It’s been over a month since I returned from Spain, but I kept putting off writing a recap of my last two days in Sevilla and Málaga. As I wrote here previously, my expectations for this trip to Spain did not match up with reality, and some of that was due to Sevilla being so. Bloody. Hot. This past weekend, I told a Spaniard from the Andalucia region that I found Sevilla too hot, and they laughed sympathetically. “But you were there in September! Try being there in June or July — you could not bear it.”
My next trip is coming up fast, so today I’m just going to quickly tie up this loose end and share some highlights from the two cities.
Granada to Sevilla
I took an ALSA bus between the two cities, which was about three hours, no intermediate stops. I paid 5 euros extra to block off the seat next to me.
In Sevilla, the public transit system seemed a little underdeveloped; at least there was no bus running between the central bus station and my hotel, which was in a very busy part of town. I could have walked 15 minutes to the hotel (and did walk on my way back), but decided to take a taxi since it was so hot out.
Where I stayed
I stayed at the Welldone Metropol, a boutique hotel next to the Metropol Parasol, a big, weird architectural structure with a bunch of cafes and shops underneath.
A day or two before my arrival, the hotel began texting me on WhatsApp, which I found a little weird. They asked for my arrival time, and again to let them know when I was 15 minutes away. It turned out this was because they didn’t have anyone actively staffing the front desk; when I arrived, a guy came over just to check me in, and then left promptly. There was no key (only an electronic keypad with a code), and no one was there when I checked out. That said, it was a fairly seamless experience.
And the hotel room itself was lovely. There was something very warm and inviting about the way the room was furnished, with both A/C and a ceiling fan, a full kitchenette, a table and two chairs. And the Metropol Parasol was right outside. I enjoyed this hotel stay immensely.
The first touristy site I visited was Sevilla Cathedral. I began my visit by climbing the Giralda bell tower next door; it’s about 100m high but took what felt like a lot of time and energy to walk up, I suspect due to the heat. This was the view from the top.
The inside of the cathedral itself was very impressive. Not just centuries of riches and opulence poured into religious art, but some of the architecture and decor was just very unique and remarkable. I am morbidly fascinated by tomb effigies — statues laid on top of coffins to show what the people inside looked like. There were a lot of those.
There was also a very large monument in the center of the cathedral marking the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Not a fan, I’ll just say that.
The other site I visited was the Royal Alcázar, a palace that is still used by the Spanish royal family as a summer home. This was where the Dorne scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed, and even though I was physically in a lot of pain, I was really excited to see it. And it was stunning in person!
Sevilla to Málaga
The next day, I took the ALSA bus (about two hours) to Málaga, where I was due to fly out in the evening. Málaga is a sunny beachside town popular with tourists all over; I found the people there to be more friendly as well.
Even though the sun was scorching, I had a lot of time to kill before my 8pm flight, so I stowed my bag in a locker at the bus station, walked into town and even hiked to the top of a local castle.
After a quick stroll by the beach, it was time to walk back to the bus station. Fortunately, the metro station was right next door, so I bought a ticket to the airport. I should say that this process was not intuitive at all — all of the ticket machines that they have in the main area only sell tickets for within the city, which must be deeply confusing for many tourists like me every day. Anyway, it’s a quick ride of only around 10-12 minutes to the airport and very convenient.
Since I had gotten a new travel rewards card that includes five free visits to airport lounges each year, I was able to get into the VIP lounge at Málaga airport. I have very limited experience with airport lounges (Istanbul and Jakarta thus far), and my impression was that this one was not fancy but had all the necessities. There was a small amount of food, TONS of seating, and the bathroom was cramped, without any showers. Definitely a balm at the end of an exhausting trip, though.
Prior to boarding the flight back to Geneva, we had to show not just our COVID certificates but also a separate QR code for entering Switzerland, generated via a passenger locator form completed prior to the flight.
So that was Spain. My favorite city was by far Granada, and I would be interested in going back one day to spend more time there. However, I am also interested in visiting any Spanish cities where people eat dinner before — gasp! — 8pm. Do any such cities exist? I am still reeling from the culture shock. 😉