One of my favorite memories on our road trip through Spain was traveling from Málaga to Seville. Along our drive, endless open space suddenly gave way to the mountaintop community of Ronda. The village is perched on El Tajo gorge, which separates the city’s “new” town (built in the 15th century) from its old town (built during Moorish rule). A stone bridge, Puente Nuevo, crosses the gorge and offers stunning views of the region. Highlights of Ronda include Plaza de Toros (the birthplace of bullfighting), La Casa del Rey Moro (the Moorish Palace), and Paseo de Ernest Hemingway. Having lunch on the patio of Mesón El Sacristán was exactly what we needed after hours of exploration. The fact that the restaurant is nestled against a picturesque church is a nice touch. Rumor has it that Mesón El Sacristán has access to Arab and Roman ruins downstairs; I will have to return to see them for myself…
The magic of Ronda sparked our excitement for Seville, our last stop on our journey. After two more hours of rolling hills, Seville greeted us as we drove around a bend of the Rio Guadalquivir. We settled into our hotel and didn’t waste any time to go sightseeing. When I am in a new city, checking out the local churches and cathedrals is first on my list. Catedral de Sevilla did not disappoint! It was constructed in the 16th century and is the largest gothic cathedral in the world (23,500 square meters or 253,000 square feet). Its bell tower, La Giralda, is a stately 105 meters or 343 feet tall. Did you know that the grounds were home to the Almohad Mosque until the conquest of Seville in 1248? During conversion, the cathedral shifted liturgical orientation from facing south (toward Mecca) to east (toward Jerusalem).
Time did not allow me to wander the Real Alcázar and Plaza de España. However, both are important places to visit. The Real Alcázar is known for its luxurious palace gardens, fountains, pavilions, and art galleries. It was built in the early middle ages and its architecture is heavy influenced by the Renaissance. The Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González in 1929 and sits within Parque de María Luisa. The estate covers a whopping 45,000 square meters (480,000 square feet) with a canal running through the park. Taking a boat ride is highly recommended. As you drift along the waterway, your surroundings might look familiar: The Plaza de España was a filming location for Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
Strolling around the city certainly worked up our appetites and we couldn’t have been happier to stumble upon Sacamuelas. The restaurant is a gem that oozes charm with its stone walls and cozy furnishings. Sacamuelas offers a Mediterranean-style menu; their patatas bravas, roasted peppers, risotto, and goat cheese salad were delicious. This place gets bonus points for being reasonably priced and vegetarian friendly. Not far down the street is Créeme Helado, which is the perfect spot for dessert on a warm day. The owner makes his ice cream with fresh produce and is always churning out creative combinations. I’m talking about honey, lavender, lemon, almond, black sesame, green tea etc. Craving a certain flavor? I am sure that Créeme can fulfill your dream.
Seville and Spain, you captivated me with your food, history, culture, and architecture. Although this was the final chapter of our road trip, I couldn’t have asked for a better farewell. Vuelvo enseguida (I’ll be back)!