We did more than drive the narrow streets while we were in Seville in December. We stayed at an eclectic hostel, Hostal Sierpes, where the moment I walked in, I wondered if this was the place I’d regret bringing kids to. It wasn’t. In fact, I’d recommend staying there. It was a pleasant surprise and change of pace from the more generic places we had stayed.
Jeff and Violet toured the bull ring and museum in Seville; Plaza de Toros. It looked amazing! Violet can tell you all about how the bull fight works, what flag they hold up if the bull is spared, how historically horses would help and often be killed, and she will happily tell you about the time a bull was spared (there aren’t many!)
We visited the “Tower of Gold” – it’s proper name is the Torre del Oro. A 13th century watch tower along the river that offloaded the riches from the conquistadors returning from Central & South America. There was a small museum inside and then the rooftop viewing platform.
We stumbled upon the modern architecture of Metropol Parasol (that honeycomb shaped building the background below) where the girls decided to treat each other to pony rides and Violet spent her Christmas money on a leather purse. We didn’t set out to find the Metropol Parasol but it was a nice place to end up. There were holiday craft booths to stroll through, small amusement rides for the kids and a generally festive atmosphere.
I saw shops and shops full of flamenco dresses for sale. But unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead and we did not make it to a flamenco show while in Seville. Truthfully, I just wasn’t sure if it was a family atmosphere and by the time I found a flamenco performance (which was right around the corner from our hostel) they were all booked. We were traveling during the Christmas holiday.
It was this trip in Seville that I realized that while we dressed in functional warm outer wear most of those around us wore, warm but fashionable outerwear. We just aren’t accustomed to the plethora of plazas that are enjoyed year round in Spain.
We stood in line for an hour to get into the Seville Cathedral. It was massive and expanse and left me wondering what all this empty, yet beautiful space was ever used for. The cathedral also holds the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Not without it controversy though. The history channel reports that it is Christopher Columbus’ sons bones that buriedare in Seville and his lie in the Dominican Republic. I’m going to continue to state that I visited the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Which I thought was really cool.
Part of the cathedral was the tower of Giralda. Unlike the other towers we’ve climbed this one had ramps that led to the bell tower. The most fascinating part of the tower was the electronic people counter letting you know exactly how many people already occupied the ramps and the bell tower. We we headed up with 417 people, when we exited there were 633 in the tower. I was glad we were done.
We rented an audio guide to share with the family as we went through. And it would have been great except for the fighting that ensued over it and the subsequent waiting for your turn that led to children misbehaving as they waited. Then add in your backpack, camera and couple of shots with the cell phone to post immediately to fb, and the guards asking us to hold our children’s hands…our hand were more than full. And 6 months later there isn’t much I can remember from the audio guide.
We had an enjoyable walk to Plaza Espana in Seville and a fun, quirky row boat ride through the canal on the plaza. The plaza was a pleasant surprise from the crowded, restaurant filled plazas I had come accustomed to. It was a nice, calm, relaxing plaza with beautiful tile work and a wonderful fountain set within a large park. We didn’t make it to the plaza until near 8pm, it would have been nice to make it earlier but our days were full in Seville.
We ran across a carnival on our way back towards the main street from Plaza Espana. It made me smile to see an ice skating rink set amid palm trees.
The girls watched street performs ranging from a puppet/marionette show, mimes, painted people to other performers hiding under tables trying to scare passing pedestrians. The girls were fascinated by the street performers and would have lingered until the wee hours.
At a restaurant, we had two very traditional meals. [look these up and explain what they are]. Both dishes were wonderfully moist and yummy.
The hostel was located close to nearly everything. Which also meant it was located on small, winding streets. Driving was a crazy experience! And even on foot we would frequently loose our way. I have learned that I have no aptitude for reading maps; I’d have it backwards and end up walking in the opposite direction I intended.
We quite literally stumbled upon our hostel after our day of exploring the cathedral, main street, plaza espana and eating out.
It was an enjoyable and memorable trip!