Last March we spent a month in Sevilla, Spain. We had heard that it was a beautiful and livable city yet didn’t know much more to expect other than that. To make a long story short - after a month - neither of us wanted to leave. The people were friendly, the city was beautiful, and the streets were very much alive. We walked around every day and were constantly amazed by the beauty of that city and the quality of life it offers.
After about our second week in Sevilla, we were sitting outdoors at a cafe and a couple sat down next to us. We engaged in conversation and after a bit, I asked the woman if she was enjoying her stay in Sevilla. Without hesitation, she replied, “through my work, I have lived in and visited some of the most highly regarded cities in the world - Paris, Rome, London, San Francisco, and New York - and easily, Sevilla is the most beautiful city I have been to.” After spending over 10 days walking the streets of this gorgeous city, all I could say in response was, “I absolutely agree!”
It is truly a joy to walk the streets of Sevilla. Its “old town” is the largest in Spain and one of the largest in all of Europe. At every turn there is a new winding street, a new point of discovery.
My philosophy when traveling is this: that the streets tell the story of a city. When you wander its streets and alleyways, you begin to feel like a local. As you enter lesser-known neighborhoods, you begin to experience its authenticity. I guess I am what the French call a “flaneur”. The social scientist, Blake Miner writes; “the word is difficult (nearly impossible) to translate from French. French-English dictionaries define a flâneur as someone who strolls, loafs, or idles, but that doesn’t do the term justice. Let’s think of the flâneur as a connoisseur of the street—a highly observant urban wanderer who takes in everything they see as they seek experiences that fuel their creative minds."
One of the big reasons we enjoy visiting European cities is that they often have central pedestrian-only streets (often in the old town) that are closed off to cars. Restaurant seating and shops can open their doors and spill onto the sidewalks, people congregate with friends, there are squares with fountains and benches, and street artists performing on the corners. It’s a festive and very livable environment. After being in Sevilla, it’s fair to say that it really is the gold standard for a pedestrianized city. It’s large but accessible. It’s safe, friendly, beautiful, and incredibly walkable . . .
I could go on and on about the streets of Sevilla, but better than any verbal description, I will just share photos with you from my morning walks around town. My words pale in comparison to what these images will convey. And besides, I’m off to do some more urban hiking. We have just arrived in Malaga, Spain where we will be spending the next 4 weeks, and it’s time for me to hit the streets. I will certainly share with you my strolls through Malaga a few blogs from now, but first, thank you for indulging me as I recollect the beauty and magic of Sevilla. Enjoy the visual feast.