Joonto's Travels: Sevilla

As a curious person who can appreciate great marketing, there is one advertisement I read when I was like 13-14. Despite the years, it's still stuck in my head. This ad published on a science magazine said:

The Phoenicians were here...
The Romans were here...
The Byzantines were here...
The Visigoths were here...
The Arabs were here...
And you? When are you coming to Andalusia?

It was brilliant and sparked in me the desire to go there as soon as I would have become an independent adult. Then, the roulette of life brought me everywhere in Spain, except the region I wanted to visit the most...
The fact that most of the Spanish people I befriended in Malta were Andalusian, didn't change the outcome of my holiday destinations...
It had been few years that I was coping with this paradox. The occasion happened because of an "accident". My great friend Floriana proposed me to visit the south of Portugal, at the discovery of the wonderful beaches and caves near Faro. That was the airport we were supposed to land at. The destination was easy for Flo, given that she would had flown from Bergamo, but I didn't have any direct flight from Malta. Never mind I thought, I can still land in Sevilla and then take a bus or even drive to Portugal, which is only 2 hours and something. The idea of visiting Portugal and Andalusia at the same time was exiting! But I had to change plans again, shortly before my departure, as Floriana didn't have the holidays approved with a reasonable notice. In this scenario, I checked Google Maps and the possible spots (and people!) I could visit. My final itinerary included Sevilla of course, Gibraltar (too curious to visit the other igaming fortress) and Malaga. Now, in this article I will focus solely on Sevilla. I still don't know if and when I will write about the rest I saw.

For the flight I spent something like 60 EUR, flying from Malta. Sevilla airport is quite small, so I guess that it is a cheap destination wherever you fly from.
The city itself is very affordable, with the only exception for accommodations. When searching on Airbnb I found them quite expensive. For example, a private room in a shared apartment can be something like 30-40 EUR a night. This led me to try a hostel: The Oasis Backpackers Palace Hostel.
This hostel is placed in a great position, just few steps from the river, equally distanced from the historical center and the new town. You can walk everywhere from there. No need for public transport.
Life in a hostel is great! I deem hostels the best way to experience a travel to remember! I regret much that I didn't use hostels in the past. Now I feel like living in my early 20s once again!
Hostels give you many opportunities to socialize. For example at the Backpackers Palace, they organize daily walking tours around the city, for free. You see the most important monuments, but you also learn the stories behind them, and the stories of Sevilla are really entertaining! This gives you the chance to comment and exchange opinions with the other goers. In no time you will be making plans with them for the rest of the day!
And for those who travel driven by hormones, consider that the Oasis Backpackers Palace has only mixed dorms... ;-)
To reach the place you can take the EA bus from the Airport and stop at Estacion Plaza de Armas. From there you will need to walk just 8 minutes.
The Oasis Backpackers Palace offers a modern environment embellished by ancient details and all the amenities you need: room bathroom, floor bathroom, kitchen, desktop computers, printer, living room, tennis table and a nice bar/restaurant completed by a terrace with a pool where the hostel social life bursts!
On the terrace I could finally catch up with my long time friend Rafaelle, arrived from Madrid, where she now lives after an important time spent in Malta. It was so good to have her there and it was great to explore Sevilla with such a great traveller!

The Gothic Cathedral

Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is the biggest Gothic cathedral in the world. When it was built in the 16th, it took the title of biggest church in the Christendom, which was held by my beloved Hagia Sofia in Constantinople for almost a millennium!
The aim was clearly to show off the wealth and power of Sevilla, when the city was in the middle of its golden age, literally golden! Most of the gold, spices and exotic products from America passed by the Guadalquivir river, making Sevilla the most important river port in the world back then. Sevilla was a real gate to the new world, so it needed something really new to confirm its wealthy metropolis status!

“Let us build such a church, so that those who come after us shall take us for madmen!”

