Archive for the Seville Category

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.

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.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – El Centro – Places to Eat

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, El Centro, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , , on February 18, 2017 by gannet39

As I mentioned in my previous post on El Centro, the centre of the Casco Antiguo is comprised of the barrios Encarnación Regina and Alfalfa which I have put together here for simplicity’s sake. You’ll find a map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

There is yet another excellent bar de tapas in this bit of town:

Los Coloniales (Intermediate B+), 1 Calle Dormitorio, www.tabernacoloniales.es

This is a classic old tapas bar that gets lots of positive reviews and mentions in guides. There are two locations but this is the best one by all accounts. The rustic style food is consistently good and portions are cheap and generous. I try to arrive when it opens to snag a table on the popular terrace.

I had the Plato del Dia (daily special); Timbal Camperos (B), a gratin of ham, sausage, potato and various other veg with Salmorejo drizzled over the top.
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My favourite though was the classic Sevillano dish of Solomillo al Whisky; pork tenderloin in a whisky sauce (B+). I love the roasted whole cloves of garlic. It was so much better than the similar Sollomillo Ajo I had at Sol y Sombra (see my Eating in Triana post).

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Finally, Pionones, a typical dessert of Granada (B+). Typically it has two parts: a thin layer of pastry fermented with different kinds of syrup and rolled into a cylinder, and secondly a topping of toasted cream.

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All the red wines I tasted were fine (B) but nothing out of this world. Four glasses of wine, including a PX to finish, came to a measly €17.20.

Another plus is that all the staff who work here are very nice people, which to me is as important as the food. Already looking forward to the next time I can go.

The opposite is true of this place…

El Rinconcillo (Intermediate B), 40 Calle Gerona, www.elrinconcillo.es

This is Seville’s oldest bar, opened in 1670.

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Visually it’s a wonderful place with a beautifully tiled interior.

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And old posters advertising the Feria (Seville’s fair) on the walls.

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Unfortunately though the food isn’t up to much and the wine I had was quite mediocre.

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And the service isn’t very friendly.

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So a place resting on its laurels, but it’s worth popping in for a look.

Los Claveles at 1 Calle Capataz Manuel Santiago, opposite El Rinconcillo, is a nice old place too, but I haven’t tried their food. 2018 update: I have since and it’s okay. Try the Tortallitas de Camarones.

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Near here there’s a good shop for kitchen hardware. Isaias Sainz at 28 Calle Francos has been around forever apparently. My favourite purchase from here was a pair of meatball scissors . NOW CLOSED! 🙁

Seville – Casco Antiguo – El Centro – Architecture

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, El Centro, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , on February 17, 2017 by gannet39

El Centro is defined differently by different people but for my purposes it’s the area between Plaza de Encarnacion (location of Las Setas) and Plaza Nueva (location of the town hall), and the interconnecting shopping streets of Velazquez/Tetuan, Sierpes and Cuna.

El Centro is comprised of the barrios Encarnación Regina and Alfalfa which I have put together here for simplicity’s sake. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

See my next post for places to eat around here.

El Centro has many interesting buildings. Beginning in Plaza de Encarnacion, we can see the Espacio Metropol Parasol, a post-modern construction known to Sevillanos as ‘Las Setas’ (The Mushrooms), for obvious reasons.

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It’s a multi-level building housing an archaeology museum displaying Roman ruins in the basement, a market on the ground floor and restaurants on the upper level.

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You can also walk across the roof in the day time.

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My favourite building in the area is this modernista house on the corner of Calle Alfonso XII and Calle Almirante Ulloa.

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The architect was Aníbal González who studied in Barcelona where he must have caught the modernisme bug.

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As you’d expect there’s a lot of Neo-Mudéjar architecture around.

This example is on Avenida de la Constitucion near the cathedral.

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And this on the corner of Calle Cuna and Calle Cerrajería. It was built in 1914 and is the work of architect José Espiau y Muñoz.

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Restaurant Victoria Eugenia
, also on Calle Cuna at Plaza de Villasís, was built in the early nineteenth century by the famous architect Aníbal González, who is also responsible for Plaza de España (see later post).

