Bienvenida a Sevilla!! Welcome to Seville
Updated: Jun 17, 2021
43 days on the road
12 different beds
numerous ubers, taxis and several tuktuks...
We arrived in Seville at 7.45 pm on Wednesday the 19th February 2020.
We chose Seville as our starting point in Spain because it is relatively small and compact and easy to get around. It's in Southern Spain and so given that we had planned to arrive in February we had hoped that the weather might be a bit warmer there than in the North. Seville has so much history and it is also close to many interesting places to visit including Granada, Cadiz and Cordoba - and of course it didn't hurt that it has a reputation for being extraordinarily pretty!
We were a little nervous when we arrived at Immigration as I didn't have a visa despite several attempts to get one before we left - Alan's travelling on a European passport and so he was good to go but our concerns were unfounded as we just walked through Spanish Immigration and into Spain. We made our way through the airport to our uber and into the city to our Airbnb and our home for the following six weeks. Six weeks of getting into the Spanish lifestyle - starting with a week of introductory (and what turned out to be complete immersion) Spanish classes, a whole lot of getting to know the city on foot, and then back to school for Alan to complete his CELTA qualification to teach English to adults.
As soon as we arrived at our apartment we dropped our bags and went on a reconnaissance of our new neighbourhood - Triana!
The map shows that Seville is bisected by the Guadalquivir River. The historic old part of Seville is on the right and Triana is on the left.
It was dark at 9pm when we went out into the bustling streets of Triana, the temperature was cool without being cold. We walked past many bars with their doors open and tables filled with people spilling out onto the footpaths. There are so many bars and cafes here - at least half a dozen within 300 metres of our apartment. It was amazing to see all the people that were out and about, including children playing in the street, while their parents socialised - sitting at the outside tables of the neighbourhood bars eating, drinking and talking...
1-2 El Gorditos - our next door neighbour
3. Calle Betis
4. Typical tapas bar
5. Our favourite restaurant - Montalvan
Some people might say that Triana is not a particularly pretty place and there isn’t much to see there by way of museums or grandiose churches. This is probably a fair comment when you compare it to its elegant neighbours on the other side of the Guadalquivir but also not surprising when you take into account the damage it sustained during the Spanish civil war and the fact that historically, it was a poor, working class neighbourhood of fisherman, bullfighters and gypsies. However, we were charmed by Triana - it still has an interesting history, cobbled streets, tiled houses, ornate churches and atmospheric tapas bars and we were promised that what Triana lacks in monuments, it would more than make up for in spirit!
Also, a benefit of this is that there are less tourists in Triana and this, together with the flamenco culture, the gypsy history (seemed appropriate given this blog's moniker) and the promise of being able to find the best tapas in the city here, made us glad that we had chosen to stay in Triana!
1-3 Basílica Del Patrocinio
4-8 . Tiled house on the cobbled streets of Triana
9-10 Views of our neighbourhood from our roof terrace - the sky in Seville is stunning!
One of our favourite walks in Seville was along and over the river...
Flowing between Triana and Seville, the Guadalquivir River is like a main street bisecting the city. Seville is 50 miles from the coast and the Guadalquivir winds its's way inland from Cadiz to Seville and beyond - Seville is Spain's only inland port! These days it is used mostly by tourist boats and for water sports and fishing but, the river has an illustrious past - when Seville was the mercantile centre of the western world, the Guadalquivir was the main maritime route for Atlantic traffic; and, it was the origin of the first trip around the world when in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan sailed with his ships to circumnavigate the globe.
And my favourite bridge to cross the river...
was the Triana Bridge. I was happy that we got to cross this bridge most days when we went to school in the historic part of Seville. I loved both its structure and the views you had while on it. The bridge is formally known as the Isabel II bridge and is an example of mid 19th century iron architecture. It was built to replace the previous “bridge of boats”, built by the Moors in the 12th century.
The beautiful Guadalquivir River and the iconic bridge of Isabel II, otherwise known as Puente de Triana seduced us!
1,3 sparkled in the sunshine
2 was occasionally foggy in the early morning
4-6. was green when the sky was cloudy,
6. bisects the city
7 as viewed from the 40 floor Sevilla Tower
8-10 as viewed from a rather cool rooftop bar as we enjoyed a 'sundowner'
11-13 looked spectacular at sunset
The area close to the river in Triana is extraordinarily picturesque - Calle Betis, right next to the Triana Bridge, is a riverside street filled with bright pastel exteriors, restaurants and bars with spectacular views across the river to the bullring, opera house and the Torre del Oro. Our first meal in Seville was lunch at one of these bars and while we sat under the stunning blue Sevillian sky and gazed across the river at these incredible monuments we had to pinch ourselves to believe that we were really there!
Also on the Triana side of the Triana Bridge is the Castle of St Jorge
Beneath the market is a reminder of the Dark Side of Spain’s past, the Castillo San Jorge was originally built to guard and defend the bridge of boats. It was later used as a headquarters and prison for the Spanish Inquisition. Now in the underground ruins of the castle there is a museum that focuses on the history of the castle, the Spanish Inquisition and of religious repression.
1. Torre del Oro - military watch tower built in the early 13th century to act as a watch tower and warn of possible impending threats to the city. Now it hoses the Maritime museum.
2. Baroque style facade of the Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla. Bullring of Seville - seats 12,000
3. Seville Opera House from Triana
4. Castle of St Jorge. - really difficult to get a photo where both straight - but I will try again when we return - I think I just need to take it from a different angle.
The Triana Market...
Another place we loved to go is the Triana Market. It is located in the above ground level of the Castle of St Jorge. There are lots of ceramic tiles and name plates in the market and it was always bright and bustling. The stalls had all the traditional market produce, from colourful fruit and veg to fresh fish, hams, sausages, game, wonderful cheeses, and olives, beans and spices. There are also market bars situated around the perimeter (both side and outside), including an oyster and sushi bar, a juice bar and a microbrewery. It is a fabulous place to sit and people watch. We would often see long tables of families enjoying their lunches at the bars inside the market. Outside cafes were busy too and occasionally we would see a local man playing flamenco music on his guitar to entertain the diners.
Tiles and Ceramics...
Behind the market is the old ceramics and pottery district. Even in Roman times, Triana was famous for its pottery. In the industrial age it was a major local activity, the potters would get the clay for their pots from the banks of the Guadalquivir. Now you can expect to find numerous workshops, and retail outlets where Inside, you'll find every inch of space crammed with decorative crockery, tiles, signs, crucifixes and figurines. There is also the the Centro Cerámica Triana where you can learn about the history of the pottery tradition of Triana and where you can see some of the old kilns, and examples of the work produced here.