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Thursday, 29 January 2015

A Weekend in Seville.

I'm not an expert on Seville by any means although we have visited the city several times. With that in mind, I can offer an overview as a casual tourist. If you are staying longer than a weekend or need more in depth details from someone who lives there, check out Azahar Sevilla. I doubt if there's many people who know more about the city's restaurants than Shawn and she runs tapas tours too.
Where to stay. On our first trip to Seville together, we stayed in Las Casas de la Juderia a collection of rooms in one sprawling combined townhouse on the edge of Santa Cruz . We loved it, it's beautiful and totally unique. The last few visits however, we wanted somewhere nearer to the cathedral. You can't get much closer than the small boutique hotel, the Alminar. Superior Rooms 31 and 32 both have a large outside terrace on the roof with views of The Giralda. And you can certainly hear the hourly bells too. (Inside the room is fine as it's double glazed). Manager Francisco really knows his food too. He will happily give you up to date advice and any help that you need. Below; The sensational view from the hotel balcony.
Where to eat. When in Seville you eat tapas of course. I've been to most of the traditional ones over the years including Bar Giralda, below.
We tried four more modern tapas bars on our last trip, all excellent.
 Pura Tasca is over the river in Triana. It's well worth the short taxi ride.
Recommended; The Arroz Meloso. Risotto with mushrooms, parmesan and truffles. (€5.50) is absolutely superb.
La Brunhilda. Everything is good here but you can't visit here without sampling the famous 'crack burgers'.
La Azotea.  You can't go wrong with the Carrillada Ibérica, Slow-cooked pig’s cheeks.
Vineria de San Telmo. Try the Squid ink spaghetti with garlic and grilled scallops. 

Where to Drink.
I'm tempted to say everywhere but we loved the traditional Las Teresas Bar in Santa Cruz for a late night sherry. 
For something different, take a drink in the strange, camp El Garlochi amongst religious icons and drink a blood red cocktail called 'El Sangre de Cristo' -  The Blood of Christ. We found it by mistake one year and couldn't find it on our next trip. We thought it'd been a dream.

Sightseeing. 
If you only do one tourist thing, go into the huge Cathedral and climb the tower.
The nearby Moorish palace, the Alcazar is an absolute must too. It will probably take an hour or two to walk round the palace and extensive gardens.
The Plaza de España is a lovely way to spend an afternoon if you have time, the following day.
Music.  
If you want true flamenco you won't find it at a tourist show. You must go to a bar or small club and hope an impromptu performance happens. We found it at El Tamboril
It's close to midnight and the lights in the bar are lowered. The candles around the Virgin Mary statue are the only lights in the place. One man sings a sorrowful lament unaccompanied. It's one of those moments that makes you glad to be there in that specific time and place. I've had a few of those in Seville.
How to get there. There are no direct flights to Seville from Manchester unfortunately, so you have to fly to Malaga (or Portugal) and drive two hours or fly direct from Gatwick, Luton or Stansted.

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