I believe they accomplished their goal well! Even though, from the exterior you don't have the impression of such grandiosity, because this church doesn't have any big space in front of it, unlike other big churches like Notre Dame or the very Hagia Sofia. This is the first aspect in which Santa Maria differs from many other cathedrals. The second aspect is that the interior is way richer than the usual Gothic churches. The primary feature of the Gothic style is sobriety. Gothic temples used to be simple, focusing on the high and huge empty spaces, playing with the lights coming from the tall ceilings so to convey and ethereal aura, to remind the believers the heavens waiting for them. In the Sevillian cathedral you still have high ceilings, but soon your eyes will get distracted by the countless treasures dwelling at ground level! You'll be able to admire ecclesiastic ware, from ceremonial clothes to accessories, including hats and bishop gloves, tailored with an accuracy hard to parallel today.
The most impressive part of the cathedral stands in the middle. I didn't expect to find a building in the building. I'm talking about the Choir. The cathedral has a substructure in its core that it's almost a tiny palace. Indeed it hosts tiny doors, tiny columns and tiny, but highly finished facades. Only when you turn behind, facing the main altar, you can see the inner structure; two opposite rows of wooden chairs and two thrones perpendicular to them, pointing directly toward the altar.
It's a weird configuration, because this means that the people in the naves didn't see anything during the mass. All the show was reserved to the kings, superseding the Choir.
During our rest, we managed to steal the tour guide's explanation. What stood most from what she said is that nowadays the Choir is not used anymore, even because today's kings of Spain cannot belong to any religion! Who have said just only 40 years ago that the most Catholic country in the world would have become the ultimate embodiment of the 21th century “laicismo”?
If the Choir is the most impressive section art of Santa Maria de la Sede, the most interesting part is surely where the man who discovered the Americas rests! The Christopher Columbus mausoleum is more a monument to the Spanish unity. It's a big bronze sculpture depicting four men (probably kings) holding Columbus' sarcophagus. Each of these men represents the four main kingdoms that eventually merged in the 16th century to form one realm.

The lights fit the monument like a perfect movie set, so you can admire the scene in all its symbolic beauty! Even with a poor camera, you'll manage to take a stunning photo!
Few meters away from the Columbus' tomb, you can find a curious device for which you will have to wait a small queue. It's a mirror, a special mirror that allows you to admire the majestic ceilings from a better point of view than keeping your head up. It's not a surprise that in the selfie era, this mirror became irresistible for every Instagram influencer worth of this title.
Most people take mirror selfies in a bathroom. We took our mirror selfie in a cathedral...

We went then on top of the Giralda, the most important remain of the old mosque which used to stand in that place before the cathedral. In fact, the Giralda used to be a minaret before being converted into a Christian bell tower during the Reconquista.
I have to say that the Giralda is the spot that disappointed me the most. The view from over there is nice, but nothing special. On top of this, the view point was under restoration, so you could stand only in a small portion, full of tourists eager to take that fantastic photo they will never watch again, rather than enjoying the panorama. The good note is that the Giralda doesn't have stairs, but only ramps. I'll tell you later why...

Plaza de Espana

It's probably the most iconic feature of Sevilla after the Giralda. Plaza de Espana is the spectacular square (but it's a semicircle) that welcomes you to the city! It's a representation of whole Spain. Indeed, while walking across, you will see a painting for each Spanish province, in alphabetical order. In the far left you have Alicante and on the far right you end with Zaragoza. The cure of details in this square is simply astonishing! You won't believe your eyes. Then you can see giant goldfishes swimming in the channel which is a mini representation of a river, probably the very Guadalquivir. It almost seems to be in a Japanese garden! Such is the level of harmony in this place.

