Sevilla to me is an ideal city to explore and visit for a travelphile. It is rich in history, and the set-up, the architecture makes it a treasure trove to explore easily on foot. I will not spend much detail on the classic must-see places as those can be found in any travel guide book or good ole tripadvisor.com. Instead I’ll share the highlights that made the most lasting impressions on me.
Definitely spend hours wandering visiting the key sites of the Alcazar, the Cathedral, and the Plaza de Espana. For us, it was a novel thing to observe the beautiful and intricate Moorish influence on the architecture, and the incorporation of outdoor gardens (specifically the Alcazar). Having previously been more familiar with architecture from Rome (classical)? -Makes me see the depth and appreciate the potential depth of the realm of historical architecture (vs. when I was younger, I could not understand why one would care so specifically of each architectural detail and the style/era it belonged to…).
This was the balcony of our lovely airbnb where we stayed in Sevilla–perfect location, with easy walking distance to the main sites. (We didn’t get much use unfortunately of the lovely balcony because we were busy exploring the city)
Lovely view of the tower from the balcony…
Walking around town, through the narrow alleyways, they would randomly open up into charming triangular plazas I think they call this the mushroom?..It does kind of look fungular hehe –and at night it had cool blue up-lighting, a surprisingly modern structure in this historically rich place. Only one side of the magnificent Cathedral of Sevilla—huge massive square structure with intricate carvings decorating the borders of the stone walls, and framing the great entryways.
The wall of the Alcazar (formerly the palace for past Moorish kings)– Heh the pointy ramparts reminded us of Super Mario Brothers… Ancient wall as you enter the Alcazar High archways and warm colorful and hyper-detailed tiles The Alcazar has a lush garden interior with mazes and fountains and random peakcocks Underground water reserve of the Alcazar–where it was said during the super hot summers (and man it gets HOT here) the royals would hang out here where it was dark and cool, the water providing humidity relief from the arid outside heat.
On a side note, this was also in a recent episode of Game of Thrones…heh it seems we are following to all the Game of Thrones locations (2 years ago we were in Croatia–Dubrovnik (King’s landing) and here it is the Dorn palace 🙂 The amazingly detailed stone carvings, giving a sense of delicacy, like overlaid lace, despite it being stone.The round doorways and arches further soften the stone walls. Golden geometry…domed ceiling More beautiful stone work A peaceful beautiful courtyard…ahhh wouldn’t that be nice to add to your home–just in the middle, opening up to a calm rectangular pool of water and orange trees
PLAZA DE ESPANA
Beautiful wide spanse, perfect for strolling off the daily heavenly overdose of tapas and wine 🙂
For our flamenco experience (our first time watching a performance) we went toe the Museo del Baile Flamenco – highly recommended. Apparently, this was also where the Japanese prince visited as well as Prince Charles’ girlfriend the duchess…
Ahh the performance! Amazing passion–moments when I couldn’t breathe and I felt my heart pounding..a sweat breaking…all of this sounds dramatic–overly so, exaggerated even, but it truly happened while watching the amazing performances of the flamenco. First a dance with the female and male flamenco dancers, with the wonderful acoustic guitarist and the singer. Then a solo of the guitarist—amazing blending of melodies seemingly effortlessly flying from his fingers–rich full bodied woody sounds…then the solo of the female in her bright yellow dress–up to 40 pounds! Which she elegantly and flamboyantly kicked around with flare….then the solo singer who had very poignant words, he said it all in Spanish but I understood (I have found that I actually in the remote accesses of my mind, understand quite a bit of Spanish, more than I can seemingly speak…) He said that Flamenco does not have a single language–does not need it. Flamenco’s understood through el corazon, the heart.
And indeed there need be no translation when seeing and listening and thus FEELING the raw emotions brought to fiery life by the dancers and the music…the amazingly rapid percussive beats of the dancer’s feet and emotions washing over their faces, expressions and through the movements of their bodies.
Last but not least, we so enjoyed taking a trip across the bridge to the Triana neighborhood, framed on one side by the Canal de Alfonso. We went in the evening after yet another delicious Sevilla meal and grabbed a drink at one of the numerous restaurants lining the street parallel to the Canal.
We watched the lights from the bridge sparkle off of the canal; the reflections became a live Monet painting, with the water playing strokes of vivid orange brushes of light, bobbing up and down. And in the distance, the regal Giralda tower and the architectural features of Sevilla on display.
We even happened upon a religious festival–though I was not able to find out which it was–but a la Anthony Bourdain (episode in Granada) they carried a large and heavy gilded religious statue with the parade of people and live band. It was like 11PM at night, and so we counted ourselves lucky to have randomly stepped into this cultural occurrence 🙂