Jump to content


Photo

Seville, Cordoba, Granada


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1 Matt

Matt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 111 posts

Posted 18 September 2004 - 09:25 PM

I'm off to Spain in a couple of weeks and aside from a few days on the coast we are planning to visit Seville, Cordoba and Granada (LML put me off Jerez :D ). I've read Wilfred's report on Granada but need some recommendations in Seville and Cordoba.

#2 Daisy

Daisy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 15,640 posts

Posted 21 September 2004 - 05:09 PM

It's been a few years, but these are some of my thoughts on Seville.

It is, first of all, an absolutely enchanting city. Much of what's worth seeing is in a very compact area near the cathedral,the barrio Santa Cruz, which makes for good walking. The Jiralda, the tower of the cathedral, is a confection of Spanish and Moorish elements. Then of course there is the jewel-like Alcazar, a perfect little palace with the loveliest gardens. Right near the cathedral is the Columbus Institute (? I think that's what it's called) which is extremely interesting. Wandering around this area, one sees many lovely houses , convents and churches and quirky little shops. I stumbled on a place selling the most gorgeous embroidered shawls--not cheap but well worth it.

The bull ring is worth a visit--it's architecturally significant and has a very good museum (FYI I did not go to any bull fights--not my thing).

Any guide book will list the churches and convents worth visiting--there are many--but the one most emblematic of Sevilla is probably the basilica of the Macarena, the most popular incarnation of the Virgin Mary. There is so much magnificent art in various churches and convents that a visit to the museum is anticlimactic. One can see works by Zurbaran, Murillo, etc. in situ all over the place.

On a nice day the Parque Maria Luisa is a pleasant place to stroll. Over the top tile decorations abound there.

Now for the grub---tapas are everywhere. Most of the best places are in a neighborhood called Triana, which is across the river roughly opposite the Torre D'Oro and Santa Cruz. It's most fun to just wander from place to place, tasting and sipping. Right by the Triana bridge, on the banks of the Guadalqavir, is a tiny spot with outdoor tables only called the Kiosco de los Flores. Terrific fried fish--whole tiny whitebait, calamari, etc. The best fried calamari I had in Sevilla, indeed the best I've had anywhere, was in a restaurant called Modesto. There is a small park behind the Alcazar, the Murillo Gardens, and at the end opposite the palace is a square containing several touristy-looking restaurants including Modesto. But Modesto is the real thing. Also in Santa Cruz is a good tapas bar on Calle Mateos Gagos, a street running up the hill behind the cathedral. It is housed in the ruins of a Moorish bath, and traces of its arches and the original tiled floor may still be seen. Pizza is wildly popular with Sevillanos---but is reputed to be dreadful.

The Taberna del Albardero is a restaurant run by a cooking scholl and housed in a gorgeous space. It didn't blow me away, but it was decent and very cheap. I dined in one expensive restaurant, Egana Oriza, which offers some Basque cuisine as well as that of Andalucia. I recall excellent terrine of foie gras, wild boar which was amazing, fantastic jamon (of course). The wine list was very, very interesting but pricey. But the list contains bottles you won't see just anywhere, even in Spain. I had a terrific Clos de L'Obac, which was I believe about $110. This restaurant won't knock your socks off but I very much enjoyed my meal there.

The Corte Ingles, a chain department store, has a grocery in its lower level where you can get the elements of a picnic, including wine at good prices and more than acceptable bread, cheese, cured meats, etc.

You must see flamenco and the best place to go is the Carboneria, a gritty cellar packed with young tourists and Sevillanos alike. Avoid the high-price 'dinner theater' version.

Lovely bar: that in the very grand Hotel Alfonso XIII. Walk around the lobby and ground floor and soak up its out of time atmosphere.

If you are lucky, you will see a religious procession. Enormous statues, includingly gorily realistic depictions of Christ crucified, are borne through the streets by priests and lay people dressed in robes that have not changed since the 11th century.

If when you visit the pre-Christmas outdoor shops in the Plaza San Francisco are set up do not miss it. Booths offer for sale the elements of the extraordinarily detailed belens, or creches, that are typical of Andalucia. There are figures of animals, buildings, implements and tools, and of course people involved in any activity you can imagine including--uh--various bodily functions.

Have a marvelous time--Sevilla is a wonderful city. Hope this helps. :D
Sardines aren't for sissies.---Frank Bruni
------------------------------------------------------------
The mistake one makes is to react to what people post rather than to what they mean.---Dr. Johnson
-------------------------------------------------------------
I want to be the girl with the most cake.

#3 Wilfrid1

Wilfrid1

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 42,108 posts

Posted 21 September 2004 - 06:07 PM

Sometimes I love this site. :D
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#4 Matt

Matt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 111 posts

Posted 24 September 2004 - 03:20 PM

Thanks for the replies. Has nobody been to Cordoba? According to Time Out it is the food capital of Andalucia!

