Seville was magnificent, amazing. We loved the city and the weather. Highly recommended. You should visit Seville. That’s all. Blog is over. Unless if you are curious why I said it, Then Please continue to read.
In 2018, Seville was the number one destination to visit in the Lonely Planet Top Ten list. And this was our last stop of Spain travel. We took a 3 hours high-speed train from Madrid. Our Madrid visit was OK, at best. As a matter of fact, we were happy to leave Madrid. It’s a long story. And not a pleasant one.
OUR ARRIVAL AND OUR APARTMENT
Train ride to Seville was a pleasant experience. Our apartment was in the city Centre of Seville. It’s 25 minutes of walk from the station. We contacted our current landlord to let us drop our bags off in advance. Because, the check in was at 2pm. And we arrived about an hour earlier. Luckily he agreed to do so. Our apartment had a big balcony (at first, you will know why). We were delighted to have about 3 times bigger apartment than Madrid. Due to being in the City center, the ambience was loud. But on a positive note, we didn’t mind it at all. It’s not loud if we close the door. And windows. The bed, kitchen, toilet and the ventilation system was brilliant (Finally!!)
Anyyyyyy who, we took a walk around the busy and beautiful City of Seville, to find a grocery store, to take advantage of the kitchen. Let’s put this way, remember what I said about the architecture of Valencia? In the last Valencia blog? Seville is even more beautiful and colorful than that.
OUR BADLUCK WITH APARTMENT CONTINUES
We returned to our apartment, there were no keys (!!) inside the locker. We thought at first that the cleaning lady yet to finish her job. 30 minutes later, still no sign of anyone inside. Then we contacted the landlord to let us in. He came and took us to our apartment. The one I just mentioned at the beginning of the blog. We unpacked everything very quickly. As usual what do. All for nothing. Because the landlord call us again to tell us that, he made a mistake. And it’s not the right apartment. Came back. Took us downstairs to the other apartment. We had to pack everything (again!!) The new apartment was also amazing. Very well equipped. Beautiful interior decorations. With a smaller balcony overlooking the busy beautiful narrow street. The landlord apolozied. And left.
That evening we relaxed. Took advantage of the bathtubs. Read about Seville history. We realized that, our breakfast was left to the previous apartment. That’s the problem when you rush things. Not a big fan because it was not our fault. We were kind of obliged to move fast. Anyway, sh!t happens. We Finished the day with homecooked meal. And a very well deserved sleep.
OUR FIRST DAY ITINERARY OF SEVILLE
Our first day weather was just fantastic. It’s beautiful. It’s hot. It’s just perfect to complement the colorful architectures of Seville. Seville is the capital of Andalusia. It is one of the largest cities, located in southern Spain. It’s situated on the bank of Guadalquivir River (i could not pronounce it properly.) Did you know that, Seville is the birthplace of Flamenco? The design and the architectures of the city is very heavily influenced by Muslim occupation in past for a very long time.
Our first stop of the day was the Plaza De San Francisco. According to many resources, this place is essentially the Heart of Seville. During 16th Century, this square played the role of being the main Square. At first we thought it was the Ayuntamiento (city town hall). But no, the town was actually right next to the Plaza. Because it’s near our apartment, we used this very location to go to our other visits or to get back to our apartment.
This time, to get to one of the biggest (literally) attractions of Seville. The Giralda tower. This Cathedral was HUGE! We stood on a line to buy our tickets. Which is situated next to the Archivo de Indias. We were confused at first about the identity of the Archivo de Indias. Which later we verified by a lovely French elderly couple who were standing behind us. It took 20 euros for both of us to get access to the cathedral and the Tower.