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In Plaza Nueva you can see the town hall or ayuntamiento which is called the Casa Consistorial de Sevilla. It’s built in the Plateresque style meaning “in the manner of a silversmith”; a blend of Mudéjar, Gothic, Renaissance and Lombard decorative elements (a style particular to Spain).

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The façade includes heraldic symbols, allegories of justice and good governance and depictions of mythological and historical characters such as Hercules and Julius Caesar who are considered instrumental in the city’s history.

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Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Vicente

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Vicente, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 16, 2017 by gannet39

San Vicente is the barrio by the river to the south of San Lorenzo in my previous post. It ends at Calle Carlos XII to the south. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

La Azotea de Sevilla (High Intermediate A), 31 Jesus del Gran Poder, laazoteasevilla.com, open every day.

This is my third favourite tapas bar after Puratasca (see my Triana post) and Eslava (previous post). It’s the original and perhaps best of a small chain of three Azoteas.

Having read several reviews from the summer, I was expecting it to be packed so I arrived at exactly when they opened at 20.30. I needn’t have bothered as it was the quieter winter season.

The service is exemplary (A+) especially from Juan Carlos who was my server at the bar. Multilingual menus are available. They even had a menu in Hangul for Sem my Korean neighbour at the bar.

Seafood would be a good choice here but I was in the mood for meat and I don’t like to mix the two.

The Jamon Iberico is excellent as you would expect (A).

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The Carrillada Iberica was just sublime (A+).

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And the Solomillo Frisona was pretty okay too (B).

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The wines I tried by the glass were alright but not amazing…

First a glass of a Merlot called Delirio (B).

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Also a Toro called Encomienda which I enjoyed the most (B+).

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And Garum from Cadiz (B), a blend of Merlot, Syrah and a french grape called Petit Verdot.

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The food with three glasses of wine and a Carlos III brandy came to only €30 which was very reasonable.

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Around the corner from Azotea there’s a nice little square called Plaza de la Gavidia which three bars…

Bodega Dos de Mayo (Intermediate B), 6 Plaza de la Gavidia, www.bodegadosdemayo.es

The most famous and biggest tapas bar in the square. I came here with two friends and we had Gambas Plancha, Boquerones Ayamonte, Ortlguillas de Chipiona (sea anemones!), Chirlas Gorda and a bottle of Donastia Vivanco Crianza for $62. The food is fine but this next place is better.

Bodega Amarillo Albero (Intermediate A) 5 Plaza de la Gavidia

Just over the road from Dos de Mayo above. It doesn’t do as much business as it’s larger neighbour but I think their cuisine is superior. And it’s a nicer building. I’d definitely come here first next time.

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El Sanedrin (Intermediate C), 8 Plaza de Gavidia

I can’t say much about this place except that it’s the least interesting looking of the three and a Magno costs only €2.50, which is very cheap.

One evening at dusk I was walking back to the hotel from Plaza de Gavidia and got as far as Plaza de las Armas where I saw the air was full of tiny creatures. Not knowing what they were (perhaps a swarm of large insects?) I asked a passing local and he told me they were “batmans” which tickled me. It was very surprising to see so many bats at such a busy road junction but I presume they live in the trees and buildings around the square.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Lorenzo

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Lorenzo, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 15, 2017 by gannet39

San Lorenzo is another barrio in the north of the Casco Antiguo. For my purposes I’ve defined it as the area between the river, to the west, and Alameda square, to the east.

Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

The barrio takes its name from the famous church Iglesia de San Lorenzo www.visitasevilla.es in the Plaza de San Lorenzo.

Just opposite the church is a very famous tapas bar:

Eslava (Intermediate A), 3 Calle Eslava, www.espacioeslava.com, closed Monday

This is my second most favourite tapas bar in Seville after Puratasca (see my Triana post). There’s also a restaurant next door but it’s a bit pricey so I haven’t been yet, but I hope to.

I came with John who loves it here, and he should know having lived in the area for many years. Again, I was too busy chatting to grade the food, sorry. However I do know we had the Pimiento Merluza (hake with peppers), Boquerones Blancos (white anchovies)…

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… a half racion of Navajas (razor clams)…

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… Caballa (mackerel), four beers and two glasses of Protos for €28.40, which is pretty good.

