N and I have been long overdue for a proper holiday–our last real one was in 2012. A few months back, I threatened N with a homicidal breakdown if we didn’t get out of London at some point–even if for just a weekend. Well he went and did me one better and booked us a super long weekend in Seville in sunny southern Spain! (Or Sevilla if you’re Spanish…)
Madrid is one of my favorite places in the universe but Seville is a whole ‘nother world, my friends.
I think for this trip’s wrap-up, I’m going to have to divide it into categories to fit everything in!
Just a warning… this post is super image heavy, so click the jump for more!
Sightseeing (tourist spots)
N and I decided pretty early on the sights we wanted to see. Because he’s half Spanish and is totally bilingual, we thought we’d hit a few hotspots and keep to the more local, less touristic areas. I’m really glad we did–everything just felt more immersive and authentic.
One of the places I really wanted to see was the Real Alcázar… partially for its lush gardens and stunning architecture, but also because the geek in me wanted to see where Game of Thrones would be filming parts of season five (Dorne’s Water Gardens). We joined the morning queue a bit late but despite the many travel groups we got through fairly quickly (about an hour). Part of me was worried the wait wouldn’t be worth it and, as we walked around the first few rooms of the palace, I was afraid I was right. Until we hit the gardens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere so beautiful, green and just all around gorgeous.
Looking back, I think the Real Alcázar was probably one of my favorite spots in Seville.
We also ventured into the Catedral de Sevilla by accident before it was actually open to the public during a morning mass. We weren’t the only people there so we lingered for a bit in the area that was open and took a few (flash free) photos.
We were going to go back after going to the Real Alcázar (since they’re right across the plaza from one another) but by the time we were done there the line for the cathedral was ages long and it was too hot to stand out in the sun so we gave it a miss. Ultimately a good decision as we headed further away to the the Plaza de España which was well worth the trek.
Also on our to-see list was the Metropol Parasol, a controversial structure designed by German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann and completed in 2011. Delays, costs and general odd, mushroom-like appearance raised many an eyebrow. Personally, N and I thought it was really bizarre and out of place but, once we were up top, we were stunned by the amazing, sweeping views of Seville and beyond.
The Streets of Seville
One of the things I loved the most about Seville was the architecture–main roads could have four lanes or, as is the case in the city centre, they might be one lane down a twisty little alleyway. It’s freaking gorgeous and very nice on the eyes, day or night. There are plazas (filled with bars and shops) nearly everywhere you turn offering just a bit of respite.
There are also churches everywhere. Seville struck me as a deeply religious city and, as we popped in and out of some very gorgeous churches, I felt very humbled to have been allowed into such spiritual places.
I think the highlight for me (and I’m sure N will agree) was the food in Seville. Seville is thought to be the birthplace of tapas and, believe me, it shows. You can get some really amazing, tasty, brilliant dishes for not a lot of money. We were fairly astounded by just how cheap tapas were… even at the more famous tapas bars.
Out of all the places I’ve visited and trips I’ve made, I honestly think Seville has been my favorite. Everything seems to move at a much slower pace–shops open later in the morning and stay open late, bars are cheap, beer is plentiful (and crisp and cold), the weather is amazing (especially compared to what I’m used to in London) and everything is just plain gorgeous.
Cat of Sunshine and Siestas (an American expat from Chicago now living in Seville) did warn me I’d fall in love and get sucked in. She wasn’t wrong. N and I both fell in love with this gem of a city… so much so that we’re already busy planning a return trip for New Year’s Eve!
Have you been to Seville? What did you like best? What’s been your favorite trip? The travel bug has got me again…