Sevilla (Seville for all you gringos) was our biggest trip yet. After we spent the day in Córdoba on Friday, we took the AVE to Sevilla and checked into our hotel that evening before heading to a flamenco show! Shelby and I researched flamenco to explain to our group so I think we were even more into it than the rest of them! The art form is made up of three parts- baile, toque, cante (dance, guitar, song) and we were lucky enough to see all three in a very up close and personal type of setting! We were in the front row just inches from the stage; I actually think one kid in our group got hit by the dancer’s flying skirt! Overall, it’s a really beautiful art form. I was mesmerized by the guitarist. Flamenco guitar is a whole different ballgame. I’m still learning to play acoustic guitar and all I could do was stare, open mouthed, and silently think I could never play guitar again after watching listening to this perfection unfold.
After the flamenco show, we were free to do whatever we wanted so a group of us went out for a bucket of beers and eventually found a falafel place we absolutely had to try (SO WORTH IT BY THE WAY) with hilarious people working there who we tried to converse with. By this time it was nearly midnight aka Shelby’s 20th birthday!
Saturday was spent doing plenty of walking. We started the day off by seeing the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, most famous recently because the popular show Game of Thrones is filmed there. In fact, we weren’t allowed to go into nearly half of the areas because they were filming when we were there! The building itself is beautiful as well as huge; you can definitely see how it used to be a palace! It is still used occasionally for events that the Spanish royal family hosts.
For some reason, one of the main park in Sevilla was closed so we sort of secretly snuck in to see the Plaza de España, the city square that surrounds the ayuntamiento– town hall. This building was huge and decorated with colorful accents. it even had a mini lake where people can rent rowboats. The weekend we visited was some sort of special Sevilliano event so there were people putting up banners all around the grounds.
We also went to the main cathedral in Sevilla, which is home to the Giralda tower and the tomb of Christopher Columbus. We spent quite some time browsing this cathedral and I must admit, I got a bit bored. Buildings such as this can be a lot to take in and sometimes being in a group for trips like this is overwhelming when you’d rather browse on your own. I got reprimanded for wandering off… oops! I was excited that we collectively decided to climb up to the top of the Giralda, which I had done back when I visited in high school. I accidentally spoiled it for everyone and told the group that it’s a ramp- sorry ya’ll! The views from the top are pretty fantastic, though, and it’s certainly worth the hike to get up there!
After a long day we finally had some free time to relax and I was able to meet up with my best friend’s boyfriend, Manuel, who lives in Sevilla! We went out for drinks and a delicious dinner where we shared a few dishes: risotto, salmorejo– basically Andalucía’s version of gazpacho, and patatas bravas– potatoes in a spicy red sauce (I’ve probably talked about these before since they’re pretty great). He and I got to talk a lot and we spent a great deal of time laughing at all the people of Sevilla who were freaking out about the rain. The region of Andalucía is one of those places where it’s a zillion days of sunshine a year so when it down poured all day, no one knew what to do with themselves.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to go out to Shelby’s birthday dinner since Saturday night was the only time I was able to see Manuel but I got back to my room to find basically our whole group in there- laughing, talking, and drinking cheap wine. We decided to try and find a club that Manuel had told us about but somehow didn’t find it and got totally dissed by the bouncer at another club instead, before admitting defeat and turning in early. Sevilla’s nightlife is known for being pretty ritzy so we definitely weren’t prepared!
Sunday morning we went to a church in the Macarena area of Sevilla, were Haley and Shelby proceeded to lead us all in the macarena dance complete with music. This wasn’t just something funny because of the name; this church is actually where the song originates from. Everyone in the area turned to STARE at us, which I found hilarious.
We toured the Real Maestranza, the world’s oldest bullring. I had already taken this same tour and though I understand the historical and cultural significance of bullfighting in Spain, this is definitely not my thing. Went I came there nearly five years ago, I wasn’t vegetarian/vegan so it was definitely a different, albeit uncomfortable, experience this time that basically made me just wanna go pet some cows and maybe give them hugs. We also got to see the Torre del Oro which overlooks the Puenta de Triana. It’s a beautiful area! Finally, after a nice lunch with some MUCH NEEDED fruits and veggies, we headed home to Madrid. Not bad for a first weekend class excursion!