Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seville, Spain

Ever heard the saying "Seville = Love"? Because it does.

The hotel was tucked away in a little alley
That's the best way to describe it. I absolutely loved Seville and cannot say enough great things about it. Friday morning we woke up, had something to eat, stopped off in Tarifa for a "quick" souvenir pick up. Finally after what felt like forever, we found our shot glass and magnet, got some gas and we were off to Seville.

Seville, or Sevilla as the natives call it, was the city I was most excited to see. Rick Steves had a snapshot book of Seville, so I knew it had to be great! It did not disappoint! We took the scenic route following the coastal highway to get up to Seville and saw the beauty that is Southern Spain.

We stayed at the Pensión San Benito Abad, this was the most expensive hotel we stayed at. The hotel is located on a busy street, but tucked away down a pedestrian street. Our GPS found the hotel easily, but we had no where to park! We had to look for the the blue "P" signs to find parking. Luckily there was a parking garage right around the corner from the hotel. Unluckily, was that it charged 22 euros to park there for 24 hours. YIKES! I thought we were getting the hotel at a steal for 45 euros. We ended up paying 67 euros for this hotel.

Plaza De Espana, it's even better in real life!
Once we got settled into the hotel and found a map of Seville, it was a beautiful day and we were ready to explore. Our first stop was the Plaza De Espana.  The Plaza de España complex is a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges that represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. In the centre is the Vicente Traver fountain. By the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain.
We walked around the Plaza de Espana for a bit, but could have spent hours walking around. We ended up coming back the next day before heading out to get more pictures.

One of the bridges with the man made moat.

Malaga county, where we spend most of our vacation

Me on the 2nd day with my new sombrero.

There was a little booth, and we stopped to get our picture taken!

On this trip it seemed to be a trend that we would be starving by the time we got to our next destination. We found a little restaurant next to the Plaza de Espana and had Tapas for lunch.
After leaving the Plaza we decided to head towards the Seville Cathedral. We ended up taking a stroll next to the University and finally found our way to the main strip. You know how I knew it was the main strip? Starbucks! Actually within 3 blocks we found 3 Starbucks'. It was like being back in the states. But what really made me happy was finding a Dunkin' Donuts! They didn't have any curlers or Munchkin's but they did have Kit-Kat donuts!

Just around the corner was the Seville Cathedral. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. After its completion in the early 16th century, the Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years. The cathedral is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus.
The view from the side of the church

Look at that door

This thing was massive!
Funny story, we walked around the whole perimeter of the Cathedral and could not find the entrance! So we just settled for taking pictures outside and hitting up all the souvenir shops. I had seen the little Flamenco dancers with her Matador partner and wanted one! By the time we had walked around the cathedral I was exhausted and needed a break. It was hot I needed to use the bathroom and I wanted Wi-fi! So we went back to Dunkin Donuts and took a break. 
We both needed that break. We ended up getting our bearings and figuring out what we wanted to do next. I knew we still needed to head to the Bull ring, so off we went.
Side View of the Cathedral!
On the way, we found the Torre Del Ore. The Torre was the departure point for Christopher Columbus´s fleet in his first and fourth voyages to discover America. It was also the point of departure to the first cruise around the world on 1519-1522 period under the orders of Magellan.

The view from across the street. It's huge!
Along the River :D

We continued down the road to the Plaza de Toros.This bullring is considered to be one of the finest in Spain and is one of the oldest and most important in the world. Although many of the younger generation in Spain abhor the sport, it remains phenomenally popular, especially in Seville, and the 'Catedral del Toreo' is the perfect place to experience the electric atmosphere of a corrida (bullfight).
Catedral Del Toreo

The door was huge

 We chose to walk around and followed the crowd of people into the stadium. There were hundreds of people that filled the entire stadium. I think it was a kids day because there were adults with bull horns letting the little children Toro, also horses that the children could ride and even news cameras. It was an amazing experience being in the middle of the stadium.
Cellphone pic in the Toro.

The kids were having soo much fun

Leaving the Toro there was a stand outside selling Sombreros, so of course Drew and I both got one. The guy said it was a Sevilla custom to have hats (I really wanted one since I forgot mine at home and Drew wanted one as well, maybe he was just trying to make a sale, either way they were only 5€).
By this time it was already 8p (The sun was still out!) and we wanted to work up an appetite. About 9p we decieced it was time to find some food. The Spanish are well known for being late risers and night owls. It worked out perfectly! On our map it looked like the Metropol Parasol was right around the corner from us, but we had read the map wrong and ended up finding a cool looking church. We ended up grabbing dinner from the Tapas place right around the corner from our hotel.
We ate tapas, had WiFi and street performers even came up and played some music.
Dinner was fabulous, I don't think we ever had a bad night of food, but the Sangria was very bitter. The Sangria we had in Malaga was great, it had strawberries, oranges, lemon, and raspberries. This one, only had oranges and lemon (with way too much lemon)
Thinking we could break our routine and stay out later then 11p we decided to walk around Seville. Maybe it was all of the traveling (Drew will probably say it's because I'm such a homebody) but we walked around maybe 15-20 mins before I was ready for bed. Guess traveling does that to me!

Up Next: Ronda, Spain