TOP 18 BEST…

I thought for one of my last posts, I would make a compilation of what I consider some of the “Best of Seville”. This place truly has my heart and I am so so glad I chose to study here! Here’s a look into some of my fav/most frequented places…

CAPPUCCINO: Torch. Hands down!!! So creamy and smooth. And no sugar needed! I can’t seem to find a picture, but trust me, Torch is the best. They also have the sweetest baristas.

PLACE TO WATCH THE SUNSET: Las Setas. Make sure you get in line early so you can get to the top before the sun is gone!! One of the best views too.

PLACE TO GET A SMOOTHIE: Jester. Beats MilkAway if you ask me!! Always a nice change up from the classic bocadillo or fried potatoes. I asked the worker for his recommendation on which smoothie would best cure my cold, and once I tried it and complimented it, he replied, “Thanks! I made it myself.” SWEET. BOY.

NEIGHBORHOOD TO EXPLORE: Triana vs. Santa Cruz. Honestly a tie between these too. Triana is on my side of the river so I feel bias towards it, but Barrio Santa Cruz is just SO cute.

Triana-

Santa Cruz-

PATATAS BRAVAS: La Bandilla. Julia and I stumbled on this restaurant the very first week we were here, and this was the first time and place I tried this classic Spanish tapa! Luckily, you can get these in pretty much every restaurant and they are great wherever you go.

CHURROS: Bar Comercio. This churros bar was recommended by a local Sevillano and it did not disappoint! You can even watch them make the churros right in front of you.

HOST MOM: Carmen. My real family got my meet my host family the other night and it was the best thing ever!! Sweet Carmen prepared a spread of typical Sevillano gastronomy for them to try (Iberian ham, prawns, salmorejo) and I acted as translator! So special. Remember when I told y’all that she was an amazing cook? I found out she was taking cooking classes, and when I asked her why she was taking the classes and not teaching them, she said she is working towards getting a cooking certificate so she can open a restaurant of her own!! She proudly told us she received perfect scores on her dishes 🎉 She’s that good, y’all!!

FÚTBOL TEAM: Sevilla FC. This city actually has two teams you can root for — either Sevilla FC or Real Betis. My host dad, Ramon, is a huge Sevilla FC fan, so of course, I had to be one too! (I should also add that Sevilla beat Betis back in April 😉) My host parents warned us not to go to one of these games though because the Sevillanos are passionate about their rivalry! We did all go to a later game though to celebrate our friends’ last night in Seville and it was SO fun. The neighborhood around the stadium is filled with fans grabbing a drink or eating with friends before the game and then once in the game, everyone is extremely focused. We ended up winning 4-0!

BEST CITY TO VISIT: Lisbon, Portugal. Quite possibly the steepest city I’ve ever walked, but BEAUTIFUL and so CHEAP! This was another city we could get to by bus which was awesome!! 10/10 recommend their Vino Verde (Green Wine) and their Natas- a traditional Portuguese pastry!

PLACE TO STUDY: Cafe del Valle vs. Puro & Bio. Both in Los Remedios!! Puro & Bio doesn’t have wifi but has cool tea options and a great atmosphere. Cafe del Valle does have wifi and has the BEST pastries.

FLAMENCO BAR: La Carbonería. This bar is local and extremely AUTHENTIC. It is free, you just have to pay for a drink to get in. Make sure to get there early enough so you can see!! The talent is incredible.

RESTAURANT: Mammarracha. This was a hard choice to make because there are so many good ones, but if I had to narrow it down I would choose this place. We found out though that many of our fav restaurants actually all have the same owner- this one included!

FRIENDS IN THE WORLD: These girls. They traveled across the pond for a weekend (yep, weekend!) to Paris for a visit. They also fully embraced my artistic vision of a photoshoot with berets under the Eiffel Tower. Now those are some true friends!! Love you ladies.

GELATO: Valencianos vs. La Abuela. Valencianos has wifi so we would just have to get gelato in the name of free wifi (poor us!), but La Abuela seems to be just about everywhere you turn, so it’s more convenient. Can’t go wrong with either.

BEST TRADITION I GOT TO EXPERIENCE: Feria. Definitely one of my favorite nights of abroad and an experience that I will never be able to replicate. So glad I studied here in the Spring and got to be here for this! Feria is a huge, week-long party that draws over a million people!! The fair grounds are filled with “casetas” which are colorful, private tents owned by local Sevillanos. The men wear suits and ties while the women wear their beautiful flamenco dresses. My sisters and I got to go around with a local friend and it was SO fun. The drink of the fair is called a “rebujito” and is basically 7-up mixed with white wine.

