After 8 days in Portugal, we packed up our giant backpacks, took an Uber to the bus station, slept for 2 hours at said station because we keep overestimating how early we need to arrive to bus / train stations in Europe (hint it’s closer to 2 minutes), and hopped on what we thought was a 6-hour bus ride to Seville, Spain. However since our driver 1.) stopped for 45 minutes to eat dinner at a Portuguese gas station and 2.) missed one of his stops and had to turn the bus around 1.5 hours after the fact, this little trip ended up being a 9-hour ride. And while we intended on arriving in Spain around 7, with our detours + the time difference we didn’t make it to our AirBnB until close to 11 PM.
Stove had picked our Sevilla AirBnB location for 2 reasons – the first because it was in a tiny, local neighborhood far from tourists and the second because the highly rated hosts spoke NO English and he wanted to practice his (poco) Spanish…
Hilariously what ensued was 3 days of us saying “Si!” And “Muy Bien” while our hosts, Pilar and Diego, would speak 1000 words a minute. They were so patient with us and when we (clearly) did not understand what was going on, they would hop on their laptop and type it to us via Google Translate. One night, and I’m honestly not sure how this happened, Pilar even convinced me to dress up in her old Flamenco costume and pose for pictures … I blame Stove for all of this ;).
Anyway, the first day we arrived Pilar gave us a guided map to the city which helped us decide what to do (Seville is the 4th largest city in Spain so we had to prioritize!). We ending up spending our time visiting some truly remarkable architecture – we hit up the Plaza de Espana, the Royal Alcazar and the Catedral de Sevilla. (You can walk everywhere in Sevilla, and we recommend you DO – besides the big architectural sites there are many smaller, equally impressive churches and universities that you are free to wander around and explore.)
One of our favorite nights in Seville was the night we went to a small tapas bar that had a live Flamenco performance during dinner. The whole restaurant sat 15-20 people max., which made the experience feel more intimate and authentic. We were incredibly impressed with the guitarist, singer and dancer, and how they were always somehow in sync throughout the show. We took a video, but it is really something you have to see in person to fully appreciate!
Finally, we know that we have mainly been talking about the highlights of our trip, and glossing over any not-so-great parts (like that I had a terrible cold-turned-almost-death thanks to my sister – and I then gave said cold to Stove). And while all-around we’re happy to say that our trip truly has been wonderful, in Sevilla, Spain we did have one not-so-great discovery…
…The food is only O.K.
If you’ve been to Sevilla and had a different food-experience then we are very jealous of you. But ours went like this – bad bread (think Wonder Bread or small packets of dry crackers), kind-of-sour-not-olivey olives, followed by generic, not authentic-y feeling tapas. Before you say that this judgement is not fair because I don’t eat ham and most of the food in Spain is secretly ham-based – well Stove does, and he came to the same sad conclusion – the food is meh.
We tried and tried to find amazing food – we asked for recommendations, went to small out-of-the-touristy area places, and even visited the #1 tapas restaurant on Lonely Planet, Duo Tapas. Spoilers – it might’ve been the worst food we’ve ever had – this is not hyperbole. Do Not Go There. Ever. The one exception was El Pinton – overall they had decent tapas and the least-dry crackers, which felt like a win after our parade of loser-restaurants.
So we will remember Sevilla like this: a sun-drenched Spanish haven with amazing culture and people, covered in beautiful architecture and gardens, and filled with average food.
And if average-eats is the biggest obstacle we’ll face on our trip, then we’ll take it :).
Off to Tangier.
P.S. – If you’ve been to Sevilla and had a great food experience please tell us what we did wrong, and where we have to try next time!