BILIBALU escapes to… Seville

Ronaq (you pronounce it “Raw-nuck”). That’s what we will remember. Not the sun, not the heat, but the ronaq. An Urdu word from a far off land, there is no equivalent in English, or perhaps even in Spanish, that can convey the feel of this city more accurately. Seeing and hearing people laughing and talking in the street. The thrum of a community that lives together, in the outside world. It certainly made a welcome change from London which, though we love it, often feels like a smile free zone.

Young and old people together…chatting, sharing, discussing. Not one person staring into their phone, engrossed in their personal social media bubble. No one needs that here…look around, you’ll get all the updates you need from your eyes and your ears…spend too long staring at your phone and you might really miss something.

It was this that gave the city a unique, fresh, and friendly feel. Whatever the state of the political and economic landscape, this experience of community outside refreshed and rejuvenated our tired London souls.

Streets Around Barrio de Santa Cruz

Staying in the old Jewish quarter (Barrio de Santa Cruz), in a maze of winding streets that would test the most accomplished driver, we were a short walk from all the main attractions and yet just far enough from the tourist prices. We had four nights away in the autumn heat, welcome even though September’s warmth had rescued us from another wash out summer.

We found a reflection of our own mix of Eastern and Western cultures in this old city, the capital of Andalusia. A true escape, but rather than escaping our reality, we found it augmented by this mix of cultures.

At times, wandering the small streets, it was like a waking dream.

Here are five of the highlights that we experienced…

Real Alcázar de Sevilla

This Royal palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site is the prize jewel in the city’s crown. A true blend of cultures across the ages, it is a world within a world.

Mudéjar architecture next to Medieval…

…Italianate gardens next to Modern…

…with royal wildlife as well…

…it is a place to lose yourself for a day.

Palace of The Countess of Lebrija

Tucked away, off a busy street in central Seville, the former palace of a countess is an oasis of calm in the city…

…it houses a fine art collection and some of the most restful courtyards and spaces we have experienced…

…plus a beautiful collection of azulejos.

Plaza de España

A vast square, built for the Ibero-American Expo in 1929, surrounded by Parque Maria Luisa, was the ideal location for a lazy, sunny, Sunday morning stroll.

We were quite unprepared for how grand it was…

and for the ceramic work on show.

The park is enormous, we could have spent all day exploring it and its many pavilions designed for the Expo. We took a horse and carriage ride (75 mins approx. €45 for 4 people) and sat back and enjoyed the greenery…

Tablao El Arenal

Flamenco originated in Andalusia and there are many places to see it in Seville. A form of dance with influence from many cultures, it is a chance to experience passionate emotional expression. This tablao, in the El Arenal district, has offered immersion into this world for 40 years. We wouldn’t think twice about losing ourselves in the dance…

Aire de Sevilla

This Moorish Hammam style spa has one of our favourite rooms. It takes you back to the 12th century, a place where you can disconnect from the real world. We recommend choosing at least a 30 minute massage to really help you unwind.

BILIBALU eats

Of course we like to eat and drink. Here are a few of our favourite places:

El Pintón

El 3 De Oro

Modesto

La Terraza De EME

Lobby EME

La Bodega de la Alfalfa

Pan Y Più

Bar Alfalfa

Bodega Donaire

Casa Paco

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