Andalusia - Sevilla

Jan 23, 2012

Getting into the city was a little fuzzy (like any big city), and when we got to the railway station to drop off the car, we kept circulating on a wrong side of the place. After few misses we found the right place, returned the car and took a taxi to our hotel. The hotel was inside of the old town’s labyrinth (in Santa Cruz quarter), and the alley must’ve been about a meter wide. Few twists and turns and we arrived, checked-in and hopped in a shower. By now we were starving and couldn’t wait to see what was waiting around the corner. About a minute walk later, we got out of the labyrinth to a wider street that was full of bars and restaurants- jackpot. Plenty of tapas tasting later we stepped further to the plaza Virgen de los Reyos, which is a home for the huge and gorgeous Cathedral of Seville (it is one of the biggest medieval & gothic cathedrals in the world). It looked sizzling in its illuminations and in all its glory. Right next to it is the plaza Del Triunfo and Alcazar, the massive complex of royal palace of Seville with its huge gardens all around it (also the Cathedral and the Real Alcazar are both UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites).

The streets were full of life as we walked on, soon reaching the plaza Nuevo, plaza de San Francisco, and continuing all the way to one of the most active nightlife quarters, La Alfalfa. It was everything we had read about and more; full of lively bars, restaurants and most of all- people. We had a drink in a nice (and cheap!) place but started slowly moving towards our hotel and called it a night.

We had two days time to get to know the city, and plenty to do. We started off by getting to the Plaza de Espana (Spain Square) situated in the Maria Luisa Park. When we got there, we were blown away by its magnitude, and by everything it was surrounded by; water fountains, ponds, endless columns, gorgeous bridges with tall decorative lamps, and so much more. The most challenging thing was to capture it all at once on a camera, which turned out to be almost impossible. Even the panoramic feature would only begin to capture its mighty. The park itself wasn’t too bad either; beautiful, stylized alley ways framed by palms, orange trees and pines. Numerous flower beds, bonds and benches all made for people to come and enjoy recreation. And there were plenty of families, joggers and tourists wandering around the huge park; it was possible to get around with a bike or in a horse carriage, too. 

We then headed to the riverside (Guadalquivir river), passing the palace of San Telmo and the university buildings, and got to the other side of the river to the Triana district. Hosting colorful houses and churches, as well as riverside restaurants and bars, it was a very vibrant town part. The sun was hot for January as we sat down for a break by the riverside; that’s one way of spending a Saturday, we thought. Afterwards we crossed the Isabel II Bridge (also known as Triana bridge) back to the other side and continued walking down the wide pedestrian boulevard which follows the river throughout the city center. We had lunch on this floating river lounge, where we could just count the rowing boats passing us by…

We were about to use up even more of our shoes as we made our way to the Alameda de Hercules Square (located in the very end of the downtown). It’s also a lively square and home to plenty of shops and restaurants, as well as recreational activities. We sat around the place and watched the people going on their daily business and then got back to the riverside (next to the Barqueta bridge) and walked all the way back by the river. Once we were back at the Triana bridge, we mingled with the locals for a small picnic by the river…

For the dinner we decided not to go for a one single meal but rather few smaller ones…yes; tapas ;). It was a Saturday night and thus really crowded everywhere- When we left the hotel, we could hear the chattering blocks away before getting out to the busy street. We started walking along random streets not really knowing where we were heading. Finally we bumped into a small local eatery that looked rather plain but also like a “real” deal. Denis ordered a rabo de toro (bull’s tale) stew and for five euros he got a plate full of meat. We tried multiple different tapas and were everything but disappointed. To fully enjoy the warm night, we hang out on some outdoor terraces a little while, before heading to comfy bed.

The last day in Spain did not only include chilling and relaxing, but also a few interesting places to visit such as Real Alcazar and Plaza de Toros (the bull fight arena). We started out with the Alcazar, because we knew it’s a massive place and would take a while. The palace had several sections and one of the most memorable one was the Courtyard of the Maidens, a beautiful inner patio with little water pool in the middle. All the halls and doorways were outstanding with their Muslim architecture. Although we could’ve spent hours admiring the interiors, we rather focused our time on the grand gardens. Everything was elegantly set, and the garden was so well taken care of. It got greeneries, the royal labyrinth (which was fun to get lost in!), fountains, lots of mosaic art, pavilions, architectural details and everything you could imagine for royal gardens. It was enjoyable to just walk all over the place and sit around the benches.

We had left the bull fight arena for the last and finally we had enough time to go and check it out. Although we probably wouldn’t go see an actual fight, it was intriguing to hear the stories and history behind this spectacular event. For some, the bull heads all over the walls might feel repulsive, but then again it’s a huge part of their culture.

After the tour we got across to the riverside; we just couldn’t get enough of chilling by the waterfront on this beautiful boulevard under a blue sky. We got up to the tower Torre del Oro for catching a nice 360 degree view over the city. The rest of the day we just lounged around and loitered along the streets and souvenir stands. Finally we dropped by the same local eatery as the night before for some early dinner before collecting the luggage and heading for the airport. Before we even noticed, we were already waiting for the taxi by the old town gates. The sun had just started setting, as we drove away and said goodbye to Seville, and Spain

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