Tuesday, 1 August 2017

2017 Spanish Food Adventure - Day 7

On to Seville

We were up really early this morning to catch the 8.30am train from Barcelona Sants to Seville. Seville was over 1000km away and the journey would take just under six hours. I booked the tickets well in advance online with Renfe at a cost of €50 each which seemed really reasonable.

The train was fast and comfortable with a buffet bar. I'd bought a sandwich for the journey at the station already though, it was so disappointing I didn't bother to photograph it. I still wasn't feeling 100% myself since getting ill back in Calella and my appetite still wasn't what it usually is.

At 14.10 precisely we arrived in Seville, the heat when we stepped onto the platform was intense!

We'd heard about Seville being described as the frying pan of Spain and now we were experiencing it first hand. It was a really hot and sticky journey from Santa Justa train station to our hotel in the El Arenal district.

Our first glimpse of Metrapol Parasol was quite breathtaking against the blue skies. It was designed by Jurgen Mayer and completed in 2011. The wooden structure consists of six parasols in the form of giant mushrooms. It was estimated to cost 50 million euros but the cost escalated and it ended up costing just over 100 million euros. With suitcases in hand we decided to return here later to further explore it.

Our home for the next 3 nights would be at Hotel Zaida in the centre of Seville, an incredibly nice 1 star which felt much more like a 3 star. The cost was just €99 for both of us to stay here for 3 nights, there was air conditioning, a fridge and drink making facilities in the room as well as an en suite bathroom and wifi. Most importantly though, the staff here were really helpful, friendly and knowledgable about the local area.

With so many areas to explore in Seville we decided today that we would just wander and see where we would end up. As it turned out this bar was our first port of call, beer here cost just €1.70 a glass. We were now in the Macarena district, it was exceptionally hot and very few people were about.

One beer turned into two as we sat back and took in the beauty of Seville.

We admired some of the street art over an ice lolly and a passing stranger stopped to speak to us. He was an American living in Seville just returning from a trip to New York with guitar on back and suitcase in hand. He told us that everyone was inside escaping from the heat, "come back out again in the evening" was his advice, it's much more bearable then. 

We were far too keen to explore further though and came across El Rinconcillo, established in 1670 it's said to be the oldest restaurant in Spain.

Inside the temperature was nice and cool, a surly chap behind the bar made us feel slightly uneasy but we decided to stay for a drink at least. Every time we ordered something he chalked the price onto the bar in front of us, he was very efficient but didn't once crack a smile.

There was a beautifully tiled restaurant area, this wouldn't open until this evening though.

We ordered a sherry and looked through the tapas menu at the bar. This glass of sherry was a turning point for me on this trip, as soon as I'd drunk it I felt back to my usual self again and my appetite returned immediately.

I ordered some Russian salad, it was excellent with plenty of tuna and egg.

The bacalao con tomate (cod in tomato sauce) here was exceptionally good too. We later discovered that El Rinconcillo was said to be one of the best tapas bars in Seville. 

With no vegan options for my wife in El Rinconcillo we settled the bill and searched for another tapas bar in the Santa Cruz district that a friend had recommended. These tiled advertisements can be found on the walls throughout Seville, some are modern reproductions but it's still possible to spot original ones like this.

This one looked original too although I had no idea what it was advertising.

Not far from Seville Cathedral in the Santa Cruz district we finally found the tapas bar that our friend had recommended, La Bartola

It was really busy inside which was a really good sign. We ordered some sangria, it was seasoned with cinnamon and cost just €2.50 a glass. The tapas menu offered a good selection of tapas dishes with both vegetarian and vegan options available too. We decided to order a tapas each and one to share, with my appetite back again I was keen to see what arrived.

When the tapas arrived we were both delighted, it looked amazing!

The Caponata (€3.50) was a delicious cooked salad with eggplants, tomatoes and olives.

I shared this dish with my wife, Vegetable tempura sushi with porcini mushroom sauce (€3.50). This was some of the best tapas we'd ever experienced, the tempura batter was really light as it should be and the porcini mushroom sauce was devine. It was evident that presentation was really important here, everything looked incredible.

The Iberian pork fillet (€4.50) was tender and juicy, it was served with apple sauce and lemon preserve. Both sauces perfectly accompanied the pork and this was easily the nicest thing I ate on the entire trip. 

After eating we made our way towards the cathedral through the narrow streets and alleyways of Santa Cruz. Something we'd noticed was how the street signs in Seville are made up of tiles.

As we passed through this archway the Cathedral could be seen in all its glory.

It was too late to go inside now but visiting the Cathedral was high up on our list of things to do tomorrow.

We passed this building with the snail on the side many times over the next few days.

Back at the Metrapol Parasol we found an entrance booth at the base. It cost just €3 to go up in a lift to the top where you could get a much better view. The sun was beating down on us up here so we didn't spend too much time in the direct sun. In the distance you can see Seville Cathedral and alongside it the Alcazar.

The walkways run across the top of the structure offering a selection of views across Seville.

Before getting the lift back down we noticed that our €3 entry ticket could be exchanged for an ice cold drink, this effectively made a visit here almost free. It had been a long day so we returned back to the hotel to make a plan for tomorrow. From what we'd seen so far we were really impressed with Seville.

Click here for
Day 8 - Exploring Seville and searching for Flamenco.


  1. Best day yet, love those old fashioned Bodega's. And that second tapas, I'm paying a fortune online for Iberico pork!!!

  2. The tapas from La Bartola looks incredible, my mouth is watering just looking at it.

  3. Hey Macerana... do you remenber that silly novelty euro pop song from about 20 years ago... it was about that suburb of Seville!

    1. How could I forget it! 😂 I wondered if it was linked to the Macarena district of Seville in any way. It popped into my head a few times whilst I was there unfortunately!