The first order of business upon arriving in Seville was to turn in the rental car. I was thrilled! After drama driving in Granada and through the White Hilltop Towns, I was happy to return to life as a pedestrian. In the months leading up to this trip, I read all about Seville. But aside from booking a hotel, I didn’t really plan anything else. This is pretty a-typical for me, but I truly just ran out of time. But perhaps this lack of a plan was a blessing in disguise. We were able to take some time to slow down…or at least try…
There were three big things I wanted to see / do in Seville – the Seville Cathedral, the Alcazar of Seville, and attend a Flamenco show. Otherwise, I was happy to enjoy some siestas and wonder through the maze of colorful alleyways. We managed all of that during our 2.5 day stay. Like in the other cities, there were SO many people out and about. It was fun to get caught up in the crowds.
We stayed in the most adorable hotel – Hotel Amadeus. I read that they had multiple music rooms in the hotel equipped with pianos, and I was sold. (I am shocked by how much I miss having access to a piano in Switzerland. Mine is currently in storage in St. Louis, and I will be very happy to be reunited with it.) I know this is a ridiculous thing to say, but it had the most wonderfully smelling lobby. I wish I could’ve bottled the scent and brought it home with me! They also had the best breakfast of the trip (well, aside from the donuts at the hotel in Granada, which I swear were from Krispy Kreme)! But, I digress…
We went to Casa de la Memoria for a Flamenco Show. It was a very intimate auditorium with only two rows of seats. They stage was really wide, and the audience stretched all the way across. I didn’t know anything about flamenco. By this time, we were very familiar with the costume, since the dresses and accessories are sold EVERYWHERE. I was imagining it to be something like the tango, but it was actually quite different. To me, it was a cross between Irish step dancing, Portuguese fado, and maybe a little bit of Argentinian tango (though the man and woman didn’t really dance together in this particular flamenco performance). I think I read that it has some ties to the Moors, which is why the vocals sound similar to the Muslim Call to Prayer. I was really amazed by how LOUD the stomping of the dancers was…and how impressive the guitar player was! Throughout the performance, there was a single guitar player, a vocalist, and two dancers – who typically danced individually until the very end. Everyone outside of the guitarist clapped in different patterns. Flamenco is similar to jazz in that most of it is improvised. Though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I really enjoyed it!
After our morning in Cordoba, we visited the Seville Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary). This is the largest gothic church in the world, so you can only imagine how enormous it was! It’s also the third largest church in the world (the first two being St. Paul Cathedral in London and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City). I’m not sure the pictures even do it justice! A couple of noteworthy things about this church – Christopher Columbus is buried here, the largest pearl in the world (which is the torso of an angel in a crown), and the largest altarpiece in the world (which was created by a single man, Pierre Dancart).
[The altarpiece is SO BIG!!]
[Each of these “squares” depicts a different event in the life of Jesus]
[Can you see the scene of his birth in the middle?]
[The world’s largest pearl is the body of the angel in the center of this crown]
[Christopher Columbus is buried here. Apparently, his remains have been moved around a number of times, and this isn’t where he requested to be buried.]
And finally, the Alcazar. I am a sucker for palaces, so I wanted to visit, even without knowing anything about the interior. It was such a fun surprise to find what I would describe as a “mini Alhambra” inside. There was an enormous Moorish influence on the architecture, and I loved it! It’s still one of the official residences of the royal family.
After the palace, I finally caved to my mom’s request to take a carriage ride. We went along the river and into a park where we saw one of the buildings built for the 1929 World’s Fair (which was a huge failure for Seville given the world economic crisis that year).
Some delicious tapas, rest, and beautiful sites were the perfect way to end our Spanish holiday! And of course, we had to stop for nachos when we saw a Mexican restaurant! I can never resist!