There’s still plenty to see and do on your third day in Seville. But first, if you’re tired of simple Spanish breakfasts, head to Bar Restaurant Mezquita el Cordobes, which offers English and American-style fixed-price breakfast dishes, such as eggs and bacon. After breakfast, it’s time to escape the narrow, winding streets of the city center and head south to visit grand boulevards and expansive open spaces. Here, you’ll find the Parque de Maria Luisa, a sprawling enclave of flowers, trees, gardens and ponds. Across the street lies the somewhat eerie Plaza de España. Built for the Iberian-American Expo of 1929, the plaza, which is now used for government offices, has faded from its former glory, as evidenced by cracking tiles and dried-up fountains. Still, the ornate curved building of brick, ceramic and marble, with each of Spain’s provinces represented in ceramic tile work depicting scenes from historic events, is worth a visit.
Nearby is Plaza de America, also created for the Iberian-American Expo. Dotted with rose bushes and white doves, the plaza is home to two notable museums: the Museo Arqueologico, containing jewelry, sculpture and other artifacts from prehistoric times; and the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares, featuring historic garments, ceramics and model workshops.
Head back toward the city center and you’ll find yourself along the backside of the Alcázar’s garden walls. Sneak into the barrio de Santa Cruz alongside the peaceful, shaded Jardines de Murillo, named after the famous Spanish painter. You’ll find yourself near the lovely Plaza de los Venerables and the 17th-century church of the same name.
By now you should be ready for a break, so take in the atmosphere by lunching at the Hosteria del Laurel, with tables right on the plaza beneath the orange trees. The menu features many traditional Spanish tapas as well as fresh seafood and meats, including suckling lamb and pig. In typical Spanish style, follow your lunch with a rest back at your hotel before heading out again.
A visit to Seville wouldn’t be complete without doing a little souvenir shopping. Instead of tacky trinkets, head over to Avenida de la Constitución and pay a visit to Felix Cartelismo, which has a vast collection of vintage advertising posters. Head north to Plaza Nueva and its designer shops, and stop into Agua de Seville for the namesake perfume distilled from the orange blossoms that blanket the city. Around the corner is the bustling Plaza San Francisco, Seville’s main public square and former Muslim market, and the Ayuntamiento, or town hall.
It’s on the northern end of the plaza where you’ll catch the pedestrian-only Calle Sierpes, the heart of Seville’s shopping district. Calle Sierpes, as well as Calle Tetuan and Calle Valasquez to the west, are lined with dozens of shops loaded with shoes, jewelry, antiques and fashion. Although known for its high-end boutiques, there are plenty of moderately priced options as well. Due east is Calle de la Cuna, lined with shops specializing in custom-made or off-the-rack flamenco dresses.
If you’ve had enough of the crowds and consumerism, sneak away to the nearby Iglesia de Santa Maria Magdalena, on the Plaza de la Magdalena, one of the city’s most stunning baroque churches. Inside, you’ll find paintings by Zubarán and frescoes by Lucas Valdés.
To end the day, and your visit to Seville, dine at the Restaurante San Marco. At the northern end of the shopping district, this palatial restaurant is housed in a neoclassical mansion adorned with crystal chandeliers, marble busts and original frescoes. The menu is mostly Italian with many Spanish influences. Try the homemade gnocchi with shrimp in tomato sauce, the cream-topped spinach tortellini with ham and peas, or the Iberian pork loin with red wine sauce atop freshly made pappardelle.
Tonight, your last night in Seville, is yours to do with as you please. Perhaps you’ll revisit the Santa Cruz area to wander its winding passageways. Perhaps you’ll take one last look at El Centro’s Cathedral and Alcázar. Or perhaps you’ll go out with a bang by once again indulging in tapas and sherry. No matter how you say adios, the passion of Seville is now in your blood, and although you may be leaving Seville, Seville will never leave you.
more information, visit the Seville Tourism
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* Landscape and Andalusian façade images courtesy of Carbonell Olive Oil.
(Updated: 09/11/08 LH)