I found Anton at the front desk chatting with the guy in charge. He seemed impressed that Anton could pretty much carry a conversation in Spanish. Here’s a tip: if you can speak even just a bit of the local language, try to use it to the best of your ability not only to impress but because it is the fastest way to a local’s heart. This was actually how we found our way to Casa Jimio for some interesting tapas.
Front desk guy pointed us there; it is only a short walk from our hostel, La Casa de la Luna and a stone’s throw away from Plaza Nueva. From there, he said, we could hop from one excellent tapas bar to another. Following his lead, we got ourselves a table at La Flor de Toranzo, also known locally as Casa Trifon.
Apparently one of the more famous bars in Seville, it offers a traditional menu with specialty tapas like foie gras, marinated turkey breast, anchovy rolls…
Anchoas con leche condensada (anchovies with condensed milk) sandwich caught our eye and suffice it to say that we were so blown away with the flavor combination, we got another order even if we were attempting to do a tapas bar crawl, a time-honored tradition that has Spaniards walking, drinking, and nibbling almost daily.
Seville. This beautiful Andalusian capital sitting on the lower reaches of the River Guadalquivir oozes with charm.
As with most European cities, historical monuments are scattered around but what sets Seville apart is its seductive atmosphere—starting with the Seville orange trees found in every corner perfuming the air with its blossoms, its passion for flamenco
and its love for food.
One thing Seville does not have little of, is its tapas bars and restaurants. Being a city of eaters and drinkers, tapas joints abound in Seville.
A day for a true Sevillano starts with a pre-breakfast snack (around 7am), then followed by the real breakfast at 10am. A beer or a glass of vino accompanies lunch at 2pm and at 5pm, the Sevillano head to the bars to tide them over till supper at home, usually around 9pm.
With our bellies full from a very satisfying lunch (we only managed 2 bars),
we headed to Avenida de la Constitucion, taking in its vibrancy—people of all kinds (locals, tourists, students…)
fill the street, historical monuments and buildings share space with modern shopping malls,
modern trams ply the cobbled avenida, and adding to the gaiety, music filled the air from a guy playing Besame Mucho in his accordion…
madness in a good way is what this major thoroughfare is.
The Cathedral and the Giralda
The largest Gothic building in Europe sits in the heart of the city on Avenida de la Constitucion. The Seville Cathedral, its flamboyance an expression of the city’s wealth during the 15th century.
Replacing what was once a grand mosque of the Almohad Dynasty in the 12th century, it dominates the city today with its splendor and size. The astonishingly large building breaks several size records, making it the largest church in the world when measured by volume.
I was filled with awe at the massive size of the cathedral, at its sumptuous simplicity: the ceiling is about 13 stories high (42m) at the central nave and gilded in gold.
The huge interior has a large collection of artworks from Murillo, Zurbaran, and Goya among others.
Its bell tower is called the Giralda. It was the large and beautiful minaret of the mosque, built to resemble that of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech in Morocco.
Not only is it now the bell tower of the largest church in the world and the tallest landmark in Seville, it is also an excellent example of the cultural blend that molded Spain into what it is today.
It stands 343 ft. (105m) tall above sea level and instead of steps, a series of ramps were built so that the person calling the faithful to prayer (when it was still a mosque) could easily ride a horse up to the top.
Do make your way up the ramps because when you reach the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic view of Seville.
And after walking up the tower, we did as the Sevillanos always do; we found our spot and had an afternoon snack.