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Hayley Travels

Andalucia

SPAIN | Sunday, 26 June 2016 | Views [485]

It's official: I'm in love! With Spain that is! Since I'm spending less time in cities, I'm going to combine two or three cities into one blog post. So on that note, let's begin!

 

SEVILLA

I LOVE Sevilla! I was there for three full days and it was absolutely perfect for my budget and timeline. I saw and experienced some absolutely amazing things. My hostel was in a perfect spot: within a mile of all the main attractions and above some offices, so it felt really safe (i.e. No narrow side streets to walk down at night). It still feels a little surreal that I'm in Europe. Sometimes I forget and then I realize that I'm sitting and eating churros with hot chocolate at a cafe that looks out at Alcazar and Catedral de Sevilla. Speaking of, here is what I saw and did!

1) Catedral de Sevilla. If you can only do one thing in Sevilla, make it this. Some will argue that it should be Alcazar but I disagree! This cathedral is considered to be one of the largest and most impressive in the world. It is absolutely spectacular! In my Spain photo album I included some pictures just to give y'all a small idea of how beautiful it is. But, the most incredible part is La Giralda. Before this site housed the cathedral, it was home to a mosque. La Giralda, which was the minaret of the mosque, became the bell tower for the cathedral. It takes 34 ramps and a staircase to get to the top but BOY are the views worth it. Plus, on the way up, here are several large windows and exhibits if you need to stop to catch your breath!

2) Alcazar. The Royal Palace is gorgeous. The gardens are beautiful and the architecture is stunning. There are plenty of exhibits if you, like me, enjoy learning about history. There are fantastic photo opportunities as well!

3) Archivo de Indias. This museum is situated between the Cathedral and Alcazar. It's free (holla!) and houses artifacts and manuscripts regarding the Spanish exploration and habitation of the Indies. All of the information is in Spanish, so I would download the Google Translate app, which does offline (I.e. Not connected to Wifi) real time translations. It's definitely worth a little bit of time, especially since it's right by two of the city's biggest attractions.

4) Jardines de Cristina. The garden and the plaza it accompanies is right by the Cathedral and Alcazar. It's a great place to relax and grab a bite to eat. There's a good fast food burger place right there called The Good Burger (I recommend it if you want a good ole American style hamburger and French fries).

5) Parque de Maria Luisa. This park is absolutely massive and totally gorgeous. It's full of fountains and pavilions and sculptures and little stands selling water and frozen treats. Within the garden are several museums and you can also get a ride in a horse drawn carriage (as you can basically anywhere else in Sevilla).

6) Museo Arqueologico. This is one of the museums within the park that I just mentioned. It's really cheap and very fascinating. If you go to the park, I recommend stopping by this museum if you like history or archaeology.
Plaza de Espana. This is literally right next to Parque de Maria Luisa. It's incredibly beautiful with stunning architecture. There is a little pond that curves around the interior of the plaza where you can rent a boat. There are places to buy souvenirs and often times people performing flamenco which is worth stopping to watch for a little bit.

There are a couple more things that I would do if I were to go back to Sevilla with a little more money. First, I would go to a professional flamenco show. Many shows include drinks and/or dinner in the ticket price. For most shows the ticket price isn't super unreasonable if you're not a twenty-two year old recent college graduate on a strict - and super limited - budget. Oh wait. Second, I would tour the bullfighting ring. I walked past it multiple times and took pictures but never went inside. Third, I would go into Torre deal Oro and walk to the top. Once again, I walked by it multiple times and took pictures, but never went inside. Lastly, I would spend some time in Triana, a neighborhood across the river that is said to be the birthplace of flamenco.

 

 

GRANADA

My journey to get to Granada was...unexpected. After Sevilla I went to a smallish town in southern Spain, Tarifa. It's mostly known for its adventure water sports (surfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing) and its port has ferries that go back and forth to Tangier, Morocco. And that was the plan, to go to Morocco. Well, I woke up the morning my ferry was supposed to depart with an email from the ferry company saying that because of strong winds all ferries were cancelled the day. Looking at the weather forecast showed that strong winds were most likely going to continue for at least another day or two. So I had to figure out what to do. Tarifa is kind of expensive to spend more than one night in if the only reason you're there is for the ferry. I eventually determined that it was going to be more expensive and inconvenient to attempt to rearrange my Morocco plans than to scrap them altogether. So unfortunately, I will not be going to Morocco. So I then booked a train from Algeciras (a town about a half hour away) to Granada because Tarifa only has a bus station and no direct line to Granada. So I had to take a bus to Algeciras and then a train to Granada. But, naturally, it couldn't have been that easy. Because then we were informed that there is some infrastructure damage or construction or something on the tracks so we all had to switch to a bus at a train station in the middle of nowhere. I was basically dead on my feet when I arrived at my hostel. I didn't do much in Granada. I was only there for two full days and went there really for one reason only: La Alhambra.


If you ever get the chance to visit La Alhambra, do it. It's a huge complex that houses several castles/palaces and gardens. The architecture is beautiful and there is plenty of history to learn. One of the most incredible parts is that it looks out over Granada and has beautiful aerial views of the city. When you get tickets, you get them for either the morning or the afternoon. During your session you can spend as much time wandering around as you want. However, there is one part of the complex that only allows a certain amount of people in a time, so your ticket will show your specific time. Mine was at three o'clock in the afternoon, when the sun was high overhead, and it was 95 degrees out. I would recommend going in the morning.


I would also recommend spending some time in Albacin, the Arab quarter. I didn't get to spend too much time there and wish I had spent more. I also saw various advertisements for flamenco shows in caves which would have been amazing!

 

 

CÓRDOBA

I only spent one full day in Córdoba because I basically went there to see La Mezquita. This is an important mosque (that is also a cathedral) and is absolutely beautiful. The interior consists of rows upon rows of red and white striped arches. There are also several displays pertaining to the cathedral part of the structure.

 

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