Published: January 24th 2013January 24th 2013
Okay granted that it was my first trip to Europe and that perhaps every single building will seem different and nice to me, but nevertheless, I was very much in awe when I was walking from the bus station to the hostel, along the brightly litted streets. It was peaceful, tranquil in fact, with occasional cyclist and locals skating past. The architectures look foreign, in a very pleasant manner to my eyes. Bars were still open at around 10ish at night, and of course there are the common worldwide chains like starbucks and macdonalds around. Had some difficulty trying to find my hostel, Travellers' Inn
, as the streets and roads somewhere are winding in a pretty confusing manner, with streets leading to another in the middle of nowhere. But as I will eventually find out in the next day, I just have to walk in that direction I'm heading to, and I will sooner or later reach the destination. Explored the streets a little after checking in, and it really felt safe even past midnight.
Headed for a walking tour around the major attractions in the area. One good thing about the hostel, its location is just a good 5
min stroll from the famous Seville Cathedral. An even better thing, as I chanced upon, was the free guided walking tour which is supposedly organized by the various hostels. Apparently such walking tours are pretty common in the European cities. Anyway, the guide was really knowledgeable and it was insightful having the explanation while walking to the major historical buildings and monuments, besides doing the necessary read-ups on the internet.
We headed for Catedral de Santa Maria
and the La Giralda
next door. The cathedral, converted from a mosque after the Christians took over in 1492 (completely), was surprisingly grand in the interior, with several chambers and even houses the Christopher Columbus's tomb. The largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, a definite must-visit for Seville go-ers. La Giralda, the tower, just adds the icing to the cake. There are 35 inclined slopes + 17 steps up to the top, but the view from up there is more than worth the effort going up. A perfect view of the city, with clear sights on the main icons such as the Plaza de Espana and the Plaza de Toros (Bullring stadium n museum). After which, there was the significant Plaza de Espana
, which is actually built for the Ibero-Exposition World's fair. The main building (with 2 towers) is shaped in a semi-circle, symbolising a hug (representing forgiveness). There are, I can't remember if its correct, 70 plates and symbols on the walls and floors of the building, representing each state in Spain, and also showcasing the most significant event there. The story behind the building, as I heard, was perhaps one of the most intriguing ones. Went next for the Plaza de Toros
where the bull fights take place. Though there was no fight today (opens only from March to October 12 - Spain's independence), it was interesting enough to understand the history of the sport and its significance to Seville, let alone mentioning stepping into a bullring for a first time!
The highlight of the night has got to be enjoying the Flamenco
, a song-dance-rhymic, that is not quite anything that I've seen before. There is a guitarist who plays the backdrop music, with a main vocal who also claps to the beat. Clapping in a synchronize and pre-arranged rhythme was perhaps the most prominent aspect of flamenco. There is also the dancers (1 male 1 female) who are
Having various modes of transport co-existing together
dressed in the traditional famenco outfit and dance, with emphasis on the movements of the lower bodies, with lots of stomping of the feet. It was really an eye-opener, as the audience gave a standing ovation at the end of the show.
Had the opportunity to lunch with fellow travelers from the walking tour, and tried the well-known Tapas.
Tried the mashed pork and also the pastry ones, and it was really good! There are also others like Goat cheese which is slightly more unfamilar to Asians. Also had the opportunity to interact with travelers from my hostel over dinner, as we decided to save a little and eat in. Travelers' Inn
is actually pretty homely, with a kitchen serving free breakfast and a nice little stove for some cooking. Moreover, rooms are clean, and the most awesome part is having a rooftop with great view of the neighbourhood, including La Giralda. Highly recommended for travelers going solo too, with many opportunities to meet like-minded friends, even those not from the same hostel.
In all, it was a really enriching day, as I discovered much more about the history of Seville and its culture and way of life.
Generally love the feeling of just being able to roam around the city freely and safely, and getting lost and then finding my way back again. It is enchanting to say the least, and I definitely hope to be back here one day, hopefully to spend more time and relax. It's so much more laid back compared to back at home!
Next stop, Cordoba, gotta catch an early bus tomorrow!
There are more photos below