Saturday, October 29, 2022
By Pablo de Ronda
Sevilla [Photo courtesy Andalusien 360]
I’d been to Seville for the day on two occasions with my young family back in the early 2000s. The first time was in August – stupid, or what? It was way too hot.
Plaza de Europa, Seville [Photo courtesy TUI]
The second time we went with my disabled mother who was in her mid-80s. We chose Easter. Also too hot! And very stressful. We had a disabled badge but the only three disabled parking spaces in the whole city back then (or, so it seemed) were occupied by cars displaying no badge!
Visit number 3 was with my relatively new wife, Rita. We parked on the street and set off to explore. When we tried to find the car again in order to go home to Ronda, could we find it? Nope! I don’t remember how we found it in the end, but the episode didn’t do much for our marital relations!
The fourth time I went to Seville was in 2011. I went to meet up with my Welsh cousin Roger who was on a Mediterranean cruise which docked for a night in Seville. I enjoyed that visit, but more because of the company, my cousin, than the city itself, which, as always, was very hot.
Torre de Oro, Sevilla [Photo courtesy Mercer Hoteles]
After visit number 3, referred to above, our marriage survived, and after an horrendous 2021 with Covid and a busy 2022, we decided on the spur of the moment to go away for a few days.
We considered the Costa Azul, Costa Tropical, Córdoba, Granada and Jaén before settling on Seville.
Money is tight so were delighted to find the charming Hotel Murillo, slap bang in the casco antiguo, at a bargain price on booking.com. However, I rang the hotel direct and got an even better price: two nights including breakfast for 100€!
Rather than drive which would cost a lot of expensive petrol plus three days parking charges, we decided to go by bus. Because we are pensioners and have the tarjeta 65 we were entitled to a 50% discount on the tickets, so the return fare for both of us was a mere 26.22€. To find out more about the tarjeta 65, click here.
As it was October, the weather was a mixture of cloud and sun and the temperature a bearable 30C.
On the first day we explored the old part, ate exquisite tapas in one of the restaurants near the cathedral, Cerveceria Giralda, and wandered a bit more before returning to the hotel for a rest.
We dined that night in a delightful Italian fish restaurant, Il Pisciolino. Rita chose a seafood salad followed by atún tartare, while I opted for a zamburiña (scallop) followed by lubina (sea bass) with chutney and a dill sauce. What good choices we made! It was outstanding. Washed down with a nice bottle of albariño (Rías Baixas, Galicia) we were well satisfied. The bill came to 88€ but we had no complaints.
A nightcap in the bar opposite our hotel and we were set for a good night’s sleep.
On day 2, at 7.30 am, I went for my habitual early morning coffee before returning to the hotel for breakfast with Rita.
After that we visited Seville Cathedral and the Giralda Tower. The cathedral, built in the XVth Century is the largest in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The Giralda was the minaret of a mosque that previously occupied the site. It’s certainly an impressive place, so much so that it is the fifth most-visited monument in Spain. Because we are pensioners admission only cost us 7€ each. By the way, if you are a resident of Sevilla, entrance is free.
All this culture plus the climb up 34 floors of the Giralda tower and back down again makes one thirsty, so we went to Cervecería Giralda which offers a range of interesting beers. I chose El Alcázar (Jaén) and El Águila (Madrid) while Rita stuck to a 0.0% tostada. For tapas we went for a vol-au-vent stuffed with avocado and prawns and croquetas de gambas. Very tasty.
After a siesta we ummed and aahed about where to go for dinner. Finally we chose Casa San Marco housed in what was a XII century baño arabe (Arab baths).
Super location, professional yet friendly staff and delicious food. Rita had a rollo de salmón to start and then a king prawn and avocado salad, while I had a “crunch” stuffed with cheese followed by verduras a la parrilla (grilled vegetables in season).
Our final morning consisted of early coffee for me again, breakfast and then a tour of El Alcázar, the Arab fortress, before checking out and heading for the bus station for our two-hour trip back to Ronda.
Graffiti near the bus station
I have to say we both loved our short break in Seville. No stress with car parking, hotel right in the old part and great food and wine all around us. Spectacular architecture combined with narrow streets and Sevillan atmosphere ensured that we will be back soon ….
However, there is the small matter of the seven other provincial capitals to visit. We’ve done Cádiz, Granada, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla together. That just leaves Almeria, Córdoba, and Huelva. Watch this space …..
© Pablo de Ronda
Note: All unacknowledged photographs by Paul Whitelock
Tags: albariño, Alcázar, Almeria, atún tartare, baño árabe, Cádiz, Casa San Marco, Casco Antiguo, catedral, Cerveceria Giralda, Córdoba, croquetas de gambas, Giralda, Giralda Tower, Granada, Hotel Murillo, Huelva, Il Pisciolino, Jaén, lubina, Málaga, Pablo de Ronda, Rías Baixas, rollo de salmón, Sevilla, Seville Cathedral, verduras a la parrilla, vol-au-vent, zamburiña