Before I got married and had kids and became the pillar of maturity I am today…😉 (mwahaha oh how I enjoy making myself laugh when I write!)…
…living in Sevilla was one of my favorite life experiences!
Note: I used the English name “Seville” in the title so English-speakers searching online will find it. However—just like when you have a good friend who introduced himself as “Juan”, you wouldn’t start calling him “John”—the rest of the time I will be referring to my friend Sevilla in her chosen Spanish name because that’s how I was introduced to and know her!
Does every place you live become a beloved place? No, not always.
Maybe it’s my Spanish blood, my love of the Spanish language, or my love of food (and this is where I learned to adore Spanish food)…
…but Sevilla slowly, silently, head raised a bit, almost imperceptibly edged her way into my heart.
So much so that eight years after leaving Sevilla, I took Matt back there.
But still, a visit wasn’t enough. As time passed, I wanted to live in Sevilla again and I wanted to do it RIGHT!
(Not that the first time living there wasn’t fun, but when you’re in your early 20s, you’re not the wisest owl on the branch. Your brain doesn’t even fully develop ’til you’re 25/26!)
“Right” also meant doing it with my daughters. I wanted to introduce them to this city/friend who had decided that she was going to make an impact on my life and an impact on who I would become, whether I asked for it or not…
I won’t share too many more personal details, I’ll just get right to how this affects YOU!
#1: If you ever travel to Spain, you CANNOT miss Andalusia. (That’s essentially Southern Spain, where Sevilla is located.)
#2: If you’re like me and you prefer nature and the countryside to cities, don’t write off Sevilla. She’s one of the few cities in the world I believe you shouldn’t miss!
#3: You can find internet sites full of “to dos” in Sevilla, ranging from the 2nd largest cathedral in the world and climbing La Giralda, to attending a flamenco show (you can do this) to a bullfight (don’t do this!)…
…so I am not going to repeat those lists. If you have the inclination and time to do them, absolutely fine—and later on I’ll share with you some favorite things we did as a family while we lived in an apartment in my favorite barrio (neighborhood) of Sevilla.
But the #1 thing you must do is
WALK THE CITY & GO TAPA-ING.
A.K.A. Eat all the Spanish food you can find, all day every day.
Ok so I guess technically that’s two things but I’m telling ya, that’s it. If you only do ONE thing in Sevilla, it’s that.
(And if it’s the only thing you do, you still will have spent your time wisely.)
Walk around Sevilla, enjoy the river and the parks and the scent of sweet orange blossoms on the thousands of trees…and when you’re hungry (or thirsty), stop for a caña (small glass of beer) and tapas. Many Spanish wines are also wonderful, if you’re not a beer person.
Tip: Get off the “main drags” to find the best little tapas places. Not that you can’t find decent tapas on the main pedestrian streets, but in general you’ll get a cooler experience when you’re almost “lost” in the winding streets that don’t always follow any logical trajectory, and you pop into whatever little spot you find. Usually less busy, but always depends on time of day. Spain does not rise early, but some tapas places open as early at 11am and of course stay open until laaaaaaaaaate in the night.
Generally in Sevilla, the residents will eat a very, very large lunch around midafternoon…then maybe a lighter dinner or tapas at night (8pm earliest! Very uncool!🤣 Don’t worry though.)
Now for the bad news:
I discovered when we arrived this year that somehow, at some point, Sevilla has become popular. I couldn’t believe how many people were there, even when it wasn’t high season.
I asked different locals of all ages about this over the time we lived there and they all sighed and said yes, it was true. The city has gotten busier.
So, while recognizing and experiencing firsthand this year how she’s now different and busier than when I first met her, my sweet Sevilla is stuck in my memory as when she wasn’t quite so overrun with tourists popping in for just a few days…
If you do visit her, stay in a quiet barrio…maybe Triana or one of the quiet streets in Barrio Santa Cruz if you don’t have much time…
…and walk around for awhile then eat…walk around and find a nice place to sit and have a drink…repeat.
I’ve laughed to Matt so many times this year, “We should entitle this year, ‘Playgrounds of the World!'” I could put together a full photography show of playgrounds from the Azores to Finland, from Rwanda to South Africa…and beyond!
Speaking of playgrounds, how’s about the Big Chain Swing?
Have you really LIVED somewhere with kids unless they’ve broken a bone and/or required an emergency room visit?