Seville cathedral and Giralda tower
After a couple of weeks in the Algarve, primarily the Carvoeiro region, we drove east to Seville, Spain, about two hours away. The old town of Seville is quite something, like a maze that at first can be quite intimidating as the streets are so narrow and windy that it is difficult to know where you are or if you are going in the direction you want to be. I highly recommend using GPS at first, as a map doesn’t help much as not all the streets are labelled. And, they seem to change their name every few hundred yards!
But it didn’t take us long to get the feel of the town and the parts we liked best. It is a great city, at least for the old-town aspects of it. Outside of the old city walls though, there’s nothing that got us too excited. We bought tickets for the hop-on, hop-off bus and did the tour, but it really wasn’t that interesting. What’s worth seeing of Seville is in the old-town district, the cathedral, castle, gardens and especially roaming the streets of the Santa Cruz quarter.
Narrow pedestrian-only streets of the Santa Cruz quarter
Here, the streets become very narrow and all you have are walls and doors on each side, with the walls nearly touching at times. But behind these walls, which we can see firsthand when the doors are open, are large courtyards that allow plenty of natural light into the surrounding rooms. A few of the larger homes have been turned into boutique hotels, and they are also open to view their unique courtyard designs and features.
Seville home courtyard
We spent our days walking the streets of Seville, and at night enjoyed drinking Rioja and eating tapas at the numerous tapas bars. At one bar, after ordering our drinks and food, he asked if we were Mexican. We laughed and replied yes, and he said he could tell from our accents!
On the second night we took in a flamingo show at Casa de la Memoria. It was spectacular, with just two dancers, singer and guitar player, but what a show. Highly recommend it and would go back for more.
Right next to Casa de la Memoria on Calle Cuna is the Lebrija Palace; the former home of the Count and Countess of Lebrija. The countess spent years decorating and renovating the home, bringing in old talavera tile murals for the walls and multi-colored marble and stone mosaics on the floors. She had a passion for archaeology so there are many artifacts and antiquities displayed as well in the home. Worth taking in as well.
Line for the Alcazar Castle – get there early!
There were a lot of people in town as it is the Seville April Feria, so we’ve stayed away from the line-ups to get into the church and castle; we’ll have to make a return trip for that. But just walking the streets is an experience worthy of a return visit for us.
Flamingo @ La Carboneria
But on our last night we really had a treat when we met up with our Parisian friends, Rejane and Henri, who happened to be in town, and we went to La Carboneria. This is a bar/warehouse which hosts great flamingo each night. No cost to get in, drinks are cheap, but in order to have a good seat you have to arrive early. First show starts at 9:30 and two more follow. We stayed for all three, leaving sometime after 1PM. The dancer, who looked a lot like Prince, was just amazing with what he could do on the dance floor.