Weekend of Oct. 3-5: Exploring in and around Sevilla

On Friday the 3rd, Lauren and Kiana (two other girls in my program) and I headed to Matalascañas (yes, you may have heard me mention this beach before!) Matalascañas is a beach that is a quick one-hour bus-ride away and is absolutely beautiful. It also has this very old ruin that is just chilling about a meter out in the water (it’s illegal to go near it, but all the Matalascañas tourism things picture this ex-building on it!) Unknown-2

Anyway, Lauren, Kiana and I arrived at the beach after a bit more than an hour on the bus (it turns out the bus doesn’t go non-stop on weekdays). However, it was even more amazing than last time because the beach was almost completely empty! Without exaggerating, I think there must have been between 1,500 and 2,000 people on this maybe one-mile long strip of beach when we went on that first Saturday that we were in Sevilla (back in September). Today, however, there were maybe 100 people.

And today turned out to be one of my favorite days in a long time, simply because I didn’t have to do anything. That’s right, I just slept and read a bit by the beach, ate some lunch, went swimming and all was well with the world.

On Saturday, Lauren, Naomi and I had a lovely picnic lunch in Parque Maria Luisa (a pretty big park in the middle of Sevilla). After that, we walked around the park a bit and also wandered into some museums.

On Sunday, I had signed up for another CIEE excursion (my study abroad program, CIEE, has this great offering of things to do in and around Sevilla that you simply have to sign up for and get to go on, for free!) On Sunday we headed to Carmona, a little town about 45 minutes northeast of Sevilla.

In Carmona, of the coolest (both literally and figuratively) things we got to do was climb down a ladder into an old Roman burial site. The site itself was pretty anticlimactic (it was essentially an underground room, but everything that was once inside it had been removed) but it was a very interesting feeling getting to go under the earth. We looked at a few more ruins and burial sites and then headed into the accompanying museum for a bit.

We then walked into town, where we were given free time (which, in case you don’t know me, basically means “snack time.”) Lauren, Naomi and I walked into a lovely looking “Creperie” and I had THE most delicious Nutella-filled crepe. I had a brief moment to chat with the owner and she assured me that these were “authentic” crepes, since she had studied gastronomy for three years in France before opening her café in Carmona.

Once the snack break was done, we headed into an Alcazar/Palace-type building. Well, more like we headed up the building. Each level we climbed gave way to more and more impressive views of the Cathedral and surrounding city. At one point, as we looked below, we first heard a lot of commotion and excitement and shortly thereafter saw a bike race barreling through the (relatively narrow!) streets below.

Later we headed back to Sevilla and I was able to attend a special mass. The church around the corner from my house is called Parroquia San Roque and was under construction when I first arrived in Sevilla. It’s been open for a few weeks now, but on Sunday, the archbishop was celebrating an official opening mass (and the church was PACKED). It was a very special and fancy experience and was a great way to end a relatively tranquil weekend at home in Sevilla (and some surrounding towns).

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