Essen­tials Get­ting there

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Cover Story -

Bri­tish Air­ways (0344 493 0787; ba.com), easyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com) and Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair. com) all fly to Seville from Lon­don Gatwick. Ryanair of­fers an ad­di­tional ser­vice from Stansted. Re­mondo 19; 0034 954 224 990; hd­maria.com). Kirker Hol­i­days (020 7593 1899; kirk­er­hol­i­days.com) is of­fer­ing three-night stays at the same ho­tel from £498 per per­son. The price in­cludes flights, trans­fers and daily break­fast. sun. All along the re­tail av­enue of Calle Sier­pes, white drapes are strung be­tween the build­ings at roof level – can­vas guardians pro­tect­ing the shop­pers be­low. Calles Rioja, Rosario, O’Don­nell and Te­tuán are sim­i­larly en­hanced and, to­gether, they cre­ate a labyrinth of cov­ered walk­ways that seems to mimic the souks of Mar­rakesh. The echo is ap­pro­pri­ate as Sier­pes fun­nels me south into the arms of North Africa – the Al­cázar smil­ing as Seville’s key ex­am­ple of a build­ing de­signed to with­stand the weather.

In part, the smile con­ceals a lie. While the palace was cer­tainly founded in the Moor­ish era – and plays up to these ori­gins in its sigh­ing arches and al­coves – much of its fabric dates to the 14th cen­tury, when the Spanish crown had seized con­trol. It was Pe­dro I who com­mis­sioned the iconic Pa­tio de las Don­cel­las, with its long re­flect­ing pool, pale mar­ble walls and shaded perime­ter – ac­knowl­edg­ing not just the beauty of the for­mer regime’s style of con­struc­tion, but also its prag­matic ben­e­fits. Even in Novem­ber, it feels no­tice­ably colder in­side the court­yard.

Be­yond the walls of the Al­cázar, drift­ing away to the west, Seville meets the flow of the Guadalquivir (tech­ni­cally the Canal de Al­fonso III, a side-branch of a river that dis­sects the city in two chan­nels), and changes pace. On the far side of the soupy green cur­rents, Tri­ana keeps its own coun­sel – not so much a neigh­bour­hood as an out­ly­ing en­clave, im­bued with its own at­ti­tude and iden­tity. It has tra­di­tion­ally been a place of sailors and dock­ers – 300m and yet a world away from the so­phis­ti­cates and per­fumed courtiers of Cen­tro. But if some of its coarse­ness has been leav­ened by money and moder­nity, its to­geth­er­ness is still vis­i­ble on the hard line of Calle Pe­lay Cor­rea as it runs par­al­lel to the wa­ter. Mid­way along, two ad­join­ing tapas bars, Bar Bis­tec and Bodega Siglo XVIII, duel for cus­tomers, their wares im­printed on chalk­boards – sar­dines and prawns, an­chovies, squid, salt­cod. The ri­valry, though, is friendly, the crowd out­side spilling through both door­ways. A Sun­day fi­esta is in mo­tion, pinned to the Igle­sia de Santa Ana, op­po­site – a cel­e­bra­tion on the street, in spite of the date on the cal­en­dar. And there is that colour once more, the walls of the church an undi­luted orange.

A block north, Calle Pureza car­ries me west, past cy­cle work­shops and square-cut houses – un­til, on Plaza del Al­tozano, Tri­ana em­braces its gen­tri­fi­ca­tion. Opened in 1823, the Mer­cado de Tri­ana must once have been a work­horse, a slurry of fish guts and man­ual labour. Now it deals in week­night cook­ery classes at the Taller An­daluz de Cocina, and in those ubiq­ui­tous or­anges – even if, these days, they are present at Bo­casú, a patis­serie where food­smith Manuel Jara crafts chou-pas­try nuggets, glazed and filled with cus­tard, in a rain­bow of flavours – ap­ple and rasp­berry, as well as clemen­tine.

Else­where in the mar­ket, an out­let is sell­ing Christ­mas gifts. These are cute trin­kets and wood toys, but the dis­play is dusted with fake snow – and, mo­men­tar­ily, the in­con­gruity makes me laugh. In Seville, the con­cept of a frosty win­ter is so im­plau­si­ble that it has to be fab­ri­cated. Novem­ber tem­per­a­ture: The Ma­jor­can cap­i­tal is a fab­u­lously Spanish city whose huge cathe­dral La Seu may just be the coun­try’s most im­pres­sive. Es Balu­ard (es­balu­ard.org) is a modern art gallery, tucked into a 16th-cen­tury for­ti­fi­ca­tion. pal­mavir­tual.es The four-star Art Ho­tel Palma, in­jected into a re­stored 19th-cen­tury palace on La Ram­bla, serves up dou­ble rooms from £123 (tele­graph. co.uk/tt-art­palma).

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