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Tag Archives: Sevilla

I’m in love

19 Dec

Many destinations get me excited. Cairo, (Africa in general), Istanbul, Barcelona, Paris, Melbourne, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York, Madrid, Innsbruck, Heidelberg, London, beautiful Sydney… I could go on for ages … But nothing compares to the awe I feel for Sevilla. I am overwhelmed. It is a magical city, filled with beauty around every corner. And I can tell you I’ve walked around most… A couple of times, as I always get lost! Always!

Sorry Barcelona, but Sevilla is now my favourite city,

I can not wait to return in Spring and smell the Sevilla orange blossoms.

The view of my home from Plaza Cristo de Burgos

The view of my home from Plaza Cristo de Burgos

Goodbye my wonderful home for the past week. Thankyou airbnb.com

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A bleak kind of day

19 Dec

Today is my last day in Sevilla and the weather reflects my mood. I am very sad to leave this amazing city. I have had a wonderful, most marvellous stay.

I decided to walk the other way away from Jewish quarter and tourists and hit Macarena. No, not to dance but to see a famous contemporary church, the Macarena Basilica, built in 1949, which houses the most valuable treasure in Seville, the Virgin de la Esperanza, popularly known as the Macarena because of the quarter where the basilica is located.

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I then walked by the river for quite some way until it started to rain.

Not that the rain is a bother here, but hey, it was 2pm so found a Bodega. Only to realise that I was right near the Sevilla Bullring. You can imagine what was on the walls.

IMG_2358I had just ordered my wine only to look up and see Toro heads times 8 hanging on the wall. Even more un-nerving was they were dressed in Santa outfits. I know it’s part of Spanish culture (well surveys say that the majority of people over 40 would not see a bullfight today and it isn’t part of Spanish culture but introduced by the Moors in the 700s). Whatever, it’s pretty gloomy for an entertainment choice.

So, siesta time and my last night awaits. Brighten my mood with a Museum or gallery, fabulous tapas, blue cheese and vino please!

Star Wars day

17 Dec

Today I could not wait to visit one of Sevilla’s grandest of sights, Plaza de Espana. It was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition and continues to amaze everyone who sees it.

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It’s a giant semi-circle of renaissance revival architecture, several hundred metres in diameter, with a moat crossed by ornate bridges. It’s actually the size of 5 football fields.

Also being a Star Wars fan I was in awe imagining myself on set of Star Wars I or II – The Attack of the Clones or The Phantom Menace – take your pick!

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It also has on the walls of the Plaza 48 tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. These ceramics are very ornate and extraordinarily beautiful and detailed.

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It was an exotic pleasure of the senses from the breathtaking moment that you see the Plaza to wandering over its four bridges (which represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon), to thinking you’re on Planet Naboo: it simply takes your breathe away.

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Oldest Tapas bar in Sevilla

17 Dec

Well today was my rest day, so what should I do? And it’s also raining in Sevilla, but not a cold rain, it’s a balmy 16 outside.

With the church bells chiming throughout all of the old city, my day began at my local cafe next door to where I live where I try to speak Spanish. The girls who work there just laugh at me! I don’t mind!

I look at my map and think about walking for a few hours.

Today I treating myself to tapas at the oldest tapas bar in Sevilla called El Rinconcello. It is filled with old world ambiance, the staff don’t speak any English (and why would they). It was packed when I got there at around 1pm. In fact every Cerveceria and restaurant was as I walked around the city.

First I met two hilarious gentlemen who lived in the old Jewish district of Santa Cruz and spoke basically no English. It was very cool how they kept your tab written in chalk on the bar.

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Then I met the most delightful family and friends. So sympatico, which means nice and friendly in Spanish.  Alice’s son spoke English so we could chat. They made my afternoon.

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The. Best. Day. And I haven’t finished as a Flamenco show at Casa de la Memoria and after to La Carboneria awaits!

Sense-sational Sevilla

13 Dec

I haven’t even made it in to the main area of Sevilla yet due to my day trip to Cordoba, but I have to share with you what I experienced this morning. I read about the Arab baths at the Aire de Sevilla – but I had no idea that it would be as salubrious as it was. OK, so I did look at the photos, and yes they were amazeballs. But what I didn’t realise was that my body needed a bit of love after 10 days of pretty hard core traveling. Amazingly I didn’t get that lost, as the streets are so narrow and you lose your way very easily (and I’m hopeless with navigation), and arrived 15 minutes early. No-one batted an eye lid. To book, visit airdesevilla.com

What I also didn’t realise was the amazing healing power that water brings.

