Spain Backpackers, Seville
Seville is the capital city of Andalusia. It was built on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, with a rich Arab heritage. It is famous for the tapas bars and flamenco music, but mainly because it is so rich in history. That was excuse enough to see the most cultural city in the south of Spain. Yet another good reason to visit the Sevillian capital was that it has been declared as of International Tourist Interest showing the dedication and folklore of the people of Seville, who are always open and friendly to foreigners. With all of that, I was ready to have a unforgettable experience, discovering the most wonderful monuments of the capital city.
Once I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Guadalquivir river and and its port. On the banks of the river, and as part of the city walls, I found the Torre del Oro. This beautiful tower has its name because in the past it was covered by golden tiles, although some people says it is because inside was kept the gold brought from America. The tower was build in 1220 and today is a Naval Museum that I visited for only 3 euros. I took the stairs to the top of the tower where I could find magnificent views of the city and the river.
I wanted to soak up the flamenco atmosphere as much as possible, so I crossed the river to see the lively Triana neighborhood, that together with Barrio Santa Cruz are the most typical and charming in town. After that, I hurried up to the centre of the city, and I crossed the Paseo Cristobal Colon where I reached the Cathedral in ten minutes of strolling, during which I was astonished by the lovely Andalusian cobbled streets and buildings. I wanted to see the third largest cathedral in the world, so I had to queue for almost fifteen minutes to be able to get the ticket that costs 9 euros. It was not cheap, but it was really worth it, because once I was inside I was surprised by its gothic breathtaking beauty. The Giralda tower and the Patio de los Naranjos, together with the Cathedral, are part of the great Mosque that was converted into a Christian church after the conquering of Castile.
The next monument that I was not going to miss was the Real Alcazar Palace of Seville, which is one of the buildings that forms the city walls, and the entrance cost is 9 euros and only 4 for students and retired people. Again I thought it was expensive, but I was so happy that I had decided to pay for it because, when I was inside, I felt delighted by the Arab architecture.
Plaza de España was a great place to spend a lovely afternoon, after having walked so much and getting to know overwhelming historical facts in the previous visits, I reached the square and it was perfect. It is a semicircular structure, with painted benches representing all the Spanish provinces. It is surrounded by an artificial lake and Maria Luisa Park, that invited me for sitting a while and relaxing. Such a lovely park got its name after it was donated by Infanta Maria Luisa de Borbón, and it is full of statues and fountains which made me feel I was in a museum in the open air. There are so much cultural things to do and to see in Seville, that I needed three days to cover it all, but I have just mentioned the ones that are a “must”.
Eating in the Andalusian capital can be very cheap and a great gastronomic experience at the same time. The well known tapas are great to eat for a few euros, and to try the many flavors snaking here and there. One of the best and cheapest tapas I found in La Bodega de la Alfalfa, where they were the most tasty and plentiful. In Bodega 2 de Mayo I had a dish with codfish and gazpacho that were excellent.
In most of the tapas bars you eat on stalls, but when I wanted to sit on a table to have dinner, El Gallinero de Sandra looked like the perfect place, and the very same Sandra advised me what to choose: marinated salmon with olive oil. I had the most delightful meal in Seville. In Calle Mateo Gago I found a lot of other tempting options, and it was full of places to have tapas, and even though I wanted to try them all, I had to go on with my visit.
When I had to find a place to sleep, I found a great offer: accommodation is not hard to come by, depending on the dates you travel, of course. I knew that for Easter and the April Fair it was going to be impossible, as they are the most pintoresque celebrations of the year. But for the rest of the year I could find places for 11 or 16 euros in shared rooms, or 35 euros for private rooms.
I had wonderful May days in Seville, with its balmy sunny spring and the delicate scent of orange trees in blossom. A perfect mixture of intense history, fine architecture and great local gastronomy that I highly recommend to you all.