DAY 6: Haircuts in Seville
Every sunday, there is an open flea market that spans many streets in the neighborhood of La Latina. Known as El Rastro, this place is definitely worth a look for local crafts and souvenirs. It is less “flea market” and more tourist oriented now, but it’s fun to do a little “window” shopping.
My time at Madrid was coming to an end and I had to hurry to make my train to Sevilla. The train ride took about three hours. Sevilla has no subway system, so I had to take the “EA” bus to get to my hostel in Centro Sevilla. While Madrid is a big capital, Sevilla is much smaller in scale. Madrid had a gray, sleek monotonous undertone to the city while Seville felt like it had a yellow/orange filter throughout the city. Seville also has much more stronger Muslim/Moorish influence, especially in it’s architecture.
After checking into the hostel, I took a walk to Plaza de Espana along the Canal de Alfonso XIII. Sevilla is hot! Even in January, if you are in the direct sunlight, it feels like summer. The Plaza de Espana is through the Parque de Maria Luisa and it’s architecture is a blend of Baroque, Renaissance and Mudejar styles. A small canal runs around the semi-circle plaza, and there were little row boats for patrons to enjoy. The Plaza de Espana has been used in movies such as Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia. Seville is known as the center of flamenco and you can find street performers dancing almost everywhere, including in the Plaza.
After nightfall, I took a stroll along the canal. It’s popular to just sit along the banks and drink with friends. The bridge, Puente De Isabel II or Puente de Triana, connects Seville to Triana, the birthplace of Flamenco dance. At night, the arches are lit up and it’s wonderful to walk along the canal bank.
DAY 7: What rhymes with orange?
The first stop of my morning was Real Alcazar. It’s the royal palace in Sevilla and has gone through multiple transformations during its 500 year old history in regards to renovations and construction. Also, it was used as the filming location for Dorne in Game of Thrones and in Kingdom of Heaven. Even without the GoT fame, the gardens and the Patio de las Doncellas were absolutely magnificent to see. Equally as beautiful was the domed ceiling in the Hall of the Ambassadors which felt like I was looking up at a night sky full of stars. I spent several hours just wandering the gardens and appreciating everything it had to offer.
When you walk out of Real Alcazar, you’ll be on track to walk through Patio de Banderas which is a popular square lined with orange trees. The orange trees in Sevilla gives the whole city a sweet fragrance and you’ll find plenty of those trees everywhere. What’s unique to the city is it’s orange wine, vino naranja, which I found at La Goleta. Situated on a street down from the Catedral de Sevilla, I took a seat outside and enjoyed some bocadillos, manchego cheese and olives. They make their own wine and they sell them by the bottle!
I booked tickets to see flamenco dancing at Los Gallos. It was my last night in Spain and I wanted one last meal of tapas and cava. I found Bar Alfalfa. I highly recommend the stewed pork cheeks, the manchego, the olives, and bacalao. Los Gallos was a wonderful experience. Set in a small venue of about 30 seats, it was intimate and quite intense. The flamenco dancing and singing blew my mind, and there is something universal about song and dance that makes it understandable despite the language barrier.