Each autonomous community of Spain is unique in its own way. So far I have seen the autonomous communities of La Comunidad de Madrid, Castilla La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Extremadura y Cataluña. One last place I knew I HAD TO see before I left Spain was Andalucía. So one random Friday I hopped on the 8 a.m. Renfe train to Sevilla and was there within 2.5 hours. Sevilla is the capital of the Andalucía region.
So when I got off the train in Sevilla, I immediately noticed the differences from Madrid, or other parts of Spain. The buildings were older and shorter, more vibrant and the streets were full of lush green trees. Close your eyes and imagine what you think a Spanish city should/would look like. What you’re imagining is Sevilla.
I walked the short distance from the train station to the main area of the city where the cathedral and the Real Alcazar sat on a small, but beautiful, square lined with horse-drawn carriages.
First Stop: Catedral de Sevilla
This holy masterpiece is the oldest gothic cathedral in the world. Only the Vatican in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London are bigger. It has an ornate alter and decorative chapels surrounding the main area of the church. The tomb of Christopher Columbus’ son is in the back of the church behind the altar and the choral area in the nave of the church. Then on the right side of the altar, Christopher Columbus’s tomb is being held by four statue men, signifying the original four communities of Spain: Castilla, Leon, Navarra and Aragon.
Nevertheless, one of the most iconic features of the cathedral has to be the “Giralda”, the bell tower of the church. A short walk up the gradual inclines and you will see a beautiful panoramic of the entire city.
Second Stop: Real Alcazar
The Real Alcazar is another royal palace originally built by Moorish Muslim kings. The Islamic influence in the architecture is inherently apparent in its design and decoration. It was beautiful walking through the open palace, but my favorite part had to be the gardens. With fruit trees, fragrant flowers and gentle fountains throughout the entire area, it was the epitome of relaxation. I spent hours walking through the lush grass fields, laying and enjoying the company of a vibrant peacock, sitting on a bench listening to the mellow stream of the garden’s fountains. I LOVED the Real Alcazar.
Third Stop: Plaza de España
In Madrid, Plaza de España signifies nothing more than another metro stop. In Sevilla, the plaza was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and it is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture, with vibrant art deco decorations covering its surfaces.
I enjoyed the expansive view of the plaza and then took a short walk in the Parque de María Luisa where the plaza is located, stopping in a small bar for a cerveza and some tapas.
This is where my short day trip started to come to a close. I looked through a view shops with handcrafted traditional Spanish gifts such as hand painted fans and pottery. I also enjoyed the traditional Spanish flamenco dresses on women that packed the streets for Feria de Abril. With Spanish musicians playing on the sidewalks, the walk back to the train station didn’t seem so bad.
See Andalucía: Check. To hear more about my study abroad experience, check out my next blog, An American in Paris.