Destination Spain! Part 1

The Real Alcazar, Seville . For all you Game of Thrones fans, the Water Gardens of Dorne were filmed here 😉

Hola mi amigos 😉

It’s beginning to feel like Fall in New England. I love crisp autumn days but I do hate to see summer leave. Early Fall is one of my favorite times to travel as we’ve enjoyed mostly beautiful weather for touring and the height of tourist season is typically over.

In September 2017 we had an amazing experience exploring the Andalusia region of Spain. Andalusia is a large autonomous southern region with Seville as it’s capital city. Seville and the surrounding area has always been of special interest to me as my youngest sister spent time living there, first as a student abroad and again post graduation.

As I’ve mentioned I’m a tad of an obsessive planner…but this has proved to work in my favor and hopefully in yours as well! The advances in technology have literally brought the world to our fingertips. All it takes is a few clicks and we can be transported just about anywhere! I find that to be so miraculous and exhilarating!

I plan almost 100% of our trips on my own…usually from my recliner in the hours between 11pm and 2am 😉. As with most of our travels, I begin by looking at maps and reading about locations. Once I have a general idea of a destination, I begin my research. I utilize religiously. You can read reviews, trip reports, ask questions, find tours, hotels, even flights directly from this site.

With this most recent Spain adventure, I knew I wanted to begin in Seville for its rich culture and historic sites. Of course I was able to get lots of great information from my dear sister❤️.

We prefer smaller boutique hotels, inns or B & B’s over larger chain hotels or resorts when traveling abroad. It’s totally personal preference but if I’m in Spain, I want my accommodations to reflect that. Of course if you can stay somewhere using points or rewards by all means take advantage of that😉 . I also pay close attention to the location of our accommodations. We love to be within walking distance to some sites, restaurants and nightlife without being right in the thick of a city center. Hotel Las Casas de el Arenal checked all the boxes for us in Seville.

Courtyard of Hotel Las Casas de El Arenal

We were able to spend 4 lovely nights here. It was a perfect spot from which to explore and it was moderately priced with breakfast included.

After a long overnight flight, it can be tempting to crawl into bed for several hours. I highly suggest to NOT do that. For us the best way to adjust to a time difference is to stay on a normal schedule. This does not mean you can’t take a little siesta but a quick power nap should be sufficient. For this reason, I like to plan something for our first afternoon/ evening in a destination. Most destinations, unless quite remote, will have a variety of tours available. There are tours across all budgets and interests. I look for a short 2-3 hour walking tour that will give us an introduction to the area. This gets us acclimated to our surroundings and allows us to see places we may want to go back and explore in more depth. One of the best take aways from this type of tour is getting a local’s perspective on their neighborhoods. A small group tour also gives you the opportunity to meet other travelers, which we love!

Tapas and Flamenco tour with our new friends Pei and Philip ( we’ve stayed in touch and even met up in Brooklyn last year).

I’ve learned over the years that a little planning ahead goes a long way to a more enjoyable trip. Whether your trip is strictly rest and relaxation or more active and adventurous, planning can truly enhance your experience. Another important lesson I’ve learned is as much as I’m an OCD planner…it’s important to leave unscheduled time to just “ be”. BE in the moment, BE present, BE able to roll with the punches and make adjustments. Sometimes the absolute best moments are spontaneous and unplanned!

Now, back to Sevilla! Here are just a few of the beautiful sites you might want to visit.

The Real Alcazar

The Real Alcazar is a royal palace that was built for the Christian King Peter of Castile. It was built on the grounds of an Abbadid Muslim Fortress and is a preeminent example of Mudejar architecture.
The intricate detail is absolutely incredible!
Impressive gardens

The Seville Cathedral

Construction began on the current beautiful gothic church in 1434. Its interior nave is the longest of any church in Spain. The total area of the building is 23,500 meters and it is the third largest church in the world.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus
The Giralda ( the bell tower) was registered as a UNESCO world Heritage Site in 1987

A Stroll through Triana

A leisurely walk across the beautiful Puente de Isabel II bridge will bring you to the lively, down to earth neighborhood of Triana. This area is a wonderful place to visit markets, grab some tapas and a drink along the Guadalquivir River.

The Guadalquivir River
Triana neighborhood

Of course no visit to Seville is complete without taking in an authentic Flamenco show and sampling delicious wine and tapas!

Highly recommend this quaint, authentic neighborhood spot!
And this restaurant was probably our favorite meal in Seville. Delicious modern tapas at very reasonable prices! Really the food was lick your plate amazing!
This was 4 glasses of wine, 3 dishes, 2 coffees and 2 desserts! I’m seriously craving this whole meal right now 😉

Next stop Córdoba and Granada

Ciao for now ❤️

6 thoughts on “Destination Spain! Part 1

  1. I visited Seville in 1994. It’s been many years but I have wonderful memories of some of the places you showed. What a wonderful trip!


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