Last weekend we took a trip to Seville, Spain. I was so excited to return to my beloved study abroad city! We were welcomed with sunshine and friendly faces. We spent our three days walking around, taking pictures, eating delicious food, reminiscing on study abroad and exploring our favorite parks and shops. Overall the perfect weekend!
After work on Friday, Nicole and I took a Blablacar from Madrid to Seville. A 5 hour car ride with three total strangers – WOO! It wasn’t bad at all, they were all very nice. We got into Seville and hopped in a cab to get to our place and meet Nely. We stayed in a cute Airbnb studio in the Barrio Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarters of the city. The cab driver was hilariously friendly, he danced and sang Billie Holiday the whole ride. That night we went out to dinner and drinks at a delicious tapas restaurants near the cathedral called Mamarracha.
Next day we slept in a bit and had breakfast at Café La Cacherrería up on Calle Regina near Las Setas. Conveniently across the street is our favorite cookie shop, so of course we had to indulge there as well!
Las Setas (also more formally known as Metropol Parasol) is one of Seville’s top tourist destinations and the largest wooden sculpture in the world. The nickname setas means “mushrooms”in English, which explains the giant, deformed mushroom shaped sculpture. Many people don’t like Setas because it doesn’t exactly “fit in” with the rest of Seville’s architecture, but I think it adds to the quirky-ness of the city. You can take an elevator to the top of Las Setas to walk around and grab a drink while enjoying panoramic views of the city.
We had some tinto de verano and wandered around the center, stopping to shop and take pictures. After exploring the city, Nely and I went for a run in our favorite park, El Parque de Maria Luisa. The Plaza de España was bustling with happy people, green parrots were flying in the air, and the pink and purple flowers were still in bloom. I had forgotten just how magical the park is! Then we had dinner with Nely’s host mom, Angie. It was really nice to practice our Spanish and get a home-cooked meal. After we went out for a couple of drinks on the popular bar street, Calle Alfalfa.
We started the next day off with coffee and more cookies (don’t ask how many I ate over the whole weekend…) walked around and went to some of our favorite shops. We had an early lunch at one of our favorite spots, El Mercado Lonja Del Barranco, an indoor glass market with every type of food you can imagine.
Then we headed back over to the Plaza de España to walk around and enjoy the sunny afternoon. The main building of the plaza was originally built as part of the 1929 World Fair Exposition. At one point it was intended to be a hotel, at another, an office for the Spanish military, but now it just lies vacant with the exception of the occasional art gallery. No matter what is on the inside, the exterior is breathtaking!
We walked around the park, took pictures and went into a free folklore museum, El Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares. The museum was pretty quiet, it has displays of old traditional Spanish crafts, clothes and furniture which was interesting to see. Although my main motive for entering was just the fact that it was such a pretty building from the outside!
That night we had dinner with my host mom, Gemma. It was so great to see her and to see that nothing has really changed at all! We spent hours talking at the dinner table and she told me that my Spanish has gotten even better since last year. Woo!
I am always so amazed by the architecture in Seville. Sometimes I find myself tripping over my feet because I can’t help but be constantly looking up at all of the beautiful buildings! There is such an interesting mix of old and new styles and an impeccable attention to detail. You can find tiny little details like secret, funny gargoyles or old Islamic tiles hiding on the sides of buildings and tops of old cathedrals. Seville is a very warm city, which is reflected well within the dominant colors of the buildings: white, yellow and the salmony-red color of the church below.
Here are some of my favorite buildings in Seville:
This is the front door of La Universidad de Sevilla, where I studied in 2015. Passing by the school gave me weird flashbacks to study abroad, which was a bittersweet feeling. Seems a little too elegant for a school, right? Well the building was actually an old Royal Tobacco Factory that was restored in the 1950s.
This photo is a view of El Real Alcázar, the old royal palace and gardens which were originally constructed by the Moors in the 10th century, and has since then been remodeled multiple times by the Catholic kings after the Reconquista in the 13th century.
Here is a shot of the super luxurious 5 star hotel near the university, Hotel Alfonso XIII. The hotel was opened for a royal banquet in 1929. The neo-mudejar style of the mosaic tiles and ornate iron rails is distinct to Seville.
Of course last but not least is the most famous, La Giralda, the tower of the main cathedral of Seville, La catedral de Santa María de la Sede de Sevilla. The whole city is centralized around this massive cathedral. Built in the 15th century (It took over a hundred years to build!) this cathedral is rumored to be the place of the remains of Cristopher Columbus. La Giralda is the bell tower. You can walk up to get great views from over 300 feet above the city!
On our last day, Nely and I went for another run in the park early in the morning and then met up with Nicole for brunch at La Cacherrería again. After we headed to the station to catch our six hour bus back to Madrid. Our weekend in Seville went by so fast!
I totally agree with the motto of Seville, NO8DO, which stands for “No me ha dejado”. In English this means “It (Seville) has not abandoned me”. There is something magical about this city that will always stick with me throughout my travels. Maybe its the art and architecture, the history of the city, or maybe its the friendly people, but I always find myself wanting to come back. Seville is by far my favorite city in Spain, maybe even all of Europe. I already cannot wait to go back!