Sevilla (A nice place to visit but would I live there?)

For those joining late, I’m travelling around regions of Spain looking for a possible retirement location. It’s been my dream for more years than I can remember, so I packed a carry-on bag and booked a flight for Málaga.

I decided that since the cost of staying in Sevilla was more than I wanted to spend, I would stay in a hostel for the week. €265 includes breakfast. I am an old pro at hostelling (is that a verb?) when I walked the Camino Frances in 2017. I stayed in a different one every night for 33 days. I found this great place called For You Hostel and I highly recommend it. It is has a lovely vibe and is very clean. It is in the historic part of Seville, a 10 minute walk from the bus station; that is if you want to stay in a hostel.

I arrived via direct train from Málaga which was just under two hours in duration. €47 for my ticket. There was no power at my seat so this girl had a nap which she is getting really good at. I took a 10 minute taxi ride to the hostel. The check in process was very pleasant and I scored a bottom bunk. 19H which gave me a pull out drawer large enough to hold my carry-on bag and tote. I also had a locker to hang clothes. What else did you need? Inside my capsule I had sheets, a pillow, a comforter, and a shelf with power and a light. I was in a 10- person mixed dormitory with 2 private washrooms and 3 showers.

As I was getting organized, a handsome Frenchman came down from the bunk above me- in his gotchies. I watched him totter off to the washroom/shower room and suppressed any carnal thoughts I might have. He came back and told me he was 35 – oh mon Dieu!

My bunk

Settling in, it was time to get some food, and I found a pub close by where I had a beer and a quesadilla. I loved this location for the view of the horses and carriages carrying people to the April Feria. The women donned their traditional dresses with flounce and bright colours, It was beautiful. Many people attend by invitation to private casetas (tents), but there is a public one also, For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to go alone. Besides, many don’t even attend until late and I wasn’t quite up to it, My allergies were acting up and my medication wasn’t working.

I took advantage of a cursory view of the city by taking the hop on/ hop off bus tour. It helped me to focus on where I wanted to visit. I also needed a new vantage point, so I took a boat ride up the Guadalquivir River. It was nice to get a cool breeze and some refuge from the sun, I left Málaga with 23C to Seville 31C and it was only going to get warmer as the week progressed. I’m thinking I should have booked a place with a pool, but again everything was so expensive. Likely due to the Feria which ends tomorrow.

Architecture, wide boulevards, and cathedrals are all starting to meld into one another on this trip. Seville is spread out and only a 100,000 more in population than Málaga but it seems busier and louder and is definitely grander. The Plaza de España is enormous and incredibly beautiful. The tile work is impressive and there are sections representing different regions of Spain in bright tile work. It was one of my favourite places to visit as well as the Maria Luisa Gardens that are in the same area.

One day I visited Las Setas de Seville or more commonly known as “The Mushrooms”. It sits across from the Plaza de La Encarnacion. This large, modern wooden structure spans 150 meters long by 70 meters wide. The structure was built in 2005 and was the brainchild of Jürgen Mayer, a German architect. It has footbridges you can climb to see the impressive sunsets of Sevilla for €10 but if you want the nocturnal experience with the film, it is another €5. I paid for the nocturnal event and although the film is lovely, they call it immersive and spray something in the air that smells like jasmine. I sneezed through it all. I would save the €5 but I did see an incredible sunset.

I might have mentioned in an earlier post that fragrance allergies have not been considered in Spain at least I haven’t seen any notices advising against the use of fragrance, including inside the hostel. Perfumes are not dabbed on lightly, deodorant aerosol is rampant and smoking is still normal, thankfully not inside restaurants or hotel lobbies. If you however, want a table outside, you might have to contend with smoke. In addition, the cleaning products are extremely strong in fragrance and my throat catches if someone is using them. I honestly didn’t think I had such a sensitivity until I came to Spain. I have dust, pollen and animal hair allergies, but usually they can be tamed with a Reactine. I was pretty miserable for the week and with the heat and rarely a breeze, let’s say it didn’t help the situation.

