We got up nice and early on the day of our departure from Barcelona, and made our way out to the airport early, too, with memories of the dash through Frankfurt airport still in my mind.
Through security with no problems. But the readerboard didn’t show us exactly which gate our flight would leave from, just that it would be from A, B or C. So we sat down for a wait until closer to departure when the info would be up. I also used the airport wifi and the Vuehling website, and asked that any flight changes be sent directly to my phone. Eventually the website showed that the gate was B35, but that the flight would be delayed by half an hour. OK, we got to B35 and asked the Vuehling rep if that information was correct and he checked and said yes. OK, **whew** lots of time then. DH went to get us some sandwiches, and I kept refreshing the website. To see that the flight departure had been put back to its original time and was now at gate B51! I grabbed the luggage and took off down the terminal, scooping up DH and a couple of sandwiches. We made it in time, but I’m just saying I didn’t get any notification (they made announcements, but of course we couldn’t hear them over the background noise of a busy airport).
So we flew to Seville. The flight was really full, with everyone speaking a different language. When the pilot explained in English that we’d be delayed taking off, he said we’d be landing in Valencia. We didn’t.
We took the airport shuttle to a stop that Google Maps had shown me was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. That was a mistake. We immediately got lost (Google said to walk down the street in a north-west direction. It doesn’t run in a north-west direction). DH flagged down a cab who took us in a magical mystery tour through one-way streets so narrow we have no idea how he got through. And Milagro! We got to our hotel. It’s a real splurge for us, we’ve been staying in AirBnBs and saving on eating meals out. But it’s just for the last few days of our vacation, and it’s wonderfully close to everything. The hotel Dona Maria.
Tonight we’re getting a tapas tour with a local guide and checked out that the meet-up place is just 8 minutes from here. Our walking tour tomorrow starts a minute from the hotel.
Of all the places we’ve visited, Seville is the most disorienting for me. Maybe it’s because this part of town is not laid on a grid but is a warren of narrow, winding lanes. Maybe it’s the incredibly bright sunlight and the heat. I’m definitely out of my comfort zone, which is fantastic of course. Either I’ll have the best time ever or I’ll spend our vacation in the few streets by our hotel that I can recognize.
Later, we walked over to the Plaza Nuevos to meet Shawn, our guide for the tapas tour. We were lucky enough to get a personal recommendation for Azahar Tapas Tour from my friend, Craig, who is friends with the proprietor. (Hi Craig!)
We’d tried tapas in Barcelona and all in all I was not impressed with that experience. The food was OK but not fantastic.
But the tour we had last night completely fulfilled every fantasy I had about enjoying Spanish food! First we walked past some muy interesting buildings on our way to the city hall (Ayuntamiento) to meet Shawn, our tour guide.
Shawn took us (DH and I and a very nice couple from England, Rachel and Ash) to three different tapas bars within easy walking distance of our hotel. At the first, Casa Morales , Shawn led us to the “back” room, lined with huge terracotta tuns of wine! We had 3 cold tapas, jamon (ham), salt cod, and deep-fried pork crackling. With it we drank sherry, but not Granny’s Christmas sherry! ours was icy cold and very clean tasting.
The second place, Casa Roman we had braised pork cheeks in a rich gravy and sliced pork loin, both served with french-fried potatoes; and huge mushrooms in a green sauce. We tried a golden-coloured sherry there. While we walked from place to place Shawn would show us interesting buildings in the neighbourhood. We also saw tiny geckos climbing inside the street lanterns (hung on the buildings, the streets are too narrow for lamp standards) while they waited for flies to be attracted to the light. The last tapas bar we visited was the Vineria San Telmo, with a modern take on tapas. Here we each ordered our own plate (tapas sized) and I had the panko-coated prawns served on a grilled zucchini, and DH had the chicken breast sliced and served “nugget style”. Both were excellent, and our companions loved their choices, too.
Then Shawn suggested we try some very sweet sherry with dessert. I chose the lemon meringue pie and Rachel the rich chocolate cake, and both were terrific matched with that rich, sweet sherry.
I was full! And so satisfied! Shawn (who knows her way through the labyrinth of streets, thank goodness, and speaks Spanish despite being born in Winnipeg) led us back to our neighbourhood and we got back to our hotel. The streets were still full of people, some dining, some just strolling.
But we were ready for bed. And looking forward to our walking tour the next day.
I was so glad we chose Ahazar for the first night of our trip. There are over 3,000 tapas bars in Seville. Shawn left us with a list of “must-see” places and other recommended with the specialties she personally chose. One is right around the corner!