Sometimes, you find yourself on your hands and knees on the floor of a random club in a city in Southern Spain at 4am trying to look for your friend’s lost phone. Sometimes, in cases such as these, you are given weird looks by the locals and asked different questions in a language you don’t understand, so you have to awkwardly mime while trying to shout the words of what you are doing while music blasts in your ears. Sometimes, you have adventures such as these, and then you wake up at 11:30am later that same morning and all you can say to yourself is ”Was I really crawling on a club floor?” Why yes, Lindsey, yes you were. Thankfully, I did find my friend’s phone. So, I guess it was worth it…?
Sevilla, Spain took me by surprise. Being a city with such vibrancy, such diversity, it really was unlike any others I had ever seen before, pleasantly so.
We arrived in Sevilla on a Friday afternoon. It wasn’t rainy, but it wasn’t quite sunny either. That’s fine. I’ll take partly cloudy over rain any day.
My travel companion, Sara, and I decided to stay in a hostel while our other travel companion, Henry, chose to stay in an Airbnb. I think it’s a wise choice to mix it up a bit. Though Airbnbs are quite nice, especially if there are more than two of you traveling together, hostels really are a vibe all their own. So, Sara and I settled in Sevilla Inn Backpackers, (I highly recommend staying here if you are ever in Sevilla.) with it’s extremely perfect location just a two minute walk from the Réal Alcazar and the Cathedral.
Our first day consisted mostly of just exploring the city and enjoying everything that there was to see. Sevilla is beautiful, if not for the colors alone then the monuments, the buildings, the palm trees, and even all the tile work for which it’s known. I found great joy in wandering the streets with Sara, coming upon beautiful street after beautiful street. I highly recommend just letting yourself get lost in this beautiful city.
The downside of Sevilla is that it is a very touristy city. There is a university there, so it has a lot of university students and also attracts a lot of university students from elsewhere for weekend trips. Though this gives the city a really young vibe, it also makes it extremely touristy, which means that basically everything costs money, and the tourist spots are a bit pricey as well. However, if you don’t want to spend too much money, then fear not, there are still a few things you can do to continue exploring. Firstly, the Plaza de Espana is a beautiful representation of the tile for which Sevilla is known. It’s also surrounded by a park that has beautiful tiled fountains as well. It’s FREE to walk around outside of the palace, being a wonderful place to sit, to relax, and to people watch. You can pay money to row a boat in the moat that surrounds the Plaza, but it’s best just to opt of this and just enjoy the view. Also, there’s also a giant fountain in the middle that’s fun to walk by. Warning though, it will drench you. It is huge, the water blasting with full force.
When you are in Sevilla you must also make it a point to go and see some Flamenco dancing, for which Sevilla and, all of Spain really, is known. A great place to see some Flamenco for FREE is a bar called La Carboneria. I had never before seen Flamenco performed. In addition to a type of dance, it’s a style of music as well. The small group started off singing quite slowly and passionately. At first, I was very confused, not understanding why there wasn’t any dancing going on, but then after a few minutes of slow, intense, and passionate music, a man started dancing. When most people think of Flamenco, they think of women dancers, but men do it as well! I can only describe Flamenco as a very passionate, intense, and slightly aggressive dance. It involves many quick and tight movements with the hands and the feet,with some stomping as well. Though I really enjoyed the dancing, what I enjoyed the most was the passion. You could really feel it from this man, putting all his heart and soul into this art form. It was quite the experience, and it really made me appreciate Spanish culture even more. (Also, just a side note, it is considered very rude to take pictures or videos while they are performing. So, just put the camera down for a moment and just enjoy the experience. If you really must have a picture or a video, do it very quickly and on the sly. However, I recommend not doing so, as I did and got many a dirty look.)
We finished off Sevilla the next day by paying a visit to the bullring and the Réal Alcazar. You can’t visit Spain without going to at least one bullring, even if you don’t support bullfighting, at least just to learn the history about all of it.
