My first trip outside of the grand city of Madrid was an excursion to visit a college friend who was studying in Sevilla.
At the outset this visit had seemed like a simple task, but in my attempts to make the trip cost-effective, I realized that this trip would be quite a journey! My choices for transport from Madrid to Sevilla were either a 136 euro round-trip ticket on a 2-hour luxury train, or a 6.5-hour bus ride, for 36 euro. At that point, I had an abundance of time but had not yet received my first monthly paycheck, so it should be easy to guess which option I chose!
Upon arrival to Sevilla, and in a bit of a stupor after my bus ride, I decided it would be a great idea to walk to my hostel in the center of Sevilla. As I had yet to experience, Sevilla's heat and humidity in early August is an exemplary reason that people in Sevilla tend to take a siesta at this time of day. As I found out the hard way, it was much too hot and humid to be outside, but two ice-cream cones and three hours later, I finally arrived at my destination. As I discovered later, each plaza and street in Seville has approximately three different names, making my use of a traditional map quite a hindrance!
The hostel, as it turned out, was in a great location. The great Cathedral of Sevilla and the Palacio de Alcazar were just a one minute walk from my hostel. In the mornings while my friend was in class, I was able to take a tour of the city with an informative tour guide. The city of Sevilla is quaint and beautiful, with tiny cobblestone streets, and a wealth of history. Not to mention, the city shuts down daily from three to five in the afternoon as the population in Sevilla takes a daily siesta. What's not to love?
That morning I explored the Real Alcázar, a palace of both Moorish and Catholic tradition, which housed sections of the palace dating back to the 11th century. My favorite part of the palace were the intricate designs of the tiles, which could be found in every nook and cranny of the place. A few years later, this palace would host the HBO drama “Game of Thrones” as a filming site for the mythical southern land of Dorne.
Later that night I explored the nightlife on "Calle Alfonso", a small, cobblestone street in Sevilla with four popular bars, where most patrons stand in the street to socialize. It was loud scene, but very amusing, especially when an unfortunate taxi driver attempted to drive down the street and make his way through the massive crowd.
Another night I was able to explore "Las Setas" in Sevilla, an immense honeycomb sculpture from which you can see a beautiful panoramic view of the city. As it turns out, this was also a great point from which to catch the sunset.
I returned home to Madrid without too much trouble, and I have to say, it was so nice to have a place to call home. Being able to run in "my" park each morning, in the crisp Madrid air, was a blessed feeling.
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