Sevilla’s Feria de Abril
I said a few posts ago that one of the reasons I wanted to be in Spain in the spring was Semana Santa. Another was Sevilla’s Feria de Abril, the city’s major spring fair and one of the biggest festivals in Spain. Plans for the trip kind of came together at the last minute, but on the Saturday of the week-long festival, I met my EAP friend Robin, my Spanish conversation exchange friend Francisco, and his Spanish friends José and Almudena in Sevilla.
We started by walking through the Barrio Santa Cruz and visiting the Plaza de España, which I’ve mentioned visiting in my previous trips to Sevilla, and then we returned to our hotel to rest before heading out to Feria.
Feria was amazing. Sevilla’s fairgrounds are lined with casetas, tents run by individual families and organizations where people eat tapas, drink drinks (especially manzanilla wine), hang out, and dance Sevillanas, a flamenco-style dance. Most of the casetas are private, open only to people who know the families, but a few are public, and you can always listen to the music and watch the dancing from outside the tent.
There’s also a section that looks like a typical American carnival, with rides, cotton candy, games, etc., although I’m fairly certain these rides would result in a million lawsuits if they existed in the U.S. Things are so different when a country isn’t as litigious as the United States.
We walked around the carnival side for a bit and then returned to the casetas, where we stopped in one and drank some manzanilla while listening to flamenco music (I love love love flamenco music). We then left the tent, walked around some more, and tried to dance Sevillanas. Though I clearly have no future as a flamenco dancer, it was fun trying to make up flamenco dancing.
Spain really does throw the best parties and festivals, and Feria was a perfect example of this. I loved that tons of people, from infants to people in their 80s, were out past 3am, enjoying the music, the warm night and the festive atmosphere. And it was especially great getting to experience this very Spanish tradition with true Spaniards. I really can’t describe just how great Feria was, but I really, really loved it, and if you ever have the opportunity to see Sevilla’s Feria, go.
Robin and I had taken buses to Sevilla to meet up with the others, but we drove back in their car, because they were amazingly generous, letting us stay in their hotel, making us dinner, and driving us back to Madrid. Before leaving Sevilla, we stopped by the Real Betis soccer stadium. On the way home, Robin and I thought the others were joking about making a detour to Córdoba, but the next thing we knew, there we were in Córdoba, so we spent a few hours exploring the city. The drive was super fun, singing along to music, demonstrating American/English accents for our Spanish friends, and generally enjoying each other’s company. We dropped Almudena off in her small town in the outskirts of Madrid, which was adorable, and the surrounding countryside was gorgeous.
Though it was a short trip, it was one of my favorites of the year. I love Sevilla, I love Andalucía, and I love Feria. See the rest of my photos here.