Another month, another long weekend here in Spain… This time I was on economy drive having just booked trains to Madrid for the half marathon and accommodation in the centre of Sevilla for when a friend comes to visit later in March, so didn’t want to travel too far away. I went into the city on Sunday to have lunch with my friend Betty and her friends who were down from La Mancha for the weekend. And on Monday I went on a day trip with the other auxiliar who lives in Alcalá and her friend from Austria who was also visiting this weekend. Due to all parties having had a fairly tiring/busy weekend (on top of going into Sevilla on Sunday, I also managed my longest run since September at 9.5 miles on Saturday!), we decided to visit the nearby town of Carmona.
Carmona is a small town of maybe 30,000 people and is around 30km outside of Sevilla and, conveniently for us, there is a direct bus between it and Alcalá which made travelling there and back very easy. Having said that, the buses aren’t super frequent from Alcalá, so we caught one of the five buses per day at 9:30am and got into Carmona around 10:15am. And naturally our first priority was breakfast – I’m slowly but surely coming around to the Spanish breakfast of tostada con jamón (toast with olive oil and ham), so opted for that with my usual café con leche. Suitably fed and watered we passed through the Puerta de Sevilla and set about exploring the old Roman walled town. Having planned on coming back around 1 or 2pm because we didn’t think there’d be that much to see we ended up enjoying it so much we stayed there until 6!!
The old part of the town is exactly how I imagined Spain when I moved here: lots of narrow, winding streets and white-washed buildings. For some reason, I had never occurred to me that the white-wash on the houses would need to be maintained (I’m a bit slow sometimes, okay), so I was quite surprised when some of the streets were cordoned off for that exact purpose when we were there. Making our way to the highest point in the town, we came across the Real Alcázar. The original palace had been added to many times during its lifetime, but unfortunately most of it was destroyed in two earthquakes in 1504 and 1755, so only the gate and a few original towers remain. Nowadays there is an absolutely beautiful hotel built on the site. And I mean beautiful. Just look at that view out of the windows. Stunning.
After blagging our way through the hotel to admire the view, we wandered some more and stumbled upon the town museum and took advantage of the super cheap entrance fee (€1,2 for students…hiya) to learn some more about the history of the town. And I’m very glad we did, because it was surprisingly interesting. For instance, half a million years ago early humans lived where Carmona currently stands and the town itself has been occupied for the past 5000 years!! And in the times of Julius Caesar the town was an important bastion known as Carmo. So there you go. There are still remains of a Roman amphitheatre and necropolis in the town, but you can’t get access to them on Mondays so sadly we couldn’t get up close and see them in any detail. But hey, I guess that gives me an excuse to go back, right?!
Post-museum we set about getting some lunch as we were getting kind of peckish (even with snacking on strawberries during the morning). We found a fantastic spot in the sun in Plaza San Fernando and ordered some tapas, including the best solomillo al whisky I’ve tasted yet. By the time we were done soaking up vitamin D, it was around 4pm and we still had 2 hours to kill before our bus, so obviously the best choice of activity was to go and buy some traditional pastry from Carmona, torta inglesa, and sit on benches finishing off the strawberries and chatting. All in all, an excellent day trip and one I would very much like to repeat.