Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Sights of Seville

Sevilla: The Heart of Andalusia

While Barcelona impressed me with its gothic architecture and the spiritedness of its people; while Madrid dazzled me with its majestic buildings and never-ending nightlife; while Cordoba drew me into its deep history of Moorish Spain, it was Sevilla that took my breath away and made me fall in love with its food, culture, and traditions.

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla

One of our favorite areas in Sevilla was the Plaza de Espana, a beautiful art-deco designed semi-circular plaza, bordered by a moat at its front. If it wasn't so hot out the day we were there, we would have loved to rent one of the row boats available to paddle down the moat. The great thing about this plaza besides the beauty of its architecture is the culture and nationality it stands for. Outside the front of the plaza, flamenco dancers and musicians line the streets, children play soccer across the expanse of the plaza, and just inside there is a free flag exhibit of all the flags of Andalusia across the years. 

Flag exhibit inside the Plaza de Espana

The Seville Cathedral

The Seville Cathedral

As remarkable as this gothic cathedral may look during the day, it looks even more impressive at night with the surrounding lights. Unfortunately, our Nikon Coolpix was not able to capture this. It would have been so beautiful to be able to take more wedding pictures in front of this cathedral. But realistically it was over 90 degrees outside and we were too exhausted by this time in our trip to wake up at 5AM again for pictures. A night shot would have been glorious with a DSLR handy. Just outside of the cathedral there are usually street musicians and when we were there, a photography exhibit as well. 
Photo exhibit outside of the Cathedral of Seville

The Streets of Seville

Winding roads in the beautiful streets of Sevilla

There was a religious festival going on the days we were in Sevilla. Throughout the city, storefronts and homes were decorated in red drapery and shrines. Family and friends gathered together in front of these altars to celebrate. 

Plaza de Toros

And of course, while in Sevilla, you cannot miss the bull ring. We stopped by the Plaza de Toros, but were not able to see the inside. I cannot exactly say that I endorse bull fighting. While it is considered an art form and a dance of sorts, I was shocked when I found out that the matador kills the bull in one foul sweep at the end of the fight. Maybe I am too faint of heart, but it just isn't my cup of tea. The building was impressive nonetheless.

Urban Art in Sevilla

Metropol Parasol
One of the impressive art pieces we visited was the Metropol Parasol of Sevilla. It is known as the world's largest wooden structure. Comprised of six parasols, or "mushrooms" as they call it, this structure is about 490 by 230 feet and 26 feet high. It cost over 123 million euros to build, making it somewhat of a controversy. 

Sevilla: Home of the Tapa

Tapas at La Bruhilda: Cod fritters with pear aioli; Cod ragout

Tapas, or small plates, are said to have originated in Sevilla. Some believe it started with a piece of bread covering a glass of wine to keep the dust from getting in where as others say it is because people would eat standing up at a bar and would place their plates on their wine glasses. Whatever its origin may be, tapas have become a tradition in Spain and have traveled across continents, making its way into US restaurants as the set up for a trendy meal. In Sevilla, and other Spanish cities alike, people of all ages head for the bars and restaurants after work in order to "tapear"-- the Spanish verb meaning to partake in tapas. Many bars in Sevilla and Granada follow the tradition of giving out free tapas when you purchase a drink. One drink, one tapa. It would not be uncommon to go to 3-4 bars in one night to meet up with friends and family and share in drinks and tapas. Much like in Cordoba, tapas in Sevilla were also very cheap. We found very "fine dining" style restaurants that served tapas ranging between 3-5 euros a piece, something unheard of in the US or in bigger cities like Barcelona and Madrid even. Below are pictures from some of our favorite restaurants while we were there. 

La Bruhilda
Tapas at La Bruhilda: Duck leg over squash puree; sirloin; local beer; fried foie gras and pears poached in wine with balsamic drizzle. 
La Bruhilda was located right by the Plaza de Toros. It was a great lunch destination with superb food and great local beer. The decor was very trendy and "hipster" inside and had a very "Santa Barabara-esque" feel to it. 

La Azotea

 Tapas at La Azotea: L to R, top to bottom: Jamon iberico plate; Fresh cod over almond bechamel and basil hummus; Fried prawn wontons; Duck sirloin with pears in saffron sauce and grape gel; Fresh grouper in pea cream and broccoli tempura; Red and white wine; Chocolate coulant in orange cream accompanied by french vanilla ice-cream. 
La Azotea was in the downtown area right by the cathedral. You have the option of getting the "tapa" size or full portion. We sat at the bar to get the tapas dishes so we could try more than one or two. The wine selections here were wonderful as well. 


Tapas at Eslava: L to R, top to bottom: slow cooked egg yolk over boletus cake with caramelized wine reduction; seared scallops over seaweed puree and kataifi noodles; grilled razor clams with lemon; stewed pork cheeks; roasted pork ribs with rosemary honey glaze; squid ink wrapped in phyllo dough; creamy dessert (forgot the name:[)

If you have a single afternoon in Sevilla and could only go to one restaurant, make it Eslava! While all of the tapas we tried in Sevilla were delightful, Eslava was definitely the most creative. Beware, though, wait times are extremely long. We ate 4 of our 7 dishes standing up at the bar before actually being seated. But that made the food all the more worth it. 

Alas our trip came to an end after nine glorious days in the Spanish sunlight. From the beautiful sights to the art inspired culture and to the endless sangria and tapas, Spain left us with unforgettable memories. We could not have asked for a more amazing honeymoon and such a beautiful start of our lifetime together. We will definitely be back!

Rewind to Cordoba

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