Last week my family came to Spain to visit, so I took a week off from the blog. Other than a couple Facebook checks throughout the week, I preferred to stay away from the internet and just relax and explore with my parents and my sister. The visit was much-needed, since the last time I saw my family was in November. For their trip we planned a good mix of relaxing on the Costa del Sol and visiting famous Spanish cities. The first on the list was Sevilla.
My family arrived last Saturday a little later than expected. Unfortunately, their trans-Atlantic flight was quite a bit delayed, causing them to miss their connection in Madrid. After waiting an hour in the airport, Matt and I had enough sense to check our email, finding this information awaiting us. Though I was sad to be losing half a day with them, we killed time by going to the mall, where I happened upon the Zara pants I mentioned in a previous post. I am happy to say I am wearing them today. 🙂 Shopping aside, they finally arrived and I was excited to take them to my Spanish home!
We spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday in lazy fashion. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so we went to the port in Sotogrande and enjoyed lunch outside by the marina. Our plan that evening was to enjoy tapas at my favorite joint in the area, but alas, it was closed. Back to the port we went to try out a Belgian restaurant that’s been recommended to Matt and myself by countless friends. It was certainly a fantastic meal and delightful experience, and I had my very first taste of mussels, courtesy of my sister. It was a quiet day, but exactly what we needed (especially for their jet-lag) before jetting off to Sevilla the next day.
Sevilla is only a two hour drive away from where we live, making it an easy decision to add to our list of must-sees. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, we ventured out into the city for some sightseeing. I must mention that the hotel my Dad chose was in a perfect location – we were just minutes from the Cathedral, the Alcazar, and the bullfighting ring. Our first stop, though, was the Cathedral of Saint Mary. I’d read about Sevilla’s Cathedral in Rick Steves’ travel book for Spain and learned that not only is it among the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals, but it’s also home of Christopher Columbus’ tomb. In person, it was not a disappointment. The ornate, gothic structure was highly impressive, much like the detail I’ve seen at Notre Dame and the Duomo, and from afar (the rooftop of our hotel), it was breathtaking.
Just across the plaza from the cathedral is the Alcázar, our next stop. The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace, orginally a Moorish fort. If you read my post about the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcázar is very much like that. The stucco surrounding us was incredible and I could just imagine what the elaborate decor must have looked like ages ago; Persian rugs, heavy tapestry (which they hung in an exhibit in one of the rooms), Moorish baths, etc. Just like the Alhambra, the manicured gardens were stunning. There were exotic birds wandering through the grounds, winding staircases leading up to walkways through the walls, humongous and twisting trees, fountains, statues, etc. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around, which was easy to do because with each turn of the corner in this maze-like wonder, there was yet another beautiful setting.
We left the Alcázar later in the afternoon and went searching for a streetside restaurant for lunch. Our dinner reservations were for nine o’clock (you have to love the Spanish lifestyle), so a late lunch was the perfect order. We stacked up an array of tapas, including guacamole, ham and cheese croquettes, and mini hamburgers. I introduced the group to tinto verano, which was received to rave reviews. Once we were stuffed to the brim, we did none other than head back to the hotel for a siesta. My Dad and I made a small detour on the way to see the bullfighting ring, but the next tour wasn’t for 30 minutes, so we wandered on. Back at the hotel, our siesta started with a glass of tinto verano on the roof overlooking Sevilla and finished with a nap.
Dinner that evening was at a popular tapas restaurant recommended to me by a coworker called Vineria San Telmo. Their tapas menu is popular because they put a twist on traditional tapas. What a great recommendation, because boy was the food fanstastic. My sister and I started with cheesy bread, which we dipped in our parent’s starter portion of creamy, tomato soup. For our main meal, I ordered their tapas portion spicy sausage, which came with small potatoes and a spicy sauce; my Dad ordered the panko-crusted langostino; my Mom enjoyed a quiche lorraine; and Melissa gobbled up a steak. While my sausage was amazing, I kept stealing bites of my Mom’s quiche, which was easily the most delicious quiche lorraine I have ever tasted. It was rather rich, but the flavor was incredible. Following dinner, we attempted to find flamenco, but seeing as it was a Monday night and that we didn’t try very hard due to the food coma we were in, the search didn’t last long before we gave up.
We only spent the one day and one night in Sevilla since there were so many others things we were itching to do. I’m sure there is so much more that this marvelous city provides, but we felt like it was a successful excursion; it was a very full day of culture, laughter, and fantastic food. The next morning we would be moving on to Cadiz, but that, and our day in Gibraltar, are stories for another post.