Archive for the Seville Province Category

A short layover in Lebrija

Posted in Andalusia, Lebrija, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , on March 12, 2017 by gannet39

Lebrija is a small agricultural town in Seville province that doesn’t seem to have much going on. I was only here briefly for two nights in April 2016 but I managed to scratch the surface a little. Here’s my Google map.

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The main sights are ‘La Giraldilla’ which as the name suggests is a smaller version of the campanile of Seville cathedral (a very famous symbol of the city).

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Next to it is the Basilica de Santa Maria de la Oliva which I’m told is one of the more impressive churches in the province, although I didn’t get a chance to see it.

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Other than this Lebrija isn’t particularly beautiful. For me the nicest building I saw was this old bakery, Panaficadora San Benito, at 123 Calle Corredera.

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Lebrija is a sherry town, although it’s not allowed to use the name as its geographic location is outside the official Jerez DO. This was remedied in part by the town eventually getting its own DO after many years of lobbying.

The largest bodega is Bodegas González Palacios at 60 Calle Virgen de Consolación, which is open to the public from 09.30 to 14.00 Monday to Friday, although you might have to reserve by phone (955 972 517). They are on the Ruta del Vino y Brandy del Marco de Jerez. Sadly I didn’t intersect with their opening times.

However, with a bit of research I managed to find a smaller bodega where you can go for a drink called Bodegas Andres Ahumada at 10 Calle Marines, a small alley off Calle Tetuan.

Keep an eye out for this sign on the right as you walk down the alley from Tetuan…

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…then go through this open gate and turn immediate left and go through the door that takes you to the atmospheric barrel room.

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This is where all the old boys hang out in the evenings to chat and watch football on the telly. They were pretty gobsmacked to see me, probably because Lebrija gets very few foreign tourists and because this isn’t exactly an easy place to find. It’s a great spot to experience a bit of local culture. Here’s a video to give you more of an idea.

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I tried copitas (small glasses) of all their sherries. I’m not usually a fan of Fino (I’m still learning) but theirs was more enjoyable than others I’d had (B).

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You can get crisps, charcuterie (B/C) on bread…

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… and some rather bitter Lupinas (B) to nibble on with your wine but there’s nothing cooked.

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Their Oloroso Seco was great as was their Oloroso Dulce (both B+). I was given their Pedro Ximenez to compare with the latter and it was the best of their wines so far (A). I should have got a bottle but I was travelling light.

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I asked if they had anything else I could try and was given a glass of ‘Settembre’ (?) a “muy, muy, muy joven” fino which explains why it tasted so awful (C-). It was an interesting experience though. Definitely come here if you can.

I was put up at the Hotel LB Lebrija at 10 Avenida Juan Pena , www.lblebrija which is owned by Juan Ramón López Caro, a former manager of Real Madrid. The rooms are modern and stylish but there is no breakfast to speak of, just some prepackaged cakes and a kettle on the reception desk. There is no 24-hour reception (a new trend in Spain since the economic crisis?) so entrance is via a security code for the door, which means you’ll be locked out if you forget or lose it.

Venta Luis Rey (Intermediate B), 1 Avenida Las Cabezas, closed on Wednesdays.

Happily Venta Luis Rey, the best restaurant in town according to the school owners I worked at (although they might be biased as their son works there), is just over the road from the hotel. I found the food to be pretty good and they had functioning WiFi, unlike the hotel.

Their Jamon Bellota is excellent (A)…

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…and I also enjoyed their Lasana de Berenjenas (B+), made with deep-fried aubergines with a filling of, I think, breadcrumbs fried with diced pork of some kind.

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The Ensalada Mixta (B) had ‘Caballa’ (mackerel) on top which is apparently how it often comes in Cadiz and Huelva provinces. It was fine (B) but I’m sure it’d be better during tomato season.

