Arriving at 5:15 in the morning after a 7 hour bus ride did not give us the best start in Sevilla. I was feeling sick (I’m guessing from the steak I had the night before in Lisbon) and neither Carolyn or I slept more than a wink on the trek. Carolyn had to deal with supreme angry-stuck up girl, who if you looked at her wrong would bite your head off and spit it out. Not only did she look nasty, she blared her music to the point you’d think her ear drums would blow. I had to deal with the 2 French girls behind me who didn’t shut up for 6 straight hours. It was dark and cold in Sevilla and there were no maps available at the bus station. We sat there for an hour, and eventually got too ancy and tried to make our way to the centre…
We followed a sign that read “Cuidad del Centro,” and our amazing Spanish skills depicted this to mean “City Centre.” We found a fancy hotel and got a map. Luckily we knew the address of a few good hostels and the desk clerk circled the roads on the map for us. Carolyn really fancied the Oasis Backpackers Hostel, so we made our way for the circle on the map. We found the street but for the life of us
could not find anything relating to Oasis. We gave up, looked for another Hostel, found it, it was closed. It was 7:30am now and we were hungry and tired so we hit up a cafe. We found a weak signal on our tablet and found that “HostelOne” was close by. We went for it, found it, loved it, and stayed. It was an amazing hostel, better than any we’ve stayed yet. The room (a 6 bed dorm) had a heater (YAY) and it’s own bathroom. The hostel had a rooftop terrace, a full kitchen and little patio.
We didn’t do much our first day, I was feeling like crap and we were both exhausted.
This meant a nothing day for us. We walked the town a bit, bought some groceries (two broccoli, bag of carrots, big red pepper, bag of pea pods, rice, 1L orange juice) for just over 10€. All of this would give us two awesome dinners. We also went up into the weirdest structure in Sevilla, the Metropol Parsol. They say that the structure resembles giant mushrooms, however I feel it looks like giant honeycombs for giant bumblebees and that Sevilla must be the world leader in honey production. It was cheap to get a ticket to walk around this structure and it gave some great views overlooking the city.
The sexy, seductive, passionate dance of Flamenco was invented in Tirana, a community of Sevilla (though anyone from Tirana will say they are from Tirana and not Sevilla). It involves a sultry dancer, a powerful singer and a guitarist and also involves a lot of hand clapping. We went to a free show recommended by our hostel. We arrived at the show at 10:00pm, half an hour before it started and it was half full. We got some good seats and by the time the show had started the place was jam packed. The dancer was amazing, the way she moved and smashed her feet on the floor, I’d have been absolutely exhausted. We also saw our dancer a couple days later riding her bike (pointless fun fact).
To read more: Dance of Flamenco
A big thing in Spain is Tapas. Big plates of a normal dinner meal made into little appetizers. These are everywhere in Sevilla (and I assume all over Spain). Everyone after work goes and gets Tapas and beer. We went for Tapas twice, the first time was before our night of Flamenco. We went to a place where only Spanish was written on the menu and the servers only spoke the smallest bit of English. We decided to chance it and randomly picked 4 dishes. Three were absolutely delicious and the fourth, Carolyn thought it tasted like the smell of horse. 3 out of 4 is pretty good. We also had some delicious wine for 1.80€ a glass.
Bull-fighting is obviously a huge part of Spanish culture and tradition. The season runs from April-October, so we weren’t there to see any matches. We did take the tour of Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza however, and it was interesting to learn all of that, that goes into a bull-fight. In order for a toreros to get a trophy he must kill the bull in a very specific way, that allows the bull instant and painless death. The fight starts with stage one “Tercio de Veras” and the Picador enters on a horse, and the Bull charging toward them. At this point a stab to the morrillo (mound of muscle on the bull’s neck) weakens the bull. It is also at this point, when charging the horse that the Matador can figure out the traits of the bull for later in the match. The second stage is “Tercio de Banderillas” and each of the three banderillaros (assistants of the Matador) try to puncture two banderillas (sharp barbed sticks) into the bulls shoulders. These are meant to further weaken the bull, but also piss the beast off. The final stage “Tercio de Muerte,” now commences, the Matador alone in the ring with the Bull. The matador has a red cape and small sword. The Bull will make several passes when charging the matador and is done for show and to wear the bull down. The final pass is where the matador stabs the bull between the shoulder blades, through the aorta and heart. If the crowd believe the matador has given them a great show, they can wave white handkerchiefs in the air. The matador can be awarded an ear, two ears or even two ears and the tail if his performance was exceptional.
To Read more: Bullfighting
The Spanish Way
Now you may be thinking, “If the Spanish all go for Tapas and beer after work, what about dinner?” Dinner in Spain is between 9-11pm. So with there being so much time between work and dinner, the Spaniards bar hop and eat. It’s an amazing lifestyle they have. Shops open at about 10:00am and then close down around 1:30-3:00 (not all of them but some). The main square fills up with people out for to enjoy a well earned mid-day break. How do they do this, with beer of course! Now they don’t go out to drink copious amounts, just a glass or two, maybe three. Three glasses of beer for only 1.20€ is pretty amazing. The Spanish live life slow and easy in Sevillia.
Free Walking Tours
If you’re in a hostel that offers free walking tours definitely take them, unless you have very limited time. We did both tours that the hostel offered and learned so much about the city’s history and charming/haunting stories about the past.
They’re free too, but not really. The guide takes you around for two hours and then at the end you pay what you want. Each time we gave them 10€ and a fiver seemed to be the norm. Sevilla has many orange trees lined a long every road, why? The King’s wife at one time wanted to go back to her homeland of Spain to see snow once more before she died.
The King said no way, Sevilla has given you so much. So he ordered a bunch of Orange trees, and when they flower, bloom and shed it ‘s very white and looked like snow for the Queen. That’s just one of the stories.
Sunny Sevilla, How we loved thee
Sevilla was an amazing city, the centre was busy, but extremely relaxed. The people on the streets were aplenty but without the hustle and bustle of a big city. The beer was cheap, the sun was warm and the people friendly. If we do decided to stay in Europe for an extended period, Sevilla is looking pretty good.