Day #8 – Stop #3 Sevilla
It’s crazy how I feared getting sick prior to this trip and how I still looked for some sort of meaning to my bad luck when I did in fact get sick. However, if there was any positive message to be found, it was that the inability to sleep (due to coughing) alerted me to the silent alarm clock on my iPad and saved me from missing my flight to Sevilla!
Like other travelers, I experienced a typical disorientation/reorientation period as I arrived in a new city with a very new layout. Sevilla’s colorful buildings were so different that I got a Cuban feel from them (disclaimer: I have never been to Cuba).
I know I keep oscillating between calling myself a silly tourist and touting my navigation skills, but I did find and use a few valuable tips on this trip. One of which was the free admission to Sevilla’s Torre del Oro (Gold Tower) on Mondays. It gave me a set destination once I had dropped my bags off at Hostel One Centro.
Next, I stopped at a café for a drink and a bite to eat…or so I hoped. I had trouble with both those waitresses who knew no English and those who knew a little. I want to believe it was simply a series of honest miscommunications, but it would happen at least twice in Sevilla and again in Madrid. Oh, well, I still managed to enjoy the scenery from my sidewalk table and the old lady who sat with me and kept talking despite our language barrier.
After my failed lunch stop, I decided to go to Alcazar. In truth, I balked a bit at the price of admission, but unlike some of the other tourist attractions in Spain, this one didn’t disappoint in the least! To quote what I wrote about it that night: “beautiful doorways courtyards gardens. Every little spot had a name and a story of when and why it was built.” The feathered residents were a pleasant surprise. I spent hours there and still didn’t see the whole estate.
After Alcazar, I headed toward Plaza de España, but seeing that I was walking by the Tobacco Factory turned University of Sevilla, I took a slight detour. I realize other tourists probably stumble into the university, but I would like to think I appeared less obvious, strolling confidently past classrooms in search of the WC.
Exiting out the opposite side of the building, I continued on to Parque de Maria Luisa and then Plaza de España. Plaza de España is especially photogenic. Additionally, I tried hard to get a special photo of the Granada emblem because one of my travel buddies told me it (Granada itself) was not to be missed and I figured I could at least visit it symbolically. Unhappily, a couple beat me to it and just wouldn’t leave! Sorry, Sean, I tried. Next trip?
Back at my hostel, I discovered the lovely rooftop view, the in-house mascot, and met my roommate Kathryn.
Kathryn and I ran a few errands and killed a little time before the nightly homecooked dinner provided by the hostel and its super cook. When we got back from our walk, I found my friend Warwick among the travelers at the dinner table! “Hey, Stranger!” We caught up and enjoyed vegetarian paella among a large group of new friends (countries represented include Switzerland x 2, other Americans for once, and France).
From late last night and through all morning, I was a haze. For me, it was the thralls of a second cold. That’s right, another virus caught hold! For the other hostel lodgers that went on the walking tour with me, it was how late they stayed out (4 am) the night before. And for all of us, it was the lack of breakfast. At long last and after visiting all the sights I had seen the day before on my own, we were freed from the walking tour and energized just by the mere thought of food.
The group gradually shrunk to myself, Kathryn, and a Kiwi named Dan. The three of us paid to go in Sevilla’s famous cathedral. Of course, the highlight of the Cathedral is the view from the Giralda tower after climbing the 34 ramps to the top.
Obviously, I escaped more vertigo-inducing splendor alive. We ventured across the river and headed for the Triana neighborhood. There we got a boost from coffee at a riverside café and good conversation. And yet another boost from churros and chocolate at a busy dessert place. Yum!
More free dinner at the hostel, more late hours for those with healthy immune systems!
…of the trip and about day #5 of my cold(s). I decided to let myself relax and take it easy rather than push myself to explore and tour and experience. I even let myself have a Starbucks. Yes, I know, some people are cringing, but it was a flavor drink that I’ve never seen in the U.S. And with drink in hand, I did some quality people-watching.
I also took up for the search for a bookstore again. And as it turns out, the Cathedral entrance receipt gets you into a second chapel for free. I did more people watching from that steps of that church, San Salvador. It’s strange how even when you’re watching people from a distance, thinking you’re invisible, sometimes you end up interacting in unexpected ways!
Returning to the hostel, there were new faces and friends to be had. After dinner, we formed teams for flip cup. I know it sounds juvenile, but even with a 60-year-old rookie on my team, we kicked butt! I kept the energy going and joined the night owls for flamenco and sangria. Although I later abandoned ship for bed, I’m glad I made it out.
For another Sevilla itinerary, featuring a day trip to Cordoba, the Metropol Parasol, and lots and lots of tapas, read about the visit Jon and I took as part of our Round-the-World Trip at Herrwego-Sevilla.