After hearing about the beauty of Seville, Daniel and I were looking forward to checking it out over the weekend. We booked our bus ticket in excitement from Granada and tried to find a hostel located in the center of the city. I really wanted to visit the place where flamenco dancing had been invented, and we were intrigued by the idea of a bullfight and seeing the ancient tradition in person.
The bus ride was about three hours long, and we spent most of it chatting and enjoying the countryside. Andalucia has both the feel of a desert and a lush forest depending on whether you a driving next to a mountainside or a field of grapes. Olive trees added to the feeling of being on an entirely different planet.
Once we arrived, we walked through the heat from the bus station to where we would be staying. We were told that most the sights worth seeing were about a fifteen-minute walk from where were camped. After leaving our backpacks behind we began to stroll through the back alleys of our neighborhood to see if we could find a good place to eat.
We had heard Seville had some delicious food, but we were really impressed by the sangria. It was hard to not partake in the hot sun and to simply relax at a metal table and people watch. Seville is a city that feels very old, and it’s impossible to escape the past in the architecture that looms over you, the meals that have been served for centuries, and the music that floats in the air.
We arrived during a children’s festival, and were just as delighted to see performances put on by actors wearing pirate costumes and bubbles being blown in the plazas. We window shopped and ducked into churches where the sounds of a singing choir mixed with a flamenco guitar being played nearby. Jambon iberico hung from the racks of butcher shops and there was a sense of festivity in the air.
Unfortunately, the next day brought about disappoint for us. We couldn’t make it through the bullfight for its brutality. I left the arena crying, regretting the decision to see such an event in the first place. The fight put us in solemn mood, and not even the beautiful parts we had seen of Seville the day before could lift me out of my mood. In a way, my heart was broken, and the city seemed duller after we made our way from the ring.
The rest of our time in Seville was colored by our day at the bullfight, and we found our last few hours disappointing, as well. We were told we would be able to see the brilliant cathedral (Europe’s largest) and that we would have plenty of time to scope it out. However, when we arrived it was completely closed off to tourists and no one would tell us why this was the case. We begged to be let in but were turned away gruffly.
After that, we thought we would try the Islamic palace of the Alcazar, but the line stretched before us was moving at the glacial pace in the heat and it would be hours before we were allowed inside. Fed up, we walked back to the hostel, grabbed our bags, and boarded a bus back to Granada, defeated by the city.
I wanted so badly to fall in love with Seville, but because of our timing and the fact that we were upset by the bullfight, it was hard to feel a connection to it. Back on the bus, we watched the city fade into olive groves and vineyards again, happy to be returning to Granada.
Have you ever been disappointed in a place that you thought you would love?