But the surprises were not over. At the main building of Plaza de Espana we could notice many people gathered there. It was unlikely that everyone was escaping the heat just in that point. When we approached, our ears understood why the folks were there. Someone was playing Flamenco... and someone was dancing it too!
We watched closer and closer till we were sitting on the stairs in front of the musicians, without being aware of it. Our eyes and ears were simply mesmerized by this ancient dance! Those heels hitting the ground so fast, but with a precise rhythm are a true hypnosis! I guess we stayed there for like 3 songs, ecstatic for the vibes Flamenco can give you. It was my first time and it went beyond any imagination! The guys were just asking a free offer at the end of each show, calling whatever you had: Euros, Pounds, Dollars, Bitcoin... I left Euros, but I think they would even deserve Bitcoins if not #Aliencoin, heheh...
Plaza de Espana is wonderful and fully equipped: if you feel hot, you can refresh by the central fountain, if you are tired, you can rest in the park and if you're hungry, you will have a bar and a restaurant at the park gate. Perfect, strategical place for your tour.

Sevilla Streets

You don't need to visit the main attractions to taste Sevilla's charm. If you loose yourself to walk random across the tiny streets of the center, you will find a small monument in every house you meet. Many of these ancient houses were turned into guest houses, so it's not unlikely that you can get into the patio of these residences. The one Raf and I spotted was fantastic! We were walking when Raf stopped me. I observed a door followed by a short corridor embellished by blue tiles with arabesques. The corridor led to a squarish court with open ceiling. The furniture was all in wood, adorned with plants, so elegant! The noise of water attracted us to the other sections. It was a system of patios linked together, one with its own charm. I felt a strong touch of Middle East. It looked like this trip was the natural continuation of my Jordanian adventure! Finally we found the water source: a pretty fountain, rigorously decorated by arabesques.

You can find more of these houses in the Jewish Quarter. There are even shops selling arabesque tiles. I was surprised that this Arab tradition survived and was even transmitted during the Christian reconquest! That's very good, because it's such a beautiful art that blesses the eyes of the beholder.
While walking back to the hostel, a green parrot crossed our way, screaming something before flying to a nearby tree. Yep, as if Andalusia wasn't exotic enough, they even have wild parrots...
Never imagined they could survive wild in Europe!

The Walking Tour

I didn't have many expectations on the walking tour. I joined it only to befriend the other people at the hostel, but then I ended to love it! The young boy who led us around Sevilla for more than 2 hours was very savvy and had many interesting stories about each monument! Sevilla has many intriguing tales to tell...

Cathedral part II

The first stop was at the Cathedral and the Giralda. Regarding the church I was already prepared and knew already what our guide Ricardo said. What I enjoyed to hear is the reason why the Giralda doesn't have stairs but ramps. When the Giralda used to be a minaret, the city's imam had to go on top of it 5 times a day to call the believers to pray. To make the task easier, the imam used to take a donkey and of course for the animal was easier to go up a ramp rather than stairs! This is really clever!

Archive of the Indies

The second site we visited was the Archive of the Indies. Here is where all the first recordings of the Americas are stored. Ricardo told us that it's not so interesting to visit this building inside as it only has documents, unless you are a document archaeologist. However, the info stored there is so precious that this archive was enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage in 1987.
Outside the Archive of the Indies looks like a normal old fashioned building except for one curious and eerie detail.
Ricardo: “Do you notice any sign over the windows?”
We stared for a second and we noticed some names handwritten with a sort of rusty ink.
Ricardo: “You will find these even on the cathedral... These signs are like LinkedIn of the old times! Back in the days going to university was very expensive, way more than today! This means that there were only a few people who could afford a tuition and then get a degree. These were wealthy families. So wealthy, that the new bachelor could pay an important building or the cathedral to write his name on the façade! In this way, everybody in town knew that this person was a bachelor and so could be hired! It was advertisement.”

That's so cool and clever! Genius doesn't know time or technological barriers. Marketing fundamentals never change over time! However, this marketing tactic has a dark side...
Ricardo: “You can imagine that if the signs were written with normal ink, they wouldn't have lasted over the centuries... Indeed, they were written with bull blood, taken from the bulls killed in the arena! Blood then dries, but the iron from the blood remains, giving the sign this rusty color that becomes part of the stone and remains there forever...”

