After driving throughout Portugal and Spain, we decided to crash on a beach for awhile. Hoping to avoid crowded shores with highrises, we booked an AirBnB apartment in a small town called Matalascañas.
The flat was just perfect – a small kitchen, comfy couch, Ikea furniture, a separate bedroom and – best of all – a large window overlooking the beach and Atlantic ocean. We slept, made our own breakfasts and lunches. We worked, having good wifi available. And we walked on the beach. Kees hiked for miles while I sauntered along the waves.
There were plenty of little shops and cafe’s nearby. But funny enough, just as we were getting used to Spanish restaurants closing from 4 till 8 PM and eating very late, the restaurants in Matalascañas all closed by 7 PM and there was nothing to eat after that…
After a few lovely, restful days it was time to explore Seville. We had done our online homework and decided that we did not want to drive in downtown Seville, but we did need a place nearby with parking. We found a room in an apartment building that sounded good, including a parking spot. And the location was indeed perfect to walk into the old city center. Getting into and out of the apartment building felt a bit like serving time, with several locked gates and complicated locks….
We walked into the city through the ancient city gates in a huge stone wall. We enjoyed walking the labyrinth of alleys, crooked little streets, churches and shops. At one point, we were very ready for a cup of coffee. Several places had hard, wooden stools or didn’t look too inviting so we kept walking until we spotted the perfect place: a cozy, Spanish coffeeshop with wicker chairs, lots of plant pots and heat lamps on the sidewalk. We picked a table and made ourselves at home. However, the man who approached us did not come to take our order. “Would you mind terribly to move again?” he asked. “Why? We want coffee…” I said. “No,” he insisted, “we are filming a movie here… I’m sorry.” Turned out we had crashed the film site of Game of Thrones being filmed in Seville right now. We did find coffee around the corner, but not as nice a place…
We also found the famous Cathedral of Seville. Build on the 12th century site of a Moorish mosque, this is the 3rd largest church in the world. Its construction took place from 1401 to 1506. Size and age alone were impressive enough. We walked its cavernous spaces, the ship of the church, admired the side rooms with art, paintings carvings….
I did get a kick out of seeing the tomb of Christopher Columbus, whose name really was Cristobal Colon. Somehow ‘colon’ just doesn’t have the same ring as ‘columbus’, does it? I would have been skeptical about this truly being his grave but apparently recent DNA tests have confirmed that his weary bones do indeed rest in this spot.
As we exited the church we were once again exposed to calls of “madame, a horse carriage ride?, a tour?” We ignored them all and walked along the winding streets, the Plaza de Toros, the treelined Avenida de Hercules, and the ancient Alcazar. We hopped on a city bus (any C bus) that drives around the perimeter of the old city city. The city bus is 1.20, a lot better than 18 euros for the Hop-on bus – although you also don’t get commentary with the city bus.
The best thing we did was splurge on tickets for a flamengo show. Seville and flamengo are synonymous so we felt it was a must to see a show here. We asked locals for their recommendations: Casa de la Memoria and Tablao Flamenco El Arenal. I’m sure there are many others that are good. We picked the lateral and bought tickets for their 7:30 PM show. Arriving early paid off since we got the best seats, although almost every table was good in the small room, around the small stage.
We bought the least expensive seats that only included one drink. You can also purchased tickets that include a full dinner. You can buy tickets online or in many souvenir shops on the same day.
The music and caliber of the show blew us away. A cast of 10 played guitar, sang and danced. Colours and sounds whirled together and left us exhausted – as if we had danced all night! A colourful end to memorable day in a colourful city.