Charmed by Seville

15 Feb 2012

We take the freeway (no tolls) from Cordoba to Seville. The scenery is nice, especially the glimpses of white-washed towns and villages which pass by. Seville is a big city (4th biggest in Spain) and I am afraid that if the GPS does not work like in Cordoba, we’ll find it hard to figure out. But it all goes well and we arrive safely in front of our hotel, Adriano. I spot the public parking (Eu 14 per night) that I had read of under the bullring just a short walk from the hotel.

The Adriano is a old-fashioned looking hotel and very central; I am very pleased with my choice. We soon set out to explore the city.

Los Angeles cafe, calle Adriano

We stop almost immediately at the street corner restaurant for lunch (Eu 26 for two). We have the menu – a couple of the starters are vegetarian. Bapi is so pleased with the fish main course that he orders a second plate of the same! The waiter speaks next to no English but we gather that as the ocean is just 100 kms away, they get their fish very fresh each morning.

Seville Cathedral

The Cathedral is just a 5 min walk away. We stop at the tourist office to pick up a few brochures and then we head towards the meeting point for our walking tour in front of the Giralda tower.

Seville Cathedral and Alcazar

The square is very impressive with the imposing Cathedral on one side and the walls of the Alcázar on the other side.

La Giralda

We wait patiently in front of the Giralda tower until a young man appears with a group of other young people. I had seen a recommendation for Pancho walking tours online but I had not realised that their normal customers are from the hostels. we are about 20+ years older than almost everyone else. I feel odd and out of place for a few moments, then it doesn’t matter anymore.

Jewish quarterJewish quarter kissing balconies

Our tour guide is young Anja. For two and half hours, she regales us with legends and stories in a very entertaining way as she walks us around the Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of the city with its claustrophibically narrow streets and surprising squares.

Don Juan statue

The statue of the fictitious Don Juan stands proudly in this lovely square.

Plaza Nueva

Our walking tour finishes at Plaça Nueva. It has been an excellent experience so we decide to do the morning tour tomorrow as well, the route of which is completely different.

Avda de la constitution

It has been a long day. We wander a little while in and around the Avenida de la Constitution until 8pm when we head towards the nice Italian restaurant that I had seen good recommendations for. There are plenty of vegetarian choices and their menu is extensive. We have salad and pizzas, no dessert. (Eu 50 for two with wine).

16 Feb 2012

We have coffee, tea and toast at the hotel (included in the room rate) and head towards the Alcazar. It is a Royal Palace, originally built as a fortress by the Moors.

Alcazar, Patio de la Monteria

We take the audio tour and start at this beautiful patio, Patio de la Montería or the Patio of the Hunt where Royal Hunting parties gathered before a hunt. At the centre is the beautifully decorated entrance to the Don Pedro palace (1364). We hear that the upper levels are private, still the official residence of the royal family in Seville.

Alcazar, Patio de Las Doncellas

The Alcazar is a gem, a beauty of Mudéjar architecture which was created by Moors who continued to live in Spain under Christian rule. The Patio de Las Doncellas is particularly beautiful with its elegant columns and decorated arches.

Alcazar

I listen to the audio-guide with only half an ear- I am too taken by the beauty of what I am seeing to pay attention to any facts!

Alcazar, Salón de Embajadores

My favourite room is this Salón de Embajadores or Salon of the Ambassadors. This throne room has incredibly beautiful walls and ceilings imaginable. I take dozens of pictures, but none do justice to the beauty of this room. Breathtaking!

Alcazar Salon of Ambassadors

The ceiling in this Salon of Ambassadors. I’ll love to lie on my bed and look up to this!

Alcazar, Patio de las Muñecas

The Patio de las Muñecas (Patio of the dolls) is the centre of the private area of the palace. The decorations are have a delicacy which is very appealing.

Alcazar, Galería del Grutesco

After a very satisfying visit (1.5 hrs) we admire the Galería del Grutesco in the gardens outside before exiting the Alcazar.

Torre del Oro

We join the morning walking tour at 11am. This turns out to be a longer walk and more demanding on my poor feet. We start with the  13th centiury Torre del Oro or the Golden Tower which controlled access to Seville from the Guadalquivir river, an entry point for all the goods imported from the Americas when Spain ruled the seas.

Palacio de San Telmo

The Palace of San Telmo (17th century) is the seat of the Government of Andalucia.

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

The semi-circular Plaza de España (built 1928) is a photographer’s dream. Built for the world fair of 1929, it is huge and impressive. I enjoyed looking at the tiled alcoves representing the different provinces of Spain.

From here we walk to the university (Tobacco Factory) which is the end of our tour. The tour guide suggests lunch at the Huelvo Ocho, partners of Pancho. where we have a light lunch of two tapas + drink for Eu 7 per person.

