Off to Sevilla

I had an awesome time in Lisbon and I hope at some point to get back there to look around more.  I think Portugal often gets overlooked as people are more likely to head to Spain.  If you ever get the chance, you must go to Portugal.

Like I said, Spain is usually popular and I know more people who have visited Spain than Portugal.  I am included in that.  I went to Spain back in 2001.  I can honestly say that was an amazing trip, and Sevilla captured my heart.  That is one reason we decided to include Sevilla on our trip.  I am happy to report that so far Sevilla does not disappoint.

Our flight was insanely early, like 8:30 am, but the flight was only 1 hour, so it made things a little easier.
The plane was a small one with only one seat on the left and 2 on the right.  I was impressed with the early hour and the short flight that they actually had a meal service.  The sandwich was meat so we did not eat those, but the yogurt was great.  I had a banana yogurt and I was happy to see it advertised as gelatin-free.
Although the flight was only an hour, there was an hour difference, so it was 2 hours later when we landed. 
Welcome to Sevilla!
We were greeted with a beautiful hotel.  We are at the Casa Romana and it is located near the shopping district.  This time it was much less modern and much more southern Spain.  There is a beautiful open courtyard.  I would say there are probably only 30 or so rooms.  I love the decor.  They even serve breakfast daily.  My only complaint is the internet access.  There is an internet cafe next door, which would help most people, but I teach online and I had to do a seminar Monday night, and the connection in my room was so weak that I had to go to the lobby lounge and close the doors to teach my class from 4-5 am.  I would have preferred the privacy of my own room.  Thankfully the internet cost is only 6 euro daily.
Ok, back to the beautiful hotel.
The fourth floor is the roof and houses the outdoor lounge area and small pool.  
I looks like a hot tub, but it is really a pool with jets.  It feels great after a long day in the heat.
Here is what my room looks like.
I have great doors that open up to the street below.  The nice breeze is awesome in the late afternoon when it is time for my siesta.
It offers a great view.
The bathrooms are cute too.
After we settled in, it was time to venture out and see the town.  I should have paid better attention to the map because we took a wrong turn.  It didn’t take us too far of course, but we were hungry and just wanted to find the food.  It was a simple wrong turn and we are now better acquainted with the lay out and know exactly where we went wrong.

