Yesterday I spent all day in bed recovering from some major back pain from lugging around my ridiculously heavy suitcases the day before around four different airports, but it was so worth it.
Over the last week I roamed around Sevilla, Spain, and the time flew by. I fell in love! Spain was so good to me. I had the opportunity to visit my friend while she studied abroad, and although the trip was somewhat last minute, everything lined up way too perfectly for me to pass on the chance. I felt like it all happened for a reason, and even though I was a little nervous, I figured – what the hell?!
I really had no idea what to expect, but I knew it was time for an adventure, so I hopped on the plane and met one of my best friends in Sevilla for my first week abroad! Life there is so different. I felt like I was in a totally different world.
First of all, Sevilla is absolutely stunning. It was like a fairytale. Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, a magnificent castle, and a gorgeous cathedral created a completely magical, wondrous atmosphere. You could feel the history and the culture; you could breathe it in. The frighteningly narrow streets are lined with hundreds of little shops and restaurants squished together, each very quaint and having a unique personality of its own. It was a total dream for me because the whole town was hung with Christmas decorations. Christmas lights of different shapes draped along all of the streets, and a large lit-up wire Christmas tree stood tall in the city’s center. Wandering through Sevilla felt like walking through a movie set not only because of the charming ambience, but also because the streets were relatively empty. I’m used to the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, so walking down a seemingly empty cobblestone road felt excitingly eerie, but extremely peaceful.
The Alcazar and the cathedral are almost too exquisite to be real. Architecture created today just isn’t that incredible. The attention to detail is impeccable. There’s almost too much to see, and I felt as though no other building I’ve seen thus far in my life could compare. I look in awe at art like that and can’t imagine what it must’ve taken to create such a magnificent structure – the care, the patience, the creativity, the genius.
Social life in Spain was definitely an adjustment for me, even if it was only for a week. The days began muuuuch later than I’m used to. I like to get up early in the morning, eat a big breakfast, and get my day started. Go, go, go! That’s not how it flies in Spain. People are just getting out of bed around noon, and most restaurants don’t even open until 1:30 PM. This was like a personalized type of torture for someone like me with a strict “I need a big breakfast and lots of snacks all the time” eating schedule. Because the days start so late, the nights end quite late as well. Going to a club before 2 A.M was a laughable idea. Whoops!
Everything is much more laid-back in general in Sevilla than it is here in California, and I had a really hard time with it at first. I’m the type of person who gets a panic attack if the person walking in front of me isn’t moving fast enough – don’t get in my way! In Spain, everything moves very slowly. People stroll leisurely through the streets, eat 4 hour meals, and stop in the middle of a purchase to make small-talk. This all made me really anxious at first, but I slowly warmed up to it and tried to embrace such a radically different life approach. Chill. It was like popping a balloon that was about to burst anyways. I was ready to just float.
Social drinking actually exists in Spain! Here in California, people consider social drinking to be taking shots and getting hammered to the point of slurring their words and falling over their own feet all night long. It’s not. People in Sevilla can casually, leisurely, and controllably drink a glass of wine or two at each meal in order to relax and socialize. And they can still function afterwards. It was so refreshing, and it’s how it should be. Instead of abusing a lower legal age limit for alcohol, its wide accessibility, and its cheapness, the people of Sevilla truly drank in a social, relaxed way. The way a glass of wine should be handled. Hop on that, Americans!
The food was obviously incredible, but I’m not going to get too much into it here because I’m going to give the food its own separate post. Because who would I be if I didn’t give food its own post?! I will mention, however, that I was extremely impressed / got a major kick out of the fact that McDonald’s is practically a gourmet restaurant in Sevilla. People have birthday parties there. The booths are large and comfy, the burgers are fluffy instead of the width of a composition notebook, and the chicken nuggets appeared to be made from actual food. Also, I was kind of disappointed to see that Starbucks was such a big hit there. I expected Starbucks to be way too mainstream-America to be so popular in adorable Sevilla, but there was a Starbucks basically every 20 feet. I missed my trendy hole-in-the-wall coffee shops! Buuuut props to European Starbucks that offer actual ceramic coffee mugs to customers drinking coffee there instead of only handing out cardboard cups. Very classy.
And, of course, the shopping was everything. I spent most of my time shopping. People in Spain are very trendy, and I was thoroughly impressed with the affordable goodies I found. Graphic tees in Spain are especially fun because a lot of them feature phrases that make no sense. Still trying to figure this one out (it’s my personal favorite).
Can someone explain this to me please? ^^
I’ve never seen so many shoe stores concentrated in one area in my life! The shoes are SO CHEAP (in a good way). As I looked around, overwhelmed with the number of much-needed shoes and their extremely low prices, my friend laughed and said, “You cannot go to Spain and not buy a pair of shoes. They’re too cheap.” And she was right. Speaking of which, making purchases in Spain is so much easier than in America because there’s no extra tax and no tip when buying things – food, clothes, cabs, etc. The price on the price tag is what you pay. I can’t even explain how much this simplifies life and how happy it made me, considering everything was so affordable to begin with. I got a steak the size of my head for $2, and it was absolutely delectable. Tell me where in America I can find such a thing?!
Overall, the trip was incredibly relaxing. It was just what I needed. Honestly, I had been feeling trapped here lately, and I was craving a new and exciting experience. I needed to step out of my routine for a bit and experience another way of life. Weirdly enough, just a week there helped me find more of myself. I felt so lucky to be strolling through a fairytale-like city with one of my favorite people on this earth, breathing in the beauty of the world around me. There’s something totally magical and freeing about being in a completely new place, out of your comfort zone and not knowing anyone, but ready for any adventure that awaits. Miss you already, Sevilla!
Be on the lookout for part 2 of my trip to Sevilla – the food diary! And for more fun travel adventures, be sure to check out Marissa’s blog! Xo