W e went in December and it was absolutely perfect. First off, December over there is like a mild spring or autumn day. Beautiful sunshine meant that I could wear my favourite pair of sunglasses and live out my Spanish dream!
We started with some typical tourist things. Right in the centre of Seville are the Moorish palace known as the Alcázar castle, the great Cathedral of Sevilla, where Christopher Columbus’ tomb is, and there’s a great bell tower called the Giralda. We had a fantastic morning, walking round these beautiful places. The Alcázar palace is done in the typical Moorish style, with that beautiful Arabic styling. The grounds are a wonder. Really, those moors knew how to live the good life! In the morning sun, it was one of the most tranquil gardens I’ve ever been to, stone quiet apart from the occasional call and response of two strolling peacocks. When I later found out that it was used as one of the filming locations for Lawrence of Arabia I wasn’t at all surprised. It’s stunning and a must see.
When they say that something put the fear of god into you, this must have been what they had in mind. As soon as you go into the massive cathedral, you feel tiny. And that gothic style - Well, it’s not for me. The cathedral is built on the site of the former mosque and it feels like it’s gone over board in an attempt to make itself the top dog religious place in town. The tomb of Columbus was interesting. The tomb has four figures on it, carrying his coffin. Apparently, his body has been all over the place – Valladolid in Spain, the Dominican Republic and even Cuba. It sounds about right when you think about it!
Next door to the cathedral is the Giralda. It’s the former minaret of the old Mosque and a beautiful focal point for the old part of the city. It’s a long way up, but boy oh boy, the views from the top are spectacular. In fact, there are plenty of places to stop and have a rest as you make it up there. The oldest person to climb to the top was 93 years old, so I had no excuse!
While we were at the top, enjoying the vista, I noticed that there were lots of people milling around in traditional, old costumes, like from the 16th Century. We’d actually arrived on a fiesta day! December the 8th is the the feast of ‘La Inmaculada Concepción’ (the immaculate conception to you and me) and it’s the night that they turn the Christmas lights on.
In one bar (I forget the name) we had a fantastic plate of Argentinian steak. It was truly wonderful, but the best was still to come! We found this little seafood restaurant called Freiduria Puerta de la Carne, named because it’s on the Calle Puerta de La Carne. We ordered salt cod and prawns and a big plate of tomatoes. The fish comes wrapped in paper and the restaurant across the way takes your drinks order. I haven’t had a better fish dinner in my life. I’m still salivating as I write this! Finally, we joined in with the fiesta festivities. There were so many locals in old costumes and beautiful Spanish girls ready to flamenco the night away. Every bar was packed, and of course, we had to have a few more plates of tapas. I couldn’t help myself. It was no surprise when fireworks lit up the sky around the Giralda to signal the start of the Seville Christmas season. I cannot recommend Seville enough, and I really feel that I must visit it again, maybe in the summer sun next time. It’s a picturesque city, with warm people and the food was sensational. I left feeling very Euphoric! Viva Sevilla!