Sevilla trumps Madrid by a thousand. Although I love Madrid, I think I was seduced by the newness of landing in Europe.
Sevilla is the Spain you imagine in movies. Furthermore, I experienced Sevilla like the movies. On my last night there, I found myself on the back of a Vespa heading to the Europe League finals game where Sevilla was playing for their fourth championship. Let me tell you, being on the back of a Vespa zooming past Plaza Espana and Parque Maria Luisa doesn’t get more Spanish until you find yourself in the streets after a victory. Talking over all the honking is impossible, and all you end up doing is drinking because everyone’s giving out free drinks and tapas. The cars have their windows rolled down letting their Sevilla flags fly, bodies popping out of sunroofs, dancing/chanting pedestrians, and Vespas handing out pizza to other Vespa riders at traffic lights.
After Vespa-ing for a good 30 minutes people-watching, he took me to a hole in the wall flamenco bar where a 75 year old Andalusian woman sang soulful flamenco songs.
What did I say, it was right out of a movie.
But there’s more to Sevilla. Plaza de Espana and the Cathedral Sevilla is magnificent. Skip Madrid and do this instead. I thought I was at the Plaza because I saw some badass museums and gardens, but nah. Ends up what I thought to be the Plaza was actually just the gardens leading up to the Plaza. ‘Cos the Plaza is a 180° semi-circle that spans the length of a football field or two and the perimeter has murals from ever major city in Spain.
The Cathedral is what I can only assume J. K Rowling got the inspiration of Hogwarts from. Walking through, you go through a gallery of artwork, but through a small tunnel you almost have to crouch under it opens up into an opening 6 stories tall. Stain glass windows, organs, and statues decorate the walls. Kings’ chairs and murals line the mini-churches inside the Cathedral. Finally, the walk up the 32 story tower is the best (but scariest) part. For anyone who remembers the Sigiria incident this was part II, but I had to do it alone! Like Ropponggi Hills, you see the entire cry from the top- the Plaza, Royal Place, and all of Santa Cruz. There’s nothing quite like it (even though I find myself saying that a lot on my trips).
Lunch after getting lost in the Santa Cruz neighborhood was the cherry on top. Santa Cruz is the neighborhood leading to the Cathedral and the winding roads with home owned shops are precious. Sitting at what I call a “personality place” eating tortilla Espanola and jamón overlooking the Cathedral was the sauce on the wangz (because icing on cake is overused).