Springtime in Andalusia
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A group of U3A (University of the Third Age) members visited Seville in early May. We left home in the very early hours of a chilly morning to fly from Gatwick Airport. How wonderful it was to arrive in Spain to be greeted by warm sunshine and blue skies.
Our airconditioned coach took us through the outskirts of Seville , dropping us off at Calle Morgado which looked like a somewhat scruffy and down at heel area of the city! We were therefore very relieved when we found a delightful hotel hidden down a side street. Decorated with mosaics and murals it was a welcome sight.
The Hotel Vime Corrigdor was a beautiful quiet hotel with a pretty patio and small bar where breakfast and interesting Andulusian tapas were served. It is situated within walking distance of the historic centre of Seville and very close to the Alameda Hercules. The group did not spend much time in the hotel, meeting mainly for a quick aperitif before heading off to explore the numerous attractions of the capital of Andalusia.
With the aid of street maps we chose different routes to reach the historic centre, some of us getting very lost on the way! We all wanted to visit the famous cathedral, the Alcazar and the Giralda but there were long queues for all of these. It was awe inspiring to walk along the cobbled streets and gaze at the marvelous architecture,even of the supposedly "ordinary" buildings. Even in May the city was crowded and we had to manouevre round crocodiles of Japanese tourists snapping photos every few yards!
As the day got hotter we found numerous bars and icecream parlours which we visited frequently! It is hard to beat freshly squeezed orange juice when it is a really hot day and your feet are sore because you haven't had chance to "break in" your new shoes!
On our first evening we left the city and searched out places to eat in the Alameda Hercules which was overflowing with restaurants and bars. The Spanish seem to eat much later than we do in England but we had little difficulty finding a variety of dishes to please all taste and purses. It was surprising to see how many children were still eating and playing in the late evening, presumably having enjoyed a siesta in the afternoon!
We were disappointed to find that paella was not served in the evening except as a tapas dish. To enjoy a paella we had to eat at midday! .We did ,of course, manage to adapt to this and shared several spectacular dishes during our short visit.!
The group soon found that the best way to visit the main attractions was to go early in the morning, avoiding both the queues and the hot sun. My favourite visit was to the Alcaza which is a wonderful palace built by the same architect as the Alhambra in Grenada .Although crowded it is so expansive there is plenty of room to take in the impressive architecture and art work. The gardens are extensive and worth several visits if time permits.
On two days of our all too short visit we left Seville to visit Ronda and Cordoba.. Ronda is a spectacular drive away, passing through mountainous countryside. It is built on the edge of the Serrania de Ronda on a platform site and the town is cut into two by the Tajo which is a deep ravine. It boasts a large bullring but not being a fan of bloodsports I found the Moorish Baths much more interesting. It was easy to imagine the Moors bathing there all those years ago.
Unfortunately we chose to visit Cordoba on a Sunday which was a mistake because the main attraction is the Mosque/Cathedral which is still used for worship every Sunday. It was shut for several hours in the early afternoon and those who were determined to visit had to rush round or miss the coach back to Seville! They did say it was well worth it! I have visited before but allowed two or three hours to really marvel at the surroundings.
On the day we visited Cordoba it was "Open Garden" day and we did see some lovely displays but once again the queues were very long! We ate a late lunch at a tapas bar and were surprised to be served gazpacho soup in a tall glass!
Back in Seville we all enjoyed exploring new restaurants and some even tried tasting new dishes! You cannot go to Spain and not try octopus or snails, which can be bought live from the market!
On our final day we had planned to all go out to a Flamenco evening but were so tired we had and early meal and an early night before heading home to chilly England! Five days were not really enough to explore Seville, yet alone visit two more cities as well.
AND do make sure you have comfortable shoes. I ended up wearing cheap plimsoles and could not dress up to eat out as I could not walk in my smart high heels!
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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.