This was my last major trip at the end of April before I had to start focusing on exams (cue sad violins). I am so glad to have experienced a bit of the south during my time here in Spain and soak up some sun (albeit still no beach!).
This was my second visit to Sevilla, and it was lovely to return to all the sights I saw four years ago, even though not much had changed. This time however, instead of it being an unbearable 45°c, it was only 32°c (only)! All in all, it was much easier to enjoy my time and walk around without the sensation that I was about to faint.
My favourite place in Sevilla is easily the Alcázar. Unlike the Alhambra in Granada, you don’t need to book tickets in advance and entry is only 2€/students which is a bargain. It can get busy with tourists but it retains its charm and feels unspoilt. I’d love to spend hours upon hours in there with a good book, in some quiet corner and just enjoy the gardens and the sun/shade. It is a little paradise hidden right in the middle of the city. We spent more or less three hours there this time, and one of which I had a siesta on a bench which was very much needed – we had just arrived from Salamanca after an 8 hour overnight coah journey with minimal sleep and I was exhausted!
We also visited my other favourite of Sevilla, La Plaza de España. This is by far the most beautiful Plaza de España you will ever see. The equivalent in Salamanca is basically a massive roundabout and it is quite ugly, which is depressing. However, Salamanca does have the Plaza Mayor, considered the most beautiful in Spain, so we can’t have everything!
The Plaza de España in Sevilla was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, in the Parque de María Luisa. It is a large half-circle which holds much symbolism for Spain with its bridges, alcoves and design. By the walls of the Plaza are tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. This did not have much significance to me when I first visited four years ago, but since moving to Spain, I now have my own “home province” and it was fun to find the Salamanca alcove and get a picture!
We were lucky to catch up with Freya who is doing her Year Abroad in Sevilla. She took us to a great local place which we wouldn’t have found otherwise, called Coloniales. It does great tapas for good prices but is that popular so you should expect to wait for a table. I surprisingly really enjoyed the Chicken in Almond Sauce, which is weird as I hate almonds, but it was delicious.
Our final morning in Sevilla was on the Friday, we went up the Cathedral tower which is something I also did four years ago. It gives a great view over the city, and what I love most about the actual climb, is that it is a ramp all the way up, not horrible steep, spiralling steps, so I don’t feel like I am going to slip and fall to my doom at any moment.
During our visit, we were there for the Feria de Sevilla. Although we didn’t have time to see the actual Feria, it was amazing to see all the men, women and children dressed in their finery. For the women, the traditional “trajes de flamenca.” Some looked absolutely beautiful and I really wanted to have my own outfit, although apparently they can be very expensive (minimum 200€!). Maybe not.
The vibe down south is so different to that of Salamanca. For one, it doesn’t seem scorned upon to wear shorts and a t-shirt in the hot weather, and it was a nice change to walk around letting my skin soak up the sun for a change. You’d never see people doing flamenco dancing in the streets and I am sure if you were caught wearing a flower piece in your hair (traditional with the flamenco outfits for women), people would look at you funny and shake their head when you walk past. Fashion and tradition is so different and it’s amazing to see such a stark difference just from a 6 hours-drive south.
Soon, it was time to say goodbye to Sevilla and head to Granada for the second-half of our trip! We somehow managed to get tickets for a “Premium bus” which included leather seats, wifi and a packed lunch!
Stay tuned for the next installment on Granada and my favourite activity of the entire trip, the visit to the Hammam Al Ándalus baths.