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Welcome to Part 2 of our “amazing” Spain trip!   As we moved to the South of Spain (Barcelona to Seville), we were prepared for different cuisine, wines, and cultural experiences.  We took a flight from Barcelona to Seville airport on Vueling airlines;  it was quite a tight plane, but they were gracious, accepted our bags (see below for our portable luggage scale, we had to do some weight redistribution in order to stay under the weight limit!), and even offered a bit of food on the flight.

Since we had a very early flight, the wonderful team at Paladar y Tomar ensured we all had a breakfast picnic to eat on the way to the airport.  It was so wonderful to have everything just handled, our airline tickets, transportation, etc.   Very nice!

Hotels in Seville (and surrounding area):

  • Hotel Los Jandalos Vistahermosa (El Puerto de Santa Maria) Hotel Los Jandalos Vistahermosa We loved the fact that every hotel experience was quite different than the one prior, although it was a bit of an organizational challenge for us to change hotels/cities every 2-3 days.  Over the course of the trip, we figured out a good process to unpack only what was needed so our mornings weren’t such a scramble.  Many of you know my dear hubby, and he’s not a morning person, especially when he does not have coffee available, but once we figured out a good routine, it worked out well!  What we loved about this hotel was the Spanish architecture, the clay tile roof, flowers everywhere and fountains- it was comfortable and authentic.

    We had a lovely patio, as you can see from the video, and had a few hours in the sun here drinking Cruzcampo beer.  Yay for free time!

  • Hotel Palacio de Villapanes This hotel was in a fantastic area of Seville- easy walking distance to just about anything, including good coffee 😊   We did a bit of shopping around the hotel, picked up some last minute souvenirs- although “small and light” was the rule of the day based on our baggage weight!  The hotel has an impressive courtyard at the entrance and lots of nooks and crannies to explore (do people still say that?)   Our room was very modern and comfortable and wow, check out the shower!

    Everything in the minibar was complimentary, which is a super nice touch for a luxury hotel to avoid the nickel and dime scenario.   They have a VERY nice rooftop terrace, so be sure to find your way there!   There is a very small pool, lounger beds and you just pick up the phone and someone will deliver your glass of wine or Cava right away.   Could life get any better?

    The views were incredible as well.

Restaurants in Seville (and surrounding area):

  • Casa Bigote (Sanlucar de Barrameda) Casa Bigote This restaurant is in a wonderful little seaside town, and after our early morning flight and about an hour bus ride, we were ready to breathe in the seaside air.   We were on the beach, facing the Guadalquivir river mouth to visit Casa Bigote.

The service here was fantastic and we had the best shrimp of the trip, in my opinion, as it’s cooked a bit differently than the northern area.  Once we finished this lunch, a siesta was much needed.   I could get used to the Spain schedule!

  • El Faro del Puerto  What a beautiful restaurant!   As you walk thru the courtyard/ front terrace seating, you note all the blooming flora, the tree that is inside the restaurant and the traditional cellar room.  El Faro 1 El Faro 12As the weather was a bit chilly on this night, we had our starters in the cellar, and enjoyed a bit of education about the wines they carry and what to expect for the evening.

Our meal was not only delicious, but the ambiance of the dining room was elegant  El Faro 5

  • Restaurante Oriza ;  Our walking tour of Seville ended at this restaurant and so the first thing we did was order a beer 😊  Oriza 1It is at this restaurant that I discovered an amazing Rioja from Cune- you must try this if you are a dry red wine fan.   Fantastico!
  • Becerrita    No bus ride needed tonight- this restaurant was a short walk from Hotel Villapanes, yay!   Hubby and I voted on this place for the “Best Croquettes” that were an ooey gooey mix of jamon/cheese yumminess.
    • Restaurante Arrieros (Linares de la Sierra); Yelp Review of Arrieros I do not know how to describe the quaint and authentic nature of this restaurant.   You must picture this first: Arriero 17You are walking in a small village of ~200 people, winding along cobblestone roads and buildings to find this place (the bus parked at top of hill over the village)- and viola!  here you are at Arrieros.   It’s a traditional house, but the most welcoming, wonderful smelling house you’ve ever visited.   Look at the furniture and ambiance:

      The views from the back patio were stunning as well (there’s that word again)

      And then you sit down to eat the meal.  Unbelievably fantastic.  This is a true farm to table restaurant and they have grown most of the food.  They explained each dish and what came from the garden and this was a tasty experience.

      You must, must make your way here if you are even remotely close to this village.  It is VERY well worth the time and effort to get there.

    • Restaurant Tribeca  This is like “New York in Spain”; the vibe of the restaurant is very modern and the food was as well.  This was our last dinner before we needed to go back and get ready for our early flights home the next day, so it was a wonderful celebration to “close” the trip and say our goodbyes.   Fantastic experience.

Things to do in Seville (and surrounding area):

  • Lustau winery (in Jerez de la Frontera) for a sherry tasting. Lustau Winery  Yes I’ve been to Napa a few times and No, you won’t find anything like this there!      Ok, so first, we had our educational tour of the history of the winery, the different types of wines they make and for each building/cellar we toured, a tasting was arranged.  They explained the architecture of the buildings and how it facilitates the appropriate aging of the wines, etc.   If you’re in this area, this is definitely worth a trip to learn about sherry!

