21.03.15 – 27.03.15
Seville could be my new favourite Spanish city, a title formerly held by San Sebastian.
We arrived by plane from Valencia, it only took 50 minutes and was in the smallest commercial plane I’d ever seen, let alone flown on. Daniel couldn’t even stand up properly inside. Slightly unnerving.
Instead of finding a hostel, for Seville we opted to give Air BnB a go. We’re staying in a large apartment belonging to Luis and Rosa, who live there and rent out the other two rooms to travellers. The place is spotless, much cleaner and nicer than many of the hostels we’ll stay at along the way I’m sure. They have quite a few ‘house rules’, normal ones like turning off lights when you leave the room, and then weird ones e.g. if it’s the morning please don’t smoke inside the house, but if it’s the afternoon, you’re allowed to smoke inside. Tempted to light up at 11.55am and see what happens.
Our first night we headed to a local Flamenco studio recommended by Luis, promising it was the best in town and only cost 6€ -which is infinitely cheaper than many of the tourist offers being constantly sold to you on the street. Of course we were the super keen tourists, not the effortlessly cool Spanish locals, so of course we were there early and were the very first to buy tickets. Having scribbled our names on some paper and reserving front row seats, we went off for dinner at 9 with an hour until the show was due to start.
We decided that we should go to the very popular ‘El Rinconcillo’ for dinner, seeing as 9pm is still considered ‘early’ dinnertime for Spaniards, so we should definitely easily get a spot at the bar for their famed tapas. Nope. Nada. The place is crazy busy, and we hover awkwardly for a while and then pounce on a tiny gap in people standing at the bar. El Rinconcillo is a tourist attraction in itself, famous for it’s delicious food but also because it’s been serving said food since 1620. It’s old school, and instead of modern tills, they scribble your orders on the bar with chalk and then add it all up at the end. The food of course, was amazing –highlights include local favourites like spinach and chickpeas and slow-cooked pork cheek (‘carrilada’).
Back to the Flamenco show for a 10pm start, and the place is now packed -those effortlessly cool locals seem to have shown up. I feel like I’m in a little dance studio, there’s mirrors all over the walls –oh and a bar of course. Una cerveza y un tinto di verrano por favor! The show was truly incredible. We’d seen a Flamenco in Madrid a couple of years ago, but this was so much better. In Madrid we had bad seats, plus the tickets and the drinks were super expensive. This was so intimate and so much more powerful. You could of heard a pin drop, no one was making a sound as all their energy was completely at the mercy of the performers. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.
Seville has such an interesting history, which I think is where its charm comes from. Throughout history it has been ruled by the Visigoths, the Arabic Muslims and many centuries later the Christians, and you can see these influences and remnants everywhere. The huge gothic cathedral was actually formerly a mosque, and the Jewish neighbourhood of Santa Cruz is a labyrinth of winding, narrow streets buzzing with life and full of soul.
We also visited the Plaza de España quite a few times; it’s a super impressive square with amazing design and architecture –so its crazy to think that it took over 10 years to complete and it was commissioned solely for the World Fair of 1929. Apparently a tonne of movies have been filmed there, including Star Wars Episode I and II. Very cool information this is (in Yoda voice). Speaking of geeking out, we definitely unashamedly spent half a day wandering the Seville Royal Palace, the ‘Real Alcazar’, pretending to be from Game of Thrones and humming the theme song on end. The palace is featured in the upcoming series as the palace of Dorne. This just makes me even more excited to go to
King’s Landing Dubrovnik!
Taking a tour of the Bull Ring was interesting. It’s the most prestigious arena in Spain and considered the ‘home’ of the sport. Daniel is still keen on seeing a fight, but I’m still undecided on the issue. Four bulls will be killed in each night of fighting, and while I’m glad they at least eat them afterwards, it’s still not a pleasant thought knowing how much tortuous pain they’ll go through before they die. The bulls are always seriously maimed before they even enter the ring so that the bullfighter is usually guaranteed to win the fight.
The whole week in Seville was so chill compared to the chaos of Fallas in Valencia, so maybe it’s got an unfair advantage of it’s new title of my possible new fave Spanish city. Having said that, Seville oozes charm and definitely seduces you with its food. I don’t think we’ve eaten as consistently good and cheaply anywhere else…ever. And I think we ate that signature pork cheek dish nearly every night at a different restaurant (Duo Tapas definitely won the prize).
Next stop Granada, our last Spanish city before moving on to Portugal.