I am going to be sharing some of my favourite places I have traveled to through my travel series. I figured Spain was the perfect place to start off with, because not only is it stunning, it’s where I developed my interest in travel photography.
One of the only perks of having an internationally scattered family is that we try to have mini-reunions once a year to explore a different city or country together. Trying to pick a place that none of us has traveled to is becoming quite the task, especially when you have to consider the needs of babies and toddlers. I always wanted to visit Spain and in the summer of 2015 everything finally lined up.
One of the first things I always do before I travel is buy the Lonely Planet book for the country I am visiting. I find it useful in getting a general idea of what to expect and they have some really useful tips. After having a thorough read through and talking to friends that had already visited Spain, I knew Andalucía was the place for me. As a Muslim, I love learning about Islamic history, art and architecture. In that aspect, Spain definitely delivers. We narrowed down our trip to Seville, Malaga, Granada and Madrid (based on interests of the entire family).
In today’s post, I will talk about our first stop - the Andalusian capital of Seville. We arrived at our beautiful penthouse apartment (booked through https://www.genteel-home.com). Luckily, it was during the Feria de abril de Sevilla, their spring festival (usually two weeks after Easter), which turned out to be an amazing time to visit the city. Although it is a tough festival to actually partake in (you need invites to all the private parties), being a bystander is beautiful enough! The flamenco dresses, the beautiful tents and the decorated horse carriages are everywhere.
While in Seville, we explored the Real Alcázar, one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain. Interestingly enough, it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. This was my favourite part of our Seville stop and if you are an art lover like I am, you will love it too! The intricacies of the Palace are to die for. The walls and ceilings have stunning plaster-work and tile-work. Make sure you check out the gardens before your exit! (For the parents out there, the palace and gardens aren't very stroller friendly, so make sure you take a carrier with you).
Our second stop was the Cathedral right across the Palace. This is one of the largest Christian churches in the world and stands on the site of the Almohad mosque, with the mosque’s minaret (the Giralda) still towering beside it. Inside this majestic cathedral also stands the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus. When you are there, make sure to go all the way up the Gibraltar tower for breath taking views of the cathedral and the city (Be warned that the walk up to the tower is quite the workout and definitely not strolled friendly).
Seville is home to the famous Flamenco, so a trip would not be complete without taking this art in, either through the many impromptu street performances or a formal show at the Museo de Flamenco (tickets get sold out fairly quickly so I would book a day or so in advance at least).
All in all Seville is the perfect city to soak in Spanish culture – We spent hours sitting in cafes, with coffees, churros or gelato (and sometimes all three at once ;)).
If you have any more questions about Seville, just send me a message.
Until next time,