Thursday, 28 April 2011

Stroll around the Majestic Seville.

La Giralda by Rob Stoke
When I take the Ave (high speed Spanish train) from Madrid to Seville and quickly like the velocity of the train I start to see a lot of abandoned development in the outskirt of the cities we were leaving behind so I start to be a bit concern given  I haven´t  been in Seville for a few years and really I don’t know how much the property development speculation has changed the city, and in which mood  was one of the more happiest cities in Spain and for add more uncertainty to my trip was pouring down arriving to Seville,  the Andalucía sunny city.
But when I set my foot in the Santa Justa Railways Station all my worries begin to disappear, various famous flamenco artists around the station, some back to home some with destiny far like Tokyo.  A chatty taxi driver doing his best for drive us in the picturesque cobbles streets with a ridiculous charge of only € 4 to our hotel and a nice welcome reception give me a glance that Seville can survive like did in the past to the most fiery crisis.
Next day the rain still there, so nothing better to recover the mood to go a have simple breakfast in a local bar, coffee and toast with olive oil with some of the more sweetest orange juice ever tasted.
We ahead to La Giralda, the 3 catholic centre in dimension after St Peter (Rome) and St Paul (London).  If you arrive around 10:00 am you can visit the Cathedral and listen the early mass, even if you are not a believer the experience in such a place will fulfill you. Then after that you can buy your ticket and explore the “Patio de los Naranjos” (Orange Tree Square) and climb the bell tower that really is old Arabian minaret. Yes, the architecture of Seville is a mix of style and civilisation that somehow make sense, in every corner and every building of the city you can find roman ruins, Muslim architecture until the VIII century and splendid baroque architecture from the XVIII. Once you finish contemplating the treasures of the cathedral, nothing can you make ready to enjoy the breath-taking Real Alcazar Palace, just a few steps from the Cathedral.
Real Alcazar

The Real Alcazar was house of caliphs, Maghreb and Spanish kings, everyone trying to do better than his predecessors, every corner, every room seem an eternal dream, the total mixture of style will you transport in the time several times like if you were in a time machine.
When you finish to visit the Maiden Courtyard or Doll Courtyard you will feel that is time for a break or change of scenery, so you are ready for visit the monumental garden, even with the quantity of tourist you will feel the peace that transmit the several terraces that shape the different garden style with a predominance of palm and oranges trees, if you arrive in early spring the smell of the oranges flower will delight all your senses.
Real Alcazar Garden
But Seville is a very proud city and for them have this two unique architecture gems wasn´t  enough they decide to organize a Iberoamerican World Fair of 1929, as a result another collection of style building, the most representative of all are the 50.000 m2 of the Plaza de España, the square combined Art Deco with Neo-Mudejar, a water channel and four bridges are part of the square as well, all of that is surrounding  by another beautiful gardens, The Maria Luisa Gardens became from the first moment the place to be for the local burgesses eager for live monarchy style life.
Plaza de España

Another essential walks of Seville, is over the outskirt of the Guadalquivir River where you can access to the top of the Gold tower a defensive watch tower from the 13th century, the bullfighting arena and the Maestranza Theatre.  In the another side of the river is the famous Triana neighbourhood, pottery shops, flamenco schools, churches and the Betis street one of the most popular places to have a Spanish tapa or late drink.  Another great area to just get lost is around  Sierpes Street, traditional shops like hat makers, clock houses ,bookshop in and old Theatre,  modern and traditional Andalucía fashion shop and bakery’s and terraces for enjoy the sun drinking an Alhambra beer is some of the things you can find around one of the most popular streets.
The best place to stay must be the Santa Cruz area, where are located most of the major monumental attraction of the cities. Lately Seville has a lot of new boutique hotels that are recover and old building or house and transform in elegant spaces like the Corral Del Rey like Converted from a 17th-century palace or Casa Numero 7, and old baron residence, but even for short budget Seville is full all typical houses from the 18th or 19th with the typical Andalucía courtyard that now open the doors like a charming little hotel.  We stay in the Abanico Hotel, very close to the Pilatos House, another places where is seriously recommend you, and from a short walk from the main attractions but with many local places to enjoy a tapa or secrets little street, church and squares that are difficult to find in twisting city map.

Seville is overall Tapas, the Andalucía gastronomy is simple and tasty and nothing else can challenge the Tapas in this way. The best areas for go to Tapas are around Santa Cruz and Calle Betis (Kiosko de las Flores is a good place for example)

Taberna Aguilas, Seville

Meson Don Raimundo. In the Jewish area and very close to the cathedral, the place offers a very old traditional menu including mozarb dishes in a room full of history and Andalucía tradition decoration. The food is rustic, tasty and with any more pretention than emulate old dishes base in natural local ingredients. We start with traditional soup that was enough for put an end to our meal, late we have the rabbit stew, that was very tasty and tender, unfortunately the Mozarb citrus lamb style cooked in a brick oven was overcooked and no sign of staff member  offer us a change or a discount. Overall is a nice place to have a big meal after a hard walking day, and if you no speak Spanish just point what you like in the English menu, one of the things more I enjoyed of Seville are that in several places the staff don’t speak too many languages and give an extra authentic touch to your experience.
El Rinconcillo, so far the simplest cuisine and the most grateful experience, is not just a nice tourist spot to have a tapa, they offer very good wine with a very nice and creamy croquets, good seasoning and cook tortillas and good quality ham and cheese at very low prices. Even the bread tastes so natural and fresh that you will be wondering when was you last time that you enjoyed just eat bread! The house has been open since 1670 and is famous for the Caballero ad with Azucar Moreno.
Calle Aguilas is the same street of Casa Pilatos, you can find a bunch of places that you can have a really nice time, La bodega is perhaps the more popular and lively of all of them which a very easy access from the street, the environment is great, shame the tapas didn’t stay in the same level.  But also you can find more quiet places like Taberna Aguilas, with a very simple tapas executed in a traditional way with a very charming attention by his owner  with full of locals that works in the shop around. But in any street you take almost in any direction you can make real find.
La Campana Pastry Shop
Calle Sierpes is one of the favourite’s places for the locals to go and have tapas, but if you want some sweet in the pastry shop La Campana with keep doing traditional recipes since 1885. And if you are getting tired of too much tapas they made the more moist and fresh sandwiches probably in whole Spain.