Thursday, 3 August 2017

2017 Spanish Food Adventure - Day 9

Seville by bike and the abandoned site of Expo 92.

Keen to beat the afternoon heat we got up nice and early today. A cafe close to our hotel offered reasonably priced toasted sandwiches and coffee, the perfect spot to plan our day.

After breakfast we made our way to tourist information with our passports.

Our passports were needed to hire bikes and at just €9 for 6 hours it seemed like really good value for money. We wanted to further explore the Triana district and figured we could cover more ground on bikes.

Seville is an excellent city to go cycling in with 75 miles of segregated cycle lanes.

We crossed the river at Barqueta's Bridge and ended up outside Isla Magica theme park on the other side. The time limit on our bike hire meant we wouldn't be going in, instead we decided to cycle around it's perimeter fence.

The theme park appeared to have a pretty decent looking water park which made perfect sense in such a hot city.

As we reached the back fence of the theme park I gazed up at this, the Jaguar rollercoaster. In the distance I could hear my wife calling me, she'd spotted something in the opposite direction.

I rushed over and and was greeted by this, Pabellón de México. The brutally modernistic Mexican pavilion is intended to reflect the structural style of an Aztec pyramid, but also features a visual pun in the shape of a giant X. Without realising it we'd entered the abandoned site of Expo 1992, this I was very excited about! Expo 1992 lasted six months from April to October, there were more than a hundred pavilions, 108 countries represented, and 41 million visitors to the city. When it was over though the countries packed up and took off, leaving behind enormous, extravagant and plainly bizarre pavilions.

The pair of giant X's were connected by a corridor which was once accessible by entering here.

This escalator hadn't been used in over 25 years, it was now just a hangout for Hellboyz.

These pathways once led excited visitors between the pavilions. Now they're home to weeds making there way up between the cracked tiles.

No amount of rainfall would bring these dried up plants back to life again.

In the centre stands the Tower of Europe, a multicoloured obelisk decked out in the flags of the 12 nations that a year after the Expo ended would come together to form the European Union.

Morocco's pavilion was a model of a Moorish palace, complete with an owl face and ornate archways.

It's still in pretty good shape although signs of neglect were visible in places.

This giant sphere once realised a fine mist in the hot summer heat to keep visitors cool. 

As we left the abandoned Expo 92 site we entered an area that had been redeveloped. I'm not sure what this building was used for but I loved how the exposed metal exterior had rusted. 

Torre Triana is an administrative government building, it was built in 1993 and designed by architect Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza. 

The Sevilla Tower is an office skyscraper which stands at a height of 592 ft, has 40 floors and was completed in 2016. UNESCO initially had concerns that the tower put Seville's monuments which are classified as World Heritage Sites (the Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias) into the threatened List, because of the tower's negative visual impact on the old town skyline of Seville.

After admiring the architecture west of the river we stopped at a bar in Triana for a much needed ice cold coke. With it came some snacks on a small bowl.

My wife pointed out that there were olive stones already on the plate and some of the olives looked like they'd been squeezed. Most likely leftovers from a previous customer, we decided to leave them.

In such heat a glass of coke just wasn't enough to quench our thirst so we picked up a refreshing lemon drink from a small supermarket.

We crossed the river and made our way to Parque de María Luisa, a huge park
featuring landscaped gardens, fountains and monuments. Within the park you can find the impressive Plaza de España, a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain.

There was an ice cream seller nearby so I bought a super twister. Longer than a standard twister and a refreshing combination of orange, lemon and strawberry flavours.

The super twister did little to cool me down though, jumping in here looked very appealing but I resisted the urge.

Just after taking this shot a chap popped his head under the jet of water to cool himself down.

Some detailed tiles found on some of the park benches.

Although incredibly hot the park did at least offer some shade making it an ideal spot to cycle around.

I wasn't sure what was going on with this tree? It was time to return our bikes though so I took a quick photo and we returned to the tourist information centre.

Back on foot again we stopped at a restaurant close to the Metropol Parasol which we'd enjoyed eating at yesterday. Now seemed like the perfect time to try some Jamon Serrano and it didn't disappoint. This dry cured Spanish ham tasted really good, I savoured each small slice.

I also enjoyed the restaurants own house Russian salad, it was topped with a beetroot sauce and included prawns.

My wife ordered the battered aubergine with maple syrup again which we'd enjoyed so much yesterday. If you ever come across this on a menu be sure to try it, delicious!

Finally some patatas bravas, this time with mayo and a spicy sauce.

Back at the hotel we were discovered that there was a roof terrace so we went to take a look. A nice area but in this heat we didn't plan on sitting here for very long at all, just long enough to have a beer.

Cruzcampo beer is served in most bars and restaurants in Seville, it's the biggest selling beer in Spain.

Something I'd noticed in the Central districts of Seville was how nearly all of the roads are cobbled.

My wife had read about a vegan restaurant in the Macarena district which we were going to try and find this evening.  On the way though I wanted to call into here as there was something I just had to try before leaving Seville.

El Patio was not far from our hotel, it had caught our eye every time we passed it with its ornate tiling and vast tapas display.

There were tables and chairs available or you could sit here if you preferred on the tiled steps.

There was even tiered seating beside the stairs complete with tiny tables.

I was here to try the city's signature sandwich, the Serranito. It cost just €3.50 and was served with crisps.

The serranito sandwich here was served warm and contained thin slices of Iberian pork, a fried green pepper and a slightly spicy sauce. There are many different variations available though, they can also include Serrano ham, a fried egg and tomato. I could understand why it's such a popular sandwich in Seville, it was delicious and went nicely with an ice cold beer.

From El Patio we went in search of Alameda Rock, a vegan tapas bar in the Macarena district. On day one in Girona we'd been quite disappointed with Veggana vegan restaurant so we thought we'd see how Alameda Rock compared.

Before I move onto the food I must mention the owner as he really is quite a character!  You'll certainly be entertained as he prepares each dish, he whistles and sings along loudly to the rock music being played in the background. You also couldn't wish for a friendlier host, you're certainly made to feel really welcome here.

We couldn't possibly come to Seville without trying gazpacho, a soup made with raw vegetables and served cold. This tasted really good and was served with plenty of fresh bread.

Next we tried some meatballs (made using seitan) in a tomato sauce. The balls could have easily tricked me had I not known they didn't contain meat. With it came more fresh bread so we could mop up every drop of the rich and delicious sauce.

Finally we tried seitan in a whisky sauce served with potatoes and toasted bread. Seitan needs to be seasoned correctly or it can be quite bland, thankfully the owner was well aware of this and it tasted amazing.

With it being our final night in Spain we decided to make the most of it with some drinks in Santa Cruz. These guys were entertaining tourists outside a bar, with no empty tables we watched for a short while before moving on.

We found ourselves in front of the Cathedral once again.

This time though we had the best table in the house, what an incredible view!

With such an impressive view we stayed here ordering sangria and beer whilst watching darkness fall over Seville.

There was still time for one last tapas, this time a pork and vegetable dish. Quite sweet tasting with nice tender pork loin.

I've mentioned it a few times already but in case you've forgotten, Seville in July can get very hot!

Back at the hotel we enjoyed a local orange biscuit costing €1. These were for sale in the reception area and were really nice.

This air conditioning unit was a life saver in Seville, I don't know how I would have slept without it.

Click here for
Day 10 - Farewell Seville

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