Last week was Semana Santa, where every church parades its Jesus statues around town while dressed in costumes that look just like the KKK, attracting many tourists as well as freeing students from school for the week. I’m sure it is much more than just this, however, as I am not religious whatsoever nor am I very curious, I really cannot say much more. However, I took this week-long break as an opportunity to get to know more of the less catholic side of Spain.
To begin the week, I had some lovely visitors in Sevilla including my roommate from last semester. They were my first real visitors and I was very excited to show them the city. We had a lot of fun walking and sitting and eating (it seems like that was all we did).
I showed them the more popular sights in Sevilla including La Catedral, La Giralda, Plaza de Espana and El Real Alcazar de Sevilla. I also took them to all of my favorite places like the top of Las Setas at sunset, my favorite cookie store on Calle Regina, the park by the river, and my favorite tapas bar in Alfalfa called Bodega.
La Catedral during one of our many sitting breaks.
Plaza de Espana.
Las Setas at sunset. My favorite view of all time.
I really enjoyed being able to show them around Sevilla because it made me feel more like an actual resident and less of a “long term tourist”. I also was able to do a lot of things I had wanted to do like ride the little boats in Plaza de Espana (best five euro ever spent!) and eat churros for breakfast.
We had about two full days in Sevilla which in my opinion was the perfect amount of time to do everything we wanted.
Our next destination, Madrid, was a beautiful two hour train ride away. To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by the city. It was very beautiful but it didn’t feel like Spain, at least not the same way that Sevilla does. My friends said that it reminded them of London, it had a much more “European” feel to it rather than “Spanish”. Also it didn’t help that practically everyone there spoke English too.
One of the cuter Madrid streets.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Madrid, I really liked being able to explore the streets and the architecture was absolutely stunning. Once again, we spent most of our time walking and sitting and eating (I think that’s the best way to travel, personally).
Parque “El Retiro”
I forget what this building is called but it was very pretty.
We went inside one museum, “Reina Sofia” which was nice. But my favorite part of this city was walking through the park called “El Retiro”. It was beautiful and gave us a shady place to sit and avoid getting sunburnt.
From Madrid, we took a three hour train ride to Barcelona, which is by far one of my favorite cities in Spain. In Barcelona, I felt a lot more like I was in Spain again, even though their primary language there is actually Catalan (everyone also knows English too) and many of the residents want to secede from Spain.
We visited Parque Guell, the Gaudi house, La Sagrada Familia, Plaza de Espana, Las Ramblas, and the beach. My favorite out of all of these was Plaza de Espana because it was absolutely stunning with a beautiful fountain and steps that once you climbed to the top, you could see practically all of the city.
Plaza de Espana.
The view from the top.
Las Ramblas was mostly tourists and very crowded, though looking at the cute little pop up style shops was fun.
The food was also delicious, we got tapas twice and went to this wonderful sandwich place called Bo de B where I had the BEST sandwich of my life. I am not over exaggerating, I swear, it was delicious and only 4 euros.
In Park Guell.
The view from Park Guell.
Overall, I think I liked showing Sevilla the best, but only because I think of it as my city and it was really great that my friends could see what I’ve been doing the past few months. My second favorite city was Barcelona probably because of all the beautiful views it had to offer (I don’t know why but I love being up high, maybe because I was short as a child?). And Madrid is third on my list only because it didn’t seem to offer as much as the other two cities, though I did eat a DELICIOUS fried calamari sandwich while I was there.
It is really interesting to be able to see three major cities in Spain within such a short period of time, it really gave me an insight into the differences within the country. I also just loved being able to spend time with so many familiar faces (shout out to Vicky, Seannie, Shelby, and Steph for making this trip so much fun!).