After this we went around the corner to a couple of other places…

Casa Rafita (Low Intermediate B), 80A Calle Miguel Cid

Haute cuisine it ain’t but you can get decent wholesome food at a reasonable price in this bar de barrio.

We had some monster prawns…

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…and some deep fried aubergines. All good (B).

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After this we went next door to…

Galeria Taberna Anima (Intermediate B), 11 Calle Marqués de la Mina, www.facebook.com

This is a flamenco bar which was in full swing when we arrived.

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The choice of drinks is quite limited but the music and atmosphere is great. This brandy (C+) was a new one on me.

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John also wanted to take me to Antigua Abacería de San Lorenzo antiguaabaceriadesanlorenzo.com at 53 Calle Teodosio, but it was closed that night.

More places in San Lorenzo next…

Seville – Casco Antiguo – Feria

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, Feria, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags , , on February 15, 2017 by gannet39

Barrio Feria is one of the oldest and, for me, most interesting neighbourhoods in Seville. You’ll find a map of the barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

On the western side of the barrio is La Alameda de Hercules, a long square that’s one of the main areas for nightlife in Seville. There’s a multitude of bars, restaurants and other kinds of entertainment located around the square and the streets off it.

At the southern end of the square are two columns holding aloft statues of Hercules (the mythical founder of Seville) and Julius Caesar (considered a ‘reformer’ of the city). These are original columns taken from a Roman temple in Calle Mármoles a few streets away. The two columns at the northern end are reproductions.

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In terms of bars I really liked Habanilla Café at 63 Plaza de la Alameda de Hércules on the eastern side of the square. It’s very popular with the locals who spill out onto the street, and they occasionally have live latin music in the atmospheric interior.

At 7 Alameda de Hercules, on the southern side of the square, you’ll find Casa de Los Licores, which is the best shop (after the basement of El Corte Ingles) I know of where you can buy harder-to-find wines and spirits. There’s another branch on Delicias.

Running roughly parallel to the Alameda is Calle Feria, from which the barrio takes its name. It’s home to the Mercado de Feria, Seville’s oldest market.

There are a few places to eat in the market but the most renowned is La Cantina, which is open the same hours as the market, 7am – 4.30 pm, Monday to Saturday. If you’re lucky you’ll get a table sitting under the neighbouring church wall but most likely you’ll have to jockey for a space at the busy bar.
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I spent a very enjoyable afternoon working through a substantial section of their menu.

I had Croquetas Bacalao (codfish croquettes), Tortelitas de Camarones (deep fried tartlets of tiny prawns), Gambas Plancha (grilled prawns) and Navajas (razor clams).
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Also Gambones (cooked prawns) and the house speciality, Atún Casero (preserved tuna with grilled peppers and aubergine), all of which were really good.

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My tab was noted on the wall next to where I was standing. When she added it up, the lady who had served me gave a low whistle of admiration that I’d eaten it all by myself!

In my defence I had just done a marathon three hour walk around the whole of the old town to work up an appetite so I felt I had some justification!

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Also off Calle Feria around Plaza Monte Sión is the Mercadillo “El Jueves”; an antiques market that happens every Thursday (hence the name).

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Julian

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Julian, Seville, Seville Province, Spain with tags on February 14, 2017 by gannet39

San Julian is the north-easternmost barrio in the Casco Antiguo. Map of barrios here and a Google map of the city here.

It has a slightly edgy feel and there’s not a lot going on in terms of nightlife but there is one very good restaurant in the area, located opposite the busy facade of the Iglesia San Luis De los Franceses.

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ConTenedor (Intermediate A), 50 Calle San Luis, restaurantecontenedor.com

This is an excellent restaurant with a modern, innovative attitude and great food, although some locals like my friend John feel it’s a bit overpriced. The décor is quite bohemian and the staff are multilingual.

They do tapas at lunch time but in the evening they only serve mains and raciones, so ideally you should go with a few friends you can share the food with.