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This local red, ‘Overo’ from Bodegas González Palacios (see above) was okay (B-) but it had tasted better (B+) for some reason when I’d had it at ConTenedor in Seville.

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I wasn’t too keen on their oversalted Albondigas de la Casa (C+) which was a shame as I usually love them.

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I finished with some Manchego which was made with a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk.

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So, a brief but interesting stop, and I’m sure there’s more if you have time to dig deeper, but I was happy to move on…

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – around and about

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2017 by gannet39

Generally Barrio Santa Cruz is thought to correspond to La Juderia, the area east of the cathedral, but in fact its administrative area covers a much larger zone, so I’ve had to break it down into four posts. My post on La Juderia is here, Placa de Espania here and the cathedral area here. This post covers some of the remaining area.

Map of the barrios here, my Google map here.

Walking from Triana, I crossed over the river on the Puente de San Telmo and walked straight ahead to the Puerto de Jerez. In this square you’ll find the Fuente de Hispalis, sculpted by Manuel Delgado Brackenbury in 1928.

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Turning right from here, the facade of the opulent Hotel Alfonso XIII is worth a look. I’d love to stay here one day.

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Continuing along Avenida Roma, you come to the stunning doorway of Palacio de San Telmo.

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Construction of the Baroque building begain in 1682 but this Churrigueresque entrance dates from 1754.

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The florid decoration includes a balcony supported by an Atlantes; a support sculpted in the form of a man.

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One block east is the Real Fábrica de Tabacos which now houses the Universidad de Seville. Tourists are allowed in for free via the main entrance on Calle San Fernando.

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When construction began in 1728 it was the first tobacco factory in Europe.

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Generally it is of a Renaissance design but the impressive main facade is Baroque.

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The sculptures are by the Portuguese architect Cayetano de Acosta.

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He is also responsible for the fountains in the courtyard.

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Due south from here is the Teatro Lope de Vega, a Baroque theatre built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, with its pretty tiled dome.

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If you cross to the other side of the roundabout you’ll come to one of the entrances of Parque de María Luisa. There are some beautiful statues around the entrance gate.

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Walk through here and you’ll come to Plaza de España (see separate post).

There’s lots more to see around here but these were my highlights.

Enough of Seville! On to Huelva next.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – La Judería

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, La Judería, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , on February 23, 2017 by gannet39

La Judería was once the Jewish Quarter. It’s located in the barrio of Santa Cruz, located to the east and south east of the Cathedral and the Alcazar (see separate post).

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Many people will access the barrio by walking up Calle Mateos Gago which has some impressive buildings.

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Map of the barrios here, my Google map here.

The former ghetto is a maze of small streets and alleys that open into small squares. One of the prettiest is Plaza de Doña Elvira.

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It’s a lovely spot to sit and relax in a cafe, or on one of the ceramic-tiled benches.

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Another nice square is Plaza Santa Cruz.

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In the centre of the square is a beautiful wrought iron sculpture called La Cruz de la Cerrajeríaor, or The Cross of the Locksmith in English.

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It was made by Sebastián Conde in 1692 and was originally located in Calle Sierpes in the centre.

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There are some nice houses around the square…

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… with traditional windows known as balcones cerrados.

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Large mansions are everywhere.

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Some have lovely courtyards.

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Many houses are painted in yellow and white which seems to be the colour theme for the neighbourhood.

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There are lots of picturesque restaurants dotted around.

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They’re all very touristy but this one is worth a visit.

Las Teresas (Intermediate A), 3 Calle Santa Teresa

This bar was founded in 1870 and has been run by the same family since 1920.

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I love the beautiful interior.

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… with the hams hanging from the ceiling.

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I popped in for a glass of a favourite sherry of mine; Solera 1847 Cream (A)…

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… and some Huevas Alinadas, or Hake Roe, a classic dish of Cadiz. To be honest I wasn’t really a fan (C-) but I wanted to try them. I’m sure all the other things on the menu are great.