Then, the surprise of the evening, we had an elegant meal served at the winery.

We also had a visit from a local musician who was amazing; and our host decided to honor us with a bit of singing as well. Gala 6  It was a lovely night!

  • Royal Palace / Reales Alcazares: Royal Palace ;   Our Royal Palace experience was part of a Seville walking tour that was arranged for us, so we had stops at a few places, disembarked the bus, visited a facility or two and moved to next location.  It was a very nice way to see the town, and honestly, work off a bit of the food we’ve eaten over the last week!

The Royal Palace was the piece de resistance here, and the grounds were extensive!   We had a local tour guide for the day and he was incredibly knowledgeable about the history, usage of the facility, etc.   We had a very delightful day exploring.

Everything is in bloom this time of year as well, so enjoy the Jacarandas Sevilla tour 12

  • Jamon Experience; Jabugo;  Cinco Jotas This experience (outside of exploring the seaside town of Cadaques- see Part 1 post- was one of our favorite.  We traveled out to the countryside, to Sierra de Aracena Natural Park & Picos de Aroche- a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve to visit real “Iberian” pigs.  We were in the pasture with the pigs while they happily searched for lunch.   We spent quite a bit of time here with our host, learning how the pigs are raised, the rules and regulations around classification as true “Iberian” Jamon and strolled around the pasture enjoying the views.  It was a little chilly and rainy, but still very enjoyable and the views were incredible.

    These trees produce “cork” for wine bottles and acorns for the pigs 🙂

    We then drove into town to visit Cinco Jotas, the facility that processes the pork.   We spent time here not only learning about the 3 year curing process and all the steps involved, but also learning a bit about these traditions that are passed down family member to family member over the years.   The entire town is focused on the processing of this delicacy, and it’s a fascinating experience.

    There was even a quiz 😊    We were then moved to a gorgeous tasting room where we tried the different cuts of Jamon, paired with wine.  Beautiful, beautiful!

Please note that we have links in our blog posts.  Most are just direct links to the hotels, sites or restaurants that we visited.  We do not receive any compensation for these, we inserted them here for your convenience!   For the Amazon product links, we get a small (and I mean a very small) bit of commission when you use our links, and we greatly appreciate you doing so.  It comes nowhere near to offsetting our expense for hosting and such, so we deeply appreciate the click.   We ONLY recommend products we personally use.  Thank you!

Other recommendations to prepare for this trip:

Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale, Rubber Paint, Temperature Sensor, 110 Pounds, Silver

Luggage scale

    • I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook if you want to make anything close to what you see during this trip 🙂   There are quite a few recipes that are exactly what we ate during the trip (or pretty close to) that I have earmarked to try.
    • If you are like us and you need a cup of coffee in order to function, consider purchasing some Nescafe instant coffee. You are fine in Barcelona as most hotels have a hot pot and instant coffee available in your room, AND there are coffee shops that open pretty early, however, when you get out of the big cities, we did not have coffee in our rooms (Roses had a hot pot, but only tea); and most places do not open early for morning coffee (9a on average).
    • If you get a bit motion sick while on a bus driving thru hairpin turns in the mountains (ahem, like ME), consider bringing day time Dramamine.

Mobility notes for this section of the trip:

  • The Hotel Villapanes is on a “side” street in Seville, and the sidewalk is extremely narrow in places (the road is cobblestone).   A few folks had a bit of difficulty with the two blocks to the main street;  the right shoes are the most important choice here.
  • As the Iberian farm is located in the mountains, jackets and correct shoes for walking in a pasture with pigs (closed toe!) are necessary.  There is a bit of a climb up to the vantage point in the field, and it’s well worth it, but a cane might be helpful here as well if you need.
  • The village of Linares de la Sierra has no streets for the bus, so it’s walking on a stone road- just see the pics so you know what type of shoes you’ll need.  This was a climb up steep steps back to the bus.

Wrap Up:

The hosts of Curate (Curate Trips)  and Paladar y Tomar (Paladar y Tomar) created a perfect experience for our us.   We were able to explore and experience Spain “as it should be”, outside of the big cities for a bit, and learning not only about food and wine, but about the culture and history of the Spain people.   We met quite a few locals and had time to explore a few European alleys here and there.   If we needed a break and just wanted to have a bit more time to ourselves, our hosts were gracious and we connected with the group later- so there is good flexibility here with this team.  One person (an avid hiker), so wanted to hike around the Pyrenees mountains, that during our time in Cadaques, she left for a few hours to do so.  It’s that kind of trip!   It is a small group, there were 14 total travelers; and with hosts, was just 17 people, so very manageable size.  I did not find that we were waiting on others to return at the appointed time, etc., everyone was gracious and respectful of the group.  I know that the owners of Curate are looking at a variety of trip itineraries, including Portugal.  They also have trips that are focused on Michelin starred restaurants, since there are so many in this part of of the world.  Their trips sell out in a matter of days, so if you have interest, get yourself signed up to be on their mailing lists at the Curate link above.

Lastly, if there are any questions we can answer, please just message me and I’m happy to help.  Thanks for sharing our journey!

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