I can’t believe how quickly this semester is going past…it honestly seems like just last weekend I was in Granada, but now my second visitor of the semester has been and gone! My friend Louise came to visit this past weekend and because this was her first time ever in Spain we decided to book an airbnb in the centre of Sevilla and experience a weekend a true Sevillanas!
Although I go to Sevilla for writing group every so often and vaguely know my way about most of the city, because I don’t actually live in the city there are a lot of ‘must do/see’ things that I hadn’t done prior to this past weekend (expect blog posts on some of them over the coming weeks/months/whenever I pull the finger out and actually get around to writing them…). There were a few things I really thought Louise should experience in order to say she’d properly seen Sevilla – the Real Alcázar, the Cathedral, and Plaza de España – so those were first on the list for the weekend. I mean, obviously, we did more than just those three, but they were definitely my priorities.
Unfortunately I couldn’t come in until after I’d finished work on the Friday, so Louise ended up being alone for Thursday night and most of Friday too, but I think she coped fine. After checking in to our apartment on Friday night (which was in a fantastic location, by the way, and just look at the view from the roof terrace at the end of the paragraph – how incredible is that!), I wanted to go to Tiger and pick up some lesson supplies before having some dinner (that teaching assistant life, amirite?!). As neither of us particularly felt like cooking at all over the weekend, we decided to eat out for every meal. Not sure how much my bank will thank me when I do my budget for the month, but my tummy certainly enjoyed it!
After meeting a friend for breakfast in Santa Cruz on Saturday morning, Louise and I made our way over to the Real Alcázar for 11:30. Although I visited the palaces within the first few weeks of moving to Spain, I really wanted to see them again at a different time of year. Thankfully we’d had the foresight to reserve our tickets in advance online which meant we only had a ten minute wait instead of having to stand for an hour or more waiting to get in. The palaces were just as beautiful as I remembered and the gardens were even more impressive this time round because we’re now into springtime and the flowers were all in bloom! I’m glad we decided to book to go so early in the morning (by Spanish standards) as it turned out to be quite a hot weekend and I think we’d have been quite miserable walking around the palaces in the full heat of the day.
Next on the whistle-stop tour of touristy Sevilla on Saturday was Plaza de España (after having had lunch, of course). Again, I was here within a few days of arriving in Spain to sort out my NIE, but haven’t really made a point of going back much since. The few people from Sevilla I’ve spoken to about this kind of thing have said that, for them, Plaza de España is the go-to monument in the city. After all, there are beautiful Cathedrals all over the world, and many royal palaces too, but I struggle to think of another place that’s quite like the Plaza. Post-Plaza we decided to take a wander in Parque María Luisa to try and avoid the now ~27 degree heat. I’d never actually taken the time to visit the park until last weekend, but I quite liked it. Sure, it’s not the most amazing park in the world (for me, that honour has to go to NYC’s Central Park…at least of the parks I’ve visited so far), but it provided us with a nice walk for an hour or two (and some all-important shade). After having walked so much, we were both quite tired, so we went for ice-cream and then dinner with another of my friends in the city before having an early night (yes, you can eat your dessert before your main meal…shhhhh).
On Sunday morning we slept in and then went for breakfast at La Crème de la Crème, and, as always, it was the classic tostada con jamón on the menu. Having ticked the two of the three main priorities monument-wise off the list, we decided to see a more modern side of the city and go up Las Setas. I did this before when my parents came to visit, but for the stupidly cheap entrance fee (which includes a drink at the bar up the top and a free souvenir postcard) it was definitely worth doing again. And the views were just as fab as I remembered. Because we’d had breakfast so late we still weren’t hungry by the time we’d finished, so we made our way to the Cathedral in perfect time to join the queue to get in when it opened for the afternoon after Mass. Unfortunately, this did mean we had to wait in the sun for about half an hour, but it was definitely worth the wait. Once inside, we wanted to go up La Giralda as soon as possible to avoid the crowds, so that’s what we did. We also ended up listening in to a guide explaining a bit about the Cathedral to a French tour group. Think we got rumbled when we turned our heads to look at what she’d just pointed out though… Surprisingly, we still weren’t that hungry after the Cathedral, so all we had were some (fairly bad) churros before walking along by the river and crossing over to explore a bit of Triana before dinner.
After having walked more than 25,000 steps both days and been out in the heat both days, we were both fairly tired by the end of the weekend. I think Louise enjoyed her time in the city (she certainly took enough photos of the trees to last a lifetime #treesofseville) and it was lovely to catch up with her having not seen her since early September before I came out to live here. All in all, a great weekend and a nice wee break from work. Although that has meant I’ve had to do more during the week this week than I normally would, which is why this post is more than a little bit late. Expect some much detailed posts about some of the things we did over the next few weeks!