Spending hours sitting in a tiny train station in Jerez is not my idea of fun, surprisingly. Once I was finally on the train and on the way to Seville, my mood instantly lifted. Just a short ride later, I debated trying to get a bus from Seville train station to the city centre, but figured it’s not that far, I’d just walk. Note to self: carrying a backpack plus another bag in the heat is sweaty. Not so fun.
Eventually getting to the city centre, I saw the Giralda rise into view and I couldn’t help but smile. I just love Seville, and was so happy to be back again! A sweaty stop off to grab the keys to my apartment, I was soon in and having a quick shower to freshen up. I had no grand plans for what was left of my first day in Seville, so popped out for a bite to eat for dinner, grabbed some snacks and breakfast bits from the supermarket and just chilled out in the apartment for the rest of the evening. Having come from the not-so-great hostel in Jerez, the comfort and privacy of the apartment in Seville was well and truly appreciated.
Next morning, it was time to explore! After a slight fight with a cockroach in the outdoor bathroom, I closed everything to the actual flat and hoped that it’d just leave by the time I came back later. Having been to Seville a couple of times before, I knew the areas I wanted to explore, having missed out on them before. First stop of the day was to Triana, a trendy neighbourhood the other side of the Guadalquivir river. How I never visited before I’ll never know, but just across Puente de Isabel II and Triana Market caught my eye. I can never say no to a market, but after a quick walk round it soon became apparent that August is holiday time in Seville. Most of the stalls were closed or empty, and it didn’t have the usual lively bustle that Spanish markets have.
I should have been aware of that, as I’d been told that August is when a lot of local people pack up and head on holiday, especially from the warmer cities like Seville. Never mind, I was still keen to see the area, so had a wander round the deserted streets before stopping for a coffee and slice of tortilla de patatas. Moving on to check out Coral Street that I’d read about online, it soon became clear that a Sunday in August wasn’t prime exploring time in Seville. The street was deserted, and the only thing I saw of any ‘interest’ was a dead pigeon. Great.
Opting to walk back to the main centre of Seville along the river, I felt so peaceful. The quiet of the early afternoon mixed with the calm of people paddle boarding along the river just gave me a deep down happy feeling. Also helped by the tortilla. The heat was rising and rather than completely wipe myself out for the day, I instead opted to chill out in the air con of the apartment for a couple of hours to stay fresh for the evening exploring.
Santa Cruz is a charming neighbourhood of Seville, full of tapas bars, cute squares and narrow, cobble-stoned maze streets. It’s one of my favourite areas in the city, and every time I try to navigate my way through I pop out somewhere completely unexpected. This time, it was in a small square by the cathedral. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to visit the church, I popped my head in at one of the side entrances as there was a service on, appreciated the cool temperature then walked to another of my favourite places in Seville – Plaza de España.
As the sun began to set, I arrived in Parque de Maria Luisa, the stunning gardens that separate the river and Plaza de España. I’ve been here before, but in the golden hour sunlight, it really looks so pretty. If it weren’t for the epic amounts of flies and mosquitos and the slight fear of being in a park in the dark on my own, I would have stayed longer. Instead, it was just a short walk on to the impressive plaza.
Built for the 1929 World Fair, Plaza de España is definitely worth a visit. The huge building is built in a semi-circle, and the spacious square – well, semi circle – out front has an impressive fountain in the middle. To access the building, the 500m long canal is crossed by one of four bridges, each of which represents an ancient kingdom of Spain. One of my favourite things about the whole space is found at the base of the huge building – 48 alcoves, one for each of the Spanish provinces. Each alcove is decorated with tiles showing scenes from that province, and many people head to their favourite place alcove for a photo. I had a wander along, checking out the different provinces and noting some places that I might want to visit in the future.
As the sun set over Plaza de España, I fell in love with it all over again. On my previous visit I came on a quiet Sunday morning. It was calm and basically perfect with the buskers and people paddling in the canal. This time, the lights were on and families were milling around the fountain while a violinist played some relaxing background music. It was just perfect and everything I love about the area.
Darkness was setting in, so I made my way back to the city centre. Somewhere along the way I missed a turning and found myself in the less touristy area of the city where locals were enjoying a late dinner in a long street of bars and restaurants. I love seeing this side of the city, where it’s less about the tourists and more about friends and family meeting to share a meal or few drinks. Eventually finding the way back to the city centre, I took one last walk past the cathedral all lit up and made my way back to the apartment.
It was just a quick visit to Seville, but so nice to get a little top up and reminder of why I love the city so much. Next morning I was all packed up and back to the station – by taxi, not doing that sweaty walk again – for my journey to Cordoba!
< Jerez de la Frontera | #49 | Cordoba >