In the Summer of 2016, one of my last summers as a student I decided to spend it home with my family. As all of us love to travel and discover new places we decided to go to Seville. Seville is a very colorful city in the south of Spain, luckily it is also very close to Portugal. After a short 4-hour road trip from Lisbon, we arrived in the beautiful city of Seville. I had been there before, millions of times according to my parents, sadly I was too young to remember it the way I do now. I had always wanted to go back, just by looking at the photo albums my parents kept in our living room I knew I needed to be in this wonderful city once again.
You can now imagine my state of happiness after my parents told me and my brother that we would road trip there. I love to travel, being one of my bucket list items to go to every country. A three day trip is perfect to get to wonder around this Spanish city.
We arrived in Spain during lunch time and made our first stop in a small tapas place for lunch. I had the traditional gazpacho. Gazpacho is a traditional cold tomato soup, it was definitely needed on that 40 degree weather. Followed by pasta with tomato sauce and melon for dessert. Which I must admit wasn't the most nutritional meal I've ever had. But, we were in a small town on our way to Seville, and just finding vegan friendly food was a miracle.
We went back to the car and before noticing, we had arrived in Seville. We stayed in a very cute hostel, hidden in a straight street right in midtown called Nochela Sevilla. It was the first time I stayed in a hostel. Although I must admit it wasn't the type of hostel with massive shared rooms and a big common area. It still had a small common area with a usable kitchen (that we did not advantage of). I shared a room with my brother - a.k.a. massive fight for the air con settings. The rooms had a fresh vibe to it. They were very well decorated with white and modern furniture. From our window we had access to a typical Spanish street. The buildings were painted with warm colours and the streets were very narrow. The lobby had a very traditional feel to it.
On that afternoon we took a walk towards the Plaza de España. You can find the Plaza de España in the María Luisa Park. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition and it is now a landmark of Spain and the Regionalist Architecture. I found the square to be absolutely gorgeous. You can definitely see the different styles of Spanish Architecture. Lucky enough it was sunny that afternoon and we got there just in time for the sun set. The orange tones of the sun made this place even more beautiful.
Afterwards, it was starting to get closer to dinner time - which for my family and I tends to be after 9 pm. So we walked back up to the high-street close to the Seville Cathedral. There we found a range of Spanish restaurants offering a variety of Tapas and other traditional foods. We settled for a very cute esplanade, with a beautiful view and right next to a square where we had the pleasure to watch Spanish girls dancing. I had a massive plate of (vegetable) paella and my parents and brother attacked the tapas. Dinner wasn't complete without some sangria. Which I must admit was a bit too alcoholic for any of our tastes. As what we we enjoy and appreciate the most about this drink is the freshness and sugary flavour of the fruits. It was just as we were finishing our dinner the street dancers began to perform Las Sevillanas. It brought me back so many memories from when I used to dance. They were mesmerising, with beautiful arm movements and strong tap. I must admit I just wanted to get in there and finish the dance with them. During our walk back to the hostel at (if I'm not wrong) 11 p.m., we walked past many more dancers in narrow little streets. We could still feel the burning heat from the day, until it started to rain down on us right at the entrance of the hostel.
On our second day, we sadly didn't have such a lovely day filled with sunshine as on our first day. But that didn't keep us from wanting to explore the city. We started by going to the Basilica Macarena to see their ravishing treasure. On the way back we decided to venture out through different streets. We found many different and compelling forms of art from amazing architecture to engaging street art. For lunch, we were back in town, my parents and brother had burgers and I a salad at The Good Burger. For me this was not a very good meal. As not only was I craving a good (vegan) burger, salads never seem to fill me up. But unfortunately all of their veggie burgers had egg.
Afterwards, we went to see the Seville Cathedral, which is just absolutely stunning. I personally get mesmerised when I visit historic places since. I used to learn all about them in school and see them in books. Yet seeing the real thing always impresses me. This particular Cathedral is mostly known for being one of the biggest churches and cathedrals in the world. It's architecture is remarkably gothic. It was built to show Spain's wealth - and you can definitely tell!
We decided to go up the Giralda - which is 105 m tall (yes I just googled it). To reach the top we to walk up very long ramps. As we go up you can see bits of Seville but as soon as you reach the top there is a breathtaking view of the city. By this time the weather had cleared up and it made the long ramps worth the climb. It was the best way to finish our afternoon.
We then headed to the hotel for a quick, and well deserved, freshen up. We all ended up falling asleep in an unexpected siesta. We then headed out for dinner, and decided to walk in between the narrow streets to try to find a new restaurant. Our mission was quite long as most places didn't offer vegetarian options - or options where I could easily make a small change (e.g. vegetable lasagna). We then found a small restaurant where I had a delicious mushroom risotto. Thankfully the waiter was really nice and requested mine without cheese. After a full meal, we struggled back to the hostel as we already had walked almost 20km in the burning heat that day.
The next morning, we started our day as usual. Went to the coffee shop near us to get some typical Iberian breakfast, which mostly consisted in coffee and a pastry or toast with tomato jam. We then started to get ready to go to Sevilla's main attraction, Isla Mágica! It wasn't much later that we were standing in the front door of the water park. We were part of the first few that got in and last ones to get out. The four of us started by deciding our route trying to check all the attractions from the map. We started by a cute water fight where he had to defend our tiny family boat against other families, following that with the Anaconda ride, and a lot more crazy water rides. We were still soaking wet at lunchtime - and bare in mind it was sunny and way over 35 degrees. Later we went to check out their newest bit: Aqua Mágica. It was a pool and water park inside their park. It was filled with slides that I was too afraid to get on, but I got to go on a slow rafting around them and on the wave pool. In that weather, it was great to catch some shade and dive for a bit. Afterwards, we went to grab some food as it was getting closer to the closing ceremony. Sadly the only option I had was some pasta with tomato sauce, it wasn't the best but was enough to keep me energised for the end of the day shows. We got to see some horses dancing, towards which I have mix feelings about, followed by an amazing acting/light show to close the day.
At the end of the day, we returned to the hostel for one last night and packed up to leave in the morning. It was a great trip and Seville is beautiful. The next morning we headed to Algarve where we spent 3 very relaxed days.
Going to Seville made me so excited for all of my next adventures!