28 February 2016

// spain | sevilla //

ahhhhh sevilla!
this small city in the middle of andalusia (southern spain) is packed with culture and life! 
after spending 9 hours in a train (there is no quick way from valencia to sevilla unfortunately!) and getting close to the peak of my sickness, we arrived at night and began the trek through lively but quiet streets to find our hostel. we were slowly getting accustomed to the sound of suitcases being drug behind us on cobblestones for 2 miles but it still was a killer arm workout. other than the main roads, most of the streets within neighborhoods are narrow & winding and you definitely want to watch your step for smashed oranges or horse droppings! 
there are horse drawn carriages that ride all around the city center and our hostel was right around the corner from the cathedral of sevilla where they all cluster waiting for clients. the cathedral of sevilla is the largest gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world as well as being the burial site of christopher columbus. the archbishop's palace is situated right next to the cathedral and both are stunning structures.

originally we were spending four days in sevilla and the surrounding areas of andalusia but when trains were scarce and we were rerouted to valencia for a few days, it cut our time in sevilla down to one day. this was definitely a bummer but we made the most of it-- making friends with so many people at our hostel in between trekking from one end of the city to the next!! we spent a lot of time with a few of our awesome hostel hosts, arianne from peru, eduardo from florence & alesseo from rome, and it definitely felt like a bit of home for the short time we were there.
we spent some time at the plaza de espana and it was phenomenal! it was built for the 1929 ibero-american exposition but that ended up coinciding with the wall street crash in october of '29 so the exposition was not as successful as the spanish government had hoped and they were left with a considerable amount of debt. but the plaza itself is a mixture of stunning morrish and spanish architecture and it now houses many government offices.

 i was all about going to a bull fight but unfortunately it wasn't the season. we still went to see one of the oldest bull fight arenas which is in el arenal- a neighborhood full of narrow twisty streets and lots of tapas restaurants! each city visited had a full skating rink or a mini kinder rink for children and a huge lighted metal tree to celebrate the holiday season (no fur christmas trees!) and sevilla was no different. 
you can get traditional bocadillos (large sandwiches) or montaditos (mini sandwiches) & tapas inexpensively almost anywhere but sevilla was also full of many moroccan restaurants serving falafel, shawerma & moussaka. street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and churros con chocolate were abundant and sangria was available everywhere! we were never lacking in amazing food!

two other buildings worth noting are the real fabrica de tobaccos and hotel alphonse xiii. the old tobacco factory was one of the oldest and most prominent factories of it's kind until the 1940's. in the 1950's, the number of factory employees had become so low so they chose to move it to a different neighborhood and converted the building into the headquarters for the university of sevilla. the hotel is one of the oldest in sevilla and absolutely stunning inside and out! we stepped in to take a look and encountered ancient moorish tile, cases of gold jewelry on display from the 1400s and larger than life portraits of alphonse xiii. this was one of the hotels built especially for the exposition of 1929 and was named after king alphonse xiii who was reigning at the time.

we were really loathe to leave sevilla but the rolling hills and groves of olive trees outside Córdoba on our train ride were stunning and we still had another city to explore! up next: madrid!

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