DRESSED: Every single child in Sevilla. Their outfits are so. stinking. cute. Okay stalker pic, but look at this nugget!!! You should have seen them in their Feria outfits.

BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE NCAA: Hoos. While I was unbelievably depressed that I was not in Cville to celebrate the national championship win, I was grateful to have a UVA squad here in Seville to celebrate with. The game wasn’t until 3:30am here, so we were national champs around 6am, but that didn’t matter. We ended up renting an AirBnB to watch the game and it turned out great. I just feel bad for our neighbors! Always grateful to be a Hoo, even from 3000 miles away.

SQUAD TO STUDY ABROAD WITH: These peeps. Thankful for this city for bringing us all together, and grateful that the majority of them either go to the same school or to ones very close by!

*BONUS!!* Shoutout to the BEST parents and study abroad program for making this semester possible.

Hasta Pronto, Sevilla! I’ll be back for you soon. ❤️

Carnival

Hello! It has been way too long since I have blogged, but please take that as a good sign! Life in Spain is full and wonderful and I am loving it. One of the neatest things to me about being in Spain is getting to travel to smaller cities on the weekends that are short train (or bus) rides away. One of those cities is Cadíz! Cadíz is a small beach town about an hour away from Sevilla, but it is rich with history. Cadíz is thought to be the oldest city in Europe, as it was inhabited by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. They took advantage of the location for trade.

Once a year, Cadíz has a festival called Carnival. I would say this is a more mild version of Mardi Gras, but think colorful costumes, filled streets and parade floats. This celebration is said to come from an old Italian tradition. The costumes are called “tipos” and it is only necessary to dress up!

Different groups parade their floats through the streets, stopping to sing for the crowds. These singers are called “Coros”. They are in action behind Julia and I in the pic on the left. There are also food and drink vendors everywhere!

Apart from Carnival, we also had the chance to explore the city and enjoy the beach!

A scene from the James Bond movie, Die Another Day, was filmed where these pics were taken!!

Our afternoon on the beach in Cadíz is still one of my favorite days from abroad!!

It was also one of the prettiest sunsets I have seen.

I love you, Cadíz!! Thanks for the best weekend.

La Universidad de Sevilla

For my second blog post I wanted to tell you all about where I study because it is SO BEAUTIFUL. This is the entrance to the local university where I take all of my classes! This building was commissioned by King Fernando VI and was used as a royal cigar factory beginning in the 16th century.

All of my classes are in English (thankfully) and I am taking one Spanish language course. I am happy to report that I moved out of the beginner class and into the intermediate. Woohoo! I would say I am learning the most from hearing the language though and communicating with my host family – they speak zero English!

My classes are all over the place, but I am taking courses in gender views in media, Spain’s classical heritage and one in photography. I would have to say that the photography one has been my favorite so far because the teacher is hilarious. He is full of life and creativity and is way too talented to be teaching students like me! He is so supportive of our work though and always praises the pictures we submit for homework.

Antonio helping us make obscure cameras with shoeboxes

The university is right past the bridge so it is just a 10 minute walk to class. There is also a Starbucks that is dangerously located right across the street. Classes are long here though (2 hours each) so a daily cappuccino is only necessary!

All of my professors are incredibly smart though and genuinely care about how we are adjusting to life in Seville. Many of them ask about weekend plans to different cities and offer recommendations or insight into the daily lives of Sevillanos.

Fernando

Fernando is another one of my favorite teachers. I switched into his history and mythology course the first week of school and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made! His English is perfect (he studied in the US) and he is one of the smartest and most worldly professors I have ever met. He is extremely personable though and loves to tell stories about his wife and two young kids. Fernando is a perfect example of the professors truly caring about their students and you can tell that this care is genuine. We actually spent the whole class today talking about various cultural traditions here in Spain. This topic grew out of a fellow classmates question of how to make friends with local Sevillanos. By the end of the class, Fernando had opened the floor to all questions we may have about Seville and the ways of its people. We may not have gotten to course material, but I learned more in those two hours then I think I would’ve if we had.

The workload is extremely manageable, for which I am SO grateful. Just hoping it stays that way! Midterms are in a couple weeks which sounds crazy to me because it feels like I just got here. (which I sorta did!)

Hasta pronto! Off to Copenhagen!!

Los Remedios

Hola de Sevilla!

