February 16th, 2007 – by: ellechic
Thursday - February 15, 2007 -
Seville: Plaza de Espana
After a morning in Cordoba
, I looked forward to arriving in Seville - home of the Spanish flamenco and I was quite sure, hot bullfighters! I didn't expect that it is in Seville I will receive my first, along with my other girlfriends and so far my only but hopefully not the last, serenade!
It was unusually warm with the temperature at 17C in the middle of February. We began in Seville's Plaza de Espana for a group picture. It was great spot for a group picture with a large fountain and the circular terracotta-colored building around us. We, then, headed to check in at our hotel - only 10mins walk from the city center! We began walking around the city - looking at stores and familiarizing ourselves with the narrow small streets of Seville and trying some tapas bar before dinner. Even after dinner, a group of us (around 12?) found a place for more tapas and cervezas and chatted until 1am. One topic of conversation that interested a group of older people were our discussion of accents and pronunciations such as "tomato" - (American - 'to-may-to', Australian/British - 'to-mah-to'). Before they left, one of them asked, "So which one is the correct way of saying it?". The question and debate remained unanswered even to this day.
February 16th, 2007 – by: ellechic
From the bullring to the walking tour of Seville, to the Cathedral and hiking up the Bell Tower and a fantastic view of the city to the city's alcazar and tapas for lunch, then with a serenade and a dance, Seville captured my heart through and through!
We started our day with a visit to the church - which one I don't know - but they have yearly parade of it during Lent and Easter. It was a simple church, but well-visited and attended by Seville's residents and was said to have a statue of the Virgin Mary who cried. I think it was the La Macarena? No, not the dance, but something religious!
At the south of town, we went to the bullring and the museum. Our guide was great as she explained in detail what a bullfight really means. From the selection of the bull to the training of the bullfighter and the sequence of the whole bullfight event.
It was enlightening and educational. From there, we began our walking tour. Again, I love walking tours. I get to see stores and restaurants otherwise I would've missed if I chose to walk on well-known and commercial streets. I got to feel the real Seville as we passed by mini-plazas and the patios people have in their homes as you walk along the streets. We were lucky enough that the weather was unusually warm for February so it was an even more enjoyable of a walk than I expected it to be.
After the walking tour, we had tapas for lunch and boy, were we starving! We cleaned out the table pretty fast! And ordered pitchers of sangrias like they were water! Thankfully, no one got drunk because after a delicious lunch, we headed to the cathedral with the every intention of hiking up the bell tower.
After admiring yet again great architectural designs in Seville's cathedral, we mustered our energy and legs for the hike. I honestly don't recall how high we were - there weren't any stairs until you reach the last corner where the bells are hung. I think it was 43 ramps in total... Or was it 47? Throughout the whole climb, the wind got stronger and once we reached the top of the bell tower, the strong gusts of wind made it difficult to take photos of ourselves with our hair going in all directions! For fun, we (the girls) even pretended to be models and strike a pose with the wind on our faces! A la supermodels - in Seville! The hike down was quicker and definitely less painful than going up.
We visited another alcazar after liking Cordoba's alcazar.
Seville's alcazar is beautiful! I liked it even better than Cordoba's alcazar and Granada's Alhambra. The tilework and colors were fantastic! So fantastic, my friends and I started with our "model"-like poses again that got us a warning from the security patrolling the area! We apologized and walked away giggling. The alcazar in Seville had an attached garden that we were unable to see because it was only open in the morning. It was too bad. According to one of my friends who didn't know it was close and sneaked into the garden - until she was caught, that is - it was very beautiful and serene. From the view that we saw from the bell tower, it looked like an oasis within the structured walls of the alcazar.
We returned to our hotel, only 10mins walk from the center of town, for an early dinner.
After dinner and a couple of hours rest, we walked around and found a small tapas bar and had some tapas and cerveza! We were not in the mood for loud clubs or bars so we continued to walk along the narrow streets of Seville and decided to do some tapas bar-hopping! It was a fantastic idea! I think we went to about 4 tapas bar and it wasn't even oh 10pm yet! By then, we decided we wanted bigger meals. The tapas satisfied our hunger - while we were walking - but now we wanted more. Behind the alcazar and cathedral lay narrow and winding streets that challenged us to venture in. And why not? So we did! And there we found a tapas bar where locals eat and drank! It was a great find! We ordered some paella and 4 other dishes and took pictures of the hanging hams by the bar.
Seville: the city's Bullring - Torre del Oro
Fully satisfied from overeating, we retraced our steps back to the plaza behind the cathedral to the fastest and shortest route back to the hotel.
We stumbled uponn a group of guys in a traditional medieval costume playing some instruments. We decided to stop for a minute and listen when they saw us watching them. Two came up to us and began a conversation. We asked what they were doing and are they performing anywhere close. One of the guys who speaks English well explained that they were hearsing for their friend's engagement party and the song is an old Spanish serenade song. He, then called out to 3 more of their friends and began singing and playing! Another joined, but this time, he invited one of my friends for a dance! And one by one, he asked us for a dance. Only 3 of us danced with him - the other girls were too shy and used their boyfriends back home as an excuse - boo! on them! Some people -probably on their way home - stopped to watch them perform. When it was over, we applauded them and thanked them for a great performance! (see the mini video clip and photos!) It was a great way to end the night and our last night in Seville!