From today, Seville will always be associated with colours. On my first day to this unique city alone, as I wandered the paths of the Maria Luisa park, I met a Moroccan jewellery salesman with long flowing trousers and a friendly hippie demeanour. After making the assumption that I was French, and joining in a laughter-filled awkward second, we began to engage in a rather fascinating conversation. When welcoming me to Seville, he mainly spoke of attaching colours to cities. In my detached albeit confident Spanish, I asked him what he meant. He told me that everything needs a colour because it’s the way we pin good or bad memories to experiences and situations. After this very fleeting yet memorable exchange I haven’t been able to escape the thought that some cities scream a certain colour. And so for me, Seville will always be a myriad of colours, though I won’t lie: that blue, blue sky is hard to erase from my mind.
When I am exploring a new place alone I always walk as far as I can for as long as I can on my first day there. The beautiful sites I saw in Seville are incomparable to the Costa del Sol nonsense of a simple but pretty beach, or the ‘so cool you could be anywhere’ feel of Barcelona, but the real Spain, where the air is thick with a heady mixture of orange blossom and cured ham, fiery emotions are forever bubbling behind dark, expressive eyes, and impromptu outbursts of flamenco launch the streets spontaneously.
With its rich Romanian history and African architecture, you must leave behind your cool, urbane self and embrace the heart of the city, which are the orange tree-lined streets and shady plazas that pulse with life throughout the year until the early hours.
If unlike me, you can’t walk for hours on end, you can hop into one of the plethora of horses and traps which will transport you to the further flung notable landmarks, such as Plaza de España, originally a site for burning heretics, but now a vast, ornate plaza designed to celebrate the Latin Iberico Fair in 1929.
And while you’re there it’s the perfect opportunity to wander around Parque Maria Luisa, where gargantuan trees and an elaborate network of fountains provide the perfect break from the often unbearable, yet completely dry, heat of summer.
Don’t forget to hop across the river to the working class neighborhood of Triana, once home to the gypsy community, it holds a special magic all of its own. A young man on his bike warned me to keep my money close and my identification even closer. His exact words being: “Aquí, tratarán de robar su ID en primer lugar, y luego su dinero.” I was about to question him why but before I knew it, he rode away. Nevertheless, I wanted to see this neighborhood that has boasted of having a very strong identity of its own.
Triana’s rich past has turned into a lively present, with a great tapas and flamenco scene among its narrow streets, and buzzing atmosphere along Calle Betis, which also boasts some superb riverfront restaurant terraces looking towards the Torre del Oro across the water. Some tile shops remain with lovely handmade plates and all-sorts.
And to finish off your day and further soak up the intense mix of cultural influences that make up modern day Seville, a visit to Casa de la Memoria is a must to enjoy some top quality flamenco, performed by award winning young artists in an intimate 15th Century converted palace. However, it’s not for a rowdy sangria supping crowd, only go if you are ready to lose yourself completely (and soberly) in the intense, visceral passion of the art.
Student Journalist, Creative Writer, Poet, Traveller, Eco Warrior