The girls who work there were just delightful and I was greeted by Mariella who didn’t speak much English but showed me around the two floors that I could use. I changed into a bathing suit that they provided – and no it was modern! No granny Bonds undies. And was left to my own devices between the choices of a warm pool (36C), a hot pool (40C) and an ice bath (16 but felt like 5). The ambience was incredible. The room had a red warmth that reflected off the walls, the flickering candles and running water made you feel totally at ease in an amazingly tranquil state. It looked better than the picture! I actually felt like an Arabian princess. The escapism factor was just incredible.

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I actually did the ice bath 3 times – I mean I was there for 2 hours which included a 15 minutes massage. Luckily I was the only one there for the first 20 minutes or so, as I did let out a little shriek. Only 4 other people came in.

Exploring the floor was like exploring a labyrinth. What was around the next corner? I went back into the main tiled area which you could have a sip of tea, sweet pomegranate juice and a fruit kebab, sitting on warm alabaster. Wow. My next find was the Lounge of 1000 jets. Oh goodness. A Spa on steroids that had a seat with special jets to get into your back. Other jets that spurted out from every angle to find every nook and cranny of your body that was screaming for attention. I didn’t know which area of my body to attack first!

My next find was the steam room. I thought this was a shower, so I’m so glad I peeked. It wasn’t like good ol’ Goodlife steam room! Ha! I couldn’t even see in it was so steamy. It had a pleasant odour of sweet Earl Grey tea (and it was the only tea that I could drink when I was pregnant with my twins – of which I haven’t been able to drink since). However, it was very pleasant and once I got settled into the steam room – which was about 10m long, and I still couldn’t see the door out, my senses really started doing amazing things!

I thought I was done but followed two people down the stairs….

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and found the Salt bath. Yes I did float!

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What an incredible experience. I thought I had gone to heaven, another world, another body! My senses were in absolute overdrive of pure pleasure and indulgence.

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Farewell Madrid – Hola Sevilla.

11 Dec

What have I been up to? Well, yesterday I went to Segovia and it was an absolute delight. The Romans built an aqueduct over 800m long end in the 1st century or early 2nd century (yes really) and most if it remains today and the highest is 29 meters. Goodness knows how they did this to make it last so long especially without mortar! Bless the Romans!

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Of course there is a HUGE Cathedral – the last built in Spain and is considered the masterpiece of Basque-Castilian Gothic churches. But the draw card is the Alcazar. I know after going to Granada, all other Alcazar’s are going to look like a poor relation, but hey it was pretty awesome. It looked like a fairy castle and housed many Kings (with awesome names such as Alfonso the Wise, Sam the Wise (on no that was the hobbit), Queens and Queen Isabella (named after my Mum and daughter me thinks).

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Anyhoo – the tapestries, artwork and furniture were amazing. As were the stained glass windows and it was cool seeing the armour that they wore. So much fighting! And of course the artwork hanging on the walls reflects this. It now houses an artillery museum.

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I like this guys armour. He had hearts where his mouth was supposed to be! Maybe he was the Queen’s favourite? The view from the top of the tower was spectacular and there were snow on the neighbouring mountains as it was fffffaa-freezing!

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They also had these really cool black & white birds that looked like and about the same size as our magpies but they obviously weren’t! There really wasn’t a lot of tourists around, a couple of small busloads but not many. I felt a bit sorry for some of the purveyors in the old city – as there wasn’t much action. There was a high street filled with exclusive stores, but it seemed to be full of locals. For the state of the economy, I’m not finding it all that cheap. A bottle of awesome red Spanish wine costs 1,50E upwards, and a glass in a tapas bar costs 2,50E plus.

I’m on the train now to my next adventure – Sevilla. Catching the bus three stops to my new home really isn’t worth it – but my suitcase is getting a tad heavy and cumbersome! And it will be nice to get maximum temps of a sunny 15!

The view from the train is pretty spectacular – even if we do go through a lot of tunnels and are traveling at over 250kms/hr! Olive trees everywhere! Orange trees everywhere. Then some grape vines! It’s quite amazing. And so is the Spanish wine! And oranges! And olives! No wonder they have olive oil icecream – I gotta find me some of that!

Ah, life is grand.

 

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