Yes, you heard it right!!! It couldn’t have been anything less than a dream to land an internship at such a fabulous place in such a fabulous country. The country Spain always brings two words to your mind – Football and Beaches…Well from my experience in this country for around three months, I discovered that it brings much more than just these two words. Who would have thought that life would show me its real charm by giving me an opportunity to experience heaven at the Andalucían capital? I fell in love with this city even before I got there. It was really exciting to even plan my stay in this city. To get a chance to live there for three months was unbelievable. During this time, I was doing my internship at the Engineering School of the University of Seville.
How to get there?
Seville is a destination open to the world, perfectly linked to the main European cities. To get to Seville, you can arrive any way you like: by air, road, train… even by sea. Choose your preferred means of transport.
If you decide to fly to Seville, you’ll land at the Seville airport, also called the San Pablo airport. It’s a first-class airport in a city with a long aeronautical tradition. The airport has excellent parking areas, with access to the arrival and departure halls, offering all the necessary modes: parking for long, medium or short stays. From the airport, you can get to the centre of Seville in just 15 minutes if you use your own car, rent a car or take a taxi. And it will take just 35 minutes if you choose the bus.
Seville is a pioneer in the development of Spain’s high-speed rail. In fact, in 1992, it was the inaugural destination for the first high-speed railway line built in the country. Currently, you can reach Santa Justa Station on high-speed lines from Cordoba, Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona on the southwest-northeast line of the AVE and from Malaga on the AVANT trains. And thanks to high-speed connections with Europe, today a person could travel, for example, from London to Seville along high-speed rails the whole way.
Santa Justa Station is the work of renowned architects from Seville, Cruz y Ortiz. The location of the terminal is formidable, just a 15-minute walk from the city centre.
Seville has access to the sea thanks to the Guadalquivir River, the only navigable river in Spain. For this reason, cruises arrive to Seville full of passengers every year. Coming to Seville by ship has a special charm. Entering the Guadalquivir from the Atlantic Ocean through Sanlúcar de Barrameda and traversing the river between the splendour of the Doñana National Park (biosphere reserve) and the paddy fields of the marsh is an experience you’ll not forget.
Seville is perfectly connected by road. A network of highways connect it with all areas: the A-49 links it with Huelva and Portugal. The A-92 links to Malaga and Granada. The A-4 arrives from Cordoba and Madrid. The A-66 connects to Extremadura and the north of Spain. It is a 6-hour drive from Madrid to Seville by bus.
Seville’s public transport:
Seville is a relatively straightforward city for visitors to travel around in. Travelling by the locals’ favourite methods of bus, tram, scooter or on foot in particular allow you to experience how Sevillanos live and breathe their city. The most convenient to use within a city is the tram service which runs from 6am to 1.30am. A good option for short visits are the one-day card (5 euros) or three-day card (10 euros), offering unlimited travel.
General feel of the place:
Seville is the most handsome city I’ve been to. After few days of exploring its narrow pathways, strolling the grand avenues, and getting lost in conversation with its residents, “handsome” seemed the most fitting description I could drum up.
After a month’s time, historical was the word buzzing in my head. A walk around any block and Seville will show you that the centuries old churches, homes, and cobblestone roads form the backbone of the city. I couldn’t help but imagine the people that inhabited these places, and the stories that have emerged from these spaces. Nonetheless, while Seville respects its past, it has a vibrancy that’s driving it into the future.
To describe the nightlife in Seville, I just knew charming was the word to describe it. A chat with someone from Seville (in my case it was one of my fellow intern colleague from the university) is guaranteed to be an engaging and sincere encounter. If you show a genuine interest they will open up about their city, and about their lives, which gives you a true glimpse into what makes the town tick. They awake from afternoon siestas to saunter to late night gatherings over drinks and tapas…followed by more drinks, and more tapas. Their speech and laughter floats from their tables and into the warm night air, wrapping city squares and plazas in the buzz of friendship and love. The scene is impressive, to say the least.
I spent several such enjoyable days in Seville, taking in the city’s rich history, consuming its wonderful food and never once worrying about putting stress on my bank account.
I would like to highlight and focus on three major things about Seville – its rich folklore, its historic architecture, its lifestyle.
Flamenco – Getting to know the soul of people
Talking about Seville’s rich folklore – one word stands out to me and that would be ‘FLAMENCO’.
Flamenco is surely the purest expression of Andalucían folklore. To tell you a little bit about its origin, they say it began with the fifteenth-century arrival of the gypsies to the Cadiz countryside of Jerez and Seville. In the middle of the nineteenth century, it was popularized through the flamenco bars. The first of these flamenco bars opened in Seville around 1885. Later, they spread through Andalusia and Madrid. Until then, Flamenco had not left family reunions or private parties.
