As I sit here in a somewhat unseasonably overcast Sussex I’m daydreaming of a perfect day in Seville.
The scalding hot café con leches in Bodega Santa Cruz make an excellent start. This iconic bar known locally as Las Columnas is one of my all time favourite spots in Sevilla. In fact I’ve spent so much time there that I’m on first name terms with the team, have poured my own drinks and sometimes refer to it as ‘The Office’. It’s great at any time of the day but I like to go for a classic Andalusian breakfast of tostada con aceite y tomate, orange juice and several of the aforementioned coffees. If you’re lucky enough to get a table inside you can sit and watch the shenanigans as the bar gets busier and the chatter of customers and staff combined with the clatter of crockery begins to build to a crescendo. If you don’t then perch outside and people watch to your heart’s content; they’ll be a steady stream of local Sevillianos; starting with the builders and decorators who drop in for their morning pick me up of a robust café solo, followed by the good folk of Barrio Santa Cruz grabbing a quick breakfast before heading to work and parents who’ve dropped their children at the local school, finally swelling with tourists who mix seamlessly into the happy, noisy chaos.
Caffeine fuelled, I’d head for the river, passing the grandeur of the statuesque cathedral and the honeyed stone exterior of the Archivo de Indias and down the Avedidia de la Constitución. Taking a right turn at the Rio Guadalquivir and crossing over at the Puente de Isabel II I’d spend some time wandering the streets of Triana. This is the home of bullfighters and passionate flamenco artists, of gypsies and of ‘los alfareros de Sevilla’ the skilled ceramicists who have traditionally lived and worked in Triana for generations. You can still see craftsmen and women painstakingly painting azulejos in some of the open studios and if you’re interested in the history of ceramics in Sevilla then a visit to the Centro Ceramica Triana is a must. (https://visitasevilla.es/en/more-see/centro-ceramica-triana)
Lunch, I think I’d choose a selection of goodies from the Mercado de Triana ( https://mercadodetrianasevilla.com) there are greengrocer’s stands piled high with mountains of vibrant fruit and vegetables, specialist sellers of jamon, chorizo and olives, stalls of gleamingly fresh fish and seafood displayed on beds of ice, fabulous butchers, excellent bakers, purveyors of takeaway sushi and even a cookery school. Take your pick… I couldn’t leave Triana without a package from patisserie chef supreme, Manu Jara on Calle Pureza (https://www.manujara.com) My favourites are the bite sized puffs of choux pastry filled with all sorts of mouthwatering deliciousness and iced like little jewels.
The rooftop pool at Aire de Sevilla (https://beaire.com/en/aire-ancient-baths-sevilla)is the ideal spot to while away a little time as day turns to balmy night. These fabulous, Arabic inspired baths are an indulgent dream; candle lit, aromatically scented and all in a Mudéjar style palace that is over five hundred years old. You can sip tea in the classical Andalusian courtyard, enjoy the thermal circuit, float in the salt pool that is situated in an original Roman bath and finish with a massage. Mind, body and soul duly cleansed, exfoliated and relaxed the only thing on my mind would be where it head for dinner…