Portugal to Seville

By | May 13, 2016

We checked out of our AirBnB apartment in Portugal on Thursday morning and grabbed an Uber to head out to Lisbon airport.  The Uber came within minutes and dropped us at the airport with no issues.  We were then able to join a shuttle to our rental car company’s garage nearby.  We’d booked this car ages ago via Rentalcars.com and have always found them to be a good site for rental car bookings as they access a number of different companies and provide options for adding different types of cover etc.

We ended up with a nice diesel VW Golf wagon and set up our GPS to head for Seville, in Spain, as our next destination.  The company, Drive on Holidays, added the Portugese equivalent of an eTag to the car so that we could use the good tollroads in Portugal before crossing into Spain.

DSCN6357A few hours of uneventful driving later and we arrived at our Seville apartment, right near the bullfighting arena in Calle Arenal. The host had to work, so his friend, Juan, met us at the door and showed us how to access the underground parking and apartment etc.

DSCN6355Once again, AirBnB has provided us with a great outcome, with a very nice apartment built to replicate the local style of apartments grouped around a central ‘cool well’ and with balconies providing views into the street outside and to the nearby Mercado Arenal, or market.

We settle in and then head out for a look around the streets nearby. It’s clear that there is a multitude of bars and restaurants to choose from in this part of town and we also take note of the local sharebike system which seems to use the same bikes and docking mechanisms as the Velibs in Paris.

Just around the corner we find a restaurant for some dinner and have a great meal featuring pork and veal and then head for our new ‘home’ to relax and hope for fine weather tomorrow, after it having rained pretty much all the way from Lisbon to Seville.

The apartment is spacious and well appointed and we use the washer to get a head start on some of our washing. When using AirBnB it’s always a good idea to use the search filters to ensure that the place you choose has all of the things you need. In our case, wifi is always at the top of the list!

DSCN6367Unfortunately, Seville has been experiencing an unusual spell of wet weather and we wake to the prospect of continued rain, but decide to get out amongst it anyway; walking to some shops to pick up a few things and then heading to the nearest Sevici bike station to get an access number.  Then, it’s onto the bikes for a leisurely ride down the canal and across a bridge toward the Place de Espana; before a thunderous rain storm drives us indoors to find coffee and watch the rain drench the riders in the horse drawn carriages.

Rain gone and sun out again, we saddle up with a couple of new bikes, catching the chance to chat to a young Aussie guy who is visiting from Berlin and showing a South American couple how to access the system.  With a huge expanse like the Place de Espana it turns out that bikes are an excellent way to get around.  You can get an idea of the beautiful place which was created back in the 1920s for a huge expo here in Seville in this video.

Untitled from Roger Pryor on Vimeo.


DSCN6368It’s then on to find a docking station and time for lunch.  Last time we were in Spain, we learnt about the menu del dia: a choice of first course, then a second choice, followed by dessert and accompanied by ‘pan’ (bread) and ‘bebida’ (a drink). We each had the paella, followed by ‘bitoke ternera’ (veal rissoles) with a beer, bread and dessert. Cost? 10 euro each.  The iTranslate app was once again useful for working out what the choices were as this was a part of town frequented by locals rather than tourists and our command of Spanish is hopelessly lacking.

Some places don’t display their Menu del Dia outside, so it’s worth asking inside as it is usually an excellent meal and great value.

We enjoyed our meal and the chance to dodge another rainstorm before finding another bike station and taking a couple more bikes to use the ‘on footpath’ bike lanes: seeing remnants of Roman aqueducts along the way.  DSCN6370

It is absolutely fascinating to think of the waves of invasion, settlement and displacement which has taken place here over around at least 2500 years.

It was here in Seville that Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabella to discuss his voyage westward, and the river in Seville saw a wealth of trade bringing goods from far away places.

We find that a number of the bikes have issues like broken pedals and poor brakes or whatever.  It pays to check the bikes in their dock before taking one out.  When a bike with issues is found it can be useful to leave the seat reversed so that it is clear to others that the bike is unserviceable.

DSCN6379To top off our wandering, we find a barber’s shop so that one of the many barbers of Seville can ply his trade. He is good at his work and has me sorted out with a ‘numero tres’ with a minimum of fuss.

The ‘Barber of Seville’ experience satisfied, we wander through the narrow, twisting streets of the old town, past the huge cathedral; the third largest in Europe, incorporating features from its Moorish origins as an Islamic mosque.


DSCN6383The huge bell tower, formerly a minaret, towers above us and the city.

The plan had been to end the wander with a visit to a Craft beer bar nearby, but, unfortunately it won’t be open for a couple of hours, so we shelter instead in a neighbouring bar with a host of Iberico hams hanging above the bar and a loud party of Frenchmen bantering beside a cigar smoking local.

Replete, we head home for the day.




One thought on “Portugal to Seville

  1. Bryan campbell

    Good one
    Guessed you would have a haircut somewhere when I started reading the report.
    Great adventure.


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