I had the Arroz con Pato y Setas, duck with rice and mushrooms, which was top notch (A). The waitress told me it was one of only a few dishes that has remained on the menu since they opened, due to its enduring popularity.
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ConTenedor is also a good place to sample hard-to-find wines and I thoroughly enjoyed all the local reds I was given. They were slightly expensive at around €3 or €3.50 a glass, but it was worth it to try them.

First ‘Zancua’, a young, fruity Tempranillo/Syrah blend from Constantina in Seville province (B+).
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Then ‘Overo’, another softer Tempranillo/Syrah blend from Lebrija, again in Seville province (B+).
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And moving slightly further afield, the amusingly labelled ‘La Cabra & La Bota’, a Tempranillo/Syrah/Cab Sauv blend from Ribera del Andarax in Almeria province (B+).

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I sidestepped the tempting dessert menu and went instead for some local cheeses (all A and A+).
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To finish I had a glass of one of the best Pedro Jimenez wines I’ve ever tasted; Antique PX by Fernando de Castilla (A).

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The lady proprietor told me they are an artisanal producer and very hard to find. I wrote to them but sadly didn’t get a reply. I did find it however on Gourmet Hunters for about £32 a bottle.

Total cost €39 for a highly enjoyable food experience, complemented by atmospheric surroundings and efficient friendly service. Definitely somewhere I’d like to return to.

Seville – Casco Antiguo – San Gil

Posted in Andalusia, Casco Antiguo, San Gil, Seville, Seville Province, Spain on February 13, 2017 by gannet39

San Gil is the barrio in the northern part of the Casco Antiquo. Its upper perimeter has the best preserved section of the old city wall. Built by the Almohads, the wall stretches from the Puerta de la Macarena (Macarena gate) in the west, to the Puerta de Cordoba (Córdoba gate) in the east.
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A map of barrios here and a Google map of the city is  here.

One of San Gil’s principal streets, Calle Calatrava, runs off the northern end of La Alameda. There are several bars along here, some of which I’ve eaten at and can vouch for.

They are well placed for the Teatro de la Alameda over the road. My friends John and Chris took me to see a show here that merged circus (clowns and a trapeze artist) with flamenco (singer, dancer and guitarist) which was a truly wonderful production to see. It’s definitely worth checking out what’s on here.

After the show we went across the road to…

Dúo Tapas (Intermediate A), 16 Calle Calatrava

This is a modern and very popular tapas bar with good quality, value-for-money food. I was too busy chatting to grade individual dishes but they were all A/B as I recall.

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Capirotes de Langostinos.

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Tartare de Atun.

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Berenjas dressed with a Pedro Ximenez reduction.

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Carilladas aka beef cheeks (so good we ordered two!).

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Tataki de Atun.

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And a Tapa de Queso Payoyo, which just happens to be mine and John’s favourite local cheese.

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With six big beers, four glasses of wine and two waters the bill came to just under €60 for 3, which is pretty good value.

According to my search in 2017, this next place is now closed but I want to remember the experience so I’ve included it.

 

The owner has five other bars as well so he must be doing something right. His venues provide an interesting case study on how to run a small, innovative chain that follows current trends. Check out the group website equipompuntor.com for more info on what they’re up to now.

Nikkei (Intermediate B+), 34 Calle Calatrava, CLOSED!

Having read somewhere that this Peruvian-Japanese restaurant opened at 8.30 I arrived exactly on time but the unsmiling chef told me to come back at 9pm when the kitchen opened. I received a slightly warmer welcome thirty minutes later but they should definitely work on their customer relations.

As someone who often toys with the idea of opening their own bar, this place fascinates me. Everything here seems to be done on the cheap albeit it with some style.

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I was seated on a wonky wooden table on an uncomfortable metal folding chair. The sink in the gents was basically a rusty old bucket and the toilet lid didn’t stand up. The sheets of corrugated iron on the ceiling complete the industrial look however it’s still quite atmospheric thanks to the bare brick walls and old ceramic floor tiles. All very cleverly done.

