Visiting Seville has been a long time coming but worth the wait
Seville is the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. It’s famous for flamenco dancing, particularly in its Triana neighborhood.
Major landmarks include the ornate Alcázar castle complex, built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty, and the 18th-century Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullring.
The Gothic Seville Cathedral is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb and a minaret turned bell tower, the Giralda.
That’s enough of the history lesson. Thanks to Wikipedia.
Off to Seville via Train
We set off from the Villanueva del Trabuco area and headed for the train station near to Antequera, Santa Ana. This took about 30 minutes and is a very easy drive. Having parked up we entered the station and waited for our train. We had always planned the journey by rail as Spanish trains are very good.
Setting off from Santa Ana, we stopped at Cordoba and then on to our final destination, the beautiful city of Sevilla (Seville).
The journey from the station to our hotel in Calle Cruces, in the older part of the city, took about ten minutes, this was due to the streets in that area being so close together, the traffic was also a bit heavy. We got there with very little problems.
Hotel Patio de Las Cruces
Set in a restored 18th-century property in the Barrio de Santa Cruz district, this cozy, informal hotel is a 5-minute walk from Seville Cathedral and Giralda and 0.8 km from Alcázar of Seville. So it says on the tin.
The hotel itself is old but has a new section built on. We were put into one of the new rooms. The rooms were not much to write home about. Small, claustrophobic and the only window open up on the balcony walkway, so, you couldn’t really have it open. The air conditioning was next to useless. The staff was great and the place was very clean.
No matter, for three nights, it will suffice.
Our first night in Seville
With our bags were stowed and we set off to discover Seville. The streets in the old part of the city are narrow and seem to go every which way. Even with a map, we, and countless other poor souls got lost with every street we passed down. We didn’t care though, it was all new and exciting and we were bound to find what we were looking for.
The bars and restaurants were everywhere. Some had very little outside space and so the clients were often seated on the pavements (not literally, they had tables and chairs)
It was hot, about 31ºC and walking around the town was thirsty work. We stopped in a lovely square, Plaza Venerables and had a cooling beer from the Hosteria del Laural and a friendly waiter called Emilio. We were also checking the menu to see if they were doing Suckling Pig. One of our promised treats.
The first tapas bar we stopped off at was very traditional, Bodega Santa Cruz on the corner of Calle Mateos Gago and Calle Rodrigo Caro. We had a glass of Fino, a very dry, white sherry. The tapas list was endless but we settled for Carrilladas and a Pork in Whisky tapas. This was followed very shortly by another Fino and a tapas of potatoes with eggs and Tuna. The barman marked our drinks each time with chalk on the bar.
We had promised ourselves a treat or two whilst in Seville. One such treat was to try their versions of tapas. In the area around La Nava and Villanueva del Trabuco, the tapas are great and varied but we were now in a big city.
Seville is a truly fantastic place and there is so much to see. We decided that before we went for a nap. we would check out the Giralda Tower. One of the main attractions on our list of this to see. Giralda Tower was not a disappointment. The Giralda Tower is truly magnificent, even when part of it is covered up for renovations.
The Giralda Tower
The Giralda (Spanish: La Giralda is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain. It was originally built as the minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville in al-Andalus, Moorish Spain, during the reign of the Almohad dynasty. See more information on the Giralda Tower.
It was back to the hotel for an afternoon nap and plan the evening meal. This turned out to be Suckling Pig back at the Hosteria del Laurel in Plaza Venerables. As expected, the meal was wonderful and washed down with a nice bottle of Ribera del Duero, a nice fruity Spanish red wine.
After that, we strolled around the streets with no real purpose. We were just happy to be in Seville and people watching. Thus ended the first day.
Day Two in Seville
The second day got off to a blurry-eyed start. Sleeping was hard as the hotel air conditioning unit was, at best, not much good at all. Having no windows to open to get more air into the room was a non-starter as the only window available opened up onto the hotel inner balcony and patio area.
Breakfast was served at La Tapataria, a lovely small bar/cafe next to the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Blanca on the main road of the same name. Traditional breakfast of Mollete with Patè and some strong coffee. Being on the main road, you got to see the daily life of Seville. The staff had T-shirts showing two pint-pots with ‘two beers, or not two beers’ by Willaim ‘Shakes-beers’. I didn’t know if I should laugh or try and buy one.
The downside of sitting at la Taparia, is that you get deafened when the church bells start ringing. While chomping away on our breakfast, an elderly man stopped and began to sing. I presume it was flamenco, although, it sounded like he was in great pain. He then had the cheek to ask for payment for his musical interlude.
