It is always mind blowing to think about how many cities exist in the world that I’ve never even heard of. They bustle and thrive with languages I don’t understand, customs unfamiliar to me, a plethora of new flavors, and sights I’ve only dreamt about. Until I moved to Spain last summer, Seville (or Sevilla if speaking Spanish) was one of those cities. However, this 2,200-year-old city is bursting at the seams with authentic Spanish culture and an exhilarating amount of historical sites. One may find that the streets, while lively, seem to whisper soft secrets of older times as they wind through narrow passages.
Over the weekend, my husband and I took an hour train ride from our home in Cádiz to check out Seville for the second time. We were able to come to Seville over New Years, but found that many of the historical sites were closed for the holiday so we didn’t get to do as much as we had hoped. While we had fun on the New Year’s trip, this past weekend was much more culturally fulfilling. We were fortunate enough to try new dishes, go to a Moorish palace, check out a flamenco show, and revel in the fun, light-hearted atmosphere that Seville has to offer. I listed some of the highlights below.
Trying gazpacho for the first time
We arrived to Seville on Friday night and, with curfew being at 11 p.m., we only had time to go out for dinner. We picked a restaurant at random near the Seville Cathedral called El Atún. The reviews of the restaurant online are only average, but I liked it a lot and would eat there again. Along with our glasses of wine, we had many different tapas but my favorite was the gazpacho they had for the special. Gazpacho is a cold soup made out of blended raw vegetables and spices. You are then supposed to add ingredients to your liking so I dumped the entire offering of onions, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, and bacon into my bowl. After tasting how light and refreshing it was, I can now see why it is such a popular Spanish dish.
The Real Alcázar
On Saturday morning, we attempted to get up early to have a leisurely, Spanish breakfast before our 12:30 a.m. time slot at the Real Alcázar but, staying true to our nature, we overslept and had to grab a quick bite from Starbucks. We made fun of ourselves for eating at such a basic American chain in a city so filled with culture, but I was secretly kind of thrilled to get a matcha latte for the first time since I left the United States.
At 12:30, with our stomachs filled with the delights of American capitalism, we sauntered up to the Real Alcázar, one of the more prominent historical landmarks in the city. This is the oldest surviving palace in Europe at a whopping 1,000-years-old and was home to Moorish royalty. The palace is quite impressive with its ornate and colorful walls, ceilings, and arches but what I found most impressive was the vast garden stretching out for acres and acres behind the palace. I have always day-dreamed of frolicking through a royal garden, and this one certainly satisfied those fantasies with a plethora of different plants, glistening pools, artistic fountains, winding pathways, free-roaming peacocks, and hidden balconies.
Flamenco show at Pura Esencia
On Saturday night, we headed off to see a flamenco show that Ja had smartly booked the night before. If you plan on heading to Seville, I can’t recommend this show enough! I had never seen a flamenco show before and was absolutely blown away by the passionate dancing, the soulful vocals, and the impressive guitar playing. The club was small and intimate, and we just so happened to get seats directly in front of the stage between a Spanish and French couple. Being able to absorb inspiring art among people from different backgrounds is what moving across the globe is all about! I felt completely elated after the show.
Walking the neighborhoods
My husband and I are leisurely people and we don’t like to pack our schedules too tight. One of our favorite activities when visiting a new city is to simply walk around and see what we see! Seville is a great place for this due to the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the city center. The winding streets are filled with endless fun and you never know what you might run into. The last time we went to Seville, we were astounded to find the remains of columns from the Roman Empire still intact and casually nesting between two modern townhomes. There is literally history, shopping, or a bar around every corner so simply going for a walk in Seville is an adventure all on its own.
Even though this was only our second time taking a quick trip to Seville, I am truly enamored with this vibrant, wonderful place. There is still an insane amount of places to see, things to buy, and food to taste and I will continue to share updates when I take more trips.