The cruise ship I am working on has docked in Cadiz, Spain today. I have been to Cadiz a few times now, so have had a good chance to explore this seaside town. I thought I would take this opportunity to venture out of Cadiz and see a nearby Spanish city that is legendary for its beauty, which is Seville.
Although Seville isn’t too far away from where the cruise ship docks and I could have made it there on my own, I decided to do an excursion called ‘Seville on your own’. This meant that I would get a coach there and back to the ship, so I wouldn’t have to be worried about time and whilst in Seville, I would be free to roam around on my own.
The coach left at 8 am and we arrived at 8.55 am. The guests and I were given a map upon arrival and given a brief overview of it. We all piled off the coach and followed our tour guide for 10 minutes into the city centre. We arrived at a fountain situated at the top of the main shopping street and Hector (the tour guide) told us this would be the meeting point for when we were to return to the ship later in the day.
From there, we all separated and went off to explore the city. The first thing I noticed was the number of lemon trees that lined all the streets. It seemed so random but so lovely. I pulled out my map to see where I was in relation to the things on my ‘to do’ list. The closest thing to me was The Plaza Espania. I took a 15-minute walk through the sunny streets of Seville and enjoyed weaving in and out of the quirky coffee shops and breathing in the citrus air. The brick roads are decorated with hundreds of flowers which made it actually very picturesque (as picturesque as a road can be).
The Plaza Espania
I came to a long driveway which was lined with oak trees and beautiful flower beds. As I walked through the large swirly gates the most beautiful courtyard appeared. I had prepared for it to be very busy as it is a major tourist attraction but it was fairly quiet. The semi-circular building has 2 towers at either end that are so tall, they can be seen from anywhere in Seville. At the base of the building, there are pictures made from tiles that show historical scenes. These are so pretty and unique. I spent ages walking alongside the building, admiring the tile-art and taking pictures with it. At the centre of the building, there is a grand entrance that leads into an undercover hallway that you can walk through and look out at the lake that is home to lots of ducks and swans. The lake can be crossed using 4 bridges that are wonderfully decorated so the bridge itself is worth seeing… There is the option to rent boats and take a ride on the lake. I didn’t do this as I was alone, but I’m sure it would be a lot of fun if you visited The Plaza with others.
After spending a good hour and a half looking at all the intricate mosaics and taking pictures, the day was heating up. As most of the pavements are shaded by trees, it makes it a pleasant place to walk on even the hottest days. On my walk to the next destination, I stopped to pick up some caramelised nuts that a mature couple were selling. They were delicious. Whilst munching on my nuts I was practically skipping to my next destination which was:
The Royal Alcazar Palace
This legendary Palace is one of the oldest European places still in use today. The Spanish Royal family still live here but parts of the Palace are open to the public. The Palace was featured in the TV series Game Of Thrones and used as ‘The Water Gardens of Dorn’, which only made me more excited about this place as I love ‘G.O.T’. Wandering through the lush gardens along the water I felt very calm as the majority of the exterior is shaded. I sat for a while and enjoyed the smell of the flowers and the sound of the water trickling. Just like the Plaza, the decorations are so intricate, even on the outside. It is a feast for the eyes that is well worth a visit.
From here I walked back towards the meeting point in the City Centre so I would be able to get my bearings again. As it was now lunchtime, the empty cafes I had walked past before were now full of young professionals, in their suits, drinking wine whilst eating their fresh salads. The Spanish definitely know how to do lunch! The multicoloured buildings gave the place a light, relaxed vibe, that mixed with the heat on my back from the sun, just put me in the best mood. As I got further into the city there was a flamenco dancer performing for tourists. She had a hat on the floor that people could place money into if they wished. She was fabulous! She looked like she was having the best time, swishing her beautiful spotty red dress around. It was infectious, I wanted to get up there with her. Of course, I didn’t as I have absolutely no idea how to dance like that.
The High Street
After having my flamenco fix, I walked down the main High Street which was made up of all the normal shops along with souvenir shops, cafes and bars etc.
All along the streets, there was the sound of a Spanish guitar player filling the air with wonderful music.
I went into a Tapas bar to have lunch, because when in Spain…
Oh, it was wonderful. The bread was so fresh and the dishes I chose were full of flavour.
When leaving the restaurant and heading back up the street I couldn’t help but take a left to go and have a closer look at the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is officially known as Cathedral de Santa María and is one of the biggest in the world. In the 12th century, when a new ruler took over Seville, this building was transformed from a mosque to a Roman Catholic Cathedral. I didn’t manage to go inside because the queues were very long at this time in the day, but apparently, the collection of priceless artwork inside is breathtaking.
I mooched through the colourful streets back to the meeting point and had a seat there as I waited for everyone to arrive. It was nice to sit and ‘people watch’. We were back on the coach by 4 pm and then had a good hour and a half to relax on the coach dreaming of what a great day I’d had. Due to traffic, we arrived at the ship a little later than planned. As I was with a tour, the ship had to wait so I wasn’t stressed. If I had gone to Seville without a tour and this delay had happened, I would have been pulling my hair out.
Seville is a beautiful city that I can’t wait to return to. The colourful houses, the Spanish guitar, the lemon trees and the wonderful tapas food makes it a unique, relaxed and marvellous place to be.