Travel Diaries: Seville

In our travels, we’ve found there to be a few different ways you can love a place. Morocco, for example, was an incredible experience, but we aren’t planning to move there any time soon.

Then there are places like Seville, that leave you planning another trip back and considering whether you should learn Spanish. I’d really love to spend a few months enjoying and exploring the city.

Buildings with yellow detail in Seville

We had a really wonderful time there, and these are a few of my favorite memories.

Plaza de España

The plaza was one of the most stunning things I’ve seen all year, and I’ve seen a lot of things. In the midst of planning for our trip, I discovered that this location was used to film some of the Naboo scenes for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, which was my absolute favorite film as a child. I’m a massive Star Wars fan in general so I get very excited about anything Star Wars related. (Earlier this year I got to see Ahch-To and I actually cried.)

The Star Wars connection added an emotional element to it – seeing a place I was obsessed with as a child – but the place has a magical air of its own. The architecture is a mix of styles, including Art Deco, neo-Moorish, and Renaissance Revival. However, it’s in great condition because it was built in 1928 and refurbished in 2010, and it feels as though you’ve been transported back in time.

First we went in the afternoon, when the plaza was buzzing with tourists and merchants. We sat watching life go on around us: noticing the common elements of the tourists groups, discussing fashion choices, and laughing (good-naturedly of course) at tourists snapping their selfies. We watched people haggling for a good price on the handheld fans, abanico, and listened to the buskers singing and the merchants tapping their castanets.

The next morning we got up before sunrise (at 6am!!) to go back and take pictures before the tourists arrived. With hardly a soul in sight, the plaza felt so serene. We wandered around taking pictures and videos for an hour or so – until the tour groups started pouring in from every direction.

I’d love to go back sometime to enjoy it more without feeling the need to take pictures. It was a good reminder that it’s so worth it to get up early to beat the crowds.

Flamenco show

I was adamant that the most important thing to see in Seville was a flamenco show. Joe did some research and found a really great place. It was small and intimate, with no food (it’s better not to have food distracting you), and it was a fantastic experience.

I’ve never witnessed such an emotional performance. The guitarist expertly played beautiful songs. The singing was quite different than what we’d experience somewhere like the UK or the US, but so emotive. And the dancing! There was a male and a female who danced as a couple as well as on their own.  

The woman exuded emotional intensity. There was a moment when the music stopped and as she danced slowly, you could hear the sound of her breath and practically feel the pain that she felt. As Joe put it, you felt like you shouldn’t be watching such an intimate moment but couldn’t look away.

At the beginning, the male dancer seemed more excited and playful than sad. But he came out for a solo dance and all the playfulness was gone. The intensity of his expression was such a contrast to before that it actually startled me.

It was so dramatic and passionate and I absolutely loved every minute of it.

Siestas

I’m really on board with siesta culture. I don’t think people in Spain actually take naps every afternoon, but I embodied the idea anyway while we were in Seville. Our hostel was centrally located, so it wasn’t difficult to go back during the afternoon. After getting up early every day, I loved going back for a snooze to escape the afternoon heat. I was glad to have enough time to take it easy, rather than running from place to place. Especially because we’d come from Lisbon, where we had a lot packed into two days and it was exhausting.

Taking a siesta in the park in Seville with pink flowers

Taco Bell

I don’t remember what I was looking for, but I was looking at Apple maps when, lo and behold, I saw the glorious words “Taco Bell” on my screen. I have a deep love for Taco Bell; a place I frequented in America but which sadly does not have any locations in London. Of course I took the opportunity to eat some glorious Tex Mex in Spain. Admittedly it wasn’t the best Taco Bell experience I’ve had. They were out of several things, didn’t give us queso with our chips, and it was crowded with annoying teenagers. (Does it make me officially an adult when I start complaining about teenagers?) It was a pleasant surprise to find though and made me want to live in Seville even more.

Torch Coffee

I saw this lovely coffee shop out of the bus window as we were riding into town and quickly added it to the list of stops. The cafe is bright, clean, and spacious, and most importantly, serves great coffee. Joe and I went early in the morning after taking our sunrise pictures at the Plaza de España, and we spent a couple of hours talking about travel and planning for our blog. Often those are some of the nicest moments while traveling; sitting in a lovely place and talking to Joe about life.

Tapas on Tapas

We ate so many tapas! I must admit, after our time in Madrid, I didn’t quite understand the tapas obsession. Now I know that we just hadn’t visited the right places or eaten the right things. Seville has me sold! The croquettes were probably my favorite, and we had them multiple times. Being able to order small portions of several different things is wonderful, because you can try so much more that way. We wrote a whole guide on tapas in Seville if you need some advice on where to go.

Cafe outside our hotel

There was a little cafe right across from our hostel with cheap, delicious coffee. The tables were all outside, and were usually full of people socializing with their friends or reading a book. I couldn’t get a space at the tables, but there was a line of benches underneath the cover of gorgeous trees. One day while Joe did some shopping, I grabbed a coffee and read a book for a while. (While in Spain I was reading Guerra by Jason Webster, a book that weaves details of the Spanish Civil War into his stories of discovering the complicated history of it.)

Joe and I also went down on our last morning and had a coffee while people-watching. As you can see, this is a bit of a theme for me. I love taking a moment to just watch the world around me; I think it puts my own life into a better perspective. Plus I just think it’s fascinating to observe people.

Real Alcázar

This is one of those mega-instagrammable locations. The architecture, beautiful gardens, huge walls covered in vibrant flowers.. what more do you need for a little photoshoot?

Kayla at Real Alcázar with yellow detail in Seville

I must admit that I was disappointed with the palace itself, considering the price. We saw similar (and perhaps better) places in Morocco that didn’t cost so much. But once we were in the gardens, it felt worth the cost. We spent a while wandering around, taking lots of pictures, and trying to avoid massive groups of schoolchildren.

Planning a trip to Seville?

Check out our Seville travel guide.

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1 Comment

  1. Donetta Dalman on 27th June 2018 at 1:23 pm

    This looks amazing! It’s definitely on the list of places to go. I wish I had been there to see your excitement at the Star Wars location. 😉

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