Spain - A city to love: Sevilla, Osuna, Carmona
Sadly, we left Granada behind us. We had such a great time in this lively city and could have stayed longer. But we were very curious about our next destination. When I (Nina) was 19 years old, I lived in Seville for a month and did never return. I loved this city. What would it be like now? But before we reached Seville, we made a little detour.
Our first stop was Osuna, a little city often overseen by tourists with wonderful architecture and a great atmosphere. But hell, this was a hot place. It is only spring but we had more than 32 degrees centigrade. We strolled along the beautiful streets and admired the once rich houses which were overloaded with decorations. We even climbed the small hill up to the cathedral with a perfect views of the rural areas of Andalucía. To escape from the heat we went down to a plaza and enjoyed a typical and oily spanish tapas-lunch (my poore stomach was not very amused, but I survived it safely). Then we continued in our car on country roads.
Back home we had hoped that there would be a map in the car as we did not have one. How wrong we had been. Without a map and just the LP in our hands we tried to find our way towards Carmona. The rural landscape was amazing - like what you expect Spain to be: old haciendas where you can get olive oil, vast fields and even in spring, it was try and hot. Sometimes, some sheep crossed the streets - but we did not see any other cars or people. If you go away from the beachside ressort, Spain is such a beautiful country - it always amazes us. But finally we saw a small hill at the end of the road and a couple of houses, a castle: that was Carmona. We did not have a glue where to stay and first decided to park our car and walk around the town to look for a decent place. And how lucky we were! We just entered the old town and within the city wall there was a hostel. The prize was ok, the room amazing and the views even better. Perfect. Later, this turned out to be the only place in the old town that doesn't cost a fortune! 4 stars plus is the normal kind of accomodation you get there. But our Hostal Commercio was really good with friendly hosts and it was ultra clean. We walked around the old town which is beautiful. But being a sunday afternoon and quite hot, it was desserted. Only the main plaza came back to live after 5 pm. This was the place where we sat down enjoying the lively atmosphere and our cheapest tinto de verano. After a while we went to the new part of town for a bit of shopping (some shops were open even on sunday). Markus got some much needed, dirt cheap shirts. We had a wonderful dinner back at the plaza and finished the day in a small, old wine bar just at the corner of the hostel which was a good idea as our bed was close by ;-).
The next day we woke up quite early as we had to leave our car at the train station in Seville at 9 pm. For our last 3 days in Seville we were without a car - but, honestly, who needs a car in Seville? Here we were at the train station, Markus with his backback and I with my little trolley (because of my cicatrices all over my belly I cannot carry a backpack and for an old backpacker like me it feels like a sin to use a trolley) without an idea where to start looking for accomodation. We sat down at a cafe with internet and checked some places in tripadvisor. Some cheap and decent options were not too far away and close by each other in the Barrio Santa Cruz. And again we were extreme lucky. The first one looked great and some guests were just checking out. Good timing. We got the room for 3 nights, left our luggage there and went for a nice breakfast on a nearby plaza followed by a stroll through the barrio to the cathedral and back. I was really shocked how much this part of the city had changed. I remembered some old, dusty bars with sevillanas music and not much more in the Barrio Santa Cruz. A had always avoided walking in the area alone at night. And now: hotels, modern restaurants, chic tables everywhere! On the one side, this was nice but on the other side the famous atmosphere had gone. Nevertheless, it was great being back. We continued our walk to my once favourite plaza: the Plaza de España. And this is still the most amazing plaza! I do not have the words to describe the architecture, the atmosphere on a sunday afternoon and the beauty of this place. It is overwhelming for me, and it was overwhelming for Markus as I did not tell him anyhting before. We spent quite some time there just sitting in the shade and taking it all in. The following 2 days we went nearly everywhere on foot and explored the whole city. It is much more modern than it was - there
is even a tramway now! And there are lots of chinese supermarkets. Triana, on the other side of the river Guadalquivir, no has great and expansive restaurants and the riverfront is great for a walk. Although modern, Seville has kept its charm and I still love this place. It is one of the cities we could live in. Of course, on the outskirts you can find the other side of Spains society today. Downtown shopping areas and tourist sights all glorious, the middle class parts of the cities are vanishing and you can feel the poverty and the lack of jobs. This made me sad, as I really love Spain (in total I lived for about 1 year in this country), I love the people and their mentality. But the country is really suffering a lot because of the current economic crisis and once you leave the tourist center this is very obvious. Well, Andalucía currently has an unemployment rate among young people of 51%!!(MISSING) Hopefully, the country will recover soon.
We enjoyed our 3 days a lot, visited quite some bars, went shopping, talked to locals, I got a new haircut and every day we went to bed quite late as we got stuck in a cozy bar somewhere. For sure, we will come back soon. But, it was time to go back home. We were happy, that my stomach handled this trip quite ok. This gave us courage to plan some more, longer trips in the future. Adiós España, hasta muy pronto! Vamos a regresar.