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The penny pinching seems to extend to the food as well. The soya sauce on the tables is in Kikkoman bottles but I’m pretty sure they’d been filled with cheaper, inferior, Chinese soya sauce.

The complementary Edamame that arrived at the table were brown and shrivelled and some of the worst I’d ever seen, although they were still edible (C).

First off I had a row of Nigiris, namely Presa (A), Huevo de Cordoniz (A), Sardinia (B) and Shitake (C).

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I had a decent Verdejo to go with the fish (B).

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To follow, Tuna Tataki (B+).

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I also pigged out on Salmon Tradito (B)…

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…and Secreto Iberico (B) served with some really horrible Quinoa (D). All these dishes were served on rather ugly painted black slate.

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Some dishes were neither Peruvian nor Japanese, presumably to please unadventurous locals. The Bolas de Pollo (B)…

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…and the Mini Hamburguesa with chips (B+) were both good and very reasonably priced, but not at all authentic.

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Overall I liked the concept so it’s a shame it didn’t work out. Better food and a nicer chef might have helped.

Seville – Triana – Places to Eat

Posted in Andalusia, Seville, Seville Province, Spain, Triana on February 12, 2017 by gannet39

Please see my previous post for things to see in Triana.

Most evenings I walk out from the Hotel Ribera de Triana and head over the river into Seville to one of the many excellent places to eat in the Casco Antiguo (see later posts).

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However, as luck would have it, my favourite eatery in the whole of Seville is in Triana, just a few minutes walk from the hotel…

Google map here.

Puratasca (A), 5 Calle Numancia, www.puratasca.com

I liked this place so much that I came here three times in ten days! It’s a fairly simple neighbourhood tapas bar with a modern attitude in terms of décor and food presentation.

It’s very popular so it’s best to arrive when they open (Tuesday to Saturday from 13:00 to 16:30 and 20:30 to 24:00) especially in the evenings. As a lone diner I was often given a seat at the bar which meant I could chat with the chefs and watch the goings-on in the open kitchen.

All the staff are friendly and a couple speak English, not that they should, but I had a couple of good chats. For example, Gaitano, the big chap with a beard, grew up living in a semi-detached and playing cricket in his native Huelva (see future post); a city heavily influenced by British culture. Pedro, a younger guy was keen to practice for his A2 English exam, told me that the best croquettas in town are from Casa Ricardo (see my google map). Such local knowledge is gold for a foodie.

Other plus points are the cool soundtrack of Jazz and Blues, and their extensive wine list. And then there’s the food…

I never truly appreciated Mojama (air-dried tuna) until I came here. It was tender and full of flavour (A), probably because it came from Barbate in Cadiz province which is famed for Bluefin.

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The Foie con Chutney de Manzana, goose liver with apple chutney, served with Pan de Especias, a dark brown ‘spiced’ bread made with molasses and seven spices, is great (B+).

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The Arroz Meloso (like a wet paella) made with five kinds of mushrooms, parmesan and flavoured with white truffle, was one of the best things I ate all year (A+). I had it each time I came. Here’s the nearest recipe I could find on the web, but remember to use more varieties of mushrooms.

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It goes famously with a glass of Toro called Muruve (A). They have several other wines served by the glass. I tried the Protocolo, Muruve and Garzur which were all fine as I recall.

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I also liked the Mollejas de Cordero, lamb sweetbreads (preserved a la confit then grilled), served with a pineapple and ginger chutney (B+).

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Also the Piruletes de Chorizo, chorizo ‘lollipops’ in tempura and served with a mayonnaise of curry powder and cranberries (arándanos), were tasty and original (B+).

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I also enjoyed their Crema Alcachofas (creamed artichokes) (A).

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The Wok de Verduras was the weakest dish I had but was still good (B).

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The Seleccion de Quesos Andaluces included the cheeses Valles de los Redrodes from Cordoba (B+), Villamartin from Cadiz (B+), Armilla from Granada (A+) and La Granada de Riotinto from Huelva (A). They were served with walnuts and roasted red pepper jam which was a revelation (A).

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My server suggested I had a glass of medium bodied Jumilla called MMM (Monastrell Macho Man) to go with this. It had an unusual nose and made a nice change (B+).