We finally found the Cathedral and were so hungry we grabbed a quick bite to eat at an Irish pub. 
Yes, you heard me right, our first meal in Spain was at a *gasp* Irish pub.  I actually had a beer or 2 here in 2001 and I knew this was a safe choice.  It was also unbelievably busy as the Portugal vs North Korea game was on, but patio seating remained, and it made selecting food much easier.
You can tell they serve a lot of sangria because my water was served in a sangria pitcher.
A clear indication that this in fact an Irish pub.
My mom ordered a club sandwich.  We now know their version of bacon is a lot different and the pork was not exactly cooked.
Joe and I both ordered Mediterranean veggie wraps. 
It contained feta cheese, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, kidney beans and chickpeas, plus it was served with fries and guacamole.  It was really good, although not Spanish food. 
Once refueled, we headed out.  Here is the famous Catedral.  We only looked at the outside and did not go in yet to look around.
There are many horse drawn carriages that you can take around the area.
Here is the cathedral from another angle.
This is the bell tower.
At one point I mentioned to my mom that there was a great Italian restaurant that I ate a twice while here in 2001 and I was sure I would not be able to find it.  While strolling through street after street of restaurants, I spotted this and knew right away I had found it.  It was just as I described to my mom, with the stairs that went down into this place.
Here is another angle of the cathedral.
After some walking in the heat, we stopped for some ice cream.  Joe had some white chocolate and then some pineapple too.  I love the little cookie they used for garnish.
I went with dulce de leche.  Oh yum!
My mom wanted an iced coffee, so go figure, we went to a Starbucks.  This is what the display case of sweets looks like at a Spanish Starbucks.
Just walking around I could see how much Sevilla had changed in 9 years.  There was a lot more shopping than I remembered and I do not recall the public transportation everywhere, like the electric trolley type cars.  It still had the perfect feel to the lifestyle and atmosphere.
The day was exhausting and it was still early, so we had a nice nap (AKA siesta), then a swim and then headed out for dinner.  It was still very light out when we left the hotel around 8:30.  I took some pictures of the gorgeous buildings along the way.
We HAD to do tapas for dinner.  The place we selected did have tapas, but was more of a place for 1/2 rations and full rations of tapa-like items.
It was sangria time and a pitcher was in order.  I should mention Joe does not drink much and my mom drinks even less, but they did a great job.
We are in southern Spain, so you know the olives are in abundance.  Luckily for my mom, they are really into giant green olives, which are her favorite.  We are a major olive loving family.  While Joe and I do all kinds, my mom is partial to the greens.
They serve these little bread stick things.  Almost like what you might add to soup.
The bread was prepackaged.  It looks like many places serve this same bread.
First up was the potatoes alioli, which is like a garlicky mayo.  Very good, but too heavy for me.  I will mention that here we ordered all 1/2 rations of the dishes.  You might notice some portions are quite large.  The cost was about 7-8 euro for each plate and we shared everything.
Next up was my selection and it was heavenly.  This was baked goat cheese with honey, served with toast.
This is garlic shrimp.
Here are fried sardines.  Everyone was ordering these so we gave it a try.  It was good, but very dry, so we ordered one more dish so there was some kind of sauce.
This was actually recommended by the server and it was a fabulous choice.  This is fried eggplant pieces in a thick tomato sauce.
This was a great meal.  I love tapas and sharing small plates with others.  It is nice to get in a good taste of so many things.  By the time we finished close to 10, it was just starting to get dark.  Here is the cathedral at night.
This is a photo of the direction opposite of the cathedral.
As we walked home we stopped for a few minutes to see a street performance of drums.
Then it was finally time for bed because I had to wake up around 3:15 to get ready to teach my online class.
I know some of you commented on some of my previous posts with some questions, so I wanted to answer some of those.  I appreciate all of your comments and I hope you understand that I can’t comment on everyone’s blogs right now.  I am reading them when I can, but I do not have the time to make a lot of comments. 

Mari asked if the shrimp in my post from Lisbon were spicy.  Although they were bright red, they were not really spicy.  These were tandoori shrimp.

Gina asked about my Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt collection and how many I have.  I am not home right now, so I can’t way for sure.  Some are actually in storage because we had limited weight going to the islands.  I think I have 40 or so shirts.  Only a few were from family and friends because I prefer to get the shirt myself.  I do have a few repeats, but this is usually because someone bought me the shirt and then I went there myself later on.

Beth asked if Portugal was crazy with the World Cup going on, and the answer is a big fat YES!  Any place that had a TV had a large crowd of people in front of it.  The same is true for Spain.  It is really neat to be in Europe during this time of year because everyone is so enthusiastic.

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been to Spain?  When you are sightseeing do you like to take your time or hurry through just to say you “been there, done that”?  Have you ever eaten food of another culture in a different country (excluding US) that was different that the home country?  I hope that made sense.  Like when we ate Irish pub food in Spain.


Beth said...

I have always, ALWAYS wanted to go to Spain. One of my good friend's family is there, so maybe one day I will get to go with them!

We always end up eating different ethnic foods in places...Indian and Thai in London, Italian in Prague, American pizza in Scotland!

On the soccer front, you better be out there cheering for the US team on Saturday! Be that crazy American!

Mari said...

I love reading your blog because you let me escape from my reality for just a little bit! thanks for such amazing pictures!

I never had tandoori shrimp but I want to try it!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

What an AMAZING experience!! I love living vicariously through your blog (I know I always say that, but it's true!). I have never been to Spain but boy would I LOVE to go one day. Seriously, I would choose that over ITaly (maybe....).

40 HArd Rock shirts?! Damn girl! I'm impressed. You and Ryan need to go on The Amazing Race together!

Unknown said...

never been to spain, but since matt is semi-spanish, i imagine that we will end up there one day. looks beautiful! your hotel was totally cute!

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