Exploring Seville, Spain

A tour of historic Seville

Seville is the capital of Andalusia region in southern Spain. A historic city popular with tourists, it’s old town contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Alcázar palace complex, the Sevilla Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.

My wife Glenda is Hawaiian-Filipino and her Filipino ancestry trace back to Seville with a migration around early 1890s during Spanish colonial era. With her recent DNA test showing her still 1/4th Iberian and her middle name (Sevilla) still bearing the heritage, a trip to Seville was an obvious choice. And when we landed she was beaming at the airports large signboard!

We arrived in Seville from Atlanta via Lisbon, Portugal. The airport is well organized and have a delicious restaurant right next to the security checkpoint!

We decided to stay at the historic old town and took a 30 min taxi ride from the airport. Some areas in historic district are only accessible on foot which was a treat exploring the historic wonders!

Musician playing Spanish guitar by the cathedral

After freshening up at the historic Murillo apartments, we started our walk toward Plaza de Colone for our bus tour around the city.

The nicely laid out historic district is an enjoyable experience including Street side Flamenco dance.

The Hop on hop off bus tour took us all around the city with an audio guide explaining notable sites.

Getting a sit at the upper level in good weather is best to enjoy sightseeing in the bus tour
The famous bull fighting arena of Seville
The blending of Muslim and Spanish design is prominent in Andulasia

The Seville harbour, located about 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. The river splits the city in two distinct regions.

The River Guadalquivir made Seville an important City during the Spanish Golden age back in 16th century
The famous Macarena church housing the priceless gold statue of Virgin Mary brought out during the annual procession
An example of modern Seville from the 1992 Expo that gave rise to the Technology district

After the bus tour and quick lunch, we headed to the Royal Alcazar for a guided tour. The palace grounds has been in existence since 10th century during Muslim Spanish rule and there are even remnants of walls from the Roman period. It was rebuilt in it’s current Andalusian Mudejar style by King Pedro I in late 14th century. More recently the palace interior and garden were filmed for the HBO hit series ‘Game of Thrones’.

Real Alcazar, palace of the Spanish monarchy for 5 centuries
Patio de las Doncellas courtyard
One of the access-gates (b. 14th century) to Salón de los Embajadores in Palace of Peter of Castile
The famous Royal gardens featured in the fictional kingdom of Dorne in HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’
The Royal bath and reflective pool
The interior facade by the pond of the Royal gardens where they still have live fish!
A photo op for the ladies next to back facade of the garden of Real Alcazar

One of the big attraction of Seville is it’s amazingly diverse and colorful cuisine. Tapas was invented in this city during the Spanish Golden age. Below are a few delicious samples!

Simone checking out the tasty treats at a Spanish bakery
Anadlusian Breakfast at a cafe
Tapas!!
Eggplant and red bell pepper dish
Dinner in the historic district next to our Murillo apartments

Exploring Seville was a memorable experience for us. The charm of it’s old town cobblestone streets, historic architecture and delicious food makes it a must see in any Spanish trip.

Courtyard of the historic Murillo apartments
Historic old town Seville at night
Stage and lobby at a historic 17th century Flamenco apparel factory, now a hotel
Shops line up the streets connecting old town to Plaza de Colone

We also took day trip to nearby Andulusian white villages of Zahara and Grazalema and historic Ronda.

White village of Zahara Della Sierra
White village of Grazalema
Historic Ronda

Finally, check out the below video clip for a live experience of our tour in Seville. Enjoy!

Exploring Seville – A Video Blog

Famous Architectures – A history told in a thousand years

A 1000 year of history told through magnificent architectures

In this video series we take a tour of the famous architectures around the world that tells a historical timeline of the past 1000 years.

We start in the middle ages in the nation-state of Pisa. Then visit french medieval sites of Notredame in Paris and Pope’s palace in Avignon. Then explore the wonders of Venetian Empire of late middle ages.

Renaissance wonders by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Vasari take us to Sienna, Florence and Milan. We then turn to the Spanish empire’s golden age in Seville.

The demise of Spanish Armada leads us to London, England during the Tudor reign in the 16th century. Followed by 17th century reign of Louis XIV in Versailles.

We then move east to Hapsburg Austrian Empire of 18th century in Vienna. Then explore 19th century Bavarian castles of King Ludwig II that gave way to German Unification.

We then head back west to visit the marvels of Industrial era and late 19th century Parisian architecture like Eiffel Tower and the modern Louvre.

Finally we cross the Atlantic to explore the rise of a early 20th century giant city in Chicago. Further crossing the Pacific, we reach Sydney, Australia and visit the wonderful post – WWII architecture in Sydney Opera House.

We end our trip in a architecture landmark of the modern era – CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.

Zahara, an Andalusian village

Tour of a famous white village in Andalusia, Spain

Zahara de la Sierra is a picturesque village in the province of Cádiz in Andalusia, southern Spain. Perched on a mountain, overlooking a valley and a man-made lake formed by a dam, this beautiful village is conveniently located between Seville and Ronda. It is considered to be one of the pueblos blancos or “white towns” because the overwhelming majority of the buildings are white.

Below is a photo gallery of our brief tour to Zahara.

Travel – Best of Europe

Travel 50+ sites in Europe in this playlist!

This video blog series is a trip across Europe compiled over a few years. It is also a roadmap for travelling all these sites in a single trip if you have 4-6 weeks available. For details on preparation and a suggested itinerary for such a trip check out this blog .

Places to visit

We start in Budapest, Hungary and head west across the Alps visiting Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then tour Munich, Linderhof and Newscheinstein in picturesque Bavaria, Germany and end up in Switzerland visiting Zurich, Basel and Rheinfelden.

We then head south to Northern Italy visiting lake Como and Milan before reaching historic Venice by the Adriatic sea. We then crisscross across Italy visiting Florence, Siena, San Giminano and Pisa in sunny Tuscany. Our Italian tour continues west through Genoa and Savona and into Ventigmilia of the Italian Riviera.

Moving onto the French Riviera we visit Nice, Eze, Villafranca and Monaco. Driving further west we explore beautiful French villages and towns of Lacoste, Cavallion, Arles and Avignon ending up in the port city of Marseilles.

Their we embark on a cruise exploring the Mesiterranen including Barcelona, Spain! Heading deeper into Spain we explore Madrid and the Andalusian cities and villages of Seville, Zahara, Grazalema and Ronda. We then fly north to romantic Paris and royal Versailles before ending our journey in London, England!

The video blog

The White Village of Grazalema, Andalusia, Spain

A brief tour of the white village of Grazalema

Grazalema is a village located in the northeastern part of the province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Situated in the foothills of the Sierra del Pinar mountain range.
During Muslim rule in the 8th century, the area acquired the name of Raisa lami Suli, “town of the Banu al-Salim”, place which passed to Ben-salama, “Son of Zulema and later Grand Zulema”. With the Christian conquest in 1485, the name morphed into Zagrazalema. It became economically important as of the 17th century thanks to the drapery industry which produced the famous shawls of Grazalema.

Today it is a famous tourist attraction and voted one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Enjoy the video below for a brief tour of this picturesque white village in Andalusia.

Touring an Olive Oil factory in Andalusia, Spain

A tour of an olive oil factory near the white village of Zahara, Andalusia, Spain

The white villages of Andalusia are famous for their scenic beauty. In addition to tourism, this region also accounts for 50% of world’s olive oil production. The video blog below is a virtual tour of one such well known olive oil factory near Zahara in Cadiz province of Spain. This factory has been in operation since mid-1700s. Enjoy the tour!