Seville, Spain – originally published 28 July 2005

Vacation. My trip to Seville, Spain was truly a vacation.

The flight from Paris Orly to Seville was great – about 2 hours long, no problems. We flew Air Europa at a good price, and I’m glad we did. I looked into buses and trains and everything else had stops in Madrid or Barcelona. I heard from the Polish friends that I met at Monnai that hitchhiking through Spain was very hard, especially because it was so incredibly hot. We took a bus for about 2 euro into “Centro,” the middle of the city. From there we walked about 2-3 kilometers to our hotel. We had very little luggage, so the walk was fine.

After showers and a bit of relaxing, we tried to find something to eat. We had been told that the schedule of Seville when it comes to eating does not bend for tourists, and that was true. You can have breakfast around 9am, a big lunch from 12-2:30, and dinner at 10pm. Between 3pm-10pm, it is just about impossible to find a place that will serve a real meal, and the only people out walking around in the blazing heat are tourists. Everything closes in the late afternoon – restaurants, stores, supermarkets, etc. However, around 5-6pm, cafes start serving snacks (tapas, mostly). Around 6:30pm on our first day, we walked tentatively into a bar and split a cheese sandwich and tapas. I tried to reach back to high school Spanish and we mostly got by with that and a dictionary. I didn’t feel any resentment from people for our horrible Spanish, which was nice. Everyone was helpful and friendly.

We spent the night in Triana, an area of the city across the river. It was crazy; the first Saturday night of some sort of local festival. There was Spanish music and food and colors and people, and everything was so lively and amazing. I couldn’t get over the colors of Seville – all yellows, blues, and pinks. So unlike any other city I’ve ever been to, but still distinctly European. People stay out late in this city; since dinner doesn’t even begin until 10pm, the heavy drinking and partying doesn’t get underway until past midnight. This was my kind of city. I ate churros and chocolate, which is quite possible the worst thing imaginable, health-wise. Fried dough dipped in melted chocolate. Dear god. I felt like a wuss, but I could hardly take eating one piece.

Breakfast-type food wasn’t my favorite, but really, breakfast food in all of Europe really isn’t my favorite. I like fruit, yogurt, maybe a piece of toast, cereal, etc in the mornings. Sometimes some scrambled eggs. People in Sevilla mostly just ate toast or something sugary with a cup of coffee. I adjusted, and was delighted to find that the coffee was amazing and cheap at only a Euro, or 1,20. I know that seems fairly normal to Americans, but MAN coffee in Paris is expensive. And to get (good) espresso with steamed milk in the states is actually a bit pricey too. I was even able to convince one bartender to serve me iced coffee with milk (an idea that just doesn’t seem to translate here). She made the cafe con leche, and gave me a glass with ice cubes. I don’t think she realized that I was actually going to combine the two things, but it worked! Iced coffee! We probably spent more money on bottled water than any of our other drinks.

The seafood was amazing and the Spanish tortillas were perfect. We were totally decadent and went out to eat fairly nice dinners three nights in a row – the last night we just bought food at the supermarket and ate in a park.

We were kinda super-tourists, usually out sightseeing from noon to about 7pm every day. Around 7, I’d usually be close to falling over from exhaustion, so we’d go back to the hotel for a few hours of relaxing and showers before heading out for the night. Seville isn’t a huge city, and we really did just about everything we wanted to do in four days. I saw the inside of a bull-fighting ring (but didn’t quite feel up to the idea of seeing an actual bullfight), palaces and churches. The architecture was so beautiful, the streets were narrow and cobblestone, and pictures of Jesus and other god-like stuff was everywhere.

One of my favorite things that we did was take a bus into Italica, a town about 30 minutes outside Seville. There’s a gigantic archeological dig going on, but they’ve already uncovered this big Roman town, a coliseum, remnants of houses, statues, etc. They were uncovering new things all the time! It’s a dig that was going around us! My mind was blown. There were floors that had only just had the dirt swept away within the past few weeks. 2000 year-old floors. Jeezus. I know I just saw all that type of stuff when I was in Rome, but seeing it in the middle of nowhere, in Spain, was wild. After wandering around for a few hours and drinking all our water, we relaxed at a little bar with tapas and beer.

The only thing I didn’t love about Seville is that it wasn’t literally on the beach. I always think it’s unfair to live in such a hot area and not have easy access to water (like certain places in Arizona). I love hot weather, but when I can’t go swimming it makes me antsy. However, it wasn’t humid, so being in the shade felt great. And there were lots of trees and grass. Man, it was such a pretty place.

So, I’ve got just a couple days to pack everything up and then it’s back to the states for about five weeks. I’m so excited about seeing my friends and super-excited about working and earning money, but man, I’m really going to miss Paris. I spent some time leaning out of my giant living-room window last night, listening to the noise from the cafes and looking at the moon. It’s so wonderful to live here. But! August is going to be a full, happy month, and wince we’ll both be working we’ll be able to come back to Europe with a bunch of money to immediately blow on more adventures.