September marked four years since moving to Seville. As I look back over those years, I wonder about the next four. Will they be just as positive? Will I still be just as content? Rain teems down outside. It always chucks it down when it rains here. Aneira tries to stay warm by curling up like a fox next to me. Four years is a long time. It’s more than half the time I spent in secondary school, and the same amount of time I studied my degree. Four years later, I feel ready to share my Seville with you.
Where is the first place you bring people to when they visit Seville?
A year a half ago, we decided to move from the ever-growing tourist trap that is the historic quarter to the quieter, more local Macarena district – a twenty minute walk from the old town. I’ll admit, our old residence always left you spoilt for choice when it came to exploring and stopping for a bite, and made it easier when hosting. Our current neighbourhood, albeit with less tourists, isn’t as pleasing on the eye, but still has its charm. So with dog in hand, we now go on a good, long walking tour of the city. Starting
by the river, we make it as far as the Cathedral and turn back home home via hot spots such as La Alameda, Feria or San Luis. Any of the aforementioned zones give you a real taste of Sevilliano culture both aesthetically or from a gastronomic point of view. If lucky, a square on San Luis is quieter than normal, and we can sit down outside with the dog for a local wine, sherry or vermut – complimented con queso y picos (cheese and breadsticks). Even at its coldest, you can still sit outside with a light jacket on. Decent!
Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Seville?
People think tapas when they think of Spain, and in Seville, you are in the traditional
home of tapas culture. Due to a recent tourist boom (Thanks Game of Thrones!), tapas range from beautifully-presented dishes like those in Veneria in the Santa Cruz quarter, to your standard meat and chips swimming in an oil-based sauce (Solomillo al whisky) in haunts like Alfalfa’s Casa Antonio. But if you wanted to kill two birds with one stone, you can’t go too far wrong with either Casa Paco or Al Aljibe on the Alameda, with the latter’s North African cuisine taking you back to the city’s moorish roots. Whereas Al Aljibe can be booked in advance, Casa Paco is luck of the draw. Arrive too late and you won’t be trying their delicious range of fresh fish that night. Both options are two of a handful to choose from on the Alameda, which can be followed by a copa of choice in any of the area’s bars.
The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are …
Walking. It’s free and allows you to not feel as guilty to sit down for a drink in a bar that
catches your eye along the way. One of the pleasures of Seville’s centre is that one end to the other by foot takes less than an hour. And it being flat in nature, it’s an hour that isn’t as taxing as others. Ask your friend if visiting or your local accommodation for details on local museums, many of which dedicate one day a week to being free to visit. The Hospital de los Venerables is a quiet gem in the Barrio Santa Cruz that can give one respite from the sun. Housing some works of the local painter Diego Velázquez, you could easily lose an hour here. Seville is also home to some beautiful urban parks that are both well maintained and a welcome break from hoards of tour groups. Start your day with a run or cycle by the river and the Parque Alamillo. Or take a picnic blanket to Parque María Luisa, and take in Plaza de España in turn.
What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Seville?
It would be too easy to suggest wine, but by all means keep some room or a spare jumper to wrap up one bottle! If crafts are your thing, El Postigo near the Cathedral is a worthwhile visit. From glass to ceramics made by local artists, they will always trump your bog standard souvenir shop, of which there are plenty like anywhere else. If you are one for cured meats and cheese, head on down to a local market, such as Feria or Encarnación where locally-sourced products can be packaged to your liking. Should you find language a barrier, you can always try local supermarkets that allow you to simply point and give a thumbs up if all else fails. Most embutidos can be vacuum-packed, allowing for ease of mind when it comes to travelling. Just pray you don’t end up on the delayed flight from hell on the way home – you may find yourself eating any gifts at the gate.