Seville Diary, February 2020 – An Englishman abroad

Day 4 – Thursday

I check out of the hotel, but leave my suitcase in the office as I don’t need to be at the airport until the evening. I make my way to the Casa de Pilatos, which is actually just past El Traga where I dined the previous evening. Having got my bearings, I walk a little further on and find a café where I have a coffee and croissant. Casa de Pilatos is a palace which was built in the sixteenth century. It is based around a large open patio with a central fountain and includes an attractive garden. I decide to opt for the guided tour of the upper floor where the apartments feature many works of art. The guide gives the accompanying talk in both Spanish and English and it is interesting and informative.

The forecast for today was overcast, but now the sun is out and it’s turning into a lovely day. Seville is home to a bar, dating from 1670, which claims to be the place where tapas were first invented, so I have to go. It’s actually not so far from here and I’ve written down some directions which lead me without any difficulty to Plaza de Terceros, but from there, I cannot find the restaurant, try as I might. I resort to what probably should really be the obvious thing and use my ‘phone.

I arrive at my destination, El Rinconcillo, in a few minutes and go inside. It’s really atmospheric, with hams hanging from the ceiling. Atmospheric and packed. I make my way to the dining room and there is no chance of a table, but the waiter says I can sit outside. Sure enough, there are a few tables outside in the warm sunshine, so I sit down. I look at the menu and can’t see any tapas, then I realise that this is actually La Trastienda del Rinconcillo, a small offshoot next door. Anyway, I go for Arroz Chacinero, a mixed rice dish similar to a paella.

I wend my way back toward the hotel and go to collect my suitcase, thanking the receptionist for my pleasant stay. The bus station is just beyond the Puente de Isabel II, so I walk by the cathedral then down past the bullring and follow the river. I have plenty of time and have worked up quite a thirst so I stop at El Cairo for a cold beer and some olives. I find the bus station and although I still have plenty of time, there’s no point hanging around here, so I get the next bus to the airport. Only €4, a bargain. A young man at the opposite side of the bus takes some sheet music from his bag and begins to sing the notes, quite beautifully. Unfortunately, the bus fills up and he is obliged to stop. A few teenage girls get on and one of them sits next to me. Remarkably, she has quite bad body odour. The young lady sitting opposite glances at me and opens the window.

I arrive at the airport in good time, so take advantage of a special offer on a jamón baguette and bottle of Alhambra Especial. The sandwich is surprisingly good and I enjoy it in the company of a large number of Seville fans. I don’t know who they’re playing, but they’re obviously looking forward to the trip. Probably a good job I’m not wearing a Real Mallorca shirt.

The plane takes off on time with no problems. I’d decided it was worth four pounds for a window seat and as there is only one other passenger on the row, a young lady, we’re able to spread out a little and doze.

When I get back to the car, I have to spend some time de-icing it. Welcome home.

When I returned home, I remembered that Todmorden author William Holt had written about a visit to Seville in his book, “Under a Japanese Parasol”. I dug out my copy and realised it was exactly one hundred years ago, to the month. Much of what he says could have been written today and not only that – as he goes back to his hotel, I recognised the name of the street and as he veers off to the left, my hotel is on the right!

Hostal Sierpes
Coral del Rey 22,
41004 Sevilla
95 422 4948

Bar Estrella
Calle Estrella 3,
41004 Sevilla
95 421 9325

Casa Plácido
Mesón del Moro 5,
41004 Sevilla
95 456 3971

El Rinconcillo
Calle Gerona 40,
41003 Sevilla
95 422 3183

El Traga
Calle Aguilas 6,
41004 Sevilla
691 88 54 27

La Gamba Blanca
Calle Trabajo 2,
41010 Sevilla
95 428 2940

Restaurante Mateos
Calle Mateos Gago 2,
41004 Sevilla
644 33 57 84