The capital of Spain is Madrid; but the capital and largest city of Andalusia is Seville. Staying in Seville felt like living in the ancient Andalusia times, as the city was filled with antiquate buildings that were well preserved for a long time, with barely any signs of new architectural buildings.
There has probably been a better time to visit the Andalusian capital, as the temperature was raging until about 45 degrees Celsius from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.
Corte Ingles (a Spanish Department Store Franchise) and Starbucks were my life saviors with fresh air always cooled by 24-hpur service air-conditioning. Believe it or not, it was even very hard to breathe in the hostels, because there were only fans revolving by the burning air.
Compared to other European countries, Spanish market prices are relatively low. Also Seville appeared to be much more smaller compared to other cities in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, and Granada.
Tourists less favored Seville over other cities in Spain; for example, the architectures and monuments such as the Seville Cathedral, Plaza de España, Alcázar seems less imposing and significant in comparison with Spain’s well-known sites such as Sagrada Familia, Alhambra Palace, and Prado Museum.
However, Seville, the city itself has its own unique atmosphere of an ancient Andalusian city as well as the magnificent coexisting environment of modern architecture and historical buildings. The highlight of my trip to Seville was the astonishing night view of Seville, along with fantastic classic music by street performers.
1) 5 pm, Sevilla Cathedral (Entrance ticket prices: 9 euros for adults, 4 euros for students)
As there were no guides, I had to research about the place by myself so that I wouldn’t just waste my money going in. Seville Cathedral, which is Santa Maria de la Sede in Spanish, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage.There is a long and tiring path up to the rooftop of the cathedral (Giralda), but the magnificent view of the city is well worth the effort.
2) 7 pm La Bodega
Before heading for dinner, I stopped by Corte Ingles to get some fresh air-conditioning air, to grab a cup of ice-coffee, and also to look for a suitable place for dinner with TripAdvisor app on my phone.
La Bodega was filled with local customers when I arrived. I ordered a grilled pork with Mexican chilly sauce, blue cheese and bacon croquets and a sangria. Since they were tapas (small Spanish savory dishes, often served with drinks at bar). The food was quite oily, but it was an amazing combination with the sangria.
1) 11 am Casa de Pilatos (Entrance fee: 8 euros per person)
La Casa de Pilatos (Pilate’s House) is an Andalusian palace in Seville. It used to be the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli, a royal family of Spain during the 18th century. The building shows a beautiful combination of the Renaissance Italian and Mudéjar Spanish styles. Personally, it appeared to me as a mini version of the Alhambra palace in Granada.
2) 1 pm Puente de Isabella II & Plaza de Torros
Under the burning sun, I crossed the Puente de Isabella II (bridge) where there was a bike race. Running away from the sun, I quickly went inside Plaza de Toros, Maestranza. This bullfight stadium is one of the most famous bullfighting bullrings in the world, with 12,000 audience capacity. There is a tour for the museum in Spanish and English every hour.
3) 6 pm Museo de Flamenco
I met up with some of my friends from the summer camp I participated in Cadiz before beginning my travel. We reserved a ticket in the Museo de Flamenco, 23 euros for each person, which included a 2-hour Flamenco dance show, tour around the museum, and a drink.
Flamenco is a professional type of art expressed through dance along with the various folkloric music traditions influenced by the cultures of regions in Southern Spain, including Andalusia, Murcia, and Extremadura. Flamenco dance symbolizes the overflowing passion of Spanish people, along with bullfighting.
4) 8 pm El Traga Tapas Bar Restaurant
The spanish meal routine is quite different from other countries. Breakfast is around 7 morning, and spanish people mostly favor a short snack, like fruits or a piece of bread, rather than a meal.
Lunch starts late afternoon around 2 to 5, in which it is the main meal of the day, usually served by primer plato (appetizer), segundo plato (main meal), and tercer plato (dessert).
After the extraordinary Flamenco show, we headed towards El Traga Tapas Bar Restaurant. I ordered Salmon Noodles for 14 euros. The dish seemed quite small for all the menus, but the plating was quite decent and the taste was excellent.
5) 9 pm Metropol Parasol (Las Setas) + Las Bolas Ice Cream Shop
Although it wasn’t as fancy as the night view of New York City from the top of the Empire State Building, the night view from the Metropol Parasol, a mushroom-shaped gigantic wooden structure at La Encarnación Square built in the mid 20th century by a German architecture, captured the sight of the historical Andalusian building filled with different colors of light.
Also, the view was even better with a free cup of sangria. After enjoying the view and taking some pictures, we headed towards the town’s famous ice cream shop. The streets were filled with classic music by street performers, in which I recognized the song “Despacito,” played by excellent violists and cellists.
The music, the crowded plazas, and the colorful street lights of the city made us feel like we were in one of the scenes of the movie Midnight in Paris, but in Seville. Las Bolas Ice Cream Shop served natural ice cream, in which I had two scoops of lemon and watermelon. After a bite, I couldn’t remember the moment I ate Gelatto in Rome.
1) 10 am Calle Tetuan
Just like the Fifth Avenue in New York, the Ginza in Tokyo, Avenue Montaigne in Paris, or Avinguda Diagona in Barcelona, Seville’s famous shopping street is Calle Tetuan. There are approximately more than 32 types of shops in the street, with more than 11 restaurants and cafeterias.
The majority of the buildings are preserved since the 20th century, and has not gone through any reconstruction process to maintain their special avant garde images. The street is extremely crowded during the weekends with families, and with couples during the weekday nights.
2) 3 pm Plaza de España
I did not want to leave the city without visiting its most famous site, Plaza de España. Plaza de España is a semi-circular brick building, Renaissance/neo-Moorish in style, with a tower at either end. The Plaza is situated inside Maria Luisa Park, next to Avenida Isabella La Catolica, a pedestriansed avenue with ice-cream sellers and bike rental standsIn front of the building (Information provided by Andalucia.com)
In front of the building lies a 500-metre canal crossed by four bridges. The scene was absolutely beautiful, as it reminded me of Venice, a city that I’ve visited when I was little. Some of my friends went for a boat tour through the canal, while the others (which included myself) took some group pictures alongside a street performer who was doing a magic show with huge soap bubbles and flamenco dancers cheerfully moving their feet by the exciting Spanish music.