Southern Spain (Andalucía) – Sevilla, its Grand Dame

This entry will most certainly not make any justice to Sevilla.  But, I am not here to dispense justice, just to share my thoughts (whew!).

It has been a while since I visited the 3 grand cities in southern Spain (Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada).  But the impressions they made on me are still quite vivid.  Each of these had a different feel for me not only because of the character and history of each city but also because I went to them while the World Expo took place in Sevilla back in ancient times:  1992.

Meet Sevilla

Sevilla is an old town.  It has been there for close to 2,000 years and it has seen a lot of history.  I will leave the details to Wikipedia or some other site.   My time there was limited as the World Expo sucked up a lot of our attention (I went with two colleagues) and energy (party!).  However, the history, the architecture, and the flavor of what I think Andalucia is is well captured in Sevilla.

The Cathedral stands out in my mind as one of the finest examples of what a medieval cathedral was.   If I recall correctly it is one of the largest.  Yet, what stands out in my mind most is how well set up it was for tourists to visit it and understand it.  It was well-signed and there was a sheet with numbered entries matching different places in the cathedral so the average, non-connoisseur (like me) could “get it”.  It was a fantastic place.

Next to the cathedral was the imposing-in-its-own-way tower called “La Giralda“.  As in any town I visit, if there is a place I can hike up to see the town, I do; so I climbed the Giralda to look at Sevilla.  After all these years, though, what stays with me is not the view (which was probably good) but the way you climbed it.  The tower did not have steps.  And, no, it had no elevator:  it had ramps.  “Why?” would you ask?  Well, so people could ride horses up, of course!  Clever.  I also vividly remember seeing orange trees everywhere.  It was a beautiful sight.  The last place I will highlight in the city is the Alcázar Real.  It is near the cathedral and it is a blend of Moorish and other influences.  Worth paying a visit.

The World Expo was a blast but since that was temporary and does not exist any more in the same form, I won’t write much about it (unless someone leaves a comment asking).  However, two things worth sharing:  I went to the Expo in early August and it is very hot and dry in Sevilla in the summer.  However, the Expo had areas where you would walk under vine-covered beams with misters spraying you ever so slightly – the mist helped you cool down just a tad.  Also, the liquified and cold gazpacho worked MUCH better than any soda ever would.  I have loved gazpacho ever since…

Folks in Sevilla reminded me a lot of the personality of Spanish Caribbean peoples (Cubans, PRicans, Dominicans).  The people were much warmer than in other regions of Spain and had a visible zest for life!

During my visit, I did not get to explore dining, bars, and perhaps a good number of historical or otherwise interesting sites in Sevilla.  Do you have any of these that you could share with others?

Comments

  1. Is the birthplace of flamenco in Seville ?

    We could also argue about where to see the true flamenco – in a tablao, a bar or a street corner.

    The important thing to know is that the cradle of flamenco is certainly in western Andalucia, and there are few better places for flamenco than Seville.

    Thanks

    • You raise a good point about there being more than architecture to enjoy in Andalucía! I was more or less on a short schedule and did not get to enjoy a good flamenco, so much part of the fiber of that part of Spain. Next time for sure!

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