Seville y Cordoba
21.10.2011 - 23.10.2011
This weekend I took a trip to Seville and Cordoba. I fell in love with Southern Spain. It was so different from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, much more rustic and more of what you picture Spain to look like. I left really early Friday morning to catch the plane with the rest of the abroad group. This trip was planned by my program, which made it very nice when traveling because I didn't have to think about anything. The flight was pretty short and we made it to Seville by 10:30 am. When I walked outside the airport it looked exactly like Florida (as if Barcelona doesn't). The sun was shining and it was warmer than in Barcelona. We then checked into our FOUR star hotel! Living the high life for two nights, which was pretty well received on my end (especially since it came with breakfast, and not the typical you can have one slice of ham and a piece of bread European breakfast, it was a full fledged american breakfast!).
The walk from the hotel to the center of Seville was beautiful. I turned the corner and all of a sudden there was a massive cathedral right in front of me. It is the largest Gothic building the world, the biggest cathedral in Spain, and the third biggest cathedral in the world behind St. Peter's at the Vatican and St. Paul's in London. Seville has a very moorish feel to it, because of the Muslim influence during the 8th and 9th century. Our activity for the day was a city tour. They brought us all around the city giving us information and cool little tid bits. The houses in Seville were beautiful. A lot of houses keep their doors open all the time because it gets really hot, so you are able to look right into the homes; however, they are not typical homes like what we have in America. Pretty much every house has a patio on the first floor. You open the door and there is a tiled walkway. The tiles look so pretty and are really eccentric colors. Then the patio has tons of plants and little benches and flowers, surrounded by more tiles. I want my house to be like that! Our tour ended by taking us into the cathedral.
The cathedral was HUGE! Once you get inside there is a gigantic forum outside. Planted in the forum are orange trees! There were rows and rows of oranges, but they are not in season right now, so you had to look closely to see the little green oranges. Then you walk into the actual cathedral. It was maybe one of the coolest buildings I have ever gone into. There were just rows and rows of columns and then right in the middle was the alter. Surrounding the alter were gold figures from the floor to the ceiling. It makes me wonder how people were able to build things like that. We then got to go up the tower, which was the last remaining part of the Mosque before it was transformed into a cathedral. You had to walk up to the top, 38 flights of.... ramps! Instead of stairs the people who built the tower used ramps because the people used to ride horses up to the top. Horses wouldn't be able to go up stairs, so they made it with ramps. So clever! The view from the top was really cool and I was able to see the entirety of Seville.
Later that night, some friends and I decided to go see the Placa de Espanya. It looked far on the map, but in reality it was probably only a 20 minute walk from the hotel. We stopped at this festival of the world (I don't remember what it was actually called, but it kind of resembled Epcot). It was so fun! There were tents set up from all different countries around the world selling traditional food. We stopped at France to get a crepe! Bananas and chocolate. YUM! It was so funny because we wanted to find the United States tent to see what they had. It was a tiny tent over the back corner, the US and Canada were combined and all they had were ribs and duff beer. (Duff beer is the beer on the Simpsons and actually isn't even a real type of beer). There were tons of people at the festival and not one person sitting down at the United States. It was very comical. We then made our way over to Placa Espanya, where there was a huge building. I was expecting a cool plaza or something, not an entire building! It even had a moat around it. It was really pretty to see it at night, but the park closed at 12, so we were unfortunately kicked out by the security guards. We also went back the on Sunday to see it again in the day time, which was also really cool because there were horse drawn carriages, row boats in the moat, and people everywhere.
The next day we had a day trip to Cordoba. It took about an hour an a half by bus to get there. I was able to see some of the Spanish country-side though. It wasn't that exciting. Looked like, what I am assuming, the middle of the United States. There wasn't much to do in Cordoba except visit the old Mosque, which was pretty fantastic. The mosque was pretty much the same as the cathedral in Seville with the orange trees, but the inside was quite a bit different. There were soooo many arches when you walked inside the mosque. It was also interesting because once the Moors lost power in Spain, the mosque was converted to a church. So there is a juxtaposition of christian symbols with islamic architecture that makes it really interesting and weird at the same time. I then walked around Cordoba a little bit. We were told to get the eggplant with honey tapa. IT WAS DELICIOUS. It was a lightly fried eggplant drizzles with honey. YUM!
Once we got back to Seville, we decided to go out to dinner. We were going to go for traditional tapas, but at this point I am pretty sure everyone is sick of tapas, so we decided on this really cute Italian place. I can't wait to go to Italy if this restaurant was any indication of the food I will be eating there. I got fresh fettucine with alfredo. I ate the entire bowl, it was so good. After dinner we were all exhausted so we just went back to the hotel to sleep. The next morning I went to the Palace in Seville. It is the oldest palace still in use (whatever that means because I am pretty sure no one lives there). The palace itself was amazing. Every room was tiled and there was a huge garden, complete with labyrinth (don't get to jealous, it was a spiral, and not that cool). The place was huge and beautiful. Maybe someday I will marry into the Spanish royal family.
All in all, I loved Seville. I have decided that it is probably my favorite city in Spain (I don't count Barcelona because I am living here; therefore, I have a completely different view on it). I think if I were to move back to Europe after college, or whenever really, I would choose Seville. It is a city without the huge city feel. The people are really nice, the weather is amazing and the food is way better than Barcelona. Southern Spain, YOU ROCK!