Photos from our travels around the Andalucía region of southern Spain, visiting the towns and cities of Córdoba, Sevilla, Ronda, Granada and Málaga. Our second stop, the regional capital of Sevilla.
Córdoba station was only a short walk away from our hotel, and once again we would be using the AVE high-speed train. The journey to Sevilla took around 40 minutes, clocking up speeds of 250 kph (155 mph), and arriving shortly after 2pm.
After quickly checking in to our next hotel, the Ayre Hotel Sevilla directly across a large roundabout from the station, we were off out exploring again. We had booked General Entry tickets for Sevilla Catédral and La Giralda for 10.50€ each, and our timed entry was at 3.30pm.
The cathedral is HUGE. It’s comparable with St Peters in Rome or St Pauls in London in terms of its floor area, but its overall square shape makes it the largest church by volume in the world. The vast display of wealth inside – the famous works of art, and copious gold and silver treasures – left me feeling that this was rather more than just ostentatious, but maybe quite obscene. We vowed to cross off any further churches on our itinerary! La Giralda belltower was an interesting addition to the visit however, with the long climb made considerably easier on ramps instead of steps. Originally, the person climbing the tower would have ridden up the ramps on horseback.
We returned to the cathedral area that evening to explore the shopping lanes and the restaurants in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, and found what appeared to be a nice looking taberna in one of the nearby side streets. However, I think there must be many tourist traps on these streets. We experienced a really bad-mannered waiter at Las Escobas restaurant, even ignoring us when we wanted to pay the bill. Needless to say, I eventually paid by card and left no tip!
Once again, two hotel nights guaranteed us a full day of sightseeing. We started our day by heading out to the Parque de María Luisa. We were hoping to visit the Museo Arqueológico at the southern end of the park, but it was closed for renovation at the time of our visit. Instead, we visited the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (museum of folk art and costume) housed in the nearby Mudéjar-style building.
The park itself is beautifullly laid out, and of course incorporates the Plaza de España, an immense semicircular space built for the 1929 exposition. There are canals, footbridges, and glazed tiles depicting historic events and the regions of Spain.
Walking north from the Plaza, and through the historic centre, we eventually reached the Metropol Parasol complex at Plaza de la Encarnación. Known by the locals as ‘Las Setas’ (the mushrooms), this unusual piece of architecture dominates the square.
There’s an observation deck on top (with paid admission), a subterranean museum featuring the remains of various Roman buildings uncovered during construction, and plenty of shops, bars and cafes close by.
After a little siesta, we ventured out for an evening meal and discovered a lovely little place away from the tourist traps around the cathedral, the Bar Agustín & Company. Here we had some very well prepared tapas dishes between us, and I also got to try an authentic manzanilla sherry from the region.
In the morning, we would be moving on to Ronda, one of the Pueblos Blancos (or white towns) high in the mountainous region of Serranía de Ronda.