Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seville, Spain

Seville was such a beautiful city! I took the train down from valencia with Anaïs  (which cost a hell of a lot more than i wanted to spend...ouch) after las fallas was through. She was going to meet some family who live there, so i spent a lot of time by myself and met up with her at night. Her relatives had booked her a hotel room for her stay, so i went along for free, and snuck breakfast for two days :) it was an intense start upon arriving because as soon as we got out of the taxi at the hotel (we were too lazy to walk or take the metro) and shut the doors, the taxi drove off and anaïs said she had left her phone on the seat. thankfully the hotel staff was really helpful and called the taxi company, and the phone was returned later that night. hallellujah! they said because it was an iphone there was a slim chance of seeing it again. so lucky.

after we got ourselves in order and Anais went to meet up with her family i went for a wander, and not 10 minutes in, I was at an ATM and i heard, "Rachael?" I turned around and it was a girl we had been hanging out with the whole time in Valencia. She said she recognized my butt and my tote bag. hah! she and her cousin were there for one more night, so we made plans to meet up later on. she suggested i check out the nearby gardens, so i went on a stroll around the area and ended seeing some cool fountains. i'm pretty sure she meant i should check out the jardins del palacio (which i did another day). These are gardens you enter through Reales Alcazares de Sevilla, the royal palace, which used to be a moorish fort. the palace was covered in beautiful mosaic work and obviously has an intense moorish design influence, as you can tell from the shape of the doorway arches. from here you enter the gardens, which are unreal! there is a maze to wander through and beautiful foliage throughout. crazy! we met up with the girls later that night and headed to a beer festival where we tried some sort of tequila flavoured beer called Desperado (more liiiime!) and got to scratch a ticket to win some beer merch. the girls got girls t's that were covered in holes (on purpose), and i got a nifty string backpack. garage sale pile, here it comes! we hit a tapas restaurant afterwards for some late-nite grub.

another day i went to Plaza de Espana, which is a building that was built for the 1929 american exposition. now, it houses government offices. the detailed decoration throughout represents spain through and through, down to mosaic fountains and other decor denoting different regions of spain. absolutely stunning! on the last day in the citty i went on a walking tour that ended here, and i randomly joined a protest fighting for abortion rights. crazy enough, you can rent a boat in this plaza and row around in a man-made moat!

anais was with her family for most of the daytime, but she'd arrive back around 9 or 10, then we would go out. one night we got dudded up (as much as possible when most of your clothes are sorta dirty and you are sick of everything) and headed up to a tapas bar, which was actually started by her relative? the guys behind the bar were intense -- there was a real system going. they'd write people's bills on the counter with chalk. we kept the tapas coming, ditto the sangria, and had a grand old time! outside there were men dressed as women for a bachelor party, and a group of men in traditional capes with decoration, playing beautiful tunes and singing. quite the experience! afterwards anais and i wandered to another place that was suggested to her, which turned out to be a music venue with music being played in a smaller front room, and a flamenco performance going on in a giant hall with benches and tables and its own bar! this place was amazing, cause it felt like we were watching a real flamenco show. we didn't have to pay 30 euros to see an "authentic flamenco experience". they also had cheap pitchers of sangria. ole! the best night :)

one afternoon i rented a bike and just WENT. i ended up at things i may not have if i hadn't had wheels...plaza mayor, the amazing structure i posted on facebook that amazed everyone! it is very striking! what a beautiful place. i wish i had gone up to the top to see the city! next time ;) i also rode over one of the bridges to another area of the city, full of people and shops and restaurants. i can't remember the name of the area, but at one time before there was a connecting bridge, this area was considered its own town, and it still kind of is! i was told the older generations who are crossing still say they are going to the next town :) i really enjoyed the dedicated green bike lanes throughout the city! winnipeg needs to work on this like crazy.

a must see in seville is the cathedral, which is the largest Gothic cathedral and third largest church in the world. that it was! i didn't go inside, but it was very impressive from the outside! unfortunately, the plaza outside is very touristy and you may be harassed by gypsys to take a piece of some sort of greenery for money, or perhaps by some drivers to take a ride in their horse-drawn carriage. no worries! on my tour i was told that to get up the bell tower,Giralda, back in the day people would ride donkeys, but now you just walk along the interior stairs or ramp that follows the walls. i lol'd. according to my map, this bell tower was built in 1184, so man, do i feel young.

seville was AMAZING. so beautiful. the other day i was looking at a blog of a couple travelling spain, and i was getting pangs in my heart! i was so fortunate to have met anais in madrid and travelled with her up to this point. i'm so happy that i got to travel to 4 different cities in spain, but there is so much to see! i'm destined to go back one day soon, for sure.

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