A typical afternoon in Seville could include strolling down its sunbaked streets and alleyways, walking among bougainvillea and admiring its intricate and Moorish-inspired mudéjar architecture. It can also include taking in an impromptu street show in one of its beautiful plazas. I happened to see one of such impromptu shows. Initially I along with a few university friends were mooching about when we were stopped in the streets by someone promoting the name of the show and that the show was starting in 10 minutes…..so we thought why not give it a try? Beforehand, I was hesitant about going because I didn’t know much about flamenco, and we were told there was no bar or food served in there but at a reasonable price of €15 we could afford to take a punt…. And I’m glad we did. The flamenco dancing was amazing!!!! How do they move their feet so fast??? At the start it was a little bit strange. There was no introduction and no narrative throughout. However, as the performance progressed, none was needed. The show was superb throughout; the showcasing of the guitarist, vocalist, male and female dancers individually and all together worked fantastically well and kept me gripped. The skill of all of the performers was very good giving a real taste of authentic flamenco. After the performance was a 20 minute flamenco workshop that everyone could join in. It was good fun and really did highlight just how difficult the rhythm and the dancing is. It was well worth a visit.
Fusion Architecture throughout history
Among all the historic buildings that Seville treasures, there are surely three buildings that you cannot miss. A set which, together with the Archive of the Indies, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Real Alcazar, the Giralda and the Cathedral.
The Giralda of Seville is a tower of unparalleled size for a building of its era (from the 12th to the 6th century). In fact, for a long time, it was the tallest building in the world (101 metres counting the Giraldillo, the beautiful weathervane that crowns it and one of the symbols of the city). The Giralda is a perfect symbiosis of different architectural styles and different civilizations. It is a tower that begins by being a minaret and ends up being a bell tower. When you climb up to the top, you can see the whole city. At its feet, there is the Patio de los Naranjos and the largest existing Gothic Cathedral.
The Giralda affords a fantastic view of Seville from the top and is itself a lovely sight! It’s easier to climb than most towers as it has no steps!!! You ascend by a series of slopes. Trust me it is totally worth the grueling climb. It was the first time I ever ascended such a tower without steps! It’s a ramp for 90% of the ascent, with only a few steps to climb at the top. The walls of the former minaret (now bell tower) are thick & interior doesn’t get too hot. The side of the tower also has nice spacious windows where you can easily sit down for a rest and admire the view. I would advise you to bring plenty of drinking water & take rest by sitting on window ledges if needed. Wear good walking shoes as it is 37 ramps walking up & another 37 coming down.
The Seville Cathedral:
The cathedral, the largest Gothic building in Europe and one of the largest churches in the world, will leave you perplexed by its proportions. It is worth at least a quick visit no matter how many European cathedrals you’ve visited. Everything in the Cathedral is colossal. Admire the main altarpiece, considered by many to be one of the most outstanding works in the history of art. Or examine the mausoleum, which holds the remains of Christopher Columbus.
Admission is 9 euros, but I highly recommend investing in the rooftop tour — for a mere 3 euros more, you get access to the inner workings of the structure and are allowed to climb up through its towers and along its gables. The views of the city are excellent. The hour-plus tour is slightly on the long side but it was worth it, though I don’t recommend it if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights.
The Real Alcazar:
Just a few metres from the Cathedral, you can see the walls behind which extend to the Real Alcazar of Seville: a palace of palaces, a truly unique complex. The Alcázar of Seville is necessary viewing for all visitors — a monumental palace built in the 10th century for a Muslim governor and still in use by the Spanish royal family. Since the Middle Ages, this walled enclosure has been a residence for kings of different eras, each leaving their architectural legacy. Even today, it is the official residence in Seville of the Kings of Spain, which makes this fortified space the oldest active royal palace in Europe. The proliferation of incredible details, the history that breathes through each room, its garden of dreams, fragrant with orange trees and dotted with fountains… All make this palatial complex an almost unreal citadel that takes you out of the present day.
Personally speaking I have never admired architectural beauty as much as this. Tickets are 9.50 euros and free for children under 17. They can be bought in advance on the website — though expect to wait a good 20 to 30 minutes in line regardless. I would recommend you to book your tickets in advance though and also avail a guided tour to enrich your experience and also to skip the long queue.
Lifestyle: The air of seduction…
One of Seville’s attractions that isn’t often faithfully reflected in the travel guides: the lifestyle. And yet, it is impossible to visit Seville and miss out on that special vital pulse.
Shared fun tastes better
In Seville, the streets and plazas are places that breathe wellness, a kind of outdoor comfort that make them an extension of the home. This is because the public spaces in Seville are used for meeting and gathering – Sevillians, tourists and you will all feel a sense of togetherness, a vital celebration of life. There is a certain collective euphoria that is fed by the beauty, the light and that smile everyone has on their faces!
You’ll never be bored…
And you don’t need official holidays to enjoy a festive day: the city will make you feel like you’re celebrating! Even if you are busy with work, studying or involved in your day-to-day affairs, Seville will make sure you have a good time. The natives of the city love the people who visit their city and have fun. Every Sevillian seems to be a master of ceremonies – a natural talent that has a lot to do with hospitality. You can never feel lost in Seville.
To wrap it up, I would say, you don’t need a reason to visit Seville. This place will wrap you in it and give you plenty of reasons to smile and memories to cherish forever.