Today we traveled from the eastern coast of Spain to the southeast by train. It was an almost 6.5 hours ride from Barcelona to Seville, one of the largest cities in Western Europe in the 16th century and known for the beautiful mix of both Roman and Islamic architecture. Our train departed from Barcelona-Sants Train Station at 8.30am, and we woke up at 6.30am. By the time we went to the lobby, a taxi was waiting for us thanks to the request we made the night before to the hotel receptionist. Going from the hotel (Hotel Suizo Barcelona) to the train station costs us €18.
Sants Train Station is a large and modern-looking building, resembling closer to an airport and hosts several stores and cafés inside the station. We had a breakfast at a small food court inside before passing the security check, knowing that we will likely have a late lunch later in Seville. The boarding process is quick and orderly, and the interior of the train is clean and proper – much above my expectation – and certainly looks more modern than Canada’s VIA rail car.
I spent most of the six hours inside the train reading my Kindle, progressing several chapters, and observing the landscape of rural Spain. The train route passed several vineyards and small cities, where we stopped to drop and pick up passengers. It is important to note that the temperature inside the car is rather cold. So despite the scorching hot Barcelona summer it would be wise to layer up during the ride.
Unlike in Barcelona, the train station in Seville is a much older. A taxi stand is available outside the station where we took a €5 ride to Hotel America Sevilla – a relatively new hotel located in Seville’s city-center. Among the three hotel we stayed during the trip, our hotel in Seville has the best room interior.
We were already hungry when we were in the train, and we had a lunch reservation at a tapas bar nearby our hotel called Perro Viejo. The two-stories restaurant is in an alley connected to the main street and has a small patio in front of the entrance door. We ordered a pork ribs, fish tataki, and an appetizer, which is more than enough to fill our stomach thanks to the large portion of the former. Both main meals are equally good and well recommended.
The first landmark we visited for the day was Catedral de Sevilla, a Roman Catholic cathedral located in the old town area of Seville. It became the largest cathedral in the world after its completion in 16th century, replacing Hagia Sophia in Turkey that previously held the title for a thousand years. We found the main altar of the cathedral to be similar to those we had seen before, but bigger, and were more interested in the smaller wing of the cathedral that has a more interesting interior and decorated with beautiful painting on the ceiling.
Connected with the main cathedral is the Giralda, a bell tower of the cathedral that previously was a minaret of the mosque under the Muslim rule. Visitors can hike to the top of the 9th floor tower, which we did through the seemingly endless elevated floor. At the top, visitors are rewarded with a 360-degree view of the city, which unlike Barcelona, has no structure – highlighted by the random spread of small alleys that is part of the city’s charm.
Following the visit to the cathedral, we went to Seville Museum of Fine Arts that is located in the other part of the city. To our surprise, the museum is free to visit and houses more than hundreds of paintings. In front of the museum there is also a small park and an ice cream shop where my girlfriend and I shared a scoop.
The main shopping street in Seville is located at Calle Tetuán, where we headed next. While my girlfriend shopped around – despite the stores being the same to those she went already in Barcelona – I had a coffee at the patio outside Robles Laredo while observing the street scene. On my way to the café, I was surprised to find a luxury watch store that display several Patek Philippe watches on the window, amid the city’s much smaller population and lower GDP per capita.
Our dinner is at a Japanese restaurant just at the back of our hotel named Hiyoko. We had a Japanese-style salad for appetizer, a boat of sushi and a ramen for €52 in total. It was around sunset time when we finished our meal, so I flew my drone at a park just across our hotel and went back to my room afterwards.