I’ve been here for almost a month so I figured it was about time to update you all! Let me begin by saying Sevilla is amazing!! It took time to settle in and to transition to life in a new place and living in someone else’s home, as I figured it would, but now that classes are in full swing and I no longer have to use Google Maps wherever I go, I’d say I’m doing pretty great!!

Triana
Plaza de España

The living is easy here in Sevilla and the pace of life is slow. Wine flows like water and there is bread everywhere. I mean everywhere. The people are friendly and the babies are just like the bread — EVERYWHERE! Haha. If you know me then you know how happy that makes me. Everything is walkable in Sevilla which is SUPER nice and its all very cheap. The architecture is also breathtaking.

The Cathedral
Alcázar

I live in Los Remedios which is a neighborhood just across the river from the center of the city. My friends joke that I am Dan from Brooklyn in Gossip Girl when I cross the bridge to get home. Veryy funny chicas!!

Home sweet home
View from the bridge

Los Remedios is filled with life (except during siesta) and I have had so much fun exploring the neighborhood. There aren’t very many tourists or chains, but rather cute boutiques, bakeries and coffee shops. I often try sweets and pastries from these bakeries and coffee shops and call it blog research. 😉

Hola perro!
Un té Earl Grey and un miguelito con chocolate, por favor!

The heart of the neighborhood lies on Calle Asunción. This pedestrian street is filled with Sevillanos of all ages, especially when the sun is shining. Kids play soccer in the streets, grandparents stroll their grandchildren and friends meet for coffee on every corner. Last week, I even saw a woman pushing her mom in a wheelchair, who was pushing her granddaughter in a stroller. It was too cute. All about family here in Sevilla!

Calle Asunción
Hola bebe!

My favorite part about Los Remedios though? This woman.

This is my host mom- Carmen. Carmen has been married to Ramón for 22 years and they have three daughters — Carmen (15), Lucia (15) and Claudia (12). Ramón has lived in Los Remedios his whole life and Carmen is from Triana, a similar neighborhood just a flew blocks over. Carmen is an amazing cook and makes something new for us every day! I asked her if she grew up cooking, but she said she didn’t learn until she was in her twenties and was living on her own. She taught herself all she knows but says it is easy because it’s something she loves to do. I have been here almost a month and I don’t think there has been a dish that I haven’t liked. (That’s pretty impressive if you know me!!)

Along with being a great cook, she is kind, hard working, selfless and loves her family so well. She reminds me of my own mom back at home 😊 Her daughters give her sass but you can tell how much they love and appreciate her. I often laugh to myself when I watch them interact because I can relate to the youngest one on so many levels. It wasn’t always easy growing up having two cool older sisters so I feel you, Claudia!!

I am super grateful for all this woman does for me though and for making life in Los Remedios feel like home!

Thanks for reading!! Hasta pronto!

Headed to cheer on the Hoos for the last time in awhile.

I am on the way to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl now, but in 33 days I will be on the way to Sevilla. After exams I packed up my life in Charlottesville and drove it all home to Richmond, leaving the comforts and the familiarity of my University filled with the people I love in my rearview. Sad to leave, it hadn’t quite hit me yet because there was a holiday to celebrate and family from in town to catch up with. It still felt distant. Now that Christmas is over and and family has gone home however, this is real. There’s nothing else left in between me and abroad and it is scary. My friends will all be returning to school soon without me. I can’t imagine that that won’t be hard. It is not that I need more time though, 33 days or 330, I know I will never be fully ready for this adventure, but I know that it is going to be worth every ounce of fear I have leading up to it. With every story I have heard from friends that have just returned from their own abroad adventure, the anxiety softens little by little – especially when it is from friends that have just returned from Sevilla. Stories of new friends and sweet homestay parents, along with crazy nights in new places and once in a life time adventures remind me why I chose to go abroad in the first place. I can only imagine the ways this experience will enrich my life and shape the way I live it even once I return home. Hopefully I will pick up a little (read: a lot) of Spanish along the way. I’ve taken Spanish beginning in middle school all the way through my sophomore year in college, but even that and the Duolingo app couldn’t prepare me for the placement test. You can find me rocking it in the beginner Spanish class! I am very excited for this chance though to practice what I remember and what I know I will learn. I know my choice of homestay will help with this. 

I hope that this blog will allow me to share memories with others, but also my future self, so I can go back and read it and remember all of my wonderful times abroad. Follow along on these adventures with me beginning next month. See you all soon!