It was my birthday recently and to celebrate my lovely family treated me to a surprise weekend away.
I had no idea where we were going until we reached Heathrow and I was given my boarding pass. Our destination was Seville – a city I’ve always wanted to visit.
Friends had told me that Seville was a place that had got enjoyment down to a fine art – and they weren’t wrong. This is a city full of culture and history that also boasts the best tapas bars in Andalusia and great nightlife. And I was determined to enjoy every minute of it.
Having checked into the Corral del Rey, a gorgeous boutique hotel just a five minute walk from the Cathedral, I awoke the morning of my birthday to be given the most delightful present ever. My daughter had written, played and recorded a song especially for me! I listened to it whilst enjoying a glass of champagne as the warm spring sunshine streamed through the windows. Not a bad way to start another year.
Feeling suitably refreshed it was time for some serious sightseeing.
First stop was the Plaza de España in the Parque de María Luisa. This is a real Marmite of a building. People either love its eccentricity or find it too overblown with its thousands of gaudy ceramic tiles. I was definitely in the first camp. In front of the building is a canal where we hired a small rowing boat. Great fun.
Behaving like real tourists we then took a horse and carriage to El Rinconcello, a tapas bar that lays claim to being the oldest in Spain. They’ve certainly learnt a thing or two over the last 350 years, as the food was excellent. In particular the tortilla de jamón and spinach with chickpeas were to die for.
Seville is known as the birthplace of flamenco, so that night we all headed off to Lola de los Reyes in the La Traina quarter to watch some traditional dancers in action. They were breath-taking. And to add to the enjoyment, the wine was ridiculously cheap!
The first port of call the next day was the Metropol Parasol, an amazing structure that divided the city when it was completed in 2011. Located in Plaza Encarnacion, in the heart of Seville, this modern icon was designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer H at a cost of nearly 125 million euros. Rising 30 metres into the air like giant wooden mushrooms, its organic curves are a true wonder to behold.
We then spent a lovely afternoon just wandering Seville’s winding, medieval lanes, drinking the local wine and soaking in the scent of orange blossom in the local plazas.
All too soon it was our last night. Wanting something a bit different from the traditional tapas we had enjoyed up until now, we decided to dine at La Azotea. Here we feasted on very contemporary concoctions like soy-marinated tuna belly and Iberian pork cheek in red wine sauce topped with goat’s cheese gratin.
Three nights in Seville was definitely not enough – my entire family and I are longing to return.
Finally, I must say a big thank you to the wonderful Mark Smith at Simplexity Travel for helping my husband organise the trip. Everything, from the hotel to the off-the-beaten track restaurant choices, was incredible.