The tower and the Cathedral was built on the old site of the “Then” great mosque of Seville. The Mosque was built in 11th century during the era of Moorish Spain. It was converted into a cathedral after Seville was “Recovered” by the Christians in mid 12th century. The tower Giralda later was built in mid 15th century. The Giralda tower is 104.1 m (342 ft) in height. Where we climbed to see best panoramic view of Seville. We found it easy to climb comparing to all the other towers we did in Europe. This one has no stairs. It’s a flat inclined flour. The tomb of the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus is in the Cathedral too. The interior design of the cathedral still ressemble the past design of the mosque as well. We also loved the indoor courtyard of the cathedral which also was an orange garden. Oh, also La Giralda is a World Heritage site.
After a good long visit to the Cathedral and La Giralda, We stood in the line, under the harsh sun to get inside the Royal Alcázars of Seville (Spanish: Reales Alcázares de Sevilla) , for like 30 to 40 minutes. Then we gave up and decided to buy our tickets online and return the next morning.
Seville visit would not be completed if you don’t see Flamenco dance. Lucky for us, behind the Alcazar near Plaza Contralacion we witnessed Flamenco. We spent a little bit of time to watch and enjoy the dance (or,the Work of Art I say) as long as we could. The lovely artist ended her performance by saying, “ I thank you to be here, I thank you for watching me, giving me courage and I thank you for the smiles on your faces“. What a sweet note! Very touching.
At that point, it was 27 degree C temperatures. We badly needed to take a pause. And we did. With a couple of sugary ice cream in a Park called Prado De San Sebastian. Nice park. Didn’t stay there for long though.
However, our next stop was a beautiful work of Art. It’s called Plaza De España. This is one of the Landmarks of Seville. The Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González (a renowned famous architect).
Plaza de espana. It is a huge complex , half circle shaped square with mix of 1920s Art Deco and Spanish Renaissance Revival, Spanish Baroque infusion and Neo-Mudéjar (Arab) styles. Red and orange color.
This Plaza de España complex is separated by a artificial river around the edge which is accessible by numerous bridges. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain where I felt like a child and got washed by the water of the fountain. We noticed that, by the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, it appeared that each representing a different province of Spain.
Final stop of the day was Torre del oro next to the river Which is essentially an ancient military watch tower. In English, you translate by The Tower of gold. It was built in 13th century and it also served as a prison too. Therefore, based on built year, it’s easy to say that the tower was built during the Moorish Spain era.
Along side the river, it was really crowded. It’s a hot and beautiful. And week-end! So, everyone was wearing colorful summer clothes to complement the weather. Our feet were hurting after a long walk. So, it’s time to end the day and head back.
OUR 2ND DAY ITINERARY FOR SEVILLE
We booked 2 tickets for the the Royal Alcázars of Seville (Spanish: Reales Alcázares de Sevilla) for 9.30 am visit. Idea was to not wait for too long at the gate (like we did yesterday). Why do desperate to visit it you ask? Well, one can not just leave Seville without this one of a kind UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had our breakfast like 8am in the morning. Took a walk via Plaza San Francisco. It was a little fresh in the morning. And amazingly calm. Everything seemed completely different because there were almost no one around. However, when we arrived at the Gate of Alcázar…. surprise… surprise! There were at least 30 people waiting in the line. What!!! And line became longer and longer. After a long wait in the fresh weather, we have finally made it inside. And WOW!
OK, Let’s step back a little bit. What’s Reales Alcázares de Sevilla?
(**Disclaimer: These informations bellow were collected at the each points of interest inside the palace, Official website and UNESCO website. And I paraphrased these infos with my amateur writing skills. If you have seen exact same wordings elsewhere, it’s totally normal. Because, history is difficult to change)
Real Alcázar de Sevilla is the royal palace in Seville. The name ‘Alcazar’ means castle in Spanish (I thought it was just a fancy Spanish name) and was derived from the Arabic word al-qasr (fortress or palace) (According to the various sources from Google). The palace complex is in Mudejar style: an architectural style with many influences from Moorish and Christian cultures. You might feel like you are inside a Mosque or an Arabic castle sometimes. So much in common. It is probably the oldest palace still in use in Europe. This palace belonging to the UNESCO world heritage.
