The beautiful Alcazar gardens.
While I’m sure you’ve enjoyed drooling over the beautiful summertime styles I presented in my last post for over a week now (insert sarcastic eye-roll here), it’s about time I get back to doing what I do best. My absence of adequate blogging is due to both a busy work schedule and a visit by Matt’s parents. However, the latter provides for much inspiration, even if I did miss a lot of their visit due to the aforementioned busy work schedule. This is what I did get to partake in, though…
Matt’s parents made it to our house on Friday afternoon with the sun shining. Seriously, the weather was phenomenal. This meant it was a perfect evening to take them to my favorite restaurant in our area: Pura Tapa. This energetic tapas bar is the go-to hangout with our English friends in Spain (yeah you, Damon and Jo!), because the menu is vast and everything is delicious. Their array of original and authentic tapas are listed on a chalkboard, and the ambience is fantastic – always packed, full of life. On our visit, we ordered some of my favorites – cuernos de langostino; gorgonzola, pear, and almond balls; and patatas mojo.
As mentioned, the langostinos, patatas mojo, and cheesy balls!
On Saturday, though, the weather took a turn. Rain invaded the Costa del Sol, so we were limited in activity. Matt was completely fine with this, since it was Kentucky Derby day and his only plans were to watch the pre-race and race coverage. Since it was also Cinco de Mayo, I made queso in the crockpot. On Sunday, we relaxed by the pool and explored the beach, followed by a fabulous dinner at La Finca.
Like I mentioned earlier, my time was limited with the gang since there has been a ton going on at work, but come weekend, it was off to Sevilla! I went to Sevilla previously with my family, so I highly recommended it for this visit, as well. The main difference between the two experiences was the heat. Oh, the heat! During the day, the temperature got up into the 100s, which I should be used to as a Texas gal, but became unaccustomed to while living in Ireland. The key to enjoying the sights without melting into a pool of sweat? Keep to the shade, drink a lot of water, and purchase a Spanish fan for added breeze.
Ooooh la la! Part of the Cathedral at night from our rooftop bar seats!
Our first day/night in Sevilla was spent taking a self-guided tapas crawl – i.e. walk around the city enjoying the beauty of Sevilla, but stop every so often for a small tapas plate and a cerveza or tinto verano. At the end of our crawl, I took Matt and his parents to a random spot my Dad and I found back in March. Nestled in between a mass of restaurants is a nightclub that has a massive rooftop balcony. We got there just in time to snag a prime table overlooking the incredible Cathedral. After a few “nightcaps,” we declared the rooftop bar an extremely successful find. Thanks Dad!
On Saturday, we explored the Alcazar, which I’d previously done with my family, but was just as impressive the second time around. We then enjoyed a late lunch, followed by a tour of the bullfighting ring, which I did not do the last time. Matt and I don’t usually jump at the chance to take a guided tour, but I loved this one! The guide was so informative and I learned so much about the bullfighting culture, specifically in Sevilla. Bullfights still continue at the ring in Sevilla from the end of April through September. I so badly wanted to attend the fight the following day, but it was scheduled for the evening and I would have ended up going alone. I guess I’m the only enthusiast in our group!
Just look at that architecture! This is the area where the President and Master of Ceremonies sits during the fights.
Remember how much I raved about the dinner I had with my family back in March? Well, with that kind of review, I had to take this group back. This time, though, I held back at meals during the day, leaving me with a healthy appetite for the amazing cuisine that awaited me! We sat outside just as the heat started to dissipate and went to town on some tapas! Since I stole much of my Mom’s quiche the last time, I got a tapas portion for myself this time, followed by panko-crusted langostinos. Following dinner, we took a nighttime horse-drawn carriage ride/tour through the city, which was so lovely. The temperature outside was just perfect and we got to see so much more than we would have on foot.
The Plaza de España – perfect look at the South Tower, the fountain, and the horse-drawn carriages!
Sunday, our final day, started early so that we could see the Maria Luisa park. The first stop was the Plaza de España, which serves as the massive and beautiful government building. We saw it at night during the carriage ride, but that didn’t even compare to the grandiose feel of the massive structure during the day. And since we arrived early, the sun was at a perfect angle and there weren’t as many tourists. With the beautiful fountain in the middle, the daytime horse-drawn carriage rides, and the intricate tile-work of the provinces, it was probably my favorite exploration of the weekend. Followed by a hilarious four-person bike ride (yes, a bike built for four) through the gardens and it was a perfect end to the weekend.
Sevilla is just such a charming city and one that I’m sure I’ll never tire of visiting. Considering the heat, I don’t think we’ll be back until summer is over, but it sure was a great way to start the season. A huge thanks to Matt’s parents for treating us to such a nice trip!
The gang in the Alcazar gardens.
Fancy tile work is everywhere in the city, especially here in the Plaza de España.
Ready for a night out!
A stop on our bike ride to take a photo…
*You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. More to come tomorrow in a “Leftovers” post!*