Our final destination in Spain is Seville. There is a great deal written about how wonderful the city is in books and on the internet so I decided we should stay here for a week. I found another great apartment in a central location and after visiting Ronda we drove our car into town (only getting lost once or twice) and turned it into the rental agency. All good. Once settled in we headed out to explore. Surprisingly because it doesn’t get dark there until after 10:00 p.m., it seems pretty natural to wait until 7:00-8:00 to eat. That of course is still early for Spaniards who typically wait until 10:00 to eat, but it worked just fine for us. We relaxed the first day in town (did some laundry) and prepared for our tour of the Real Alcazar–The Royal Palace–the following day.
Originally a Muslim Fortress, most of that was destroyed in 1248 when Seville was conquered by the Castillian Christians. Built for King Peter it is considered a “preeminent example of Mudejar style combining Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance structural elements. ” The upstairs is still home to the Royal Family of Spain when visiting Seville. While the palace is impressive (mainly the incredible tile work) it is the gardens that are particularly lovely–especially on a warm day.
Next to the Alcazar is the massive Seville Cathedral which is considered the fourth largest church in the world. And while certainly monumental, we actually found some of the smaller churches around the city more attractive. What we did enjoy perhaps more than anything was wandering the small windy roads or alley-ways in the old town area where our apartment was located. Lots of little bars and restaurants (with patio seating of course) in order to stop and have a cappuccino and croissant. Of course locals seem to have no trouble having a beer at any time of the day!
Another impressive site is the Plaza de Espana. A massive square and plaza that sits besides the lovely Maria Luisa Park. (The park was Thom’s favorite part of the city.). Originally built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 it is an enjoyable way to spend the day–both on foot or by carriage.
On my birthday, May 23 I didn’t plan anything special (other than this entire trip!) But after seeing the carriage rides we decided that would be a lovely way to experience the city. While we were just passengers for the actual ride that took us around the Cathedral, the Alcazar, down by the river front and through the Plaza and the Park, Thom asked the driver if I could “sit behind the wheel” for a minute.
Most all the food we ate here in Seville and the rest of Spain was good. Not fabulous, but all good. At first we were delighted with the idea of tapas available everywhere. We like to share and those small shareable plates seemed ideal. The problem was (at least for us) it got very repetitive. Everywhere seemed to have the same thing. However for my birthday I researched a nearby restaurant and made a reservation. We got to sit outside (the weather was perfect) and we had a wonderful meal.
And while I’m finding it particularly challenging to only post a few photos from such a memorable city, I will always remember the spontaneous flamenco dancers we found in nearly all the popular areas around town. They were everywhere and so talented and passionate! We considered going to one of the paid shows but instead just decided to enjoy the gift of them all around town. Here’s one:
Seville is definitely worth a visit if you ever make it to Spain. We are left with happy memories from our time in this great country.