¡viva genevieve!

Embracing change through travel and culinary discovery

Archive for the tag “Sevilla”

Sevilla: Eats, Treats and Citrus Streets

It has come time for me to move on from sunny Sevilla and carry on with the journey. It’s time to stop taking midday siestas, partaking in tapa tasting and sipping on tinto veranos and start planning to head to lands of cooler and crisper air. Whilst basing myself here in Sevilla to teach, learn and explore I have managed to get to know the city pretty well and I have made some fantastic friends along the way, the great thing about the Andalusian people is that they are always arms open wide, boisterous and ready for a cerveza and a fiesta. The following list is just a small sample of my Sevillian favourites: the things that I highly recommend and that make up the best memories of this city that I will take away with me.


Tapas, Tapas and more and more Tapas

I’ll start with the food as it seems to be the centre of my universe still even though I am no longer an athlete. Andalucía is probably the most known region of Spain for tapas, tapas are everywhere but here they are particularly a core part of the lifestyle. The best tapas I had here were at Espacio Eslava a well-priced and beautifully presented tapas bar (you can see the food we had on “World Table”) Bodeguita Romero is also one to check out with very traditional options. The tapas dining experience really is my favourite way to enjoy food, you get to try so many different flavours, the meal ends up being cheap and you are full and satisfied by the end of it. My recommendations are:

Solomillo con whiskey – Pork tenderloin cooked in garlic and whisky sauce, so simple but so full of flavour and a great one to mop up with bread.

Morcilla – Ok this one sounds gross but it is actually so tasty and very rich, it’s the Sevillian style of black pudding and is usually served in a bocadillo.

Ibérico – Anything with Iberian pork is amazing and beautifully tasty! These acorn feed pigs really are a cut above the rest, you can taste this in many ways including jamón ibérico or ibérico secreto.

Cola de toro – Bulls tail, this is usually stewed and only available on some occasions. I was only able to try bulls tail croquettes which were delicious.

Chocos fritos – Similar to Calamari but a bit thicker, these are fried pieces of a sort of cuttlefish, served with a squeeze of lemon.

Flamequines – These are a sort of pork schnitzel roll with goats cheese and ham. Can’t go wrong!


A Piece of Royalty in the Centre of the City

The Royal Alcázar is probably the best thing you can see whilst in Sevilla. It is one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain and arguably the world. With a strong Moorish influence, this huge palace and complex is like a secret garden amongst the city. The architecture is unbelievable and the tiles and gardens are like nothing else. There is usually always a line but it really is well worth the wait and the 9.50 euros. It’s a must do.


Maria Luisa Park

This large public park is a sanctuary of greenery, beautifully tiled and crafted spaces and pathways to explore. Again it’s one of those places that will surprise you being right in the middle of this big city. It’s a great place to wander for an afternoon and requires a decent amount of time to be truly appreciated.And it’s free, what’s not to love!


Plaza de España

Another free and beautiful part of the city is Seville’s Plaza de España, it seems most of the cities in Spain boast a plaza by this name but Seville’s is by far the most impressive. The tile work across the whole plaza is unfathomably amazing and one of those sights you just can’t quite capture on film. You can hire a boat to paddle around the small river that runs in front of the plaza for a peaceful afternoon.

Experience the Flamenco

A trip to Seville is not complete without at least hearing a little of that charming Spanish guitar. The flamenco is a strong part of the culture here and is evident with the countless number of shops selling flamenco dresses and fans. I never went to a paid show as I thought they may be a bit touristy and overpriced, however there are many bars that have free flamenco on show and as long as you are drinking you can sit and experience it. Some of the bars don’t play until midnight so if you aren’t much of a night owl you probably won’t get the best flamenco show (according to locals) but it’s still pretty amazing if you ask me. One of the most popular and easily accessible free shows is with La Carbonería a very cool whole in the wall type bar with flamenco most nights and at a reasonable hour. The guitar is a really core part of the show and the dancers perform with a whole heap of passion, it’s an impressive art form.


The Sweets that God Giveth

Although I am not religious in my bones I really love the tradition here to purchase sweets and pastries from the local nuns to support them and the convents. There are a few to visit in the centre and all have some of their own uniquely homemade treats. I went to the <emConvento de Santa Ines on calle Doña Maria Coronel and it was such a unique experience. Firstly you choose your holy sweets from a menu board and yell through your order via a lazy susan, the nun on the other side (whom you never see) spins your sweets over to you and you then part with your cash and spin it on back to the nun. We chose a specific Santa Clara biscuit which had a melt in your mouth texture and a distinct cinnamon and star anise flavour. Its great really, you leave with a full belly and a sugar high and surely some brownie points with the big guy up top.

The hot days, citrus streets and the enchanting music of Sevilla have left me with some beautifully etched memories to take with me, my love for Spanish food and language has been strengthened but I think now it is time to get back to my own lifestyle where naps are only for lazy Sundays and dinner isn’t consumed in the middle of the night (: What a wonderful way to extend the summer and enjoy a bit of Spanish living. ¡viva the Sevillian Civilian!

The Future Looks Bright


*A few photos from Sevilla

It never ceases to amaze me the interesting and unique people you meet whilst travelling. When I am at home I very rarely come across the strange, the interesting or the down right nutty. Maybe its because at home I’m too busy with the life bubble of friends, family and work that I have already created to notice or to chance across these kinds of people. Or maybe it’s because in my far off New Zealand, we are just a different breed from the rest.

