Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.Seneca
Feb 7-9 2015
As part of our trip to Morocco we planned a stopover in Sevilla on our way back to the United States. We only had a short amount of time, but we saw some really cool sites and got a taste of the Andalusian culture.
We stayed at a lovely AirBnb located between the San Bernardo and Santa Cruz neighborhoods, which provided an excellent location just a short stroll away from the cities main attractions. It was also within easy walking distance of the train station, where we would need to catch a train at the end of our visit.
Sevilla is the typical Spain that you envision. It has it all, from Flamenco and old historic buildings, to warm weather with winds that carry the smell of orange blossoms and cured ham. People lined the streets sitting outside of cafes and restaurants, sipping wine and eating tapas while enjoying each others company.
The city has played host to a series of contrasting cultures, from its Roman origins, followed by 500 years of Islamic occupation, and culminating in the Christian reconquest in the 13th century. The city’s architecture reflects its diverse history, no more so than Sevilla Cathedral, built under the Christians, but housing the Moorish minaret known as the Giralda.
Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. It is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus. While there we would tour the building and surrounding grounds, and climb the Giralda bell tower. At 343 feet tall, it offered an impressive view over the surrounding city. Nearby also sits the Alcazar of Sevilla, we did not have time to visit as it was closed while we were there, but we have heard many wonderful things about it and look forward to checking it out the next time we are there.
Another attraction that we did visit was the Plaza de Espana. a large plaza built in the Parque de María Luisa for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture. Today the Plaza de España mainly consists of Government buildings, while the The Plaza’s tiled Alcoves of the Provinces are backdrops for visitors photographs.
Our favorite part of the colorful city was just checking out the many interesting and compact neighborhoods, sipping on beers as various bars and eating deliscious cheeses and meats. From Santa Cruz, filled with cobblestone streets, classic Andalusian balconies, and hidden patios to Triana just across the Isabel II bridge with its small village feel, lots of little shops, local markets, and great tapas bars.
We also checked out El Centro and the Metropol Parasol. Designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer and completed in 2011, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Its appearance, location, delays and cost overruns in construction resulted in much public controversy. However, it seems to have attracted the hipster crowd, within a 5 minute radius you can find all sorts of shops selling street wear, vintage and handmade one-off pieces, gastro tapas bars and boutique hotels, plus many other quirky shops and places to lounge.
Some of the places where we hung out in the evenings that we can highly recommend are La Terraza Restaurant, with a hip and elegant balcony overlooking the Sevilla Cathedral, great for cocktails; Torero, a small standing room only bar that serves delicious craft cocktails; and La Carboneria, our favorite place which was a cool little hangout with cheap drinks and open mic music nights, we really enjoyed ourselves and had a lot of fun singing along with the local crowd.
Sevilla was a lovely, colorful place. We look forward to returnig and again in the future and discovering the rest of the Andalusia region as well. But for now, we had to hop an efficient and high speed train for the quick trip to Malaga where we would catch our flight back to the States.