To get to our last city, Sevilla/Seville, we decided to take a bus because it was a much more direct route. It started out as a pretty nauseating ride through the hills while this old man next to me hacked up a lung. But eventually things smoothed out, and we got there really quickly.
We struggled a bit to find a place to stay, as there were very few listings online and they were really expensive. We finally found out it was because U2 was playing a massive concert there that weekend, so everyone had to pay festival rates for hotels.
(By the time we left, we were pretty sure Oprah was going to show up at the Minneapolis airport, as the president and Bono had already derailed our trip in parts).
We ended up in a pension that had a great location, but was definitely not worth the cost. Oh well. If that was the worst we did I’d say it was pretty good! At least the maid left us a tiny rose.
The first night we asked the guy at the front desk for a dinner recommendation and he suggested a place he said was populated by locals. So we tried it out and it was probably the best tapas experience we had the whole time.
The bartenders were racing around, telling jokes and laughing, and one guy in particular kept teasing all the patrons. Fortunately Mike knew enough Spanish to keep up with him, so we got two seats at the bar and ended up helping two French girls and a bunch of Dutch tourists order their stuff. The French girls were so funny. They were getting help from this older guy at the bar and before they left one of them gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then a minute later the other one came back and kissed him, too. Everybody cheered and he was so embarrassed.
I don’t have any photos of that but I do have photos of what we ate! We tried a tapa with a slice of chorizo covered with a quail egg.
Though I stayed away from most meats on the trip, I have to say the chorizo was pretty good. We also ordered Roquefort cheese with blackberry jam, and were pretty surprised to see them scoop this enormous hunk of cheese onto the plate. We didn’t begin to finish it, but it was really good.
Then we drank too many glasses of vino blanco and wandered back to our hotel for the night. You know, the usual.
The next morning I convinced Mike to take a carriage ride through the city, and it ended up being a great idea. It was still cool enough in the morning to be able to enjoy being out in the sun, and we spent a lot of time clopping through this huge garden in the middle of the city.
Our tour guide was very entertaining. He knew just when to pull over and take a photo of us.
The park was so serene and beautiful. A lot of people were taking their morning jog there.
Seville was a pretty cool city in general. They have a new tram that runs through the city, and a bike rental system that seemed pretty well used.
We found some lingering signs of the strike while we were there.
By the way, how cool is it that they still paste up signs? I don’t know why I liked that, I just did.
Passing by this wedding was a lot of fun.
Our next stop was … wait for it … the cathedral!
Actually, that’s not true. We went to this cool museum that had tons and tons of maps from the early exploration of the Americas. For Mike, a certified map nerd, this was amazing, and I enjoyed it quite a bit, too. But I didn’t take any photos there.
Seville’s cathedral is absolutely massive. In fact, there was even a certificate from the Guinness book of world records certifying that it’s the biggest church in Spain, or something to that effect. And I believe it!
This might have been the biggest door yet.
This was certainly the biggest altarpiece. It was so intricate you couldn’t really focus on anything.
Inside there were parts that were more like a museum, with beautiful artwork and pieces that had belonged to royalty.
This Goya was just stunning.
Most of the cathedrals we saw had relics like these.
One of the main reasons people visit this cathedral is that Christopher Columbus’ tomb is there. Apparently there is some disagreement as to whether or not his remains are actually buried there.
We took another climb to the top of the bell tower there. This one was awesome – instead of steps it was more like a ramp to the top. This was so horses could go up and down.
Looong way down!
I couldn’t help but take more pictures of doors. They are just so grand.
After the cathedral, we wandered over to a park and watched two guys do tricks on rollerblades while some adorable kids played with their nannies. Then we decided to go down to the area by the river and check it out.
It was beautiful over there! And I don’t think the book even mentioned it. We took a seat at one of the cafes and just watched people pass by on rowboats.
Before we left, I was determined to get one more thing: chocolate and churros. If there’s anything in Spain that seems like it could be a state fair treat, this is it.
The churro is sort of like a funnel cake and you dip it into a cup of really rich chocolate. Definitely a good idea.
That night we went to bed early since we had to get up at 4:30 a.m. (!!) in order to catch our first flight home. We ended up going from Madrid to Philadelphia with 15 Spanish middle schoolers and their supervisor who had absolutely no control over them. Needless to say, I was so glad when we finally got home.
Overall I think we had an amazing trip, and we covered as much as we possibly could in that amount of time. In retrospect we wished we could have changed the order so we went to Ronda first (for more relaxation) and Barcelona last. But I think we’ll take a more low-key trip when we get to California. We want to go back to Spain another time so we can see Madrid and the northwest region. A lot of the foods we loved were from the Galicia region, so we’d like to see that. And maybe Portugal as well. So much to see!
Next up, my big post about the wedding. We finally got our official photos back and they are so, so good.