City: Of all the places I visited in Spain, Sevilla was my favorite city. I fell in love with Sevilla’s old world charm and its Moorish architectural influences. It felt like the quintessential European life to be walking along narrow, winding cobblestone streets and unexpectedly stumbling upon dainty little courtyards with stone fountains in this city.
Sights: La Catedral de Sevilla is a true gem. It is the largest Gothic church in the world and its history spans several centuries starting from the 1400s. This is also where Christopher Columbus is buried! I would highly recommend the audio tour as it provides a comprehensive history of the church interiors. La Giralda is the bell tower of the cathedral. We huffed and puffed our way up the 34 floors to get to the top, but it was worth the exercise for the breathtaking view of the city.
Restaurants: There were so many quaint cafes everywhere that it was hard not to walk into all of them. Ambrosius was a pastry shop we chanced upon. In addition to the delicious caramel cake we had, I won’t forget how the pastry chef/shop owner very kindly gave us a complementary piece of cheesecake. With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “You will like this better than your New York cheesecake” (and we did!). Las Golondrinas in the Triana neighborhood had really good tapas. Here too, the shop owner personally catered to us and went out of his way to make sure were enjoyed the food, after learning that we were vegetarians.
Activities: It happened to be my birthday when I was in Sevilla, and one of the most memorable things I did was watch a flamenco show. Because someone we knew had studied flamenco in Sevilla for a year, we got a specific recommendation to visit Casa de la Memoria. What we experienced that night was mind-blowing. Sitting in a small courtyard in an intimate setting, we heard someone tenderly play the Spanish guitar while another man passionately sang original gypsy songs from the 18th and 19th century. A female and male flamenco dancer (his name is Chorro and he’s excellent) then proceeded to awe you with their spell-binding movements, dramatic hand gestures, and rapid footwork. I was so overwhelmed by the performance that tears came to my eyes, I kid you not.
I was also treated to a lovely horse carriage ride on my birthday. My sweet husband had arranged for a ride through the city at dusk followed by a delicious dinner at Vineria San Telmo (also recommended by a local friend). I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday and a better stay at Sevilla. *sigh* I wish I was back there now….