#5 Daisy

Daisy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 15,640 posts

Posted 24 September 2004 - 09:18 PM

I have never made it to Cordoba--another reason to return to Spain. :D The following is a reply from an e-mailI sent to my sister, who once lived in Spain:

The Mezquita , of course, and the Roman ruins outside of the city - will have to look in a guide book to remember the name of the site. There is a famous restaurant which is a must - I think it is called El Churrasco, but I might be confusing it with another. You can look it up. It is where the PM took Chirac to eat in 1999 and then Chirac sent his personal chef to spend a week there learning the dishes.
Sardines aren't for sissies.---Frank Bruni
------------------------------------------------------------
The mistake one makes is to react to what people post rather than to what they mean.---Dr. Johnson
-------------------------------------------------------------
I want to be the girl with the most cake.

#6 CenoErgoSum

CenoErgoSum

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63 posts

Posted 29 September 2004 - 08:00 PM

Daisy stuck it.

I lived in Seville for a while as a student and have since returned to Spain twice for extended trips as a "jungle guide" for friends and family.

Generally speaking, Andalucian cuisine is peasant cuisine. Food crafted of fresh ingredients, made by hard working people in an honest, no frills preparation. As such, I have found that it doesn't dress up very well - but that should do nothing to deter you from sampling it as widely as possible. Before I get flamed here, my point is that a fish fry next to the Treana bridge on the banks of the guadalquevir is a thing of beauty (excellent choice - best in Seville) - the same fried fish served with the aioli du jour in a white tablecloth restaurant misses the mark. I spent a lot of money on inimpressive food in highly touted restaurants throughout Spain before my wife finally said, "can't we just go and get another bocadillo?"

So, in addition to Daisy's suggestions, I would suggest that you begin at the Plaza de Toros and walk along the river having a drink and a tapa or two at each bar along the way. Savor the olives, drag your bread through the oil that is left in the cazuela after a fresh gambas al ajillo, etc. etc. At each stop, ask for whatever they do best - or whatever seems too unique to pass up.

[ aside from the grub, also check out the tile shops (azulejos) in Treana - a nice stroll after your fish fry, skip the Expo - but do check out the Plaza de Espana, and the cathedral ]

Back to the food - don't forget to seek out as much of that lovely jamon as you can possibly eat - especially between two stale pieces of bread with a mouthful of luke-warm cruzcampo to wash it down. Also, don't miss real tortilla espanola, chorizo, manchego cheese and all of the other ingredients that far surpass the varieties that get exported (at least to the States). One more thing - it would be a sin not to eat pimientos del padron, if you can find them. . . .

I have never stayed in Cordoba - always done it as a day trip. But the ruins and the Mezquita are the main attractions.

Where are you staying? Alfonso XIII in Seville is excellent. I have also had great luck in the Paradors - the last time I went, I flew into Malaga, rented a car and spent 10 days driving in a clock-wise circle, staying in different paradors each night.

Salud!

#7 Matt

Matt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 111 posts

Posted 29 September 2004 - 09:54 PM

We're staying at the HSIERPES - good reviews and reasonably priced. It Looks far nicer than that nasty cheap Alfonso XIII :D

Thanks for the suggestions, any more, you've got one more day before I leave!

Hostal Sierpes

#8 Matt

Matt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 111 posts

Posted 17 October 2004 - 12:37 AM

Don't stay at the Sierpes! Despite all its recommendations it has prison beds, some rooms are very dark and the architect had carefully designed the hotel so that all noise generated within the building was channelled into our room. Without straining we managed to hear, amongst other things, somebody brushing their teeth, somebody sighing with relief as they finally made the toilet which they had obviously been waiting for for a long time.

It should also be noted that the bell tower from the nearby cathedral extends a long way under ground straight into our bedroom (room 203). bells ring (in a random fashion) every 15 minutes from about 7am :D

#9 Daisy

Daisy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 15,640 posts

Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:48 PM

It should also be noted that the bell tower from the nearby cathedral extends a long way under ground straight into our bedroom (room 203). bells ring (in a random fashion) every 15 minutes from about 7am :D

My sister lived in Santa Cruz, about a 5 minute walk from the plaza behind the cathedral. The first time I visited her the bells nearly drove me mad! The whole apartment vibrated when they rang. Had to use earplugs to sleep. She told me that she didn't even notice them any more.....
Sardines aren't for sissies.---Frank Bruni
------------------------------------------------------------
The mistake one makes is to react to what people post rather than to what they mean.---Dr. Johnson
-------------------------------------------------------------
I want to be the girl with the most cake.

#10 CenoErgoSum

CenoErgoSum

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63 posts

Posted 18 October 2004 - 05:46 PM

Sorry to hear that.

