The never-ending corridor of pink flowering Oleanders that line the highway from Malaga to Seville had the same effect on my senses as rose tinted spectacles and we arrived in this beautiful city full of anticipation for all she had to offer. If Malaga can be compared to a young, fun-loving adult, albeit with an impeccable lineage, Seville is the grand dame, the matriarch. She is haughty and dignified, gracefully revealing her timeless beauty.
Our home for three nights was the Elvira Plaza Hotel that was, unsurprisingly, situated on Elvira Plaza. This is one of the oldest squares in the city and is in the centre of a pedestrian precinct. As recommended by our hotel, we parked our hire car in an underground facility some distance away. This, in itself, was not a feat for the faint hearted as it cost E21 per day for a parking bay so small that I had to breathe in while my trusty chauffeur (read husband) squeezed the car into a space much more suited to a scooter!
With the car safely stowed, we trundled our suitcases along the seemingly endless but delightful narrow cobbled lanes that eventually led to the plaza.
It is an enchanting place, with a small central park complete with fountain, shady benches and orange trees. This is in turn ringed by (expensive) restaurants.
Despite the heat of the day and my ever-growing thirst, the irony of paying a large number of Euros for a glass of orange juice when they were growing, unlike money, on the surrounding trees didn’t escape me, although admittedly, it was more fermented grape and not orange juice that I had in mind. Before long, I’d recklessly abandoned my conscience and was revelling in a glass of wine while soaking up my surroundings and the wonderful serenades of cloaked and pantalooned musicians.
On the subject of sustenance, Seville is the home of paella which along with tapas, is served everywhere in the old town. This is all well and good if you are fond of rice, which we aren’t, and one can only eat so much tapas before wanting ‘proper’ food. More often than not we walked into the newer part of town for some more recognisable and less expensive food. Spanish food may appeal to some, but I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t long into our trip before we started seeking out local Italian eateries.
Seville is also famous for its giant mushrooms, although in this case they are more architectural than nutritional. I had seen photographs of the Metropol Parasol before we left home as was determined to experience walking on the roof of this magnificent structure – believe me, it is not an experience that disappoints and the views over the old city are magnificent. Your entrance fee is only a couple of euro and you are entitled to a free drink (beer and wine included) in the rooftops restaurant so it works out to be an almost free outing. Just a word of warning to anyone planning a visit, the ticket office and elevator to the top of the structure are strangely placed in the basement adjacent to the Roman Ruins. We spent almost an hour wandering around looking for the entrance, which is very well hidden.
We also visited many of the other ‘musts’ in Seville including its very ornate cathedral, the Alcazar and the Torro Oro (Golden Tower) and the only one to disappoint was the Flamenco show. We had booked for what is widely regarded as the most authentic show in Seville and I was bubbling with anticipation. Apparently I am a total plebeian when it comes to such things as I was expecting a rousing demonstration by a bevy of fan-fluttering, castanet-clicking women in red dresses and handsome matadors. What we got was a guitar player who ‘entertained’ us for a good long while and occasionally interjected with an unenthusiastic “ole”, a male dancer and later a single female. I do believe their dancing was probably technically brilliant but as entertainment it was … boring!
Our time in Seville was over too soon and we were sad to leave, so it was with mixed emotions that we trundled our suitcases back along the cobbled lanes to our car. Next stop Granada!