Next day we headed to Seville, the youthful capital of the Andalusia region. The tour of the bull fight arena is a must-experience. Like it is said, there is a celebration every day in Andalucia. And to our luck, we got to attend the ongoing global cuisine fair. There are sky-diving options here, which are more expensive as compared to other options in Europe, but well worth the experience.
There couldn't be a better first impression to Spain other than Andalucía’s capital, Seville!
The people are warm & welcoming, the culture and traditions absorb you in no time, and the Moorish & Roman influences in architecture are not only jaw dropping but highly symbolic & meaningful. The Flamenco shows are so dramatic that they leave a lasting impression on you & I can't say enough about the gastronomy!!
If it is true that Andalucia is a beautiful region, it is also true that most big cities have somehow similar historic sights, with particular focus on a main cathedral and an alcazar (sort of palace built by the Moors and later on taken over by the Christian rulers). Sevilla was no exception. I guess as it was the last place we visited in Andalucia it did suffer from our overload of history in the previous days. But don’t let this turn you off if you plan on traveling to Southern Spain. Sevilla is well worth a visit! Not only to see its historical buildings, but also to experience its culture, in the form of Sevillanas and Flamenco music (which we didn’t get to experience live this time) or food & drinks.
You can tell that people in Andalucia are generally happy folks and, being Spanish, they sure like to party! The streets are always full of people (and they say there is a big crisis going on? We couldn’t tell!) and more than once we came across folks that would start singing and clapping out of the blue.
My first observation about Seville was that it was much bigger than I had pictured it. There was a decent-sized area that constitutes the “old town” where all of the main historic sites are located and then that area is surrounded by a really generic, large European city. Though the old town is small, it is quite easy to lose your bearings (as I soon discovered) while wandering around. There were a number of small, winding city streets that the locals apparently think should remain nameless because I couldn’t find a sign on any of them, nor did they seem to exist on either of the two maps I looked at.
My first stop was the Catedral de Sevilla, the largest Gothic building in the world and third largest cathedral (after St. Peter’s in Vatican City and St. Paul’s in London). The cathedral’s central altar is over 60 feet tall and is said to be the largest in the world. The tomb of Christopher Columbus is also located within the cathedral. Next door is La Giralda, a 12th century Moorish tower. The view is fantastic and I had earned it after walking up the steep ramps to get to the top.
Just across from the cathedral is the Royal Palace, Alcazar. Formerly a Moorish fortress, it’s still used by the royal family when they visit Seville.