December 31, 2020 – January 3, 2021
December 31 was our last day in Córdoba, and we would soon we on our way to our final destination: Sevilla. We kept our rental car overnight, but had to return it before 10 AM the next morning. We brought it back, put our luggage in the train station lockers, and headed out to see a few more things before our 2 PM train departure to Sevilla.
The first stop was the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. The Alcázar has Roman, Visigoth, and Arab architectural remains. This was a fortress and a residential palace used at times by the Christian monarchs (Isabella I and Ferdinand II). Its current form was built in 1328 AD on the site of the old remains.
There is quite a large outdoor area, and the gardens likely take up more space than the buildings. This area is encompassed by the four main towers of the fortress.
And perhaps the funniest moment of my day is this video I rewatched about a hundred times:
After we finished at Alcázar, we still had almost three hours before our train left. Near the Alcázar is the Old Jewish Quarter and Synagogue. We spent some time walking through the streets that make up this area and visiting some of the craftmanship shops.
We headed to a small local coffee shop to get a caffeine fix and escape the cold. We stay there for about an hour and then walked downtown. We ultimately ended up in a Starbucks where we waited out our remaining time. Then we were on our way to the train station.
I had originally planned on being on this trip until January 8, but I changed the ticket to January 3 for a few different reasons. Leyre and Gabrielle were leaving on January 5, and 9 days in Sevilla would be quite a bit of time especially after a long trip. I also wanted more than a weekend to prepare and recuperate before going back to school. This unfortunately meant I would only have about two full days in Sevilla. I was still determined to make the best of it!
The train ride to Sevilla was about an hour and a half. It was pretty empty with only a few of us in each care. The sites along the way were nice, and it was a good change from the bus ride to Córdoba which was three hours, windy, and wreaked havoc on my stomach.
Sevilla was the one city where I needed to stay in a different hostal than Leyre and Gabrielle because there were no more open rooms at the one we had all three been scheduled to stay at. I found my way to the one I had booked, and I was horrified. As I was doing my normal cleanliness and bed bug check, there were just so many disgusting and unhygienic things. I was convinced there was evidence of a prior bed bug infestation too. I shut down a little bit and just felt so overwhelmed and not knowing what to do. After about a half hour, I decided this was not going to happen, and I notified the owners I would be leaving and why.
I found a hotel online that was only a little bit more expensive and certainly worth it. I took an Uber there (there is Uber in Sevilla which was nice because it only exists in a few Spanish cities). I got settled in, rested a bit, and the three of us planned to meet up around 8:30 PM for some New Year’s Eve festivities.
Our plan was to go to a flamenco show. This is a type of art, music, and dance that is common primarily in the communities of Andalucía and Murcia. Gabrielle found a show and bought us all tickets. We arrived a bit early, and to our horror, the place was not open nor were there any people. We tried calling, re-checked the website, confirmed our tickets, walked around the block, and waited about 30 minutes. It was a big disappointment and at best was a website glitch and at worst it was a rip-off.
We tried to find some outdoor dining and bars near us but fell short finding any that were open. We enjoyed walking around and looking at the lights, and right before we were about to give up and go home, we spotted a tapas place. We had a few drinks and tapas, weathered the cold air, and ended up heading back around 11 PM. It certainly wasn’t the exciting NYE you hope for, but there’s only so much you can expect during COVID.
Perhaps the most memorable event of the evening was I finally tried pulpo! This is a famous Galician dish of octopus tentacles. I eat fish on occasion but it’s rare (I’m a pescatarian). The texture and view of the tentacles in its more traditional form has been hard to come to terms with. The pulpo they ordered was in a different form and I decided to give it a try. One for the books!
Even though it wasn’t super eventful, I was ecstatic to kiss 2020 goodbye.