“A dark, rather forbidding doorway opened to reveal the bright and sunny interior of the Hotel Corral de Rey in a street of the same name. It is a real gem, a small, boutique hotel offering great comfort and style — we had our breakfast on the roof terrace beside the plunge pool in the sunshine, rather than in the elegant dining room downstairs. It is attractively decorated and furnished throughout with a wealth of fine paintings.
We saw a lot of Seville in two days, all on foot, as the principal sights are fairly close together. Well provided with maps and advice from our charming hostess, we walked out of the door into the huge traffic-free square and walked down to the mighty River Guadalquivir where ships used to unload their rich cargoes from across the world. Here we boarded one of the open-top double-decker buses for an interesting tour of the city. By now we were feeling the heat as the temperature was more than 40°C all day but, happily, with no humidity. Time for a late lunch found us in one of the innumerable little courtyards in the central area, enjoying a welcome beer. Then on to discover the Plaza de Espana, a ‘must’ for any visitor with its striking semi-circular square and magnificent fountain in front of the most elegant building.
Back to the hotel’s roof terrace looking out over the sea of TV aerials and church towers with our books and a tray of delicious fresh lemonade, we were soon revived and later on, near the hotel we found a clutch of small inexpensive restaurants in another courtyard for dinner.
Our second day again involved plenty of walking and visits to two magnificent places with a relaxing late lunch in between. First to the Real Alcazar, Seville’s royal palace, a jewel box of exquisite patios and halls and beautifully landscaped gardens — a showcase of Mudejar craftsmanship, completed in 1366 and superbly maintained. Then to the Cathedral and La Giralda. Seville’s 15th century cathedral is on the site of a 12th century mosque, and La Giralda, the bell tower, and the Patio de los Naranjos are legacies of this vast Moorish structure. Its internal height and decorations are awesome; once again there was much to see before we climbed to the top of the tower (no steps, just a steady uphill ramp to level 37!) Needless to say, the view from the top was stunning as we wandered all round it, and stunning in a different way when the huge clock bells struck half past the hour! A most enthralling couple of days in this beautiful city”.