Posted in Travel

Sunshine & Sangria

Most people don’t know this, but I originally wanted to study abroad in Spain. It was kind of my “dream location” because I love the Spanish language and culture and I’ve spent several years studying it. Well, it didn’t really work out for me to do this with my major, so I ended up in England—and I of course love the experience I’ve had!

The Streets of Seville

However, I did get to have a small piece of my dream come true two weekends ago! Ellie and I went to Seville & Valencia, Spain for a five day break in between exams.

La Plaza de España

We started our weekend with a short stint in London, because we flew out of there on Saturday night. That gave us enough time to explore a different side of London than I had been before. We spent a lazy Saturday strolling through some art markets and enjoying a yummy brunch before catching an 8 pm flight to Seville.


We landed in Seville shortly before midnight, and since Spain is on such a laid-back time, we enjoyed a nice stroll to our hostel from the bus stop. We were able to get a good night’s sleep at our kitsch hostel before starting our Spanish adventure on Sunday.


We started every day in Spain with the best, freshly-squeezed orange juice I’ve ever had and of course, amazing lattes. After breakfast on Sunday, we headed straight to La Plaza de España. This is a huge plaza that has amazing architecture elements that seem to have no literal point. It was basically built to show off the mixing of art styles for a World Fair in 1928. I’ll just let the photos do the talking for this one, though:


So this plaza alone was everything I could have asked to see in Spain, but our adventure in Sevilla wasn’t over yet. We spent the afternoon visiting Sevilla’s Cathedral, which is the largest gothic cathedral and the 3rd largest church in the world!


It’s no wonder that it took us about three hours to wait in line and go through the church. It was incredible though, definitely a worthwhile experience!We even climbed the 36 flights to get to the top of the tower to enjoy some breathtaking views of the city!


And because we hadn’t seen enough beauty for one day, we spent the early evening going through The Royal Alcázar of Seville. This was a royal palace and it was filled with spectacular gardens and beautiful interior as well.


We learned that Spain has a very large mix of cultural influences, incorporated in its architecture. The Moorish influence was really evident in this palace, as they had heavy influence on Southern Spain for a long period of time!


Ellie and I commented to each other, “Well, we’re just not going to take pictures anymore, because everything is too pretty.” This really was true!


After taking a short siesta, we got ready for dinner and walked to what’s called Metropol Parasol. They’re otherwise known as “The Mushrooms” for resembling the fungi, and it is one of the biggest pieces of wooden structure in the world, because all of the little slats in it are actually wood. We enjoyed walking around on the top and seeing the city from yet another perspective!


After a full and happy day, we ended our big day with some well-earned tapas!


After such a busy day on Sunday, we kind of decided to have a slower day on Monday. We did some window shopping in the morning and then went to see La Torre del Oro in the afternoon. It was a really hot day, so we ended up just lazily strolling by the river for the afternoon and evening.


For dinner, we enjoyed another round of tapas and enjoy them we did. I think we ended up ordering 11 different tapas to split between us! Thankfully, they’re only about 2 euros each!

On Tuesday morning, we flew to Valencia early in the morning. By the time we had arrived and checked in to our hostel, it was only 10 am, so we were able to catch a free walking tour of the city at 11.  We learned a lot about Valencia’s history and got to see their large market and cathedral. Their cathedral supposedly is host to the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.


We also learned that Valencia is famous for its Paella, so of course we indulged in that!


Now, my favorite part about both of the cities we visited was just how underrated they are. Everyone talks about going to Madrid and Barcelona, and so we didn’t have a ton of expectations coming in, which is what I think made seeing the unexpected surprises even more beautiful. So on Tuesday afternoon, we had another one of these occurrences. We had learned on our tour that Valencia had this really cool Science museum at the other end of town, if we just followed the park until we got to it. So, we set out to find this.


But first, we had to stop for a quick look at the tower gates to the city. So the cool thing about Valencia’s park is, it’s actually the biggest park in Europe, but it’s really interesting. They used to have flooding issues throughout the city, so they damned the river to avoid this problem. But instead of just letting the riverbed set, they turned it into a massive, city-wide green space. So, their park is like a giant twisting river through the city! It took us almost an hour to walk to the museum, but it was so cool to walk through, because the park is full of locals working out, and just enjoying the weather.


But all of this beauty didn’t prepare us for the “museum.” I hesitate to call it this, because the outside of it alone is just breathtaking. It felt like we had stepped into another world!


The funny thing is, these pictures don’t even do this place justice! It was just stunning and other-worldly feeling!

After seeing the museum, we had a tiring walk back to the city centre, where we enjoyed another well-deserved dinner. We flew home Wednesday morning to get back in time for my two exams on Friday! It was a crazy, fast whirlwind of a weekend, but it was so enjoyable.