Torre del Oro

After the sad story about the bloody ink, we moved past the Alcazar. Here Ricardo didn't say much, beside warning that we can't visit the palace while the kings visit Sevilla, as that's their local residence. He simply begged to visit the Alcazar as it is the most beautiful palace he has ever seen in his life!
Ricardo is a good story teller. He gave his best when we stopped in one of the most iconic buildings in Sevilla: Torre del Oro. As you could guess, it was initially built by the Arabs. However, it is during the Christian period that the tower gets its charming and eerie story...

Ricardo: “Torre del Oro, which means Tower of Gold. There are many theories why this name. The most obvious is that it's where the gold was stored. However, this is very unlikely, because it used to stand outside of the old city. Not so safe to store your gold!
Another theory is that this tower was fully covered with the same tiles you see on the very top. Being all yellow it looked like gold. But we don't know the exact reason. What we know is that after the city expanded, it was no longer a watch tower and was converted into a prison. As you can see the tower is small, so it couldn't host many prisoners. Only the special ones...”

Here Ricardo posed for a second. He gave us a eerie smile before starting the story of king Pedro the Cruel...
Ricardo: “Pedro was nicknamed the Cruel, because probably wasn't that merciful... One day he fell in love with a young girl, Maria Coronel, a noblewoman described as very beautiful, who was already promised to her future husband. Maria and her family refused the king's advances and she married the man who she was promised to. But Pedro, who was cruel, made sure that Maria's husband died... All of his goods and lands were confiscated. It was an accident of course... Eh Maria, accidents happen, but now that you are widow, life carries on and we can marry. Maria still refused. I don't love you, she said. At this point, the king imprisoned Maria in the Torre del Oro. But the girl was very clever and somehow she managed to escape! She began to move through many cities, but the king went to chase her. She became a nun then and for sometime, the king couldn't find her.
One day, the king knew that Maria was hiding as a nun just in Sevilla! At Santa Ines convent. The king went immediately to the monastery to catch her. Hearing the king arriving, she hid in the kitchen, but there she realized that she had no escape. But again, Maria was very clever, so she though – if I'm no longer beautiful, the king will probably leave me alone! - In the kitchen there was a pot of boiling oil... so she poured the oil over herself but she didn't die! When the king saw Maria disfigured he repented! He told her – ask me whatever you want. I'll give you everything and leave you alone forever! -. She said that she wanted to be left alone and come back to her husband's lands. She lived in peace the rest of her life and you can see her body till today in Santa Ines. The body proofs that this story is mostly true, happened here in Sevilla and I'm proud I can tell you this story!”

Once back home I did some research. The story is actually true, but you won't find much info in English regarding this legend! You can find info in Spanish here.

During the break we stopped at a place called TGB or something. You may think that in a so touristic area the staff will speak English, especially in a place used to welcome several people from hostels every day... but nope! You're in Spain buddy, so only Spanish is allowed... I love Spain but this is just ridiculous. Spaniards are more allergic to English than French and Italians! OMFG!
Lucky me that I speak a basic Spanish. If you don't speak any Spanish, you're fucked, I tell you!

Hotel Alfonso XIII

We resumed our walk through the streets and we stopped to what looked a palace converted into a hotel: Hotel Alfonso XIII. Ricardo played with us before revealing that this so elegant building had always been a hotel since its construction in the late 19th century. Ricardo explained us that during that time, the city council was obsessed with keeping the city beautiful, so the ugly buildings were put down and rebuilt as beautifully as possible, even when they were hotels or another non-institutional buildings. Today Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the best resorts in town. Game of Thrones actors stayed here while shooting in the Alcazar inner gardens, while former president Barack Obama booked the entire hotel for himself and his staff once! "He didn't want to share it with anyone", Ricardo commented with a grin.
You can try the hotel cafeteria even if you're not a guest. Just bare in mind that a coffee costs 5 EUR, the same price you will pay at Star Bucks, outrageously placed in front of the hotel.

