Seville is a divine place to visit for anyone who happens to love culture, food, dancing, or exploring. It is a place you can uncover history, and a place where you can live in the moment. And now, that I’ve left, it has me living in my past, dreaming of the beautiful, sun-soaked streets of Seville, just waiting until I can return.
. . . . .
Arriving in Seville, we took a taxi from the Santa Justa train station to our next Airbnb, a beautiful, two-story apartment full with bright, eclectic decor, located just across a courtyard from the Metropol Parasol, an unusual and massive, but incredible piece of architecture. We were most impressed by the view from the rooftop though, which overlooked Seville for miles, dotted by cathedrals and monuments, like the Giralda (see the featured photo above).
After dropping off our things, we headed right back out into the city . It was hot, but we knew we had a limited amount of time to explore, so we braved the heat. We walked toward the Alameda de Hercules first, which, unfortunately, was deserted, it being during siesta hours, which last from around from mid-afternoon through early evening. We trekked further toward the Basilica de la Macarena, which we also found closed. Still, we snapped some beautiful photos of both the building and the roads leading up to it.
After a few wrong turns, we made it back to the apartment, and had a small merienda of fresh bread, yogurt, and cookies, while seeking shelter from the sweltering heat. Even the stores around us were closed, so we postponed any shopping we had planned to the following day. The longer we spent in Spain, the later we ate dinner. So Saturday night we headed out for dinner at 8:00 to find some tapas. We narrowed our choices down to two restaurants and ultimately chose La Azotea, a Michelin-guide restaurant, where we had Spanish potato salad, roasted vegetables, and ibérico ham, and, of course, rioja.
After dinner, we ran into a Pride parade, which was in full swing and celebration. Everyone was dressed in rainbow patterns and colors, dancing, and chanting. There was even a (yes, a second) marching band playing ‘Despacito’ as the parade moved north. On the main road on our way back, we passed party floats blasting techno music, each with themes, like the ancient Romans and Greeks. The roads were flooded with people, but the next day the roads were so clean you’d never know such a party was ever held.
The next morning, we woke up, cooked breakfast, and headed to the rooftop to watch the city begin to stir. We decided to first visit the Real Alcazar, just a few blocks south of our apartment. On the way, we passed the Seville Cathedral and its grand Giralda. When we stopped by the cathedral to peak in, mass was ongoing, but we were able to peak from the back; the ceiling of the cathedral was hundreds of feet high, all white stone, and full of majestic arches. We briefly considered climbing up the many flights of stairs to the top of the Giralda to see the city, but found it closed.
After our quick visit to the cathedral, we headed to the Real Alcazar. It was constructed very much in the same style of the Alhambra, with colorful, nearly matching, tile, white walls with intricate Arabic engravings, ample reflecting pools and fountains. What we found most impressive though was its gardens. While the gardens at the Alhambra were also beautiful, the ones at the Alcazar were even more lush and immaculately groomed. Surrounding the main gardens, there were even more shady areas to stroll though, where several peacocks called home. It is worth mentioning that I was excited to visit the Alcazar, not just because of its impressive history and beauty, but also because it’s where they filmed scenes that took place in the fictional kingdom of Dorne in ‘Game of Thrones’. It was just as beautiful as in the show.
After a quick stop in the gift shop, we headed to a cute, mostly mint-green café called Salt and Sugar, where we bought Spanish omelets, yogurt and fruit, a smoothie, and a sugar roll, and hid out from a five-minute rain shower.
Next we headed to the Plaza de Toros, where bullfights are still held today. We bought tickets for the tour, and spent an hour learning about the history and culture of bullfighting. We learned that men who go into bullfighting begin learning how to do so at a special school beginning when they are children, even before the age of five. We also learned that if a bull fights ferociously enough but still loses, they are allowed to live and are just sent to the countryside for the rest of their lives, where they are also bred.
After our tour, we ambled back to our apartment, stopping in any shops that were open on the way. We arrived back to the apartment around 4 pm, and relaxed there until the evening, when we dressed and headed to a restaurant called Bar Europa, just down the road from our apartment. The interior was covered in blue tile, which we loved, and we enjoyed a fresh vegan, quinoa salad, patatas bravas, and a fried egg with potatoes. Back at the apartment, we headed up to the roof to watch the sun set. Afterward, we regretfully headed inside to pack again.
Our last morning in Seville came quickly, and we made breakfast again to eat on the roof. Fortunately, the day was much cooler than the week we had had before. After some last minute packing, we headed out into town to do some more shopping. I was able to find a pair of well-constructed high heels made in Spain (mission accomplished!). We also found a decorative ladle and some jars of orange marmalade made with oranges from Spain to bring back as gifts.
We stopped briefly for tapas at a place called Bar Augustín, where we bought grilled artichokes and fried shrimp omelets, a specialty in Spain that are similar in texture to bacaítos from Puerto Rico. In the early afternoon, we began to head back to our apartment to pick up our luggage before our host’s next guests arrived. We were out of the apartment by mid-afternoon as was requested of us, and grabbed a taxi to the train station. There we took a train to Madrid, which arrived at just before 7:00 pm. There we took a taxi to our next hotel, just a few blocks from the Parque de Retiro and the Museo del Prado. It would be our last night in Spain before going our separate ways for the summer.