How was the rest of the trip?

#11 Matt

Matt

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 111 posts

Posted 18 October 2004 - 07:36 PM

Excellent, I'll try and post some reports later if I get a chance - mainly Tapas places. The food revolution may be happening in Spain but it hasn't reached these quarters. If somebody thought of serving vegetables with the meat they might be onto a winning concept :D

#12 CenoErgoSum

CenoErgoSum

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 63 posts

Posted 18 October 2004 - 07:45 PM

Come on - you get olives before the meal and wine with it - that is two vegetables, isn't it?

#13 Guest_Adam Lawrence_*

Guest_Adam Lawrence_*
  • Guests

Posted 25 November 2004 - 09:54 AM

I see that Ryanair have announced new routes to Sevilla (from Stansted) and Granada (from Liverpool) which opens up both cities for weekend breaks. Don't think any other carriers fly direct to Granada from any UK airport.

#14 Rail Paul

Rail Paul

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 22,341 posts

Posted 13 September 2005 - 12:37 PM

Seville suggestions from the Wall Street Journal

Where to stay: Hotel Amadeus, in the historic section of Santa Cruz, is an 18th-century manor house with stately rooms and two pianos available for impromptu concerts. Amadeus (The owners recently opened a new addition, La Casa de Música, next door with six apartment suites and a roof-top terrace.) In the Jewish quarter, Hotel Las Casas de la Judería, known for its grand patios, courtyards and fountains recalls old Seville. Las Casas


Where to eat and drink: For typical Andalusian dishes with an innovative twist, try Restaurante Poncio in the neighborhood of Triana (Poncio). A sample: grilled cuttlefish with spinach gazpacho, basil and mint. If you want to do a tapas crawl, start at Bar Garlochi on Calle Boteros. The food stellar; so is the decor: It is Semana Santa all the time here, with images of a weeping Virgin Mary.

Where to shop: From Thursday to Saturday, go to the small open-air market at Plaza del Duque de la Victoria, in front of the El Corte Inglés store, to browse the stalls selling belts, shirts, scarves, leather goods and jewelry. For ceramics and unique gifts, head to Alfarería Street in Triana. Buy paintings and sketches by local artists at the Sunday market on Plaza del Museo, next to the Museo de Bellas Artes.

“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
Niccolò Machiavelli

#15 Guest_Adam Lawrence_*

Guest_Adam Lawrence_*
  • Guests

Posted 30 November 2005 - 12:42 PM

Just back from three days in Seville. We stayed at Las Casas de la Juderia, referenced by RP above. Got a v good deal via Expedia, seventy quid a night. Lovely place, we didn't make much use of the hotel other than to sleep there, but my kind of hotel nonetheless. Cheapie flights courtesy Ryanair - £52 inclusive of taxes for two return tickets. Ryanair saw a grand total of £1.28 of that. Crazy.

First time in the city, so lots of touristy stuff - Alcazar, cathedral, etc. La Carboneria a great place to hear flamenco but there are guys playing in the street who rip out bits of technical virtuosity I could only dream of just as you walk past.

We stuck mainly to tapas crawling, around the Barrio de Santa Cruz. Armed with the Michelin Green Guide and some tips from here and elsewhere, we did OK. Bar Las Teresas, on a little alleyway in the barrio, was our most regular hangout - nothing out of the ordinary, but good ham, cheese, boquerones, etc. Bodega Santa Cruz on Calle Mateos Gago is very popular, seems a little down at heel, but well priced and the fried aubergines with honey were terrific. The famous Cerveceria Giralda, referenced by several, is good. The tapas are a bit more expensive there than elsewhere, but perhaps a bit more interesting, although the baby soles in the fish chiller looked less and less inviting with every visit.

We walked past a bar called La Trastavera (I think) on calle Aguilhas. Lots of fish and shellfish, lots of happy eaters. We were done at the time, and never got round to going back (it was very slightly out of our way) but it looked very good.

The well-known El Rinconcillo on calle Gerona, which claims to be the birthplace of tapas was pretty good, again nothing really out of the ordinary, but everything well done. I'm not sure any of the bars struck me as being as good as Casa Balbino in Sanlucar, where I spent a memorable evening last year. But the average standard is high.

We only had a quick wander round Triana, mostly to look at ceramics, which were crap. I looked for Kiosco de los Flores, but either it has closed or it doesn't operate in winter.

Our one proper restaurant meal was at Corral del Agua, by the wall of the Alcazar, recommended by the Green Guide. Disappointing. Traditional dishes on the menu, not that well executed - I had rabo de toro that was no more than OK, and hugely over-seasoned. And as we sat down in the garden (which was nice enough in November, would be lovely in the summer), they switched on horrible piped lounge music, drowning out the noise of the guitarist in the alleyway who was playing a beautiful version of the Concerto de Aranjuez