Real Alcázar: week one in Sevilla

It’s official. My first week here in Spain is done.  So far I’ve spent my time getting my necessary documents sorted (stressful, but not as bad as I feared it would be), figuring out public transport to the city centre from my barrio, and getting to know the city and some of the other auxiliares here.

A real highlight from this first week was my trip to the Real Alcázar with my friend Halina. One of the main tourist attractions in the city (along with the Cathedral and the Archive of the Indies – all three of which were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987), I cannot recommend going highly enough. And with only a €2 entrance fee for students (think it’s €9,5 otherwise), you’d be silly to miss this out if you decide to visit Seville!

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Patio de las Doncellas, Real Alcázar de Sevilla

Today the upper levels of the Alcázar act as the official residence for the Spanish Royal family in Seville – making it the oldest (I think) royal palace in Europe which still functions as a palace. As a result, unfortunately tourists cannot see the entire palace, but what we do get the chance to see is simply stunning. You can definitely feel the history of the place from the moment you step through the entrance, and the interesting layering of various different cultures on top of one another is fascinating. The rooms and gardens trace back the history of Spain over the past more than a thousand years, from the Muslim conquest of Spain to the present day.

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The gardens of the Alcázar

I’m looking forward to my induction in Madrid over the next few days and to starting work as an auxiliar next week. I can already feel my Spanish improving, so I’m hoping that I’ll continue to make progress with the language too (even if the accent here is quite challenging at times). In terms of getting to know the city, besides visiting the Alcázar this week I’ve also eaten some delicious tapas and been to a free opera screening in Plaza de España. I can tell Sevilla is not a city which will allow me to be bored. Here’s hoping the next few weeks are as fun as this one was!

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