Siestas, Tapas Bars and Discotecas are all a part of the routine in Sevilla
Tired and exhausted from lack of sleep, it is 3am in the morning and I am at the airport, all set for a new life in Spain. Months of preparation and excitement have all come to this moment, as I am about to board the flight to Sevilla. I make a brief introduction to my fellow participants of whom have also signed up to the same programme, everyone seems friendly enough to make the best first impression and of course this is vital, as these people are to become my closest friends. For the next couple weeks I will be living in a foreign country with very little grasp of the language and sharing a flat with complete strangers.
After a turbulent flight, we arrive in Sevilla to be greeted by our host ready to drive us to our accommodation. The entire drive to our flat feels so surreal, the host utters some words in Spanish that I can not comprehend, the car is on the wrong side of the road and the landscape appears alien to me- I feel completely overwhelmed. The flat is in a picturesque setting with balconies overlooking narrow cobbled streets and it is hard to imagine how drivers are even allowed to drive in such compact spaces.
Soon after unpacking, my new flatmate (Rachel) and I decide to wander the streets under the scorching sun in search of food or some type of supermarket. It is Sunday midday and the entire city appears to be dead and the only explanation for this is that it is siesta time. This is common in Spain and I quickly become accustomed to having an afternoon nap. It might sound lazy but the heat of the afternoon sun in unbearable; it drains out your energy and the only way to escape it is by staying indoors and resting. After a long wide search we manage to find a corner store also known locally as ‘chinos’. They are the staple in terms of surviving the unusual opening hours of stores. Here in the chinos, you can find anything from household goods to clothes and food; we also soon discover that we have two of the stores right round the corner from our flat which makes it even more convenient.
The area I am living in is very popular amongst the locals and it is easy to see why. Alameda De Hercules is the oldest public garden in Spain and Europe. An entire avenue, lined up with trees is dedicated to Tapas bars, restaurants and clubs. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first arrived here, there is so much choice and variety, it is hard to choose where to enjoy a glass of Sangria or Tinto de Verano. The prices are inexpensive and you can order three decent tapas dishes all for under €10. One of my favourite tapas has to be Pincho de Pollo (skewered chicken) but of course it is only right to try the paella or gazpacho.
My first night out in Sevilla was an eye opening experience, back home in the UK clubs are shut by 2am, however in Spain, this is when the partying begins. I got in touch with a Spanish friend from university and he was the one who explained the typical night-life in Spain. Teenagers, kids and adults alike occupy the entire avenue of Alameda, whether it is for a casual drink or smoke or a chat- normally this is up until the clubs are open. The clubs here or Discotecas on Alameda cater for certain types of people or perhaps the locals but so far unfortunately I haven’t enjoyed the music. Although I am one to embrace all different types of music, I prefer a good old dance to pop; rumour has it that there are Erasmus clubs or Discotecas that aim for the international crowds but we have yet to go there. One club called Buddha is renowned for its Thursday night discos, so my new found friends and I hope to see what the fuss is about next time. Partying here ends in the early hours of the morning and by the time you arrive home, daylight is already setting in. Another day begins with work, an afternoon nap perhaps, if you are lucky, work again and thereafter a short visit to a tapas bar. Then the cycle repeats itself- that is if you can keep up.
With a labyrinth of alleyways and meandering streets, Sevilla has a lot more to offer and I have only scratched the surface. So far I am enjoying my time here, juggling work and attempting to get used to my new routine and surroundings. My next article will focus on navigating through the streets and the best way to see the popular sites.
— Nicola Phiri, Editor (Travel)
Image Courtesy: ©Nicola Phiri