Spain is and will always be one of our favourite destinations in Europe. The food, weather, food, drinks, food and tapas are unbelievably good – and we thought this before we travelled to Seville and Granada.
Our previous trip to Spain earlier in the year focused on Barcelona, Madrid and Zaragoza. This time round because of our trip down the coast line of Portugal, we found ourselves exploring the south. I was especially keen for this part of the trip, having heard stories about the flowing wine and world-best tapas on offer from Sharmi. I was also excited to see the Alhambra, as I had heard of how detailed and…for lack of a better word, magnificent, it was. I’m glad to say I was not disappointed!
First stop Seville.
We arrived in Seville after a short bus trip from the quiet town of Faro, Portugal. After the steeps and steps of Portugal, the flatness of Seville was somewhat strange, but I have to admit, very comforting. It was really nice for us to plod along the narrow streets, backpacks sagging with our phones in front of us to guide the way, without having to stop to catch our breath every 2 mins. We were staying in a bustling square, surrounded by bars, cafes and straight away we noticed that the generally activity and presence of youth were much higher than we saw in Portugal. In fact, even the streets, buildings and doors looked younger than Portugal, covered in fresh paint and clean gates, with a glimmer of tiles in each each doorway.
Without waiting for our legs to regain energy from our journey from the bus stop we headed straight for Tapas. The night before we had marked down several locations that we wanted to dine at, and like most places we visit we based the rest of our time in Seville on that food map. On our first order and bite of Patatas Bravas, we immediately broke into childish giggles. Salty, spicy and of course deep fried. Damn that was good. Then came the Chicken in some type of Almond sauce. After that, small slivers of boquerones. Of course…all washed down with cold beer. It was so good to be back in Spain and have those flavours available to us at every turn.
From that point on, we stumbled from bar to bar, trying out everything we could. We feasted on Jamon, cheese, croquettes, tuna, grilled peppers, beef cheeks, beer and wine. Did I mention we happened to be there during some type of special Seville Tapa Week? I’m not sure if this enhanced out experience, as it’s probably the same outside of this week, but we felt like every stop we made offered amazing flavours! Perhaps it was our love and happiness of the food, but the city was also so easy and lively to walk around. In between our stops to gorge on Tapas, we came across horses trotting around, people singing, break dancing shows and strange men who would sit hidden in tables only to scream at you as you walked past.
Tip for Seville: Spend a good amount of time here. We had 3 days, and were really sad to leave. You could easily spend a week here eating your way around the city, enjoying the bustling atmosphere and of course eating more. Did I mention eating yet?
Granada and Alhambra
Granada offered another culinary experience that had us stumbling with full bellies from bar to bar. The amazing thing about Granada is that at every bar you are offered a free Tapa with every drink. No idea how this works financially as a business model, but somehow this system has been around for centuries. Come to think about it, no idea how this works as a social model either – is the entire population of Granada in a constant state of bloating and drunkeness? Either way, it was awesome. In a nutshell it’s like having a free dinner after a few beers!
Much like Seville, we had our food map marked and worked our way from bar to bar, trying different foods and different wines. We had some favourites – sizzling garlic prawns, black blood sausage, and even some great turkey meatballs; but to be honest everything was awesome, and when you consider it’s free with your drink….:)
On one of our breaks between tapas, we walked past a really crowded cafe close to the old markets. Plates of chocolate and churros whizzed past us, back and forth, crash landing in front of smiling and eager faces. Peering inside, I saw a man, giant sticks in hand, guiding what can only be described as a giant golden churro, onto a plate. Here they cut it up into smaller (but still giant) pieces, sitting them next to hot cups of chocolate before they took off on their hurried flight. After one sniff we knew we had to stop. You can find the places here and trust us – it was worth it. We came back a couple times. Tip: Go eat these Churros
Moving on from food, we also managed to complete another great free walking tour, which gave us more insight into the history of the Kings and Queens of Granada and walked us around to show us some great views of the Alhambra. Speaking of which…
We had booked out tickets to the Alhambra months in advance. tip: Do this or you won’t get tickets! and it’s really a shame to miss this! Getting our tickets were as simple as rocking up to the entrance with our CC and picking them up. We had booked an earlier ticket, to have access to the palace at 1030, so headed up to the great castle at around 830am. There are a lot of buses and taxis that could take you up there, but it’s really only a short walk (although it is steep!) from the main Cathedral so I would suggest walking.
Entering the Alhambra we were immediately taken aback by the enormity of it all. That was the first punch. The second punch was how detailed and well preserved everything was. I walked around, mouth gaping as I saw the incredible details of kingdoms of the past etched into stone and tiles. Everywhere I looked – the floor, the roof, the walls, the doors, the fountains, where intricate patterns and designs that I had never seen before. And to think, these were all done by hand! How long would this have taken? How incredibly talented must the artists have been? I really couldn’t believe how grand it all was…
Pictures below 🙂