Don’t get me wrong, Sevilla is a beautiful city. The cathedral is magnificent as is the Real Alcazaba. The palaces, the gardens and the museums. Don’t forget the flamenco also, but I want to see if I could live here. I hit the neighbourhoods/barrios of Alameda, Triana, and Santa Cruz found them special in their own ways. I think Triana landed with me the most. The Alameda de Hércules Plaza was certainly filled with bars/restaurants, music, and artists. It was awesome at night but during the day, it looked a little scary for me. Triana is busy, but still had a special feel and I loved the ceramica. Santa Cruz houses the tourist highlights from the Seville Cathedral and the grand gardens. I had lunch on Calle Mateos Gago and walked the Old Jewish Quarter’s narrow streets. Quite lovely, but couldn’t get a feel for living there. I did love how the orange trees lined the streets.

One day I explored the Museo des Artes Baile for a couple of hours. It was beautiful and the building housing the artworks of Murillo and one from Goya was exquisite.

Tip: To avoid the sun at the peak of the day, duck into a museum and enjoy their offerings. It’s a great way to seek refuge from the weather and get some culture.

Impromptu tango

Before going for lunch I took a break and sat in the square in front of the museum in the shade. I discovered a couple of practising their Argentine tango. Who doesn’t love a tango? I took a break for lunch, and found a table on the patio across from the museum. My waiter was overwhelmed. I ordered two tapas and only received one. I shook it off. Next came the abuelas who were taking a break from their day for a social drink. What started as 4 abuelas ended up as 12 and eventually I was pushed down to the end of the patio. I just laughed as I moved further and further away from them. The boss was yelling at my waiter the entire time. I felt sorry for him. No wonder he was flustered. He came over and apologized and told me he hated his job and he was going to quit. Not usually what you share with your client, but I must have looked sympathetic to his situation.

35C today and I am out and about exploring more areas. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hostel for the relief of air conditioning. I arrived at just after 1:00 pm and saw that I had some new bunk mates. The Frenchman had gone, and I had three new females and two males joining me. As I entered the room I inquired why the air conditioning was off and was immediately told that air-conditioning is bad for you and that there will be no air-conditioning in the room. This was going to be a problem. I tried using all of my diplomatic skills only to be rejected at every turn.

I couldn’t let this bother me and decided to go up to the rooftop and regroup. I only have two more nights left and I will make the best of it. I’m on the rooftop, having just finished a call with a friend when as I got up, I twisted something behind my knee. I was unable to put weight on my left foot. Just then, a group of 20-year-olds came up the external stairway and we’re definitely in the party spirit.

One of the girls had just finished the Camino Francis and was celebrating. When she discovered I had done it in 2017, she jumped into my arms for a hug, almost pulling me over. I must’ve winced when she realized something was wrong. I was trying to be nonchalant standing there with weight on 1 foot. Oh well my cover was blown. After a spirited conversation, two of her friends grabbed each of my arms and help me to the elevator which I appreciated.

Back in the room, and headed to my bunk and when I turned around I was face-to-face with the woman who refused air conditioning. She was laying naked on her bunk. I mean totally naked, face up! I didn’t know where to look, so I slowly closed my curtain and planned my next move. I couldn’t walk so I ended up sleeping. If you are going to live in a hostel, you have to expect differences in opinions and cultural differences. I can now say communal living is not my bag. lol

The next morning, I hobbled to the farmacia for a good anti-inflammatory/pain medication. It really helped. One of my roommates, from Belgium, introduced herself and then “naked lady” chimed in on our conversation. The two of them ended in a heated political conversation, which resulted in the Belgium hitting the A/C on button on her way out which annoyed “naked lady”. In a huff she strutted over in all her nakedness spouting Spanish words indiscernible to me. I did my best to enjoy my last day in Seville.

Is Sevilla the city I could live in? No! I find that there is a real difference in class. Those that have and those that have not. Like any major city there is a lot of begging but I found it prevalent throughout Sevilla. It is a beautiful, grandiose and architectural and historical city, with so much to be proud of. Too many tourists, although I was one. Bottom line, it is far too hot and expensive for me. This Canadian girl needs a little bit more of a temperate climate. Perhaps if I had avoided Feria time, and had a pool, I would have a different opinion. We will never know. Off to Dénia on the North Costa Blanca.

Late note: the knee is much better, just a calf strain from walking on my toes.

4 comments

  1. Sounds like so much fun except for the air conditioning part, I would have been gone or they would be wearing winter clothes 🤔 😅

    Like

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