Day 21: Drive to Seville (1hour 45 minutes)
Continued the drive today to Seville. GPS couldn’t find hotel today and took us to very unusual spots. A shanty town on the outskirts and then some poor suburb that looked like south central LA. Kat rang the hotel and got some cross street that Miss GPS liked, as we got close we clocked the sign and bingo. Lunch at the hotel and then a walk at night in Seville. Hotel was little out of town but they had a shuttle bus into town and you could get a taxi back to the hotel. No use taking your own car as there was not much parking in town so we left it at the hotel.
The Plaza de Toros bullfighting ring gave us our chance to visit a current Bullfighting ring with years of continuous use. It seats 12000. Expensive seats 100 euro in the shade, cheap seats 25 euro in the sun. That’s how they’ve done it for 250 years. Museum was a good insight into the world of the matador. I always thought that I might go watch a bullfight- when in Spain… The museum on site showcased both the historical origins of bullfighting, its wavering popularity throughout the years and the more gruesome side of the pageantry of the bullfight. I decided that maybe I wasn’t so keen to go watch after all.
Day 22: The Alcazar of Seville
The Alcazar that keeps on giving a little like Lindsey’s Magic Pudding. This place is huge massive building including the room where Magelan and Columbus planned their world-changing voyages. The gardens are also never-ending. The swimming pool under the castle is magical.
Also check out the Barrio de Santa Cruz- Jewish quarter and the Seville cathedral. The cathedral is the third biggest Cathedral in the world. The tomb of Columbus is here and is a big draw card. Again built on the site of a mosque so quite a strange mix of Gothic and eastern Islamic architecture. East meets West.
Day 23: Flamenco on the menu
We had fantastic food throughout our travels but some stand outs will certainly be Seville. Found a great family owned taverna with staff that were hilarious and could do anything to make you happy. Language the further south is more and more Spanish not so much English. But if you have a go they love it. We did a couple of repeat visits to Bar Gonzala.
The night find of a little bar was great too. The dark photo is the best shot I could get of this smokey little joint that had a Flamenco show. Not for tourists but just a singer dancer and guitarist. The highlight however was the karaoke style ending, where locals took turns to flamenco dance. If Floyd only had his boots, he would have ” burned the floor “.
Day 24: Drive to Cadiz
Cadiz is so underrated. We love, love, loved this place and can’t wait to go back. We drove down and on advice parked the car for the next three days in the local parking station and walked to our accommodation. It was a good choice as the lanes are so narrow in the old town where we were staying that it is nearly impossible to get a car up them. Even the car park was a real squeeze – DO NOT be tempted to upgrade your hire car to anything bigger than you need. The smaller the better. I am sure the sunroofs are there so you can climb out the top if the parking space is too tight to open the doors.
Cadiz is a beautiful seaside area that is the favourite tourist destinations of the Spanish. The entire city was a walled fortress.Our hotel is in the old city and is surrounded by bars and tabernas, the seafood is amazing.
Archaeologically, Cadiz has been inhabited since prehistoric days. Various sites show Phoenician, Egyptian, Roman occupation evidence. Great museum and what’s more its free. We tried to find a great bar Kat read on a Spanish bar guide before we left, yep in Spanish. After trying for an hour we worked out we had the map upside down try again tomorrow.
Day 25: We find Casa Manteca
We spent the morning wandering around town, checking out the beaches and exploring Castille San Sebastian. Part of the fortress built to keep the nasty Dutch out. The main cathedral can be seen in the background. Beautiful weather, cloudless skies.
After the first aborted attempt and the whole upside down map thing. We made our way to Casa Manteca. Pepe Manteca, quite a famous bullfighter started the bar in 1956. The son now runs it and it is packed with photos and memorabilia about Pepe, bullfighting and flamenco. All the tapas is served on paper sheets in front of you on the bar.
The atmosphere is hard to capture in pictures and the smells and sounds impossible to replicate. They also have Flamenco sometimes. Kat asked if they have any planned Flamenco soon and they said ” no planned Flamenco, sometimes it just happens”
Families, singles, funny old guys, rich and poor all pack this place and the people watching is an experience itself.
Day 26: Siesta
Our last full day in Cadiz and we hit the shops. Then retreat at about 3pm when they all close and reopen at 5 pm. Got to love Siesta.
Day 27: Italica
Drove today from Cadiz to Seville. On the way we stopped at Santiponce just out of Seville to look at an amazing Roman town known as Italica.
We had what the Spanish call menu dia or menu of the day. Most Tabernas or Tavernas have them and they are great value. You get a starter from a choice of a few, a main from a choice of a few and a dessert or coffee or a drink, wine, beer or a soft drink.
For $9 or €6.50 each I had a veal stew, sardine flash fried and ice cream cake. Kat had salad, pork skewer and watermelon. Great place in a tiny town with great people who had no english, laughs and giggles all round. Of course Kat knows what we’re ordering, although when they answer in Spanish we’re done ducks. When all else fails laugh and point and say, vale, si and gracias.
Day 28: Fly from Seville to Barcelona
Day 29- 32: More time in Barcelona!
Barcelona is where my heart is. At the beginning of the trip we visited every tourist sight we could, every museum- it was our first time in Europe and we were making the most of it. Our last few days we hit the shopping malls, the cafes and restaurants and just wandered around. It was a great way to relax and unwind before we flew back to Australia.