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This post follows from my previous post on Splendid Sevilla Cathedral and Awe-inspiring Real Alcázar of Sevilla. After a week in Arabia and before a conference in Madrid, I took a long weekend in Andalusia in the south of Spain.
After a relaxing cerveza by the Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, we were out-voted on visiting the bull fighting ring and instead walked to Plaza de España. The plaza is in a large and nice park, Parque de María Luisa, with lots of shade trees. In 1929, Sevilla hosted the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair. The southern end of the city was redeveloped into an expanse of gardens and grand boulevards. The centre of it is Parque de María Luisa, with tiled fountains, pavilions, walls, ponds, benches, and lush plantings of palms, orange trees, Mediterranean pines, and flower beds. The building is curved in shape and at the base of the building are small tiled alcoves for the provinces of Spain. We enjoyed wandering around the plaza, chatting and looking at the different alcoves.
We sat and chatted together in one alcove, watching people walk past and enjoying the evening sunshine. An attractive young couple passed us twice before asking if we could sit in a different alcove so that she could take a photo for her mother of her province’s alcove. We listened to vendors playing castanets in Flamenco style, trying to attract tourists.
We oriented ourselves using Giraldillo which is the weather vane on top of the Cathedral and quite visible throughout the city and wandered back in search of dinner. We enjoyed looking at an outdoor photography exhibition next to the tram line beside the cathedral and parted company with our new friends who needed to rest.
We ventured into Santa Cruz, which is a thriving old town that feels firmly inhabited by the people of Sevilla. We were caught up in a procession of young musicians and performers and ducked into an authentic bodega to have a bite to eat.
We sat at the bar and ordered dish after dish of fresh and delicious tapas. It was by far the best patatas bravas that I’ve ever had. We were enchanted that the waiters kept our bill written with chalk on the bar. Initially the bar staff were stand-offish with us but as we ordered more food and beer and even tried their orange wine they warmed up to us. We watched as the bodega became progressively fuller until it was tightly packed and thrumming. A young American woman overheard me speak in Polish and struck up a conversation with me. She spent the summer in Krakow and is now teaching Spanish to Americans in Sevilla. What a life!
As the sun dropped we set off again to meet up with our new friends. We found the same bar in the plaza that we had used for lunch earlier in the day and enjoyed the warmth of the evening as we watched people of Sevilla dining with friends and family.