So, if you’ve read my other blogs about our Honeymoon adventures (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!) you’ll see that we had an. amazing. time. That didn’t change for the last half of our trip, but we did finally run into ALL of the travel mishaps. We took a train from Madrid to Seville. We left our hotel about two hours before our train was scheduled to leave, thinking that should be plenty of time, since we were only a couple subway stops away from the main station. So, we walked a few blocks to the sub stop closest to our hotel, went to find the Red line train, and realized that the platform was under constructions. So, we hopped a different line to the next train stop that connected to the red line- still only 2 stops down. We get to that train station, and find THAT platform is closed as well. At that point, we find (the tiniest, most inconspicuous) sign ever placed indicating that all the stops were under construction. So, we head back up to the street, flag down a cab, and ride to the airport. Believe it or not, all of this took us an hour and a half, so we were running to find our train. We couldn’t find our train listed on the departures board, though. So, to the ticketing office we went, waited in line, then somehow figured out that our train was just listed differently since we had printed off our boarding passes. At this point, we had 5 minutes until our train departed, so we RAN through the HUGE train station, tore through security (just kidding, we went through like we were supposed to, albeit frantically) and got in our seats just before the doors closed. Definitely not the way we planned to start our day!
Luckily, the train ride was super relaxing, and it was really cool getting to see different parts of Spain’s countryside. I tried getting some photos but my phone camera was not cutting it at high speeds. Just imagine anything you’ve heard about towns in Spain: small mountain towns, old stone churches, cows and goats grazing on the mountain side, and modern towns full of people- we saw it all.
In Seville, we took a much more relaxed approach to our visit. Whereas in Madrid, we had sites we had to see, and followed a pretty specific route each day, in Seville we found ourselves just wandering the streets and stopping in little shops, tapas bars, and ice cream shops (seriously, these people love ice cream. This is my dream city) as we pleased.
We saw the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Hercules Plaza, and a lot of convents and other churches. We wandered into a residential district and marveled at the houses that were hundreds of years old. We found our way into a hidden shopping district with local shops, and a tapas bar with the most refreshing mojito I’ve ever had.
We had decided to stay at a bigger, more upscale hotel that was a little further outside of town. The Barcelo Sevilla was beautiful and huge- there were multiple buildings full of well-appointed rooms with huge, comfortable beds and fancy showers that gave me serious bathroom-envy. More info here –> Barcelo Sevilla.
Being a little further outside of town meant we walked a TON on this leg of our trip. However, we got to see amazing sunsets from both sides of the river while we were walking. The photo on the right is our hotel!
Our second day in Seville, we decided to try our luck on the City Sightseeing Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour. Most major cities in the US and Europe at this point have some sort of sightseeing bus, and this company has buses in most of them. We got a deal on tickets through our hotel, so we grabbed the bus at the closest stop (and saved ourselves another long walk or expensive cab ride!) and took the tour of Seville’s most famous landmarks. We stopped at at the Plaza De España and toured the old town centre, which looks like a palace. We hopped off at the Plaza del Duque and visited Sevilla’s newest monument, the Metropol Parasol. This is a giant wooden structure (some say the largest wooden structure in Europe) that has open air viewing decks and walkways, which yield amazing views of the city. It’s also known as “The Mushroom” because of the design of the 6 Parasols. We learned about the history of Flamenco dancing, and the influence of the former Eastern rulers of the city, that is still visible in the building, the music, and the town structure.
That evening, we had tapas, Seville style. It’s very similar to the style of food in Madrid, but, like everything else, with a little more Eastern influence. After dinner, we took in a Flamenco show at the Case de la Memoria, which is the Flamenco cultural center. The theatre was small and seated probably about 2 dozen guests. Photography is not allowed during the shows so there is no interruption from the electric performance. This show consisted of a guitar player, a male singer, and a male and female dancer. There was something so intense, sad, and beautiful about the dance and the story they played out. I’ve never been more captivated by a performance in my life. They did allow photography during one song at the end of the performance, so I snuck in a few photos.
If you make it to Seville on your trip through Spain, seeing a live Flamenco show should be number one on your list of things to do. My husband and I both loved it, and both got very different messages from the performance and the story they were weaving together- I suppose this is the beauty of art, and one of the reasons it can transcend any language or culture.
We did have one more day in Seville after that, but found ourselves just wandering and exploring again without any real destination in mind. The one stop we did have on our must- do list for our final day was the Tapas bar that had the number 1 rated Tapas Dish in Seville the prior year. Eslava featured different takes on the classic Spanish dishes we had become accustomed to, including their award winning Slow-cooked egg served on boletus cake with caramelized wine reduction. They also had a fantastic wine list, and, like most other places in Seville and Madrid, they featured Jamòn Iberico, the specialty acorn-fed ham.
There is so much more I could ramble on about, but in short, Seville is full of beauty, history, and culture. It is a must-do city if you find yourself in Spain. I could have spent at least another week wandering around the city and getting lost on the narrow brick walkways with no real destination in mind, and I don’t think I would have run out of new and interesting places to discover.