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This is just one of four posts on Barrio Santa Cruz, there’s lots more to see!

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Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – Plaza de España

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Plaza de España, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 22, 2017 by gannet39

The Plaza de España, a square located in the Parque de María Luisa in the southern end of Barrio Santa Cruz, was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

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The building was used to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits during the exposition.

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The architect was Aníbal González who mixed Art Deco, mock-Moorish and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles in the design.

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The buildings of the plaza form a half-circle which is accessible via bridges over the moat. Here’s a video to give you more of an idea.

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The front wall of the buildings contain alcoves which each represent the different regions and cities of Spain.

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If you click on one of the photos below, you’ll be able to see them as a full-screen slideshow.

The square was used as a location for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones where it was used for exterior shots of the City of Theed on the Planet Naboo.

Please also see my other posts on Barrio Santa Cruz.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Santa Cruz – around the cathedral

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Santa Cruz, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 21, 2017 by gannet39

The Gothic Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is the largest cathedral in the world.

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Construction began in 1402 and continued for over 100 years. In 1987 it was registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The campanile of the cathedral, known as ‘La Giralda‘, is the most famous symbol of the city.

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It was once a minaret of the mosque that previously stood on the site.

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The statue at the top, meant to indicate the supremacy of the Christian faith, is called ‘El Giradillo’.

On the western side the main door to the cathedral’s central nave is known as the Door of Assumption.

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It is flanked either side by the Door of the Baptism (pictured) and the Door of San Miguel.

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On the south side is the Door of Saint Cristopher also known as De la Lonja. A replica of the “Giraldillo” stands in front of its gate.

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The square on this side is known as Plaza del Triunfo.

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It’s named after the Templete del Triunfo de Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio, a monument containing an image of the Virgin and Child, built in 1756.

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The square on the eastern side is known as Plaza Virgen de los Reyes. The ornate doorway of the Archidiócesis de Sevilla is on one side of the square.

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In the middle of the square is a monumental fountain and lamp post known as the Fuente de la Plaza Virgen de los Reyes.

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The water-spouting heads are replicas of Roman grotesques found in the Casa de Pilatos, a former ducal palace.

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Diagonally opposite the cathedral is the Alcázar of Seville.

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The main entrance is the Puerta del León.

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The panel of ceramic tiles depicting the lion was put in place relatively recently in 1892.

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More posts to follow about Barrio Santa Cruz.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Arenal

Posted in Andalusia, Arenal, Casco Antiguo, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 20, 2017 by gannet39

Arenal is a barrio just to the south-west of the centre of the Casco Antiguo. It’s bordered by the River Guadalquivir to the west and the barrio of Santa Cruz to the east (see next post). The district was once the port of Seville and contained the naval dockyards, until the river silted up so much that the port had to be relocated further south along the river.

You’ll find a map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

On the river boundary of the barrio is the Torre del Oro, a famous symbol of the city. It was erected by the Moors in 1220 to control access to the river.

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Arenal can be further subdivided into two with the northern half being called Barrio Museo (after the Museo de Bellas Artes in the Plaza del Museo, museodebellasartesdesevilla.es). This next place is in the north east corner of Museo which virtually puts it in El Centro.

Patio San Eloy (Elementary A), 9 Calle San Eloy, www.patiosaneloy.com

This is one of a chain of ten Cervecerias where you can get tapas and in particular, ham sandwiches and montaditos (tapa-sized bread rolls).

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This branch has terraces of big ceramic tile covered stairs where customers can sit while they’re eating. Visually it’s quite impressive and a good place to get some vacuum-packed Jamon to take home.

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Azotea (Intermediate B), 5c Calle Zaragoza, laazoteasevilla.es

This is another member of the small Azotea chain. I’m big fan of the one in Calle Jesús del Gran Poder (see San Vicente post).