The University

What will you find after the Hotel Alfonso XIII? Nothing less than the University of Sevilla. Thanks to Ricardo, we learned that this wide building hadn't been hosting the university since ever, but only recently, like 1950s. This building used to be the Tobacco Factory before. The Tobacco Factory was one of the first commercial activities to employee only women. Why? Because women proved to be fitter for the task of rolling cigarettes, thanks to their smaller fingers. Some legends say that these women became so good that they could produce cigarettes even with their feet! Whether true or not, these women were even clever and sometimes tempted to steal tobacco from the factory so to earn extra money. Nevertheless, the security measures in this building were impressive. Tobacco production was a huge income for the Crown of Spain. The king couldn't afford to be ripped off by his very employees. This is why every employee was weighted at the entrance and at the exit, every day, in each occasion!
But thieves weren't the only threat for the precious drug. Mice love tobacco as much as humans. In this situation, using poison wouldn't had been a great idea. How could you solve the problem then? The answer lies mostly in who dwells in the ditch around the university building: cats! "The cats you see here today are the direct descendants of the cats who used to protect the tobacco. And they are very clever, because they go all around, but never go out of the university, never outside in the street. So, they know, they realize that this is their home!"

Plaza de Espana part II

The exit from the University led us inside a nice park. I began to be a bit tired, so being in the park was kind of relieving, but I also knew what was waiting for us: Plaza de Espana again. This place is so brilliant that you never get tired of it, so rich of details that you will need several visits to notice them all.
I was curious to hear Ricardo's story about Plaza de Espana. With my surprise, I discovered that this creation is way newer than I would have ever expected!
Ricardo: "Plaza de Espana was built for the Iberia-American exposition, held in 1929... What happened in 1929...?", I was the first and only to answer promptly that question: "The Great Depression..."
That was it! "After 15 years of work to complete the works, finally 1929 came, but the expo was a disaster. Only half of the countries came because of the Great Depression. On top of it, back then many believed that the building was ugly... This made feel the architect Anibal Gonzales very bad, he was depressed about this. Ironically he even didn't make to see this building used as he died few months before the exposition... But even if that exposition didn't go well, in the long run, Plaza de Espana has been a good creation that was worth, because it was visited by millions of people over the decades, including you today! Thank you for this and thank you for joining me during this tour. I hope you liked it!"
Well I loved it! No surprise that the kid received well deserved tips.

The Alcazar

Once the walking tour was over, we entertained ourselves with panorama photos across Plaza de Espana. On this occasion I befriended Kristy, Eric and Daisy. With these cool guys we went to fill our stomachs with a nice Spanish tortilla, before heading to the Alcazar. I wanted to discover what Ricardo saw inside of it or if his claim of "most beautiful building ever seen" was just propaganda. The latter is what I started to think after I entered. The first room is basically empty and it doesn't look any different from the old houses seen between the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter. The second room is a bit better. It contains 6 huge tapestries depicting several invasions, with focus on Christian conquests in North Africa, but again nothing impressive.
Things improved when we reached the gardens. I couldn't resist from leading the group to get lost in the labyrinth. I love labyrinths, especially if they are green. We began to chat with each other, we stopped overthinking and we just enjoyed the moment without expectations. In this state, it was easier to admire the plants, the fountains and the peacocks walking among the tourists.

Man, the Alcazar is so green! And even beautiful! Yes, finally I got why this building is supposed to be impressive. We entered the Arabic part and... wow! I love Arabic architecture. It makes you feel like you're beholding the universe.
I got lost in this harmonic puzzle of shapes. I didn't want to leave at some point. You can see my enthusiasm in this photo.

And here the fun began. The others started looking for the spot where Game of Thrones was shot. I must confess that I've never watched the show, with exception for the first episode. The reason was that in such episode you can see the famous Azure Window of Gozo. I watched GOT just after the window collapsed, still in shock for the event.
All in all I can say that the Alcazar is a must-see in Sevilla. It is gorgeous, majestic, multifaceted and even fun!

I advise to spend at least 2 hours there to enjoy it at the fullest. And please, don't go to the Alcazar when the king are there or you won't be able to enter...

Andalusian Food

Straight to the point, I can assure you that food will be the last of your problems if you travel to Andalusia. Wherever you will go, you will eat well for ridiculous prices!
Just avoid the most obvious tourist traps set around the cathedral. For the rest, you will get safe.

