Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Seville was charming, romantic and seductive. We stayed in the Hotel San Gil, a beautiful four-star hotel in La Macarena district, complete with marble courtyard and tiled lobby.

We wandered around the monumentally Gothic Cathedral de Sevilla and the Moorish palace Alcazar. We spent an afternoon chilling in the Arabic baths, Banos Arabes, where we drank mint tea, luxuriated in a steam room, a salt pool and three other pools ranging from ice cold to hot, and basked under candlelight and Arabic music.

But mostly we meandered through the narrow, twisting, cobbled streets, stopping at whatever bar or cafe took our fancy. One of our favourite meals took place in Triana district on the Rio Guadalquivir which flows through the city. Triana is a fishing district and there we ate delicious dishes piled high with freshly grilled or lightly fried calamari, sardines, prawns, and clams, plus a refreshing tuna nicoise.

On other nights we ate gazpacho, garlic prawns, chorizo, jamon serrano (cured ham), black pudding, olives, beef steak, squid, whitebait, other fish, plus a stew of pork with dates and bacon at the tiny Cuban restaurant Habanita... In fact, mainly meat, fish and seafood.

We were rarely served vegetables to accompany our tapas or racions unless we specifically asked for them. Once we ordered a spinach and chickpea stew, and although it was tasty, the spinach and the chickpeas had obviously come out of a tin. And, despite all the orange trees growing on every street, we had to buy fruit (oranges and strawberries) from a store. An Atkins dieter's paradise!

We started our days with jamon serrano (cured ham) sandwiches, madeleines (small sponge cakes) or greasy and delicious chocolate con churros (deep-fried pastries dipped in thick melted chocolate), all washed down with freshly-squeezed orange juice and coffee.

And of course, lots of ice cold beers, mojito, caipirinha, and sangria. The best place for drinking was the run-down and buzzing Alameda de Hercules plaza of Alameda, where a younger and more alternative crowd hung out.

We didn't get to experience any flamenco or bullfighting, but then there's always next time.

Photos from our trip

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