We’ve just arrived at a hotel in Madrid, after spending a few days in Seville for a conference. Though it’s been mostly a work trip, we had a bit of time to explore Seville and figured it was worth capturing before it disappears from our time-addled brains. This post will cover our day exploring Seville together, and Kat will follow up with her solo experiences.
We left Minneapolis late on Friday and had an easy travel day to Madrid via Amsterdam, then to Seville via a train. We made it to our Airbnb late on Saturday – a very cute place with a great balcony and a friendly cockroach or two.
Sunday was our only day for tourism stuff in Seville, so we did our best to maximize the opportunity. We started the day with an audio walking tour via the Rick Steves app. The historic core of Seville is quite small and easily covered in fifteen or twenty minutes. Seville preserved a unique historic mix of Roman, Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance structures, with a local architectural style called “Mudejár” resulting from the intersection. The Seville cathedral isn’t a soaring structure like those you might find in Italy, but instead spreads horizontally. In terms of square footage, it’s one of the largest in the world. The bell tower is built on a Roman base, and was a minaret before the top was lopped off and replaced by the Christians.
In addition to the historic sites, the walking tour took us to some of the back alleys of what was the Jewish district, before they were expelled during the Inquisition.
After the tour, we crossed the river into the Triana district, a more casual residential neighborhood full of craftspeople and artisans. We got some churros and chocolate, and then visited the ceramic museum. Seville is a city of ceramics – especially tiles. The museum, set in an old ceramic factory, did a nice job covering the history of ceramic production in the city, as well as documenting the production process. We popped back across the river and got some food at a gorgeous modern food hall which had a great crowd and live music.
We had late afternoon tickets for the other major site in the historic core – the Real (pronounced Ray-al) Alcazar. This is a sprawling palace complex, incorporating a Moorish fort and six or seven centuries of evolving architecture in various styles. Much of the palace is designed to account for the extreme heat that Seville gets in the summer (now even moreso) with pools, shaded courtyards and large gardens.
The Spanish are well known for eating dinner very late, which can be a struggle for Midwesterners who are used to eating around 6. Knowing we’d have to wait for a bit, we got some gelato and went for a stroll. While wandering, we noticed an exhibit on the maps of Magellan at the science museum, which we stopped to check out. The building itself was fascinating – much of Seville’s early 20th century architecture dates to the late 1920s, when Seville hosted an international exhibition. The science museum is in the “Peruvian Pavilion” with carved llamas and faux Inca structures.
We wrapped our day up with dinner at a restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host. Everything was amazing, but the standout was an anchovy dish which the waiter called “Spanish sushi.”
It was great to have a day to explore the city, and it got us thinking about a return to this region of Spain in the future. I’m sure the heat is unbearable during the height of summer, and the crowds are probably intense, but we found it pretty delightful for a late fall visit.