We were driving from Jerez to Sevilla direction, it’s not more than 100 km distance, you can easily take it in 1 and half hour maximum. But it was crazy warm. Yes, yes everyone has an idea of summertime. And personally me, I love summer, I love hot weather, the neverending days, spending almost the entire day in sunglasses 😎 not to be blinded by stunning light, when the question is what not to wear, as you are sweating basically 24 hours without air-conditioning… Regardless of the short distance, that part of our trip seemed to be neverending, the AC of the car could not handle the hotness under the Andalusian sun ☀️. The thermometer of the car was showing more than 40 degrees outside, and we were just leaving the coast, so we assumed that it would be warmer and warmer, more and more humid as we head to the in-land of Andalusia.
When we arrived, Sevilla was empty, it was siesta time, and I must say, whoever invented this tradition was a smart person. You basically cannot handle being outside during the afternoon hours. However, we couldn’t wait to discover the beauty of Sevilla, we knew, that we needed to wait for a couple of hours until the heat decreased a bit. Therefore, we went directly to the hotel. We booked a hotel with a rooftop pool, and it couldn’t have been a better idea. We checked in, changed quickly for bathing suits, and went to the pool. No need to mention, it was just perfect.
Perfect view on the city, a couple of sunbeds, refreshing water in the cute pool, cold showers. There were not many people besides us, and after a while, they all disappeared, so the entire rooftop and the pool were only for us. The only thing was missing a bar to have something to drink… 🤷♀️
Well, well… Bars are not missed in Sevilla. Don’t panic folks. I offered my services as drinks-provider to Anna and I rolled down to the street in my bathing suit. The sun was shining hard and the light was blinding bright on the white walls. Surprisingly, the nearest bar was closed and so was the next one. I found a third one, a bit further, which seemed to be open. Nobody was inside, neither customers or someone attending. I yelled “¡Hola!” and a big friendly dude came from inside, and was smiling. I wanted two beers, but there were only small ones, so then four, please. I tried to pay with a 20 euros banknote but he had no change. But this is Andalusia. He insisted that I should take the beers no matter what and pay them later, just when I wanted to. So I thanked the guy and I went back to our private rooftop paradise with the cold beers.
Once the temperature was a bit better, we decided to leave our lovely pool and go out for some Andalusian tapas. As per Dani’s suggestion, we headed to Triana‘s direction. Triana is probably the most famous neighborhood in Sevilla and is definitely not to be missed. As they say, if you visit the capital of Andalusia without visiting Triana, then you haven’t fully seen the city. But Triana is not just a neighborhood, it is a way of life, a way of being, a philosophy of its own that makes the people who visit and who live there feel special.
Triana is separated from the old part of Sevilla by the river Guadalquivir, you need to cross on the Isabel II. Bridge, also known as the Triana Bridge. Once we crossed the bridge we could already see the flower-filled patios, tiled in yellow and blue, which is a tradition throughout Andalusia.
So the proposal was easy. To walk from the hotel, good-located in the city centre, close to Estación de Santa Justa to Triana in a stroll we could do at once that takes all together around 45 minutes walking.
For that there are on the way three mandatory stopovers according to my opinion: Catedral de Sevilla, which includes its famous tower called La Giralda, Santa Cruz neighbourhood and Torre del Oro, and from there we can cross the Guadalquivir River to Triana quartier.
From outside, the Cathedral is impressive, huge and very beautiful due to its baroque looking like style.
Let me give a personal tip, check La Giralda and take a look to the Arabic patterns on the tower structure walls and compare those with the very European top belfry style. For sure you could make the difference in between the construction periods of this gem.
On the way I can recommend to get lost in the narrowest streets and take some time to get around those main places which are all of them really outstanding.
After that, to get lost in Santa Cruz is always a pleasure. In this quartier we can find the mentioned cathedral, the Archivo de Indias, which is very important for the Spanish Colonial History and the Alcazar, probably one of the best Spanish treasures from the Arabic period. In Santa Cruz is easy to find cosy taverns, always crowded and cute corners everywhere. The streets are narrow and you may get lost due to its irregular design which is a good heir of the ancient Jew medieval quarter that was located here.
Once you desire to go further just try to find out where the river bank is. From there will be easy to spot Torre del Oro.
Torre del Oro is a medieval defensive tower among Guadalquivir River. Its origin is Arabic from the 13th century, but enlarged twice afterwards in the 14th century and again during the 18th. It has been used as a part of a defensive system to control the traffic on the river and a customs check point. This is relevant because along the Spanish history Sevilla has always been a very important port and got during more than two centuries the monopoly of the trade with America.
From the river is possible to watch Triana on the other side, where the colourful Calle Betis is an awesome welcome, as a riverfront street. When it’s still daylight just take a look to that from Torre del Oro or Plaza de Toros de La Real Maestranza. Triana is a fishermen neighbourhood, very vivid but more free from tourist comparing with Santa Cruz. It’s a really cool place to catch local atmosphere and to enjoy of the real Sevillian street live, with full-character bars, nice terraces and even some tile workshops that still follow the Andalusian tradition of those patterns which Porto made popular worldwide, even though they actually came from Andalucía, especially from Triana. And yes, here, not in Barcelona or Madrid, foreign tourist could enjoy real flamenco, far away from the touristic shows in Tablao Baraka, Orillas de Triana, Pura Esencia or Teatro Flamenco de Triana.
I recommend to take a stroll before the night comes, Plaza Altozano, Calle Pureza, Mercado de Triana, Pelay Correa street and Rodrigo de Triana, and Besides the Obvious’ favourite Plazuela de Santa Ana, which includes the square, the church and some nice authentic local bars to eat some tapas before let the night arrive.
Of course, we ended up at Bar Santa Ana, where else?! 😉 It is located on the spacious and authentic square of Santa Ana, just in the shadow of Parroquia de Señora Santa Ana. We had some homemade, local Andalusian tapas accompanied by Vino de Naranja. The “orange wine” is very popular and it is widely produced in Andalusia out of white Moscatel wine macerated with orange peel. It’s basically an aromatized sweet wine, usually dark orange to brown in color. The brown color is a result of the sun-drying of the grapes prior to fermentation.
When Dani explained to me, that a popular way of saying “bye” in Sevilla is “por la sombra“, it made me smile, and it just made a perfect sense for me. Of course, you wish for everyone to stay in the shadow, instead of under the crazy hot sun. “Ir por la sombra” literally means “stay/walk in the shade“, but as a colloquial figure of speech the meaning evolved to “take care”, stay/be safe“, “mind your step“, “take it easy” and is commonly used for saying “bye“. And I was happily using this newly learned expression afterwards, wherever we went. ☺️
We walked home after the tour, had been a happy evening and we were willing one more Vino de Naranja, but in the main centre it was a real hard job to find any place to get it. It’s definetly not a touristic product. So we decided to make the last try near the hotel. Suddenly, I remembered, that I owed the price of the four smalls beers to the nice guy of the bar. We made it to there and the bar was completely full. I smiled to the guy saying “took a bit to come back…” and he replied “¡Hombre!” almost laughing and Annika said as a reflex action “¡Hombre, dame vino de naranja o por la sombra!” 😁
He laughed and immediately got inside and came back to us with his nice small talk and a carafe to fill the glasses we took away to the rooftop to end up the night.