If I have to mention one place in particular though, Raf discovered one full of surprises, specialized in vegetarian dishes. At first I wasn't convinced as it stated to be Italian cuisine. I hate going to a new place and eat Italian. About food, Italy has been as imperialistic as much as the US and I deem a typical Italian restaurant abroad not different from a McDonald's. Nevertheless, I could sense this restaurant was different. First of all, the menu was talking more about a specific Italian region rather than Italy as a whole: Emilia-Romagna. This is the region including the cities of Bologna and Parma to give you an idea. It borders my motherland Tuscany and indeed its food has similarities with Emilian food.
The menu included tapa and plato portions, for a balanced choice of pasta, main courses and piadina (special wraps from Emilia-Romagna). The ingredients were well chosen, delicate and with a direct link to Andalusian habits. I liked the idea of a region in Italy mixing its food heritage with a region with Spain, overcoming the stereotyped dishes present at national leaves. Yes, forget about pizza and tortillas. I went for truffle crostini as a starter, to then test the restaurant with a challenging dish of Gorgonzola and pear ravioli. This is a very simple but delicate recipe, so easy to screw up. The test was a success. The next round were Panzerotti; fried pastry stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, slightly spiced with oregano: another hit!
Raf went for a dish of Ortolana Tagliatelle. She got mad when she saw Parmesan scales over it. I tried to assure her that Parmesan won't taste as the normal cheese she hates, but instead will enhance the experience of eating the mushrooms in the pasta. Raf agreed in the end praising her dish too!
For the first time I can recommend an “Italian” restaurant abroad: La Locanda di Andrea. This place is respectful both of its heritage as well as the place where it is located.
Beside this place we stopped at different places during the days and everywhere it was a success. The tapa I miss the most is the Espinacas con Garbanzos. This tapa brings the Arab heritage in it. It is a mix of cooked spinach and chickpeas, flavoured by exotic spices like cumin and coriander. You will get addicted to it!

When the Sunday night came, after being foster of Raf, I looked around the corner of my hostel for food. Serranito was the next restaurant I hit, and it was bingo again.
I had a fresh sea-bass for just 14.00 EUR! Despite the language barriers, the waiter was so nice, a pure Andalusian, with that charge of hospitality. He accommodated my request to try some special cheese (quezo especial), accompanied by a remarkable red wine. This wine wasn't Andalusian, but from the Pais Basco, el Ramon Bilbao. As a Tuscan, I can say that this red wine is excellent. It isn't too strong, but it has body, its flavour is deep and it matches perfectly with the seasoned cheese I was fed with.

I even had lunch there the next day. This time I opened my stomach with a soup of salmon, so delicate and yet delicious. The cheese drowned in it, while the pieces of jamon created a surreal, but enjoyable combination with the fish. The next course was a hot pan of prawns, majestically cooked over garlic and parsley, with a stiff touch of chili peppers, aggressive just as needed!
All was accompanied by a refreshing Tinto de Verano. Raf initiated me to this drink. She ordered it the first evening we went out: “You don't know Tinto de Verano? OK, I'll order it for you, but I won't tell you what's inside, because you won't drink it otherwise...”
I was intrigued by her statement, so I decided to play. It was a good choice. I enjoyed Tinto de Verano, but Raf was right to say that if I knew before, I would have never considered to order cheap wine mixed with Fanta Lemon!

Sevilla Nightlife

We are in Spain. This means that you can take it easy when it comes to the nightlife. Normally you don't have to bother to go out of home before 10.00 pm. Unless, you want to enjoy a bit of Flamenco! Someone suggested to explore La Carboneria, where they play traditional Flamenco. It's a place hit by the locals mostly, which was a guarantee for us. We weren't wrong. The environment is simple, even rough and though. You have a series of benches, where you sit with a big "jarra de sangria"!
After this new fantastic show, it was time for the Garlochi Bar. If you go there, you will have a mystical experience... What do I mean? Well, I mean that at Garlochi you will feel like in a church: holy icons, crosses, clerical clothes, holy paintings and an intense fragrance of incense are the very essence of this irreverent bar!

