Seville, Spain – Arrival & the Cathedral

Seville is certainly one of the ‘must see towns’ of Spain. The history, the buildings, the streets, the food, the people and the jewel in the crown – the Alcàzar – all make this town all too easy to fall in love with! While we found wandering through the Santa Cruz area a tad challenging with navigation, it was a joy to be exploring the narrow and cool tricky streets of the old Jewish quarter of the town.

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While we love Seville, we are also more than a tad in love with the hotel – Hotel Palacio de Villapanés. The service is smooth and professional and the entire establishment exudes beauty, luxury and style. It’s an 18th Century palacio, with the perfect marriage of old and new – there really has been no expense spared in the ‘mod cons’ – very expensive finishes, fixtures of the highest quality, great design both in beauty and functionality. We have been upgraded to an executive room – which is perfect. Even our early arrival didn’t faze them, and we were greeted with bubbles and snacks in our room.

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We walked to the Cathedral and found somewhere nearby for lunch, choosing Bar Giralda – housed in a former Moorish bathhouse. Excellent tiles! Service was prompt and efficient – they are used to a high and fast turnover of customers. We were thrilled to find some of our favourite food on the menu: avocados stuffed with seafood and slathered in red mayonnaise; a tapas of vegetable stuffed aubergine; and, of course, some dry white wine. Just what we needed.

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Sated, we spent some time exploring the cool interior of the Cathedral. It supposedly houses the remains of Christopher Colombus, but apparently recent DNA tests have been ‘inconclusive’ – but he’s still a big draw card (whoever he is!). We climbed the Giralda Tower, although ‘climbed’ is not quite accurate as the are no stairs until the end – it’s all ramps (for the horses, once upon a time). Did a bit of a power walk though – quite pleased with ourselves, actually! Have to walk off all the potatas bravas somehow!!

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We strolled back to our digs via the shopping area in San José, and found the Cultural Centre, the location for our flamenco show in the evening. In continuing our wander back to our hotel, we called into the oldest bar in Seville for a beer. El Rinconcillo was established in 1670 and is tucked behind a church near Plaza Ponce de León. It’s open all afternoon and evening (many establishments shut between lunch and dinner), which worked for us, because we felt like a snack with our cerveza, and really scored with their famous spinach and chickpea tapas. It was a stand up only joint in the bar section and we were the only ones there at 6pm! The barman was a charming old gentleman who tallied up the bill in chalk on top of the bar.

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After a late siesta back at the hotel, we headed back out for our flamenco show. However, we were a tad disappointed with the experience, and not just because we had been fortunate enough to see the world best in Madrid; they had us crammed in only 2 rows deep around a wide and narrow stage, with raised seating. But as we were in the second row, we couldn’t see the feet – kind spoiled the whole thing!

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The rest of the evening was spent wandering the city, soaking up the atmosphere and taking pics. Going past the cathedral and up through Barri Santa Cruz was an interesting journey – going from the tourist heavy areas through to the family oriented and lively neighbourhood teeming with locals was delightful. Completely worth getting lost and finding our way again, and having a great time in the process. 11:30pm and everyone was still having dinner!!

We stayed at the Hotel Palacio de Villapanés in Seville

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About bontaks

Nic is the the ‘Bon’ part of ‘Bontaks.’ Together we are Nic and John – two travel-addicted teachers who enjoy every opportunity to go places, meet people and experience life.

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