A new side of España!
After a week in Portugal, we took another Blablacar rideshare into southern Spain. We choose Sevilla because we had heard good things and it was on the way to Tarifa, where we would catch the boat to Morocco. It was nice to be back in Spain; we really love it there. The wine is cheap and the people are really nice. Seville turned out to be one of our favorite spots yet. It was cool to see the drastic differences between the north of the country and the south. Everything was new here. The accent, the food, the prices… It was awesome to get a glass of wine and tapas for under five euros each. Our Spanish had also improved greatly after a couple weeks of hearing mostly Spanish/Portuguese. The people in Sevilla also spoke a lot more slowly than they did in San Sebastian, which we appreciated!
Sevilla was also our first time using AirBnb.com. I know, we are behind the times! We stayed in a nice, affordable room in an older woman’s apartment very close to the city center. Maria had a very cute doggie which eased our grief over missing Dusty, and she was very welcoming and helpful. I think we did pretty well speaking only Spanish with her!
On our first night in Sevilla we had a tapas feast, of course! The tapas here weren’t all set out on the bar like the “pintxos” in San Sebastian were; you actually had to order them. They weren’t quite as good, but they were cheap and a little different! “Cola de toro” (bull tail) was my favorite. Since it was Friday night, people were out in droves and everyone was having a good time. Sevilla struck as an incredibly vibrant city where people have a lot of fun despite the Spanish recession.
The next day, we got lucky enough to visit the Catedral de Sevilla on “World Tourism Day” (who knew that existed?), making admission free!!!! This cathedral is actually the largest in the world! The altars, exhibits, and mausoleums were incredibly ornate and impressive, and slogging up the seven flights of the tower were well worth it for the views over Sevilla.
Despite some rain coming in that night, we still managed to venture out to find a secret, local flamenco show at a place called Casa Anselma in Barrio Triana recommended by Maria. The venue was completely unmarked, but upon finding the address, we asked around and learned that it didn’t open ’til midnight. Typical Spanish night owls! So we were forced to have some more tapas and wine at an awesome little joint we discovered down an inconspicuous alley, also filled with only locals. The champiñones ali-oli were delectable and it was fun to watch how a tiny tapas-oriented kitchen/bar staff operates! We kinda felt like we were crashing their party, but we love discovering those “off-the-beaten-path” places!
Finally, we went back to the flamenco place to find a line forming. We jumped in the back and waited about 20 more minutes as more people arrived. Obviously, this was the place to be! Once the doors opened, madness ensued. The proprieties, a feisty, petite woman, opened the side door instead of the front door, putting those who had waited longest at the back of the line and those who had just arrived in front. A crazy stampede of pushing and yelling ensued, ending with Zach & I being among the last patrons to actually get seats and a bunch of people standing in the back. The place was packed to the gills and we only spotted two or three other foreigners. It was free too, but you had to buy a drink. I didn’t know much about flamenco, because all I was picturing was women in colorful ruffly dresses dancing. Instead, this place was all about the music. A band of four guys playing acoustic instruments and harmonizing perfectly on ballad after ballad, while the dancing was left up to any audience member who wanted to strut their stuff! Obviously they learn from a young age because they were great! We stayed until 2am and there was still no sign of them slowing down. All in all, an unforgettable night in an amazing city!