Traveling to Seville 9/23/2015
We left the hotel via taxi and found the first-class lounge at the Cordoba Train Station. Our RENFE AVE electric train left right on schedule at 1:19PM. As the countryside raced past at 150 mph, we were served a glass of wine on this relatively short trip. We arrived in Seville and took a taxi through narrow and twisting streets to our hotel. Glad we weren’t driving! Our hotel (Casa del Poeta) is on a pedestrian only street and we had to walk the few steps to arrive. However, there was no sign telling us where the hotel was located. Anne set off and after a bit of backtracking, came to where Tom was waiting. We were offered a welcoming drink and given a description of our small (18 rooms) hotel in the open courtyard.
After settling in, we set out on a mini explore of the surrounding area to get our bearings. That night there was entertainment in the courtyard and we followed the guitar player to the restaurant where we had a great meal.
After great breakfast, we headed out to the Royal Alcazar where the current king and queen reside and is open for a special tour of the inner chambers if you book in advance as we had done. While photos of the inner parts are not allowed, we did look over the extensive grounds and the beautiful gardens.
9/24/2015 Flamenco andTapas
We met Shawn in The Plaza Virgen de los Reves where she introduced herself and the other people on this small (5) tour. We immediately sensed that this was going to be a special evening.
After a few minute walk, we entered the Museum of Flamenco (the only such establishment). A class was being held as we found our seats for the show that was scheduled at 7PM. The seating is intimate and the artists were so close that you could feel (literally) the swirling of the costumes. It was a fantastic performance! As we departed from the Flamenco Museum, we learned more about our guide.
Shawn is a person you can call your friend. This is the way she interfaces with her clients on this Flamenco and Tapas evening. "I do my tours just like I did when my friends came to visit," she reveals as we wait for our first serving, a succulent Iberian ham (wild-fed on acorns). She taught us to order only one tapas at a time since one could be filling despite how small the portion it is. We sampled two completely different Tapas Bars. One very traditional, run by a family since 1934, and the other a modern establishment created and operated by an Argentinean and his wife (the pastry chef!). Both were excellent choices by Shawn, who also gave us a extensive listing of over a dozen recommended Tapas Bars in the various districts of Sevilla.
9/25/2015 Sherry Tasting and Tapas on our own
Before we left home we scheduled an introduction to sherry wine tasting. Antonio greeted us and we had a private introduction to the art of sherry wine making. We learned that sherry is essentially a blending process and very much up to the master wine maker how the various juices are divided up into natural and artificial fermenting. Sherry is actually a white wine, but after many years of aging, it turns darker and the sweet sherry is actually the color of red wines. We tried 6 different wines and then began a blending process to see how these basic 6 could be modified to create at least 11 different sherries.
We set out on our last explorations of Seville around 6PM and wandered through the old Jewish Quarter. Then we sought out Tapas Restaurants and found the first one was closed! So, we did not get to sample two there (which is the custom). At the second, where we had our “final exam” by being on our own and trying to figure out the menu with the help of iTranslate, we ordered and were delighted with the Iberian ham, sheep cheese, shrimp, and beef. Perfect sized servings! We then sought out an ice-cream store and had our dessert. A perfect ending to our stay in Seville.