Cathedral

Post lunch, we visit the Cathedral. It is the third-largest Church in the world and the largest Gothic one. As I have visited some wonderful Gothic churches in the North of France a couple of years back, I am very curious to see this one.

CathedralCathedral Columbus tomb

History buffs like me will get a kick out of knowing that on Sept 8 1522 when the 18 surviving (out of 234) members of Magellan’s crew returned from the first expedition to circumnavigate the world, they offered thanks before the effigy of Santa Maria de la Antigua (above left). Magellan himself died in 1521. On the right above, figures on Columbus’s tombstone raise a sword and survey the cathedral in silence.

Cathedral

The Cathedral is huge and it is an exercise in exploration, going from one niche to another. This treasure room is lovely with priceless paintings. However, on the whole, the Cathedral doesn’t seem coherent to me, not like St Peter’s for example which though huge has an overall cohesiveness.

View from Giralda

We climb the 36 floors (105 metres) to the top of the Giralda tower. The view from the top is marvellous.

Cake shopShopping street

Tired now and ready for afternoon tea, we have coffee and cake in an elegant little shop (above left). Then we wander down the shopping streets looking with interest into shop windows – at least I do, while my long suffering husband indulges me!

FlamencoFlamenco

We walk to Museo del baile Flamenco where there is a performance every night at 7pm. It is crowded and though we are 30 minutes early, we find chairs only at the back. The performance is excellent, the singer in particular is just wonderful. We are very glad we came here and we would absolutely come back if we are in Seville again.

So our stay in Seville has come to an end. I have fallen in love with this city and it has been the highlight of our trip. Most people seem to favour Barcelona above all else in Spain; I think Seville is far more seductive. Two days has not been enough. We did not have time to see the art museum which I was particularly interested in. But its more than museums or monuments; I would like to come back and stay for a week to just enjoy the atmosphere and feel of this city. A hidden gem.

8 thoughts on “Charmed by Seville

    • Thank you for your comment 🙂 I have realised that I enjoy seeing cities best by walking around, either by myself with a written walking tour, with a mp3 walking tour or with a guide whenever available. I always make an attempt to find one of the three for all places I visit. They differ in quality of course, but I still come out feeling that I sort of know the place 🙂

  1. Hello Suja, This is a fantastic blog. Thanks for sharing this. I was planning a trip to Salzburg and Vienna and after reading this, I am leaning towards Spain. We have a 5 year old with us and walking long distances is not really an option. I know you are not aware of our personal likes but, based on your experience, what would you recommend, Austria or Spain. Basically the choice is between Salzburg+Vienna vs Madrid+Barcelona. We cannot do Andulasia on this trip. Would appreciate your response, this is quite urgent. Thanks, Sid

    • Hello Sid,
      Thank you for your comment, I am glad you enjoyed my blog. Have you read my post on our trip to Salzburg and Vienna? Perhaps that will help you decide? My children are adults now but I do remember travelling with them when they were as young as yours, and its a different thing altogether! Salzburg’s touristic sites are easily walkable even for a five-year old but Vienna is spread out and you will be better off using hop-on, hop-off buses or public transportation. Madrid’s highlights are quite close together while Barcelona is spread-out. But Madrid may be difficult for a little-one to walk. In any case, I recommend a stroller if your 5-year old is willing to be pushed. I think finally you should decide based on weather; Spain gets terribly hot in summer and any little child will wilt under the relentless heat! Austria will be more pleasant weather-wise. Whatever you choose, hope you have a great time!
      Cheers. Suja

  2. Hi! I spent many months in sevilla and I’d say you hit all the right spots. Can you remind me where the don juan plaza is by any chance? I’m trying to direct my friend to a bar near there where they sing the Ave Maria at midnight to a virgin sculpture that is simply mind blowing. TIny tiny bar. Thanks!

    • Sorry, I dont remember a don juan plaza…only a Don Juan statue near Plaza de los Refinadores, Sevilla, España in the Murillo gardens. Perhaps that what you mean?

  3. Hi Suja,

    Thank you for this article. It gave me a good idea of what to see in Seville, and helped creating a plan for me and my family (husband and 2 kids). We were in Seville last week. Its now one of our favorite places.

    We took a ride on those horse-drawn carriages one evening and it was just magical. I come from the Philippines, but now live in Switzerland. Having fresh seafood was such a treat 🙂

    I love your photo’s.

    Regards,
    Anna

    • Hi Anna,
      Oh I am glad you enjoyed Seville! We just loved it too! My husband had mentioned that you had taken some hints from my blog; I am very pleased it was of help. Though I do write is as a form of diary for me, I also hope that other travellers find some use of it as well. The carriage ride sounds very romantic 🙂
      Regards, Suja

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: