Savouring the Andalucian Sunshine and Spirit of Sevilla

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One of the awesome aspects of being in Europe is that there are so many opportunities for travel to new destinations within a few hours by train, bus or air. So when our friends Dick & Anita suggested a trip to Seville and Cordoba we and another friend jumped at the chance. It was a 4 hour bus ride (€82 total return) to Seville from Lagos and then another 1.5 hours to Cordoba by train (€46 total return).

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Crossing the Spanish border from Portugal

We spent three nights in each city and loved them both. We left Lagos in the midst of pouring rain but after our first day we had brilliant sunshine and pleasant temperatures for the remainder of our trip!

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In Seville we stayed in the old Jewish Quarter and loved everything about the location. Our hotel was nice but a little overpriced for the services it offered.

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The narrow streets of Barrio de Santa Cruz formed a fascinating maze of courtyards, cafes, tapas bars and intimate plazas lined with orange trees.

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We were just a 10 minute walk away from the Seville Cathedral which is truly amazing. It is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, the third largest church and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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The central nave is awe-inspiring and pictures cannot capture the splendor that surrounded us. It is also the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, although his tomb is a recent addition from 1892. The entrance costs €9 and is worth every euro. There are significant reductions for retirees (over 65) and students, so don’t forget your identification.

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The final tomb of Christopher Columbus

The climb to the top of the La Giralda bell tower provides you with breathtaking views across the city and beyond.

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The view to the west from the bell tower. The bull ring is in the center.

The cathedral is right next to the Alcazar so the plaza can be quite crowded and hectic. There were plenty of carriages selling tours but in spite of how romantic they are (and how much Anne wanted to take a ride) we both declined the €45 cost for a one hour ride.

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All the streets we walked were decorated for Christmas with wonderful lights, poinsettias, and a large tree of lights in one of the squares.

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To add to the Christmas atmosphere an excellent market was set up selling every type of creche figure you could imagine. Many homes and businesses have extensive nativity scenes that are open for public viewing and are marked by a large star on their doorways.

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While the Alcazar of Seville may appear a Moorish palace, most of it was built for the Christian king, Pedro the Cruel of Castile during the 1300s in the Mudejar style. Much remains of the original elegance but numerous restorations have been required due to fires and earthquakes. It has also been the location of filming for several Game of Thrones’ episodes.

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Be sure to allow yourself time to explore the adjacent gardens as they are splendid at any time of year. Wandering through them you are easily transported to another time.

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The short walk to the spectacular Plaza de Espana through parks and along bougainvillea lined boulevards was very enjoyable. The temperatures were in the low 20s and just right for being outside in this vibrant city.

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Plaza de Espana was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition and is a grandiose structure that has become a major attraction and landmark in Seville. It consists of an immense Renaissance-Moorish structure with towers at either end. The entire plaza is ringed by a circular canal with arched bridges leading to the central building. Ceramic tiles are everywhere and the benches representing the Spanish provinces are quite dramatic.

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Major films including Laurence of Arabia and Star Wars have used it as a location. It was used as the setting for Padme Amidala’s palace in the city of Theed on Naboo, in Episode II: the Attack of the Clones (2002). Being huge Star Wars fans we were especially excited to be there!

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Do you think I’m excited?

The entire city was full of life and vibrancy and you could feel the passion of the people on the streets. We were there on Constitution Day and the streets were full. The tapas bars were packed between 2-4 on all days and then it gets quiet from 4-6 so for us a good time to have our evening meal as we are not late night people.

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The selection of tapas was endless and we found that 2-3 would suffice for a full meal. They are generally around €3 each and most of the ones we had were excellent. They provide an excellent opportunity to try some local dishes like ox tail, Iberian ham or shrimp cakes.

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Andalucia is the home of flamenco and its influence was strong everywhere in both cities. The shops are filled with flamenco dresses, postcards and even dolls. Street performances were fairly common and attracted a large audience.

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An evening flamenco show for €18 was well worth the cost. It was about an hour long in an intimate setting. There were several to chose from in the area at around the same price. The one we attended had an audience of about 50 people and seemed to be a mix of locals and tourists.

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For more modern tastes the Metropol Parasols are worth visiting. The contrast between the 2012 structure and the classic Seville architecture is stark. It isn’t surprising that it created quite a conflict when it was erected. There is a winding walkway along the top for great views of this part of the city. To add to the contrasts a museum underneath preserves extensive Roman ruins and excavation is ongoing.

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This part of the city was quite interesting and was full of expensive boutiques within the charming old buildings. As always quirky and interesting sights were around every corner.

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The Barber of Seville?

As with any visit the time to leave arrived far sooner than we wanted. It was surreal to be here after all the travel shows and videos we have watched on Seville! The fond memories of this city will always remain with us and we will return.

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Up next, a short train ride away, we visit the charming medieval city of Cordoba.

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About timannehall

We sold almost all of our belongings and left our home in Nova Scotia in April 2016 to experience as much of the world as we can. By house sitting and travelling slowly we plan to maintain a nomadic lifestyle for as long as we are able to. We have no particular destination and will make our home wherever we happen to be.
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8 Responses to Savouring the Andalucian Sunshine and Spirit of Sevilla

  1. Great pics you guys and they took me right back to our adventure! I can’t believe how much we crammed into our days and it would be difficult to name any certain high points as the city is a highlight in and of itself. I especially love the photo of Anne, with her arms opened wide, on the steps in Plaza de Espana. Definitely sums up our feelings for the lovely city of Sevilla! Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Anita. We had a hard time picking out our pictures as we had so many that we really loved. It is a wonderful city and we enjoyed it so much. You guys and Kiki were great travelling companions too. We never thought we would get to these places so it is all very exciting for us.

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  2. This sounds like a fabulous city to visit, and some of your photos are quite wonderful! I especially like the one of the horse and carriage through the arches, and the yellow arches reflected in the pool of water. Beautiful. We’re planning on being in Spain next summer, so now definitely look forward to a little exploration of our own in Seville. I want to get a photo of Metropole Parasols like the one in Wiki! What an amazing structure! I’ve been thinking for ages that I should get you guys connected with Anita and Richard but obviously you didn’t need my help lol.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Alison. There was such a wealth of colour and life in Seville that it seemed everywhere we turned was a photo opportunity. We had to try and remember to put the camera away for a while. The picture of the Parasols in wiki looks like it could be taken from the plaza beneath it at night so you should be able to capture it. You will love the city. We have enjoyed spending time with Anita and Dick and they have been very helpful getting us acquainted with this part of Portugal. Enjoy your sunshine. Tim & Anne

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kemkem says:

    It all looks very lovely! So glad you had a good time in Seville. Easy to see why we moved pronto as soon as we had visited it. Hard to believe it’ll be 2 years that we’ve been here. I wish we had been around to meet you guys, but we were in Nigeria at that point already. Maybe somewhere else in the future we’ll get to meet… 🙂 . Enjoy the rest of your time in Lagos with Anita and Richard and Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • timannehall says:

      Thanks Kemkem. We totally get why you chose to move there. It’s a wonderful city and we will definitely be returning, so hopefully we will get to meet you guys in person. We are coming back next fall (hopefully with a Residency Visa) so perhaps then. We are really enjoying our time here with new friends. Enjoy the holiday season as well. Tim & Anne

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  4. Pingback: Uncovering the Diverse Culture of Cordoba | A New Latitude

  5. Pingback: Slow Travel in Retirement: First Year Reflections and Looking Ahead | A New Latitude

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