Andaluz

Sevilla Travel Blog

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From Maria's roof top terrace
Oh Sevilla…I feel in love with that place, and just think if it has an ocean or at least a river you could wade or swim in. Although, for an urban river, it was really unique and actually featured plant life along some parts of the shores, grass for lounging in others, recreational paths of all sorts, was well sheltered from the noise of the street, and wasn’t the dirtiest I have seen. Also, along the walls that shelter the river was a wide variety of spray painted murals, which appeared to be largely organized, which I love. The cities have turned what has traditionally been a negative into a positive, thus improving the quality and reducing the rebelliousness and consequently the thrill.
From the roof top terrace


When I was 11 years old I went on a trip to Germany and we attended an art class at the high school where they actually taught the students to do graffiti with artistic quality and style. At the time they were beginning to face a lot of tagging throughout the cities. Additionally, the cities dedicated wall space to graffiti art to detour random acts of spraying. A US city that has a great program that is similar is Philadelphia, although have giant murals representing the community and history, although not generally in the graffiti art style. Nevertheless, the use persons who have been caught spray painting and put them to work on the murals, building civic pride and beautifying the city at the same time.

Anyways, back to Sevilla. Beyond the historic center is the more modern part of the city, but still historic.
Canal de Alfonso XIII looking to the North
This area is more spread out, with large elaborate buildings that are part of the University, government, or converted into business, and busy streets. One of the greatest features of the area is Plaza de Espana, which puts that of Madrid to shame. The plaza is gorgeous with a mixture of European and North African design that encompass a large open space centered around a fountain. The building made of red brick with ceramic accents on the bridges, ceilings, domes, and decorations representing the many provinces in Spain and their history. The most famous of Spanish history, such as Cervantes, all look out over the plaza from their posts between the arches. Opposite the plaza is Parque de Maria Luisa full of small courtyards with water features and statues, plants from far off places, and broad tree lined walks.
Graffiti mural along river walls


A little further down and across the river is Triana, a town the used to be outside the city of the city, but over time has been swallowed by its expansion. The people there have a distinct accent and if you ask them where they are from they would say Triana, not Sevilla. The area is very charming and well know for its religious icons and a church, which apparently has a three-year waiting list for wedding ceremonies. Diego and I walk through there one day and also went to a club there late, probably around 3 or 4am one night after hanging out by the river with some Sevillianos, a family of four their significant others and friends. I previously met one of the brothers, Javier, and his girlfriend, Laura, from the party Diego took me to in the weeks before. One the way to the club, we stopped by the churro stand (not like the Mexican ones we know, but related) at the start of the bridge to get purros and chocolate, a typical late night/early morning snack and breakfast food, full of grease and lacking flavor.
Dusk from the terrace


Also across, but up the river from Triana, are the buildings and features of modernity constructed for the 1992 World’s Fair. The constructions offer a striking contrast with the old parts of the city and even the newer constructions, which are typical and generally plain.

Most of the other nights we enjoyed ourselves at an Irish bar called Merchants, eating and drinking, including Halloween. While we did not dress up, plenty of people did and they were quite entertaining. Diego and I stayed out pretty late this night too, moving onto a club called ….Hercules, named after the Alameda (poplar grove) de Hercules, it bordered. This center was a happening place, with hip cafes, clubs, and public art.

Diego’s sister lived in the historic center of the city within walking distance to everything I mentioned thus far.
Me, Maria, and Diego
The streets are narrow, lined with 3-5 story buildings. Many times the pedestrians have to step into door ways or push themselves against the building wall when a car passes to avoid being hit by the mirrors. The old city is this way to create tolerable shady streets in the heat of the summer and keep direct sun light off the buildings to maintain tolerable temperatures.

The most notable part of old town is the Santa Cruz neighborhood, developed organically before the grid was established. The neighborhood is full of short streets, even narrower streets-prohibiting vehicle traffic other than motorbikes, and features some of the finest restaurants and most expensive real estate. At lunch, 2-4 pm, the cervecerias/restaurants and packed with people overflowing into the plazas and streets.
Puente de isabel II Triana
One plaza had three cervecerias side by side, and with everyone out front in the streets they need different glasses so that they could collect the proper ones without conflict. One afternoon we went from area to the next almost missing a significant lunch altogether, only having one tapa at the previous places, because it was just about 4. And at 4, the kitchen closes, until about 8 pm or so. But they let us order and we ate merrily, unfortunately they forgot to bring us two dishes, but it was after 4 so we were out of luck. But hey nothing like a mid day mini party.

