Last weekend my husband and I escaped London and went to Seville for a long weekend. Out of all the trips I go on I think in all honesty I was least excited about this one…and it surprised me the most. I truly fell in love with the city. I am not much of a boutique hotel kind of girl (I really should give them more of a chance) so we checked into the Hotel Alfonso XIII which did not disappoint. It is very well located and was originally built by King Alfonso XIII to be the finest hotel in Europe, blending Moorish, Castillian and Andalucian styles.
When my husband and I first met 7 years ago we used to go on quite a few cultural city breaks, but in recent years have ended up going mostly to Ibiza (where we married) and LA as well as on a bunch of ski trips and longer beach holidays. However when I fell pregnant I thought this is the perfect time to go and visit some cities we haven’t been to (Florence is coming up in a few weeks.) I like to hire a private tour guide whenever we go to a city as it makes such a difference – I love learning about the history and culture of the place I am visiting but I just can’t deal with going around in a big group. Our local guide took us to the Alcazar Palace, the cathedral, the Jewish quarter, the Maria Luisa Park, and the great thing about Seville is that you can enjoy everything by foot, bicycle (tourists can rent one very easily) or by horse drawn carriage (which is very popular but felt a bit too touristy for me!)
The architecture of the city is literally mind-blowing. What’s interesting about Seville is that because the Moors ruled from the early 8th until the late 15th centuries, Muslim culture has had a big impact on the architecture and a lot of the buildings look similar to what you find in Marrakech for example. Even when the Moorish empire fell and the Catholic king Fernando took over, Muslims often continued to be the architects. So what you end up with is a style that mixes both Christian and Muslim elements and is known as Mudéjar.
I loved walking around the narrow winding streets of the old Jewish Quarter (now known as Santa Cruz) and discovering tapas restaurants along the way. Instead of booking everything in advance (yup I am a real planner), I decided this time to just go with the flow and not book any restaurants (apart from the upmarket Abades Triana for lunch one day which was the only disappointing meal of our trip – the service was awful and the food nothing to write home about.) Don’t get me wrong I love my upscale restaurants in London, but I feel that when you are in a city you should do as the locals do. There are so many small authentic relaxed tapas bars you can just rock up to (note: one of the perks of pregnancy is that they would always try and get me a table ASAP!) and how glad I am we did. We loved a few restaurants in particular called Mechela, La Azotea and Casablanca (we went there twice because the food was so yummy!)
For anyone looking to get away from London for a few days, I can’t recommend Seville enough! I am off to another Spanish destination tonight – hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend xx