In 913, Abd-ar-Rahman III (the first Caliph of Al-Andalus) ordered the construction of a castle at this place, where originally stood a Roman fort. In the 11th century, the castle was enlarged by King Al-Moetamid (the last king of the Abbadid dynasty) to make it a palace. (Sources : UNESCO website and Official Website)
In the 14th century, the palace was reconquered from the Moors, after which King Alfonso X of Castile enlarged the palace even more (No wonder why we were lost inside countless times. Argh!! Size does not matter!). In 1364, King Peter I of Castile (“The Cruel”) ordered the construction of a new palace, the Alcázar, then his successors continued to enlarge it. (Sources : UNESCO website and Official Website)
One of the sights of the Alcazar Palace is the Patio de las Doncellas . In the ‘virgin patio’, an elongated pond is surrounded by built-in gardens and a gallery with serrated vaults with access to the reception rooms. The Salón de Embajadores (Hall of Ambassadors) is also impressive, with a splendid dome in worked cedar wood.
Another historic building is the Casa de Contratación. In the ‘Casa de Contratación’ dating from 1503, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ( in English they have translated Isabella to Elizabeth, but it’s not the same Elizabeth, I assure you) received among others the explorer Christopher Columbus. All Spanish trade with the New World was administered here and it also housed a sailing school run by Vespucci.
In addition, the palatial complex has beautiful and vast gardens: from the Moorish to the Renaissance style, with many ponds, exotic trees, shaded paths and pavilions.
From the Gallery of the Grottoesque, most of the garden was visible.
This palace is honestly, enormous. It was easy to be lost or potential chances of missing something areas without a Map.
After a long and awesome visit to the Alcázar, we stopped at the Archivo de Indias to see the marathon. We actually walked towards opposite direction back to the Plaza San Francisco, by the Giralda. Surprisingly there were no line at the gate of Giralda. There was a notice at the gate that written that it’s closed for special Holy occasion. Parts of the Cathedral was open for public though and for free. We were so lucky to visit it yesterday then. Phew! Appearantly it’s for “Last Sunday After Epiphany”
Not far from our Apartment, we paid a quick visit to San Jose Chappel. Beautiful gothic design Inside.
Then we visited Iglesias Del Salvador. We had 2 free entries combined with our cathedral ticket. In fact it looked free for everybody. It was a beautiful and large church. With the sound of Sunday Mass, Holy music , smoke and sun shine through the window felt really peaceful and spiritual.
Because we were not far from our apartment and it was lunch time, therefore it was perfect timing to come back and eat. Then we went to visit one of the modern Monuments of Seville. The Metrople Parasol.
It is arguably the largest wooden structure in the world. It looks like a giant mushroom. It has dimensions of 150 by 70 metres (490 by 230 ft) and an approximate height of 26 metres (85 ft), was designed by a German Architect Jürgen Mayer in 2011.
Around Parasol till La Macarena area, There were many busy bars with outdoor sittings under the sun. And every bars were pretty busy. Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza Macarena (Try saying that, I failed) was a bright yellow colour church. Puerta de la Macarena (Macarena gate) and Torre de los Perdigones (Tower of the Pellets) were placed not far from each other.
The Parliament of Andalusia (Right next to the gate) is housed in the old building of the Hospital de las Cinco Llagas’ (Hospital of the Five Holy Wounds).
And this was it for our Seville and Spanish travel. Then we walked back to our apartment via the bank of the Guadalquivir river, to locate our Bus stop from where we were going to take our bus the next morning to faro, Portugal, our last country of the Euro trip. That evening we had a beautiful dinner at a restaurant called Arty Y Sabor. Delicious food and awesome waiter. He even offered us free digestive called Pacharán. A sloe fruit liquor.
Hasta la Vista Spain.