I have been in Sevilla for three weeks now, living in small town Gines, about seven kilometres from Sevilla centre. When I say small town, I mean small town. I once saw an oxen and cart parked outside one of the local tapas bars, just pulled up and parked right in front with his oxen to have a beer and some tapas. Those sorts of things you only ever see in small towns! I have been teaching English here for a couple that runs a language school from their home. I was initially really excited to start using my CELTA qualification and get this teacher role started, although I am enjoying it for the most part, what I didn’t count on was teaching a group of rowdy, disinterested and rebellious pre-teens. Well all I can say is I have a lot of respect for school teachers who deal with classes of 30 of the little monsters, I only have eight and I am barely holding on to my sanity.

When I am not squishing myself in to the role of English Language Teacher I have my spare time to roam and discover Sevilla. I have been opting to do this by meeting up with different travellers from all over the world for language exchange so I can attempt to become somewhat proficient at speaking Spanish. Last week I was joined by an American friend to practice my not so good and her marginally better Spanish conversation, we agreed to meet at Café de la Prensa on the Triana side of Sevilla which over looks the elegant Guadalquivir river, well-used by rowers and kayakers alike. The café has a great tapas menu; I can recommend the pollo rellena, stuffed chicken breast in a tasty Andalucían sauce.

When we arrived we were disappointed to see that all of the tables were already taken and we were contemplating rethinking our dining choice. I scanned the tables and I noticed an old slightly eccentric looking man sitting by himself at a table for four. He wore a dusty white suit, what appeared to be a cowboy’s bolo tie and he had donned a purple hat for the still sunny Sevilllian late afternoon. He sat alone with his cane outstretched and as I caught his eye he got up and motioned us over to his table. He looked as though he was maybe in his late sixties and grumbled to us (in Spanish) something about there never being any tables for one anymore. He motioned for us to take the table and he proceeded to ask for his check. Well that was very nice of him I thought, we were both hungry and eager to get in to the tapas selection ahead of us.

What we didn’t count on was that the quirky man in the purple hat was keen to stay for a chat, well all the better for us I guess as it was a good opportunity to practise Spanish. I didn’t follow much of the conversation as I am still struggling to hear Spanish via the very unique Andalucían accent, my friend however is much better than I am and continued to contribute to the conversation. At one point he did turn to me to tell me that I was a very intelligent woman. Well, I wont argue with that one Spanish cowboy! I graciously laughed and said my “gracias”.

He then said to both of us, well we thought he said to both of us “soy psicólogo”
“I am a psychologist”. Oh perfect I thought and proceeded to tell him all about my psychology studies and that I want to study sport psychology in the future. From there the conversation didn’t really continue how I had expected. He began describing us both in detail, what kind of people we were, our ethnic ancestry, our personality characteristics. At first I thought maybe because he is a psychologist he’s interested in personality traits etc. and that’s where he was going but then he said to me (in strong Spanish and intensity in his eyes) “ you are going to be very rich one day”. Well, ok (I laughed nervously) I wondered if I had translated correctly, he also told me that I will work for the rest of my life. Well I should hope that after working for the rest of my life I would be very rich, I’d be a bit disappointed (and exhausted) if I wasn’t!

When he finally got up to leave so we could order something to eat he left with some final, and I’m sure very wise and life changing words. But unfortunately neither of us could really understand him. He continued to talk of our futures as we left, about my friend’s impulsive nature and my quiet nature and then he hobbled off with his Spanish cowboy image and his elegant walking stick. I mentioned to my friend that he had been an interesting psychologist; I couldn’t quite work out if he was psychoanalysing us or predicting our future. She turned to me and said “ Oh no that’s not what he meant, he must’ve said “soy psíquico!” the Spanish translation for “psychic”, easily confused with “psychologist”! Oh now I got it, we just had our futures read by a real purple hat wearing Spanish cowboy psychic and we didn’t even know it! Well I’m not sure if he was just one of the nutty strangers I spoke of earlier or maybe he was the real deal …… I will never know, and now I wish I could understand more Spanish! But hey the future looks bright apparently, lots of money and lots of work to come, vamos a ver. ¡viva the odd and curious!

Captured by Cádiz

The first sight of Cádiz that came emerging out of the azul sky and sea that surrounded my peripheral was the grand and baroque style cathedral of Cádiz. The cathedral that took over 100 years to build greets the port and the shoreline of Cádiz with imposing style and grace. I took my first day trip from my new base in Gines, Sevilla to this popular weekend destination, I opted to take the ferry across from Puerto de Santa Maria instead of taking a direct train, to get the complete and full experience of my first meeting with this historic Spanish city.

I think it was love at first sight, Cádiz really turned up with an exceptional first impression. You can feel the Andalusian roots in this city from the refreshing stark white houses and buildings inlaid with unique and colourful tiles to the overwhelmingly long tapas menus and that feeling that there really is no reason to rush or worry. Being in the very south, you can see and feel a Moroccan influence amongst the city’s most prominent buildings and the fresh sea breeze is inhaled from every corner of the city due to its position on a narrow stretch of land embraced on all sides by the sea.

The beaches here are relaxed and beautiful (not as beautiful as NZ beaches but pretty close!) I passed my day at La Playa de la Caleta in the old city between two castles that lie at either end of the beach like outstretched arms reaching out in to the sea. This particular beach was a set for the James Bond movie Die Another Day and really was quite striking with the colourful little local dinghies beached at low tide and the old stonewall running alongside the sand border behind me. Cádiz really makes you fell like you are on holiday, even if it’s just for a day. I recommend taking the ferry over as it only costs 4 euros one way and is a more scenic way to arrive. The Mercado Central is a must visit too; one of the great things about Spain is all of the open air markets where you can purchase all kinds of fresh produce from coconuts to calamari. Hopefully the beautiful beach weather will hold for a few more weeks here so I can explore more of the beautiful coast that Andalucía has to offer. ¡viva holding on to summer!

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