In January, after quitting my job as a teacher to become a full-time travel writer, it was only right that I spent the first few weeks of my new venture doing exactly what I had set out to do… travellng! Knowing myself well, I had to make sure that wherever I picked was interesting to explore, but small enough to stay focused on working. I found myself in Seville, the city with 300 days of sunshine a year, which had long been on my bucket list since the Royal Alcázar of Seville was the backdrop for the city of Dorne in Game of Thrones. The warm Andalusian city was a far cry from the gloomy days I’d been spending in London in the depth of winter, trying to muster just a smidgen of inspiration.
Andalusia is one of Spain’s most exceptionally beautiful regions, bordered by the Sierra Morena and the Sierra Nevada, with the Guadalquivir River running through it, and through the centre of Seville. The sandy hues of the city remind you that outside of the winter months, this arid region of Spain reaches almost desert-like temperatures. January still had hot days and cool nights, a very simple balance that I was searching for.
Each morning, I woke up and popped downstairs to grab a pastry and hot drink, ready to start a day of working in the sun on the roof terrace overlooking Seville’s glorious skyline. I’ll admit, when I’m abroad, I can’t stay still, so it was just a matter of time before I shut down my ipad and did some solo exploring, taking my work with me for good measure of course. Exploring alone abroad was very new to me, so I headed to Casa de Pilatos, an Andalusian palace. Looking up at the hand-carved arches and walls covered in azulejos, I could have stayed here for hours.With benches perfectly positioned in the sun outside in the orange garden, you could make the most out of your admission ticket and work here for the afternoon. The decorative Moorish places of Seville call for equal attention to detail in outfit planning. Our Borneo Artisanal Espadrilles draw on the beige tones throughout the city, whilst complementing the intricacy of the architecture in its embroidery.
Perhaps it is that I was in an environment alien to me, but the usual fatigue that I experience after a day of work was absent. I just couldn’t wait for everyone to be finished with work so we could take the evenings to explore Seville. One of Seville’s attractions best visited in the early evening is the Metropol Parasol, or Las Setas. The gargantuan modern wooden viewing platform somehow blends seamlessly in the antiquated city. Overlooking the entire city of Seville, I arrived here just before sunset, just in time to view the light show. Looking at the buildings glowing warmly in the evening light, the gothic cathedral takes centre stage, presiding over the entire city. After the show, the roof bar at Hotel Casa de Indias opposite is a fantastic spot for a drink with a view of the structure.
Of my many times visiting Spain, whether it was in Majorca, Ibiza, Barcelona or Malaga, I had never managed to find truly fantastic Spanish tapas until I visited Seville. Tapas is perfect for group dining, giving everyone the opportunity to sample different dishes. Bar Alfalfa, a cosy bodega on Calle Candilejo, offers a very casual setting with outstanding small plates, particularly the lasaña de retinto. The slightly pricier Petra serves meats for you to grill at your table. Don’t leave without tasting their vino de naranja, white wine that has been macerated with orange peel, produced exclusively in Andalusia.
On most days, I woke up early to get as much work done as possible, giving me ample time to spend an afternoon or two on the banks of the Guadalquivir. The most enjoyable area of the river is the lively neighbourhood of Triana. I enjoyed a fair few glasses of cava sangria on Calle Betis, a street that runs parallel to the river, lined with colourful buildings. On most evenings, we’d get lost in the medieval cobbled streets, stumbling across quaint bars and local eateries to indulge in new tastes.
Closing the trip was a visit to Plaza de España, a large, aesthetically magnificent plaza, designed with renaissance and baroque revival in mind. Boating on the lake here is a lot harder than it looks, though you could simply allow the boat to drift and enjoy floating around the plaza at golden hour.