We arrive in Seville by bus from Portugal in just a few hours. We have two sequential home exchanges, giving us almost a month in this Southern Spanish city. We have been here once before many years ago, but only for a few days.
We are both very comfortable in Europe. We have traveled here many times over the years and with Ben’s dual French/US nationality, he has all the administrative advantages of being a European citizen (right to work or live anywhere in Europe, get European healthcare…). I, Peta, fully intend to take advantage of this “stop” to launch the process of applying for my own European passport based on my insider connection with a Frenchman!
Of all the European countries we have spent time in over the years, we are most comfortable in Spain. It is the language. After 6 years of living in Nicaragua, and with Spanish becoming a normal part of our daily lives, we have an immediately positive association. When we were recently in a cab in Portugal, the radio station switched to Spanish. We both had an instant feeling of “home”. And so, though the accent is wildly different from our more, shall we say, “low brow” Nicaraguan Spanish, we relish the linguistic fluency we can have in Spain, a fluency that that has escaped us in so many of the countries our nomadic lifestyle has taken us to, in the last 18 months.
Pues, vamos con nuestra adventura en Seville!
No doubt, successive trips to Sevilla will keep adding layers to what turns out to be an enchanting city. For now, we discover Sevilla through the prism of its architecture, nature and arts….
1) The architecture:
Architecturally, there is not one Seville. There are many Sevilles.
Multiple eras super-imposed, sharing the urban space, reminders that each age contributes through its architecture to the evolving urban narrative that is Seville.
The magnificent tiled buildings of Spanish baroque and Renaissance architecture make up the bulk of the buildings in the historic center. Each building more beautiful than the next, for their design, decorative tile work and roof-top surprises.
Centuries before these buildings were built, Seville was already an urban stronghold of the Moorish empire. The ramparts that still contribute to Seville’s urban signature date back to the year 1000 or so.
Leap yet again, this time to turn of the 20th century Art Deco
Seville’s ability to capture each age through its architecture is not merely a matter for those discovering the city’s often distant past. Sevillanos continue to mark the city for future generations to look back and be awed. Witness the enormous, modernist structure around the corner from our home-exchange…
Of all our architectural discoveries, none perhaps top the grandeur of Plaza de Espana. It is a landmark example of Renaissance revival style in Spanish architecture.
2) The Guadalquivir river
It winds through the city and its banks are ever welcoming throngs of Sevillanos who pause to enjoy the gentle flow of their river. We come by the river nearly every day for a picnic or a stroll.
3) The garage doors
OK perhaps these do not quite have the dramatic appeal of the river or the 17th Century architecture of Seville. And yet… there is enough of a display of urban creativity in Seville’s garage door art that we want to give it a shout out…
4) Fine art
If we wink at urban art, we would remiss to completely ignore the magnificent fine art that lies beyond large wooden doors. The city has multiple museums, churches and palaces where one can admire the city’s enduring artistic legacy.
Tapas bars are everywhere. Tapas rule! Small inexpensive plates of Spanish gastronomy. Always Iberia ham, variety of cheeses, olives, anchovies as a base of traditional fare. Then each bar adds some of its own favorites. At 2-3 euros a plate, it’s a great way to get a taste of Spain each day between 1 and 4 p.m. Tapas are most usually accompanied by a lot of beers.