The owner is very proud of his idea. I can imagine the scandal he created when he opened the place some decades ago...
I must be grateful to who suggested me this place and to my hostel buddies who were crazy enough to follow me there!
The issue for us was that we were hitting the streets on a Tuesday night... not exactly the most lively day of the week... We tried Hercules Square, which is an important point of the nightlife, especially for the locals. It's a long square where you will find different tiny bars at its sides, while in the middle, several youngsters will sit around benches chatting and socializing. Simple and pure. Three of them suggested us a couple of places, including some clubs that apparently are open all the week long. However, these club always have an entrance fee of at least 10 EUR, but during the week they are mostly empty.
These same Sevillanos suggested us to try at La Bicicleteria. When we arrived in front of the door, it looked like a sex club... The door represents a woman with red lips who invites you to stay silent. The colors are red, pink, black and white (but after I came back I discovered that picture changes from time to time!). With a tip of embarrassment we rang the bell... a dude in white opened and asked us how many we were: we said 4 and he granted us access. What we found inside was nothing like we expected... The bar was very dark, but nothing queer. There were several small tables on the sides and the bar was at the bottom of the room. The bar wasn't a conventional one though. Let's say that the very bar, meaning the table where the guy prepares the drinks was very short, so short that actually you could stand beside the bartender and prepare the drink with him! There is no real separation between the bar and the room. It reminded me my old house in Sliema.
The design of La Bicicleteria is welcoming. It is arranged like a cosy apartment, with many books filling the back of the bar. You will feel immediately at home and the weak light (provided mostly by candles!) will give you a strange sense of protection.
Music? Wrong! No reggaetón, but pure alternative rock!
It was the right place to order drinks and enjoy the moment. We felt so cool that we let ourselves go into the I've Never Ever game. This is the ultimate drinking game. It is boring if you play it with people you know, but it gets exciting if you play with strangers! Nobody has reasons to hide... Oh the beauty of anonymity that this modern world is trying to kill.. :-)
Of course the night couldn't stop in an apart-bar. We had to hit another place, precisely the Ruko n Roll bar. This is a tiny disco bar. There are some similarities with the clubs in Paceville, Malta. The average age is kind the same (under 25), but the quality of music and drinks is far superior! Even here we jumped over rock, from AC/DC to Mötley Crüe! Sevilla has a hard rock soul after all!
When the night ends, you can refill yourself in the pizza shop right around the corner. I had a giant slice of mushroom pizza right out of the oven for 2 EUR!
During the night in Sevilla you will meet interesting folks, curious places and you will feel like in a movie.

I want to thank my hostel buddies who followed me through a great night in the Andalusian capital. I hope to meet other cool pals like them in my future hostel stays! :-)


If you need a vacation where you can relax, enjoy, party, stuff yourself with history and culture, get lost across charming streets with an exotic touch and feed your stomach with tasty food, Sevilla is the top choice!
Due to the rich history of Sevilla, you will feel like traveling through different cities from different places and eras at once. This will make your journey unique. It will even help your Instagram profile as you will have many spots to get cool pictures that none of your friends will have!
I suggest you to spend at least 4 days in Sevilla to appreciate the city as much as it deserves.
And now as usual, I'm going to wrap up Sevilla according to my senses:

Weather: People say it's hot. For me it was OK.
People: Friendly!
Food: So tasty and cheap! You will have a wide choice of meat, fish and vegetarian options too.
Cost of living: Cheap for eating and drinking. The accommodations can be a bit expensive, unless you stay in a hostel.
Safety: Very good. You might find some beggars, but they look harmless.
Monuments: Outstanding monuments that embody the multicultural history of Sevilla! You will be mesmerized!
Transport: Excellent and cheap public transport, you won't need though beside going to the airport.
Nightlife: Crazy, surreal, it feels like a movie...

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