I’m getting behind in blog posts, so this one might be briefer than most.
Days 6-7: Sevilla
Sevilla is the Spain of popular image: flamenco, hot summers, guitar, bullfighting. But it is also a city of deep history and one of modern Spain’s more important cities. To me, it seemed to have a relaxed vibe, less cosmopolitan than Madrid or Barcelona, and less overtly touristy than Granada.
Highlights included the Cathedral, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Among places of worship it is exceeded by only St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London.
Christopher Columbus is (allegedly) buried here. As usual, some fine artwork and treasure on the inside.
The Giralda is a spectacular tower, originally built by the rulers of the Caliphate and constituting one of few remaining features of what was once Seville’s mosque. It has a huge ramp circling the tower instead of stairs.
The Plaza de España is a modern structure built for a World’s Fair in the 1920’s. It is now government offices, but boat rides and other attractions exist on the grounds. The park next door is also really nice.
It was hard to escape the really touristy areas of town, but I found pretty good food overlooking the river in the Triana neighborhood.
Some students in my hostel who had previously stayed in Sevilla recommended a flamenco “open mic” in Triana where the local talent would perform (free), but the bar had recently gone out of business so I went to a way more touristy version on the other side of town. Flamenco is really unique; musically, it has a lot of freedom for improv (sort of like jazz) and the songs never seem to “resolve” – sort of like the problems of the Roma people who invented the form.
Other fun things
I went for a really long run, from the cruise ship terminal all the way to the Olympic stadium and back. There is a cool plaza downtown with a splash park – sticking my head in a water jet was a great way to cool down on the very hot day.
Sevilla FC won the Europa league on my last night so everyone poured into the streets, singing and cheering. I was glad I could be there to see it!