Who could go past an invite to Seville – Spain, even if only for a few days…and to surprise a lifelong friend by my visit! My head was filled with the click of castanets, pulsating clapping and the swish of a matadors cape to the cries of Olé Olé! In my bag the ‘Ten best things to see in Seville’ to read on the plane as it had been a rather last minute decision. And what a magnificent place it was! Grandiose and gracious, spacious yet still intriguing, colourful and intoxicating.
The sound of church bells, carts and horses crossing the piazza and chatter of locals brought us down to the Cathedral square in time to catch the beginnings of one of the most important festivals in Seville – El Rocio pilgrimage
Gypsy style wagons and oxen decorated with flowers and bells circled the piazza, while handsome horse riders stood in readiness to lead off as women flaunted copious frills and garish flowers in their sleeked hair. And this was only Day 1!
Just to see the glorious Cathedral is awe inspiring for its size as it is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world. A legend says that when the plans were drawn up, church elders stated: ‘Let us build a church so beautiful and so magnificent that those who see it finished will think we are mad.’ A true reminder of Seville’s, power and wealth after the Reconquista – the fall of Islam.
A climb up the 39 ramps to the top of the Giralda bell towers was well worth it…..just breathtaking!
Tempted as I was to see a bullfight I didn’t go but strolled past the oldest bullring in Spain, which dates back to 1758 with 14,000 arena seats.
Friends had organized tickets to a much more emotional performance of traditional flamenco instead.
A wander through the exotic Alcazar Royal Palace felt like a flashback on my Iran experience. Centuries of Moorish decorations in a complex of Palaces with delicate arches and courtyards set in exquisite gardens.
Seville is an easy city to stroll around, everything so close at hand which makes it hard to get lost. We head to the lovely gardens near the University and into the spectacular Plaza de Espana – Impressive buildings created for a world Fair in 1929 that almost left the country bankrupt and which today provides a fabulous fun park to navigate on the moat or laze about and soak up the sun.
Yet Seville is not only historical architecture, the futuristic Metropol Parasol in the midst of the old city, is a stark contrast to one of our favourite Tapas bars nearby.
And as we wander the Old Jewish quarter of Barrio Santa Cruz by spice shops and artisan boutiques some kids push past in a rush to get to their ‘fiesta’.
Future flamenco dancers for sure!
A wander along the river past the Golden tower in search of a good spot to enjoy a sangria and the sunset on our last day in this great city Seville – Spain.