Being in sunny Seville was so satisfying. On this trip we have managed to cram in as much history as we possibly could, so much so that I have sometimes felt as if I am in a kaleidoscope – being bombarded with colour, sounds, (church bells in particular), delicious aromas, and so much history. Seville served us up a huge platter to sate our needs – the Cathedral, the Alcazar and much more – its colour, vibe and incredible history.
For three days we based ourselves in the historic centre at Hotel Alminar. It is small, well run, clean, and right in the hub of the action, so perfectly placed for exploring this glorious city. A couple of hundred steps takes you to the Cathedral and then on to the Alcazar – it is right there in front of you, and the rest of the old town is walkable.
After settling into our new place for the afternoon, we were resting up getting ready to celebrate Frances’ birthday – but I could hear the marching band we had seen earlier, on our first quick walk around the town – so I went to investigate, iPhone in hand, and to my delight, the band was leading a huge religious procession. I waited on pavement, in the heat of the late afternoon sun, crushed in amongst the locals – young and old, many of whom seemed to know people in the procession. Women of all ages who stood around me flicked out their fans with a practised twist of the wrist, and I was glad to be next to an elderly lady who was fanning furiously – her breeze was wafting my way.
The piece de resistance of the procession was something I have been longing to see -a float (paso), bearing an enormous elaborate image of the Virgin, carried on the shoulder of men wearing what looked like sackcloth swathed around their heads and shoulders to protect them from the weight of the huge float. The locals were getting more excited as it came closer and as she passed by there was much gasping and clapping. I felt privileged to be amongst it all – it was mesmerising and so worth the wait in the heat.
The day was completed perfectly with a very good birthday dinner at a fusion restaurant called Gusto, which we found at the end of the lane. The ambience was great, the service was excellent, the menu really suited us and the food was superb.
The next morning we took a walking tour with a very competent guide called Pepa. She was well versed in the history, and for several hours kept us interested and engaged with what she was showing us. We walked quite a distance over the length the tour, but it is such a good way to acquaint yourself with what to see and do in an unfamiliar town.
Starting at the Cathedral, we headed on to the river, then San Telmo Palace (now the seat of Andalucian Government), the impressive Plaza de Espana, the iconic Hotel Alfonso XIII and back to the old town, through the Jewish Quarter, completing the walk back at the Cathedral.
After lunch Phil and I took a walk past the famous Bullring and over the river to look back at the old town, stopping to cool off with drinks at a shady riverside bar.
The evening meal was at a fine looking establishment recommended by Pepa, very close to the hotel but it was disappointing. The evening picked up however with a brilliant Flamenco show at an establishment just a couple of doors down from the hotel – it was one of the most energetic and astounding dance performances I have seen.
Next post – the Cathedral and the Alcazar of Seville