Posted in Europe on June 12, 2011
I love Seville. Pure and simple, I love that city, and I’m going back! (In fact, I am already back. This article has been sitting in my drafts for a while!) For me, Sevilla is strange one, because when my bus first drove by around the outskirts of the city, my initial reaction was actually a negative one. We must have driven through a bad area or something, because all I could see was grey skies and some dodgy characters lurking around. I was already planning to cut my 4 night stay into 2, and thinking of where I would go next. That was until I got off the bus and walked down into the old town to find my hostel. Suddenly things changed. The old town was beautiful, my hostel pretty much 5 star (if there is such a things as a 5 star hostel?), and an array of cool little Spanish bars, cafes, shops, parks, and restuarants littered the streets. Maybe this place wasn’t so bad after all?
The Old Town of Seville IS Seville. Unlike during my recent stay in Warsaw, where they had simply built an entirely new city centre beside their Old Town, there are no high rise buildings in Seville unless you count the cathedral. It does not have a business district kind of feel anywhere. They have simply modified the roads a little bit to make transport easier, but other than that the Old Town of Seville is very much intact, and used as the hub for everyday life. This one over riding factor gave Sevilla, for me, such a unique charm and character that it would be hard not to fall in love with the place.
Late night bars and tapas
For me, something just as simple as being able to hang out in authentic little tapas bars, cafes, pubs, and restaurants, where almost nobody spoke English, was really quite cool. Sevilla is full of these, and although they do get tourists and a lot of exchange students from North America, it certainly was nothing like the bigger cities or places out on the coast of Spain. It just seemed very Spanish. I know that sounds silly, considering that Seville is after all in Spain, but sometimes when you visit the tourist resorts such as in Costa Blanca, there are so many English speaking tourists, British pubs, restaurants etc that you never really feel like you are in Spain. With Sevilla however, you really do feel like you have arrived.
Sevilla is inland, so it doesn’t have a beach. What it does have however is a river! If you want to go canoeing, take a boat ride, or just chill out by the water then you can do that by day very easily. I wouldn’t say it´s the most naturally beautiful river I’ve ever seen, but where the river does come alive is at night! I took a walk down there at night and it really was stunning they way they had subtly lit it up. On weekends it does get a bit crowded down there, but certainly mid week it was really very nice.
My Crazy (but brief) Summer Romance
Whilst in Seville I had a very brief, crazy summer romance. I almost wasn’t going to come back here at first for the reason that I know these sort of things are best left as a memory. Back home in the real world these things would never work. At least not in my experience anyway. However, Sevilla will always be a good memory for me, and also the place I discovered Hispanic men love blue eyes! In Scotland they´re a dime a dozen, but in Spain (and particularly with South and Central American guys) I guess they´re not used to seeing it!
Police Cars and Drunken Debauchery
I had my first ever ride in a police car on my first night in Sevilla. Admittedly, I´d been a little worse for wear after losing bad at drinking games in the hostel. Somehow I had become lost in Sevilla at night, forgot I had a map, and was most probably about to spend the night in a jail cell after directing the police men to the wrong hostel twice! It´s at times like these I´m glad I´m a girl! I think if I´d been a big ugly guy they wouldn’t have been so understanding. Overall I have been drinking a lot more in Sevilla than I have anywhere else on this trip. To begin with I was trying not to drink while I travelled anymore as I didn’t want to waste my mornings hungover or sleeping in. However 3 weeks of seeing museums, cathedrals, and other stuff has really just made me want to have fun again. I want to drink, go the beach or the river, hang out, meet new people, and make new friends. It seems that just living the simple life in Sevilla is so much more enjoyable than trying to rush round seeing all the sights, although I have still managed to fit in a little bit of that too.
For some reason there is something about Sevilla that I just can´t put my finger on. I like it here a lot, and most people I meet seem to want to stay longer. As much as I’ve been craving a coast line recently, I think not having a beach has been Sevilla´s saving grace. It has meant that it has avoided being a package holiday destination. Of course there are tourists, but I´m beginning to think this place might be perfect to sit still for a little while, and learn some Spanish!