Planes, trains and buses...
Sevilla Travel Blog› entry 12 of 27 › view all entries
May 15th, 2010 – by: quinnkim
From the ship we boarded a bus to the Ramblas, then a metro train to the Renfe train station, and another train to the airport. Barcelona airport has luggage storage, which is rare everywhere else, and key to our planning. We dropped the large suitcase in the locker, and suddenly felt 50 pounds lighter and ready to tackle our trip around Spain.
We flew Vueling Airline, which is part of Iberia, offers great prices at the last minute and generally is the type of discount airline that I like to support. I am unable to do a review of Vueling right now because we still have to fly them one more time to get back to Barcelona....but suffice it to say that it was the absolute scariest landing I have ever had and I live in Colorado which is notorious for turbulent landings. One time I flew from Vegas to Colorado Springs and it was so bumpy that I actually vomited, which never happens to me. That landing was easy compared to our landing in Sevilla....let´s just say there were tears, and pleas and prayers and much anxiety. The sleeve of Brian´s shirt was soaked with sweat where I was gripping his arm.....perhaps we will take the train back to Barcelona.
Ah....but Sevilla....once on the ground, was beautiful! Sevilla is in southern Spain, in the Andalusia region. Andalusia is the area that contains all of the stereo-typical Spanish culture, bull-fighting, flamenco dancing and guitar, gazapacho, and it also has a strong Moorish history which accounts for much of the architecture and the beautiful blue tiles and mosaics you find on all the buildings.
We found our way to the central city and located our hotel without problem. We dropped our bags and decided to walk around and see some sights. Sevilla has the third largest cathedral in Europe, after St Peter´s in the Vatican and St Paul´s in London. It is enormous. When the Reconquista occurred in the late 1400´s the Catholic monarchs decided to tear down the Mosque that sat on the same sight and to build the largest cathedral ever.
Splitting the old town is the Avenida de Constitution. On either side are the Barrio Santa Cruz and the Arenal, two wonderful neighborhoods for wandering, full of winding alleys and lanes, beautiful buildings, cafes, shops and flowers everywhere. Some of the lanes are not even arms width long and are called kissing lanes....of course Brian can only hear ´besame´so many times before he starts to roll his eyes at me!
My travel guru, Rick Steeves, discusses eating in Spain at length in his book. He advises to avoid the patios and to jump right into the tapas fray at the bar, eating one or two small plates and one or two drinks per place and then moving on. Despite my studying and planning, we had to learn this the hard way.
As we were wandering we saw a nice patio and decided to sit and have dinner. We ordered from the menu of the day, which consists of three courses for a set price. I chose the spaghetti as the first course, it said it came with tomato salsa, and sounded good. I received a large bowl of plain spaghetti noodles. Not one to complain, I dug in. After a few minutes the waiter brought over some grated cheese which added some flavor to my noodles.
For the second course we ordered the paella for two. In my lifetime I have never sent food back and completely refused to eat it...but Brian and I agreed that this paella had to be sent back. It was horrible, prompting me to continue trying to use my Spanish and to tell the waiter, es horible! We asked the waiter to take it away and to bring our bill with just the first course and our drinks on it, and he did.
Not to be dissauded, we decided to keep wandering and find somewhere else to eat. A few blocks later we found a very happening tapas bar. We marched right up to the bar, chose a pinche de pollo at random, ordered dos cervezas, and dug in to a beautifully prepared kebab of curry chicken and two great local beers. The waitress was very sassy and funny and friendly. They record your order and tally your bill using wax crayons and writing on the bar. On the menu was something labeled Flamenquilla, we had no idea what it was, but having succeeded with our first choice we ordered it. The waitress dropped off the plate and I was about to dig right in when she gave me a stern look and said something about needing a knife and fork, I joked that I was acting like a barbarian which made her laugh and we were having a fantastic time! Flamenquilla is a version of chicken cordon bleu, with flattened chicken wrapped around cheese and ham, breaded and fried up.
We wandered a bit more, took some beautiful night photos, watched a few minutes of a military concert in front of the cathedral and then headed to bed.
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