25Feb2019: Corey booked us a hotel in Sevilla that was listed on the city’s street signs–we fancy! We missed visiting the Catedral-for-free-Monday-window by 9 minutes so we opted for a walk to Sevilla’s Plaza de España. At dusk, it was perfect. I would recommend visiting at the same exact time of day for future visits because the setting was incredible. You can snap pictures to your heart’s content. We also caught a free flamenco street performance. It was a strong start for Sevilla.
This is where I insert the caveat that Sevilla is where I remember having the least fun in Spain when I came with my family. Our first cab driver tried to rip us off, Miya had heat stroke, and Jamie Lynn had an epic rash. It felt like we were walking for days in the hot sun, and frankly, I missed the Alhambra and Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona. It was my goal to make new memories on this trip as Corey kept reminding me that everyone else who gave us recommendations for Sevilla raved about the capital of Andalusia.
The walk from Plaza de España took us past the Tower de Oro all the way to Tabern Alambique: Tapas and Vinos in Plaza de la Alfalfa, 5. Salmorejo round two! The solomillo was also a favorite. If you ask for Fanta Limon, they’ll say they have a ‘house version’ so say yes to that as well.
26Feb2019: Day two hit the target of re-creating new memories in Sevilla. In Nueva Plaza de San Sebastian, we had a quaint breakfast at Bodega Belmonte: tostada con tortilla and zumo de naranja. I learnt later that this Bodega is listed in my guidebook and named after a famous bullfighter, Juan Belmonte. No wonder there were so many bulls’ heads watching over us as we ate.
Buy tickets in advance for Sevilla’s Real Alcazar as the line is long even at the start of the day. We didn’t end up doing the audio guide but I can see how this could be beneficial if you wanted to take in the moments in Spanish history with Caliphates, Castillian conquests and Gothic transformations. It’s another Islamic Palace that was superimposed with the new Christian order. We went straight to Palacio del Rey Don Pedro as Corey’s Google search listed the Patio de Las Doncellas and the Salon de Techo de Carlos V as highlights on the tour. We also wandered in the gardens as the sun began to warm the grounds; other guests hadn’t yet made it outside.
You may have already been let in on this secret but if not, take note of this hack: Visit Iglesia Colegial Divino Salvador BEFORE the Catedral. You’ll be tempted to go to the Catedral after the Alcazar since it’s so close in proximity, but at the Iglesia you buy a combo ticket for the Salvador church with the Catedral. This means you can skip the line for the main Catedral all for 9 Euro per person. By 11:30am we were passing the long line into the Catedral, heading to Christopher Columbus’ tomb. I wasn’t really keen on saluting Columbus but it’s the first site to see in the Catedral.
We picked up a quick pastry and walked to Plaza de Toros de Sevilla. No hacks for this visit– you’ll buy the combo ticket with audio and tour. First, you listen to the audio to get the context for each stop along the ring. Then the guide answers questions from the group. It doesn’t take more than an hour. Corey was re-living his Pamplona experience and describing running with the bulls while we sat in the ring.
Lunch time brought us to the Triana neighborhood, just across the water. It’s known as an artist’s community, once a gypsy enclave. Today the barrio is less touristic laden than other neighborhoods across the river, but you’ll still be able to access menus in English. We had lunch at a restaurant that ….I forgot to record (!) It was only a short walk from the waterfront’s more expensive restaurants.
The Museo de Bella Artes is a 10 minute walk from the bullring. Apparently, as a museum, it ranks second to Madrid’s Prado in the size of its galleries. That means I needed to visit the temporary exhibition only because I get overwhelmed in large museums. My stamina was perfect for the 55 works by Murillo, Sevilla’s most famous painter. It happened to be the 400th year of Murillo’s birth so the exhibit was a celebration of his life.
We meandered through the shopping district and snacked on churro gordos at Cafe Doña Carmen. I don’t think either of us was hungry but we couldn’t resist.
Plaza de la Encarnacion brought back memories as I realised this was the area we stayed when we visited with Jamie, Miya and my dad. Las Setas is the architectural piece that marks this area. The Metropol Parasol is the world’s largest timber structure, but the Sevillanos dubbed it Las Setas (the mushrooms). For 3 Euros per person, we caught the sunset from atop the structure/sky walk.
That evening, we dined at Bodeguita Romero and were very well fed for under 25 Euro. Many of the guests shared bottles of wine and raciones. It was lively in the small horse shoe shaped bar. The patatas aliños became my new favorite tapas dish and made for a great end to a packed day.