At one end of the neighborhood is a small park with amazingly large trees. The first time Diego and I entered there was a mini flamenco exhibition for coins (which go as high as 2 Euros), which was also my first time witnessing the famous dance in person.
Triana


At another end of the neighborhood is the famous Cathedral of Sevilla, the elaborate mosque, now Christian of course, with the Giralda bell tower, which attract tourists from all over the world. And on the other side of the mosque are more modern buildings that are utilized by large, typical commercial enterprises. At night this area of full of people enjoying the sights, food and drink, and the many side shows, including more flamenco. The principal group was from a school that teaches the guitar, singing, and dancing of flamenco. I do not think many of them were Spanish, and interestingly in recent years many Japanese women have come to the South of Spain to learn the dance.

Sevilla seems to have a lot going for it. The only draw backs I noticed are the lack of water and the public transportation for people who do not live, work, and play in the center.
From Puente de isabel II Triana looking North toward World's Fair Grounds
Because the historic center is so large and so narrow, public transportation is difficult to construct and/or implement. One of the most recent efforts is the ever so quiet over street tram, which has a track of 1.5 km through the center. The intention is that this will eventually connect to a subway that will stop just outside the center. And for me personally, the cigarette smoke just the same as the rest of the country. If it wasn’t for this I could live here too! I guess Italy has one up on Spain in that respect…if I could only speak Italian.

Diego and I left Sevilla on Saturday to avoid Sunday traffic back into Madrid. On our back northeast we stopped in Cordoba for lunch.
Puente de isabel II Triana, Triana side
Cordoba was once the capital city of AndaLuz, the name the Mohrs gave to Spain when they occupied the territory. Cordoba’s historic center was much like Sevilla’s although it seemed so much quieter. Perhaps this is because there is a little lesser degree of mixed use and more buildings dedicated to residential use nowadays. Mixed use is still present though in the tourist centered areas around the Mesquita and other principle plazas, including was is know as the Jewish neighborhood.

The Mesquita was an amazing sight that I nearly missed seeing because it was nearly closing time by the time lunch was over (lunch usually starts around three and everything takes a leisurely pace). But the courtyard of oranges and building were amazing and while I did not get to go inside, one of the doors was opened so that I could sneak a peak and a picture through the gated entrance.
Torre del Oro, used to be covered in gold
The inside was breathtaking and I was very grateful to have been able to see such beauty unseen in the States.

The AndaLuz style is ever present in these cities. Entry ways of nice homes and businesses often open into courtyards and atriums, mostly like another feature that helps to keep the buildings cool. Also, large open areas like these and popular pedestrian streets have retractable canopies that are extended during the summer to further keep the heat out. And just in case one wants the summer sun, whether for tanning or drying clothes most residents have access to a minimum of a small balcony, or terraces and finished roof tops, which are also great for cook-outs and parties once the sun goes down. Another bonus ins southern cities, in particular these two that I know of are the orange tree lined streets.
Avenida de la Constitucion
Every year in May when the orange blossoms bloom the city street are filled with their refreshingly delightful aroma. Southern Spain is definitely more my style.
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From Marias roof top terrace
From Maria's roof top terrace
From the roof top terrace
From the roof top terrace
Canal de Alfonso XIII looking to t…
Canal de Alfonso XIII looking to …
Graffiti mural along river walls
Graffiti mural along river walls
Dusk from the terrace
Dusk from the terrace
Me, Maria, and Diego
Me, Maria, and Diego
Puente de isabel II Triana
Puente de isabel II Triana
Triana
Triana
From Puente de isabel II Triana lo…
From Puente de isabel II Triana l…
Puente de isabel II Triana, Triana…
Puente de isabel II Triana, Trian…
Torre del Oro, used to be covered …
Torre del Oro, used to be covered…
Avenida de la Constitucion
Avenida de la Constitucion
Sevillas tram, it is so quiet
Sevilla's tram, it is so quiet
Cathedral with view of the Giralda
Cathedral with view of the Giralda
Barrio Santa Cruz facing the Giral…
Barrio Santa Cruz facing the Gira…
Huge tree in Plaza de Santa Cruz
Huge tree in Plaza de Santa Cruz
Plaza de Toros Maestranza, where t…
Plaza de Toros Maestranza, where …
Alameda de Hercules
Alameda de Hercules
Alameda de Hercules
Alameda de Hercules
Puente San Lazaro
Puente San Lazaro
Sevilla
photo by: JP-NED