I came for lunch and to start I had their Ajoblanco de Coco con Vituas de Confit de Pato y Huevos de Trucha (Coconut Ajoblanco with Duck Confit and Trout Eggs). Ajoblanco is a famous Andalucian soup which was given a twist here with the use of coconut milk instead of almonds.

Unfortunately it didn’t really work for me (C) although I know it can be better as I’ve had a similar version at Casa Antonio in Jaen which was excellent.

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After this I tried the Cocido Croquettas which were pretty good (B). Cocido is a hearty stew with a multitude of ingredients so it was hard to work out what was actually in it but I’m pretty sure carrot, cabbage and chickpeas featured.

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After this a Salmon Tartar which was fine but unremarkable (B).

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A glass of excellent Sauvignon Blanc by Hermanos Lurton rescued things a bit (A).

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So I was a little disappointed that the food and general experience wasn’t quite as good as it was in the original Azotea but it was still okay. Service was excellent though which seems to be a constant in all their restaurants. The décor and fittings are modern but uninteresting.

Bodeguita Casablanca (Advanced B+), 12 Calle Adolfo Rodríguez Jurado, bodeguitacasablanca.com

This is perhaps the most famous tapas bar in Seville and is a bit posh as a result. It comes recommended by the owners of Moro and the blog Eat Like a Girl. I first came on a very brief visit in 2015 but I was too busy to take notes. The food is excellent though, and nicely presented. I can’t remember what this fish was (hake maybe?) but it was very good…

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…and I remember the prawns being pretty decent.20150209_205526

And the Coquinas (wedge clams) are pretty good too.

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It’s a medium sized place that gets very busy, so it’s best to come here early to get a seat. The service is old school, friendly and efficient.

There are some nice old town houses in the barrio.

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This one is in Calle Zaragoza, an important artery in Arenal.

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Santa Cruz next!

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Bartolomé

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Bartolomé, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 19, 2017 by gannet39

San Bartolomé is on the lower east side of the Casco Antiguo. It’s an interesting area to walk around but not as pretty as Santa Cruz, its neighbour to the west. Map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

There’s a nice restaurant and tapas bar on its eastern edge on Calle Recaredo.

Becerrita (Advanced B+), 9 Calle Recaredo, Puerta Carmona, www.becerrita.com

Although it’s on the other side of the old town, I managed to walk (very briskly) from the Hotel Ribera de Triana to Restaurante Becerrita in about 30 minutes.

I’ve seen it described as a cosy trattoria (with a tapas bar at the front) but for me that conjures up dark colours, low lighting and traditional decor. However to my eyes this place has the appearance of a posh restaurant with white table linen, white chair covers and modern art hanging on the white walls. It’s more like eating in an art gallery really.

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Don’t let this put you off though, the manager and waiters are very friendly and the prices are reasonable.

I came in the week during the off season and it was pretty much empty except for a big group in the tapas bar and a bickering French couple in the restaurant with me. Fortunately the French walked out after ten minutes on the pretext of the wine servings being too small, so I had the room to myself.

To begin, a free tapa of cooked cauliflower in oil which was okay despite appearances (B).

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Becerrita is famous for Croquetas de Cola de Toro, or ox tail croquettes, so I had a half racion. Some of them were just okay (B) and some were absolutely sublime (A+ ). Not sure why this should be so, maybe the fat content made them taste differently from each other.

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The waiter recommended a Reserva Rioja called Azpilicueta that was on promotion but it had no roundness of flavour for me (B).

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For the main, Solomillo Ternera PX, or veal steak with a confit of onions with a Pedro Ximenez sauce (B).

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To finish the Dueto de Quesos involving some Manchego and Payoyo cheese, the latter from Cadiz which I liked so much (A) I sourced some later to take home. It’s now a firm favourite of mine.

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Total cost €67 of which two thirds was the steak and wine. A bit pricey, but definitely somewhere I’d revisit, perhaps just for tapas next time.

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