Sevilla is one of the Spanish cities that I knew I had to see at least once. It’s the capital of Andalucía (the southern region of Spain) and the birthplace of flamenco. Rick Steves says it’s the southern city with the most soul, and that you should just walk around and soak up the atmosphere. So that we did! This was the last stop on our trip (with my aunt and uncle).
Finding a hotel last minute wasn’t easy (especially since it was a weekend, and we were 3 people that wanted to share a room). But luckily I stumbled upon some “vacation apartments” in the center of Sevilla. It was one of the best prices available for downtown on the day we wanted, and we were pleasantly surprised when we got there. The place was really nice, and included a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room with a pull out sofa. Everything was updated and modern. And we were just a block away from the main cathedral.
Once we checked in, we went walking through the barrio de Santa Cruz, which is known for its tiny streets, good food, pretty patios, and historical landmarks. My favorite part of this walking tour was sipping some tinto de verano (a popular summertime Spanish drink that has red wine and 7up) on a tiny “kissing street”. The kissing streets are called that way because they’re so narrow that people across the street from each other could kiss on their balconies.
After dinner, we went to what they call the “Plaza de España”. A lot of cities have one, for example, in Madrid it’s a plaza with a statue of Cervantes. In Sevilla, it’s a huge park with an impressive building in the center that was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It has a painting on tiles for each region in Spain. Now, the building houses government offices.
The next day, we toured the cathedral which holds treasures like the largest pearl in the world and Christopher Columbus’ tomb (his real name is Cristobal Colón, so I have no idea why we translate it to English).
Next, we walked up the bell tower for some great views of Sevilla.
After a rest and a beer (hey, it was hot!), we went to the Alcázar (a royal house). The building is beautiful and interesting because it was built and changed during so many time periods. It has islamic, renaissance, gothic, and baroque artistic elements. The current Spanish royal family still resides there when they visit Sevilla.
Continuing our long day trying to see as much as possible, we trekked over to the other side of the river, to the “Triana” neighborhood. The neighborhood is famous for its flamenco dancers and singers and its tile industry. So we checked out a tile store, walked around, and got dinner by the river.
At the end, we had to hurry because we had booked tickets to a flamenco show on the other side of town. Even though I had been living in Spain for over a year, I had never seen a live flamenco show! We all wanted to experience it, so we went to the place that a local recommended (the Museum of Flamenco).
The venue was small, with less than 100 people in the audience. I’m not sure what I was expecting of the show, but not a lot. I thought it would be a bit fun but nothing extraordinary. I was impressed! It truly takes a lot of talent and passion. The singers and dancers put so much emotion into the show, you can’t help but be impressed.
After the show we wandered around the area and then up to what locals call the “mushroom”. It’s a large modern sculpture that you can go up on and see views of the city. We didn’t choose to pay and go up, but it was cool to see from below. Sevillianos say that they don’t like it because it doesn’t match the city’s general “theme,” and I have to agree (although it is interesting).
Afterwards, we were hungry again so we went back to the Santa Cruz neighborhood and tried another restaurant. We ordered tipical food from the city, including flamenquines (rolled ham and cheese, fried) and seafood salad.
The rooftop bar definitely had some killer views, but the prices were astronomical. So we enjoyed the heck out of those drinks and the view and then got outta there!
The next morning, we parted ways as I went back to Madrid on the fast train and my aunt and uncle went to Barcelona to fly back home.
Sevilla didn’t disappoint! It’s definitely got a lot of soul, friendly people, and history.
So what’s next? Right now my schedule is full of private English classes, but I’ve planned a trip up to Galicia (northern Spain) to visit a friend in about a week. Then, Barcelona in early August. And more travel to come, as I’m trying to do as much as possible.