To be honest, I was very ignorant of much of Spanish culture, bullfighting in particular. I honestly thought that it was one bull with one matador and that they kind of just spent the whole fight kind of dodging the bull. No, I was completely wrong. If you are unaware of this cultural piece of Spain, then here is a brief synopsis. The bullfighting season begins in late April/early May and goes until about the end of October. During a fight there is one matador, but there are other people, the title of whom I forget, that help the matador. Also, there is not one bull, but six! Six for one single bullfight! Also, no, they don’t just dodge the bull, they actually fight the bulls, with no protection no less, striking them until they finally execute them, each and every one of the six bulls. On the plus side, if there could be a plus side, the bull meat actually gets sold in local markets. At least it doesn’t go to waste, right? To be honest, I was shocked, slightly appalled even, but I am thankful that I decided to pay the bullring a visit so that I could learn more about this part of Spanish culture. I’m still deciding how I feel about the whole thing, but I think it’s important in trying to understand a bit more about Spain and its people. Plus, it was only 4€ with a student ID card and only 7€ for an adult entrance, and how many people can say that they’ve been to a bullring?
While in Sevilla, Spain you must also pay the Réal Alcazar a visit (aka the Royal Palace). Our hostel was conveniently located about a two minute walk from the palace. This had to be one of my favorite things in all of Sevilla for many reasons. Firstly, it is a beautiful display of Moorish architecture. It is absolutely stunning! There are really just no other words for it. This palace is quite large with displays of differently designed tiles, with blues, greens, yellows, and oranges, with beautiful gardens on the interior, decorated with many an orange tree. Unfortunately, the gardens were closed due to the intense wind that was occurring that day, however, you can still overlook them while enjoying the view of the Mercury fountain. Now, because I’m a huge nerd in general and because I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, I highly recommend going to see this palace, not only for it’s astonishing beauty, but an episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones was actually filmed here (the water gardens of Dorne in case you are curious)! Needless to say, I was totally fangirling the entire time we were exploring the palace in addition to enjoying the atmosphere. Also, if you have your student ID card on you, it’s extremely worth it, being only 2€. It is kind of pricey if you don’t have your student ID on you, being about 9.50€, but regardless, I still consider it a must if you ever plan to visit Sevilla!
Mercury Fountain, which is seen in the background of the Game of Thrones episode.
The cathedral is also a point of extreme interest. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit it, but with a student ID, I believe it only costs about 4€ and 9€ for an adult admission, which seems like a lot for a cathedral. However, it is considered one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe. It also has a garden filled with orange trees, and a tower in which you can climb.
Sevilla is definitely in the top ten list of cities that I’ve visited in Europe thus far. It’s a hub of beautifully rich culture. I learned the most about Spanish culture while visiting this city with the many different historical sites and monuments. Plus with the young vibe due to the presence of the university, it’s a great place for young people to go and vacation due to its many bars, restaurants, and night clubs.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning much more about Spanish culture and getting the wonderful opportunity of seeing so many important monuments and buildings that played an important part in the history of the city. However, the thing I enjoyed the most about my time in Sevilla was meeting new people.
Our first night in Sevilla is the one from which my small anecdote comes. As I mentioned briefly, I highly recommend staying at Sevilla Inn Backpackers because it has a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming staff, a fantastic location, and is a hub for fun and interesting people to meet along your travels. The hostel offered a few events that we could participate in, one of which was unlimited sangria on the rooftop terrace for only 2€. So, of course we decided to participate, because firstly, who gives up cheap sangria? Secondly, because of this we were able to meet some really fun and outgoing people that we ended up going out with afterwards.
It is thus during our outing that Sara dropped and lost her phone in a club at 4am and thus why I was crawling on a club floor at said time. BUT, I had the time of my life. I felt young, alive, and free. I felt like I was getting to know the world and other global citizens, learning about their lives and enjoying every second of mine. This is traveling to me. Traveling is about getting to know the world, not just seeing amazing things and doing amazing things. It’s about getting to know different cultures and different ways of life. I will probably most likely never see any of those people again (a Brit, an Italian, a Dutch, an Argentinian, and a handful of other Americans), but I’m glad to have met them and to have known them for the length of time that I did. I know a little bit more about the world now.
These are the stories that you look back on, realizing how crazy it all was and laughing about it. I don’t think I’ll tire of telling people about my crazy adventures in Sevilla.