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There’s a good choice of sweets. I went with a chef’s suggestion that I finish with the Greek yogurt, mango and passion fruit dessert (bottom left in the picture) which was delish (A).

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He also said it would go very well with a glass of Sauternes, a French wine from Chateau Cousteau. He wasn’t wrong (A).

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At the end of another meal I had a good Pedro Jimenez from Romate (B+).

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So, a veritable feast awaits you here! This is my first choice for tapas in Seville and I can’t wait to go back. I even brought some locals here and blew their minds. They couldn’t get their heads round the fact that an Englishman knew better places in their own city than they did!

Sol y Sombra (Intermediate B+), 147 Calle Castilla, www.tabernasolysombra.com

This famous, old (since 1961) tapas bar on a bull fighting theme is an interesting contrast to the place above. They get top marks for atmosphere but their tapas, while cheap and good, aren’t a patch on Puratasca.

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Perhaps I’d been spoiled but their most famous dish Solomillo Ajo, tenderloin with garlic, failed to impress. I loved the garlic and potato elements but I found the loin to be a bit overcooked and I wasn’t fond of the vinegary aftertaste (C).

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There’s plenty of other stuff to choose from though, the walls are covered with suggestions.

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It is undeniably quirky, the toilets are behind the bar and they use toilet rolls for napkins! Come to sample the surroundings by all means (I love the ancient bullfighting posters) but maybe choose something different from me.

By the way, Sol y Sombra translates as ‘sun and shade’ which relates to the ticket choices at a bullfight (cheap or expensive or medium priced if a bit of both). However, it can also be a drink that is 50% brandy and 50% sweet anis. Only for the brave!

Las Golondrinas (Intermediate B), 26 Calle Antillano Campos, www.barlasgolondrinas.com

Another well-known and quite atmospheric tapas bar within walking distance of the hotel. You can stand in the busy bar or sit upstairs in the attractive seating area.

I didn’t see a tapas menu but media raciones are generally €12 to €15 which is a bit steep for a single diner. A local blogger really rates their grilled mushrooms with garlic mousse but they didn’t do much for me (C). Everything else was fine though (B).

Over the river next…

Seville – Triana – Stuff to See

Posted in Andalusia, Seville, Seville Province, Spain, Triana with tags , on February 11, 2017 by gannet39

The historical district of Triana is located on an almost-island between two branches of the River Guadalquiver.

Please see my next post for places to eat in Triana. My Google map is here.

Trianeros have a local identity that is proudly distinctive from the rest of Seville. The neighbourhood is famous for ceramics and Flamenco, both of which have played an important part in the development of Sevilliano culture.

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Work puts us up at the Hotel Ribera de Triana www.hotelriberadetriana.com in Plaza Chapino which is next to the Puente Cachorro.

Over the road from the hotel is the looming Torre Sevilla which is the landmark that guides me homewards in the evenings. There are so many bridges that it can sometimes be difficult to know where you are, especially at night.

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The Ribera de Triana is one of my favourite work hotels, not just because it has a sumptuous breakfast, helpful staff and big modern rooms but because it has a terrace bar on the top floor with great views out over the river and the Giralda in the background. It’s a great place to start a night out on the town.

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If you turn left out of the hotel, left again down Calle Castilla and Calle San Jorge and keep going straight, you will come to the Puente de Isabel II. By the side of the bridge is the Castillo de San Jorge.

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The castle is now just a relatively modern turret but its ceramic tiled roof is very photogenic. There’s a small museum inside which looks at the castle’s role as a court in the Spanish Inquisition.

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The ruins of the original castle are now under the Mercado de Triana at the end of Calle Castilla. The market is relatively small (75 vendors) but the stalls are all top quality. There are fantastic displays of, amongst many other things, fruit and veg…

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…mushrooms…

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…stuffed olives…

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…charcuterie and cheeses…

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…seafood…

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…game.

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You can even get vacuum packed cochinillo here; something you would never see in the UK because suckling piglets are generally not available.

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This is just a taster of the sights of Triana. I hope to add more pictures to this post in the future.

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