My parents recently visited us in Spain and we had a go-go-go two weeks, trekking to Seville, Cordoba, and Barcelona, with some in-between time in Madrid and surrounding cities (including Segovia and Toledo).
I didn’t know much about Seville before, and knew even less about how to pronounce it. Turns out both suh-vill and say-vee-yah are correct. One is how Americans say it and one is how Spanish say it. (Kind of like Paris and Par-ee). Several people have told me Seville is their most favorite city in the world, so my expectations were high.
We rented a car in Madrid and Mr. Dame in Spain drove the five hours down south, with one pit stop in cute town called Trujillo. During the town’s annual cheese festival no less! In Seville, we stayed at the best place in town, like ballers. (Our hotelpartment in Yemen was, at one time, the World’s Dumpiest Starwood, so we accrued quite a few points). The Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, was constructed in 1928 for a bunch of VIPs traveling to Spain for some big exposition. I feel like I should describe the rooms as “richly appointed” and the lobby as “grand and sumptuous.”
Our time in Seville was spent walking the lively pedestrian areas, which reminded me a bit of South Beach, without the ocean; eating tapas (duh); touring the Real Alcazar of Seville; checking out the stunning Plaza de Espana after strolling through the lush Maria Louisa Park. We also saw our first Flamenco show at the intimate Casa de la Memoria. The singing certainly takes some getting used to (to my totally untrained year, it was a mix between mournful Arabic music and a whale mating with a cat) but the guitarist was ridiculously talented and the dancers were very fun to watch. Also: While each dancer performed a sweaty, passionate almost tap-dance like routine, the other dancer would shout out words of praise. When the woman was dancing, the man yelled “You know a lot!” (Sabes mucho!), which struck me as a funny thing to say, and now I say it all the time to Mr. Dame in Spain, accompanied by some overhead snaps, of course.
Our best meal of the trip was at Bar Baratillo, an inviting place with bull heads on the wall, all of whom died in the nearby bullfighting ring. It makes me uncomfortable as a vegetarian to say I enjoyed this place, but there you have it. It was a Saturday night and our fancy hotel concierge directed us to a stodgy white-tablecloth place that was brightly lit and nearly silent, not to mention absurdly expensive. We left a few minutes after sitting down and wandered around for a bit before finding this place and all split a ton of tasty tapas,
All in all, Seville does rank up there on the Spanish cities I’ve seen thus far. Super walkable, tropical with the scent of oranges and abundance of palm trees, and has a totally different feel than stately Madrid.
To knowing a lot,
The Dame in Spain