Sevilla (Seville) is only 100km from Jerez so it was only a short drive. The one thing I am not going to miss about driving here is getting lost on narrow cobbled streets and being directed down a series of streets that seem to just keep getting narrower with limited opportunities to stop to get your bearings.
As you can’t drive to many of these hotels (as no roads exists, just a series of connecting alleyways that you have to walk down) you have to stop in the nearest plaza and walk from there, check in and then find out where their secure parking is.
Sevilla was no different. First I got quite lost, again, and even after stopping to ensure I had the right plaza entered, within 10 minutes I was back to the very same spot. How does that happen!? Then we pulled into the wrong plaza but close enough to where we were meant to be so I just parked the car in a driveway (parking on the street in many of these cities is really difficult). But how to get to the apartment was the next question. Just as we were pondering that question an interesting bloke wandered over and offered to show Deb the way to our apartment. After Deb went with him I hoped that this was all above board (and as the alleyways got narrower and narrower Deb had the same thought … where is he taking me?…) But it was all good and in about 10 minutes Deb returned with a staff member who escorted us to the car parking and then assisted us with our luggage through the back alleyways of Seville.
We had no set plans in Sevilla so we were looking at the hop-on hop-off bus option again but decided to go with a free city walking tour as it left from near where we were staying at 10:15am. What we didn’t realise at the time was that it went for over 3.5 hours and covers about 70% of the major structures and monument. The tour was run by an organisation called Feel the City which specialises in these types of tours. Our guide Lara was exceptional and was passionate about her city and was very knowledgeable about the makeup and history of Sevilla. We traipsed all over the city the whole time Lara provided an interesting commentary of the history, significance of buildings and any changes that have occurred over the centuries. For example, the mosque was incorporated into the temple (when the Catholic King took over the city) including the large ornate doors which unbeknown to them at the time contained hidden passages of the Koran written in Arabic hidden into the ornate pattern on the doors.
Sevilla is a beautiful city mixing the very old with the new, large parks, wide roadways with central gardens and beautiful trees, contrasted with cobblestone streets and narrow alley ways. Castles within walls, huge cathedrals, to architure from the last 500+ years from ornate buildings covered in beautiful ceramic tiles to more modern functional building (which look incredibly bland). It is quite amazing to see modern trams running down passed building that old. In fact you’d think this mixture of old and new would clash, but it doesn’t. Sevilla feels like a modern city that is showing off it’s past.
I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but I like to offer to take photos of people on their own cameras. While often this is just me offering to help capture the moment for the whole family/couple, if I am honest I do it for two reasons. Firstly, when travelling by yourself it is often hard to get a photo of yourself at locations (other than a selfie) so by offering to take someone else’s photo sometimes (more than half) it gets reciprocated. The other reason is that it’s a great conversion starter. Like today when I took the photo for an older English couple who used to run a B&B in their older house, older as in built in 1604. This led to an interesting conversation about perceptions of old. I guess I shouldn’t keep talking about our house being an older house … As it was built in 1979.
Flamenco – we took the opportunity to take in another show. This one just had 4 people, a guitarist, a male singer, and a male and female dancer. The show was spectacular not only with the expertise in each of their individual crafts but with how combined they portrayed the joy, the sadness, and the anguish through the performance. This was quite different to the one we saw in Granada.
Tonight Sevilla were playing Liverpool in football (soccer) it was on in most bars that we walked passed. After we got back to our apartment I was sitting outside in the courtyard writing this blog when the game ended. Sevilla obviously won as the city erupted in celebration, car horns, shouting, singing and fireworks. Just amazing.
We now leave the beautiful city of Sevilla, and we say goodbye to our little Peugeot. From here we take the fast train to Madrid.