We made our way south heading for Seville where we were to spend two nights.Our route took us through acres of olive groves as we were now in Andalucia home of the olives famous the world over for their extra virgin oil of high quality.Andalucia is also the land of flamenco, bull fighting,sherry and hot temperatures which were increasing as we headed south.
We are soon approaching Seville and we knew that our next hotel, the St Gil, was in the old town and we anticipated a few problems finding the place. And so it proved to be true, as the sat. nav. was useless due to the narrow street and high buildings and a maze of one way streets.We eventually found the hotel by asking locals for help who were more than happy to direct us.Once again my Spanish came to the rescue.When we did arrive at the hotel, we had to drive down the one way street at the front of the hotel to be able to park outside and unload our cases.The bell boy then took my husband and the car down to the underground car park which you would not know existed as everything was so closed in. It was down a steep ramp which the well practised bell boy guided him down.Fascinating streets with cool inner courtyards beckoning you in but not the place to be with a car which we were happy to leave in the car park for the whole of our two day stay.
It was quite hot in Seville where the temperature rose to 36 C even though it was the end of September.In high summer the temperature it can regularly be in the 40s.Best avoided then if you don’t like narrow airless streets.We walked from the hotel and came upon a little square where we dined in the nearest restaurant after first checking that there was something suitable for everyone.We don’t have huge appetites and this was probably lessened because of the inactivity of sitting in the car for long distances although we always tried to walk at the end of the day to get some exercise.
The San Gil has an inner courtyard where you can sip cool drinks and watch the flamenco show after dinner.This is only a simple affair but it portrays the spirit of the dance quite effectively.Swirls of the skirt, meaningful facial and hand gestures, feet tapping on the wooden boards,accompanied by the guitar and a sorrowful singer.Flamenco has an emotional intensity- a sadness for lost love and the harshness of life with all its trials and tribuations.We think that it was a mother, daughter and father act as they all worked well together.
Dancing apart, we were treated to a wonderful rendition of a part of the concierto de Aranguez. The music floated effortlessly through the courtyard on the night air.Very atmospheric.
We explored the rest of the hotel and on the top floor we found the open air swimming pool with views over the roof tops of Seville by night with many of the churches and buildings floodlit against the night sky.
The next day we were up and off on the grand tour of Seville by sightseeing bus as we thought that this was the best way to see the city without wandering round in the full sun.This was a jump on and off bus so if you saw something off interest coming up on the supplied map, you could get off and explore. We caught the bus on the main avenue near the hotel.It is best to obtain a map from the hotel receptionist who will explain how the bus tour works and she will sell you the appropriate tickets.
The tour was 16 € per person.The main problem was that we could not hear the commentary in English or Spanish.Each passenger was supplied with headphones but these did not work very well.
I was quite happy to look out of the window and was not too bothered about a detailed description. I just wanted to have an overall view of the city.There were some beautiful buildings but areas of the city were spoilt by too much grafitti.
Once back at the hotel, we relaxed in the inner garden and decided that we would again walk into the closest part of town and search out a suitable restaurant which we soon found .We asked to be served at 8.30 pm which they agreed to as the locals were looking to settle down to their meal at 10 pm after the 'paseo' which is the walk around your local area with your dog, baby or children dressed in your best gear and savouring the cooler air at the end of the day.
We sat down in an open thoroughfare in front of our selected restaurant but we were bothered from time to time at the table by people begging or gypsies trying to sell us lucky heather.
Total cost at the San was €477 for two nights for the four of us which included breakfast and €2 each for the use of the safe.This cost also included 2 nights parking at €9 per night.As this was effectively valet parking,we had to pay extra for this service but as the car was safely locked away so we did not object to this.
Eating out was also included in our total so effectively it worked out at about €120 per person which we considered to be good value.
A pleasant two days at the San Gil but we would have to return one day as we only had a glimpse of what the city of Seville had to offer.