Bus Ride in Seville
Leaving the old boy empty handed, we headed for the Torre de Oro or ‘Gold Tower’. It is from the Gold Tower that the tourist bus starts and stops. We had purchased tickets the night before to go on the City Tour and for the Boat trip on the final day.
As with our first efforts at getting back to our hotel on day one, finding the Gold Tower proved just as difficult. Although it has to be said, the map wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. We headed in the complete opposite direction to where we were supposed to go. Everyone we asked gave us different directions. Eventually, though, we found the bus stop and waited to board.
Hats off to the salesman
One thing I should mention. Although we found very few beggars, two to be exact, although the hat salesmen were a bit of a pain. Waiting to board the bus I was constantly asked if I wanted to buy a hat. OK, its a very hot day and I would be on top of the bus in the open air. But it didn’t occur to them that I didn’t want a hat because I was already wearing one!
Onwards and upwards. The bus set off on a tour of the main tourist sites of Seville. The traffic was quite heavy and we seemed to spend more time stopped than we did moving. Understandably, I suppose, after all, Seville is a major Spanish city and people have to work.
It took about an hour or so to complete the open bus tour. We had decided not to get off at any of the sites on the first tour.
journey as the ticket lasts for 24 hours. You can jump off and on to your heart’s content. So, we decided a spot of lunch and beer were in order.
Bar Donaire Azabache, Seville
Bar Donaire Azabache is situated at Calle Santo Tomas, opposite a beautiful and grand building called the Archivo de Indias, Renaissance building listed as World Heritage site, displaying documents on the Spanish Empire.
Donaire turned out to be a bit of a buried treasure because the food on offer was better than excellent. As well as a beer, we had a tapas of what they called ‘Rolling’. Rolling turned out to be Oxtail wrapped in puff pastry and deep fried.
This, like the Hosteria del Laurel, was to see us on more than one occasion whilst we wandered around the city.
Our wandering around Seville looking for the Gold Tower and the tourist bus, along with the beer for lunch made us decide it was time for a siesta. So, off we went back to our digs.
Day three Seville – Plaza De España and Boat Tour
Wednesday began in much the same way as Tuesday did. That is, with breakfast at the Taparia. Yet again, our friend with the strange singing entertained us, as did those bloody great bells!
Deciding that our last full day in Seville would be taken up with a visit to the Plaza de España and later the river tour, we set off for our first location, the Plaza de España.
The Plaza de España is a plaza in the Parque de María Luisa, in Seville, Spain, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture.
Walking around this amazing building was the highlight of the visit. We stopped at the fountain for some happy snaps before walking through the building itself. Every now and then, you would get the sound of guitars or Pan Pipes and people doing the Valenciano style of Flamenco to entertain the crowds.
There is also a fantastic Military Museum that you can access for free. The weapons, uniforms, carriages and great guns are all on display and it is well worth the visit.
It was getting quite warm so we decided to treat ourselves to ice cream from the few stalls that are close to the Plaza. It sort of rounded of our visit to this beautiful Plaza. Our walk back took us past many bars and restaurants, so, it would have seemed rude not to have stopped for a beer.
We were quite tired after all the walking so it was back to the hotel for the obligatory siesta.
Seville River Tour
Changing our minds from a horse and carriage ride to the river tour was a great idea, so it turned out. We were not too happy with the horses being in the heat and dragging us about. Also, due to the traffic, sometimes the horses would be stuck behind vehicles spewing out exhaust fumes.
Starting off from the Torre del Oro or ‘Tower of Gold’, the ship sailed up and down the Rio Guadalquivir. The Guadalquivir river is a river of Andalusia, Spain. Since ancient times, its birth has been located in the Sierra de Cazorla. Its hydrographic basin covers territories of the provinces of Almería, Jaén, Córdoba, Seville, Huelva, Cádiz, Málaga, Granada, Murcia, Albacete, Ciudad Real, and Badajoz.
The cruise took us past many monuments both old and new. As we passed each building or site of interest, we got the information passed onto us via speakers. First one way, then the other, the tour was very pleasant and the sea breeze kept us cool.
A final meal in Seville
Wishing we could have stopped on the boat, we reluctantly got off. It was getting on and tie for our last evening meal of the trip. There were many places we could have eaten but we settled, once more, for the Plaza Venerables and Hosteria del Laurel.
One more suckling pig and bottle of Ribera del Duero and we were off down the maze of streets towards our hotel but not before a nightcap.
That was it.
Thursday it was check-out, coffee at the Taparia cafe before heading off to the train station. Not before the old guy and those bloody bells had another go at deafening us. What a brilliant three-day break in Seville. If you get the chance to visit, please, grab it with both hands.
I took many photos and videos and will post them at another time.