bullrings in Andalucia, which attracts famous bull fighters from across the country. Saturday was a particularly special day as the first bull fight of the season. Spaniards were dressed up in their finest clothes and children were having their photos taken with the bull ring in the background. Yet, as we walked further down the road, we saw the stirrings of what became an anti-bullfighting protest. Police had closed off the street for the equally large crowd of people walking in the direction of the bullring blowing whistles, waving flags and chanting things like “Andalucía, anti-taurina” and declaring that bullfighting is “ni arte ni cultura”.
As in most cities, there were some truly breathtaking sights.
The Real Alcazar was something incredibly spectacular – a beautiful palace with intricate carvings and giant tapestries hanging on the walls. Even more astounding were the Gardens of the Alcazar, so expansive that we seemed to walk through them for hours. We came across water fountains – large and small, beautiful flowers and perfectly bloomed roses, vast grassy areas with only the sound of the birds tweeting, as well as amazing views, mosaic benches and some of the tallest palm trees that I have ever seen towering over me.
And then there are the plazas [squares]. Ah, the plazas – one of my favourite things about Spain.
One of the first plazas we stumbled upon was the Plaza de Salvador. A huge plaza right next to Church of Salvador, and in true Sevillan style, I hear, it was full of people gathered around chatting in the sun and sipping on a cerveza or some tinto verano. It was pretty cool, and they made drinking in the streets in the middle of the day seem like the most civilised thing!
But, I leave the best until last. By far the most fantastic sight was the Plaza de España. After a day of travelling and exploring the city, this is the last place we reached, following so many recommendations. As we walked through Maria Luisa Park, it was like approaching Disneyland as the plaza became increasingly more visible to us artistically framed between two palm trees.
In the middle stood a grand, and given the 30 degree weather, cooling fountain. In the area around the fountain, couples, friends and families enjoyed horse and carriage rides and rowing around the canal which runs within the plaza. For a good while we lay on the bench just enjoying the calming and wonderful atmosphere of the Plaza de España, before crossing the bridge to see the 48 mosaic alcoves for each Spanish province. Of course, I paid particular attention to Malaga stopping for a photo with my home for the last 9 months.
So Andalucia delivers another excellent city. As I said to my manager after the trip, “there’s not one city in Andalucia that I’ve visited and not loved”. 🙂