February 13- 17, 2020
We landed at Sevilla airport, jumped on the bus to Estación de autobús grabbed our stored luggage, then off we walked to our new residence for the week. Although it feels like a large city, it was quite easy to navigate the old town on foot. But there are not too many straight streets. In fact if a street is two blocks long, it will turn. This creates many little plazas for restaurants, cafes, bars and the like.
One of the most difficult things in Sevilla is the decision of where to eat. There are hundreds (thousands?) of places with varying food selections. The Atlantic and Mediterranean are very close, so the seafood is excellent. Fruit and vegetables are grown in the local hills and valleys, as are the olives. And there are plenty of meat options. Local wine and beer are ubiquitous to any table.
There is plenty to see and do in town. Palaces, museums, parks, old fortified walls, plazas and the waterway all need to be investigated. Teams of rowers in sculls streak under the bridges, scooters and bicycles dart around pedestrians while clumps of tourists blindly follow the guide’s umbrella. Do not be deterred, just find your pace and enjoy the pulse of the city.
Setas de Sevilla
This fascinating work covers two plazas, has a mercado of small eating establishments, stairs for a small fee to climb to the top, a museum below and cafes scattered about. Easily accessible being in the heart of old town, a couple bus routes have a stop here. These “mushrooms” took 6 years to construct and were completed in 2011.
Will They Arrive?
As we wandered away from city center, crossed the canal to the northwest, we came across what looked to be a deserted Olympic Village. In fact, Sevilla made two attempts to host The Olympics. Although neither were accepted, they did host other international competitions in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It looked as though the vast area was locked and inaccessible. But there are parts to wander through as we did. The city spent over £120 million to try to lure the Olympics to Sevilla for the ‘04 and ‘08 games. During this time Spain had an unemployment rate of over 30% in the country. And now, it sits empty and deteriorating.
I commented about finding the city’s pulse. Sunday is the best for this. Everyone wants to be and is outside doing what they love. Fishing, boating, walking animals, socializing, bicycling, running, strolling and picnicking are in full swing and all these seem to be done leisurely. But all of this builds an appetite and the Sevillanas know and love their food. Stop, find a sunny (or shady) table at a cafe, order and enjoy.
Preparing for Easter
Having seen the procession of San Blas in Peru, we understand the weight that is carried on the shoulders of men. But to watch these men “practice” this feat was amazing and torturous to behold. Yes, those are concrete slabs on top of the metal frame. With a head wrap and padding lying on the back of the neck, the team of 35 is directed in unison to lift, march, turn left or right, stop and sit it back down. They will walk many cobblestoned blocks during the procession. Is that in the middle of a street? Yes, all traffic patiently waits till there is room to pass.
Flamenco is Everywhere
Flamenco originated in the Andalusia area of Spain between 700-1000 AD. This was during the times that the Arabs were in control of the Andalusian area of Spain. From that time, the music and dance have been modified over the years by the Christians, the Jews and the gipsies into what we see today. Seville opened the first flamenco dance school in 1765. It’s dramatic, it’s flamboyant, it’s theatrical and it’s just great to watch an individual or a couple mesmerize you with their dance.
All throughout Seville you will find flamenco dress shops where the dresses start at a mere £300. Don’t forget the shoes that will set you back at least £160 and then you have the silk shawl and the hair pieces and jewelry. There are many places where you can go for dinner and a flame co show or you can find some very talented dancers in the parks on Sunday as you are strolling along.
Plaza of Spain
We wanted to take a walk in the huge park near the Alcazar. Then we turned the corner of the park and here sat the Plaza of Spain. Being a bit of a Star Wars fan, I was watching Episode 3 that night, when Anakin and Padme Amidala were secretly married. They were standing on the bridge and walking the corridors where we were earlier in the day! Ahh, one with The Force. This half circle of facade is more beautiful than a picture can grasp.
As We Were Leaving……
Sitting in the train station ready to embark on our next adventure, in walk 20 young women dressed in traditional wear. They were heading to a ceremony. Denise asked if she could take a photo and they all beamed! Sometimes the unplanned become the most memorable.
Directions: We left Faro to Sevilla, España using FlixBus, €18 ea. They stop directly in front of the Faro bus station, not inside! Then they deliver you inside the main bus station in Sevilla. This took about 2.5 hours with a bio break in between.