Seville, Spain. A city nearly 2,200 years old. Home to the Alcazar, Flamenco, and the mighty Seville Cathedral.
This girl has been crushing on Seville for a while now. Alongside culinary capital Lyon, both cities were in my 2015-must-visit-list. I’ve always felt an affinity towards Spain, and I’ve never been to Andalusia, the region of Spain where Seville is. Moorish culture is deeply rooted in these parts.
I made travel arrangements a few months back, and just like an errand you put off, this trip sort of crept up on me. And voila, before I knew it, the weekend was here. I had flights, a hostel booking, and a slim itinerary. When we landed in Seville, the pilot announced it was a scorching 34 degrees. Hello humid weather I used to know!
Anyway, here are my top tens!
(10) Sevillian owls – Tourists brave the heat in the afternoon, while the typical Sevillian probably siestas, wait till the sun goes down, and feasts on tapas and good wine around 11pm. I went out for an evening walk close to midnight and the streets were a-buzzin’
(9) Andalusian architecture and design – A longish name for this hodgepodge of styles – tiles, courtyards, hues of blue, arches… Walking around the city, there are a lot of Instagram-able images.
(8) The many interesting stories and folklore -As I always do, I did a free walking tour of Seville, and naturally, out came the local legends ad stories about some of the cities famous sites. From the Torre del Oro’s legend of a beautiful damsel who King Don Pedro locked up in the tower while her husband was away at war, to the Royal Tobacco Factory where a feisty woman named Carmen became the inspiration to Georges Bizet’s opera.
(7) La Giralda – This bell tower of the Seville Cathedral has been looking over the city for over 800 years. The view from the top offers a stunning view of the city, and the climb to the top is particularly clever. Sloping ramps rule!
(6) Getting lost in the alleyways – The streets of old town are narrow and winding. Google maps tried to help me out (it was fun to hear how my Google map pronounced the Spanish streets). Even though i was a solo traveller, I felt very safe.
(5) The Alcazar – Build by the Moorish Muslim kings, this royal palace takes me back to Morocco. Although this time, there are a few Christian, religious touches. The tile work and carvings are exquisitely detailed and beautiful. The gardens, immaculate.
(4) The Seville Cathedral – I’m told this is the third largest Christian church in the world. And large it certainly was. Just before I went into the cathedral, another tourist warned me about the gold. Oh my. The altar was a Spandau Ballet song in the flesh! Christopher Columbus is also said to be buried here, though some Italians might disagree.
(3) Tapas – Tapas is good anywhere in Spain, and I’ve had some really good ones in Seville. I must say I ate well throughout the holiday weekend. I was always counting down to my next meal, excitedly opening Yelp to see what great restaurants are nearby.
(2) Plaza de Espanya – This was Spain’s showcase in the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Panoramic shots are welcome here! I liked the ceramic details all around, a nice mix of art deco and the Neo-Mudéjar style. The moat’s pretty interesting, inviting rowers who could stand the 30+ degree heat.
(1) Flamenco -Flamenco was born in Seville! Well, that’s what most people from Seville will tell you. I have new travel rule. Whenever there is an opportunity to see a Flamenco performance, seize it!! I saw a show a few years back in Madrid. I didn’t realise back then that Flamenco is in the broadest definition, a form of expression. It’s both music (singer and guitarist) and dance. The intensity of the performance is palpable!