5 Things I Miss About Sevilla

Madrid is, quite possibly, my favorite city in the world. Despite my current lack of enthusiasm for the city based on the sub-par weather we’ve been having, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living here for a second year. My luck goes beyond that, as I also had the opportunity to live in another insanely amazing city, Sevilla, last year. As much as I loved the place at the time, I spent the latter part of the year eagerly anticipating the big, bright life I would lead when I finally returned to Madrid, but what I didn’t expect was just how much I would miss Sevilla.

Here are five of the many things I miss about good ol’ Hispalis.

With my sister in Sevilla’s Plaza de España

1. The weather

Man oh man, what was I ever complaining about last year when it got to a “freezing” 50 degrees Fahrenheit? Madrid is no Siberia or New England — the weather here is relatively mild, and this winter has been long but less severe than the winter I spent here three years ago — but, sheesh, am I tired of bundling up every time I go out. What I would kill for those highs in the 70s I see on Sevilla’s forecast. It may usually be only 5 or 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder in Madrid than Sevilla, but that makes a serious difference. Yeah, yeah, I get it, Madrid’s weather is crazy nice compared to most of the world, but, hey, I grew up in Southern California. I have high expectations for my weather.

2. The prevalent smell of orange blossoms this time of year

Guys, seriously, I can’t even handle how good orange blossoms smell. Their scent perfectly encapsulates the feeling of spring’s arrival, and I can’t get enough. Around March or April, the orange trees lining Sevilla’s streets, so beautiful throughout the year, start producing azahares, and they’re absolutely to-die-for. Few things make me as happy. Come on, Madrid, where are your beautiful spring scents?

Pure love.

3. Picnics along the Guadalquivir or in Parque María Luisa

When the weather was nice, which, as I’ve mentioned, was most of the year, my friends made a habit of long, sunny, tranquil picnics on the riverbed or in the gorgeous María Luisa park. If I had to choose one activity that sums up what life in Spain is for me, it’s never-ending picnics with tons of fascinating friends from around the world, cheap wine/sangría/tinto de verano, bocadillos, and perfect weather. I fully plan on spending the rest of my warm weekends in Madrid picnicking in parks. There goes any weekend productivity.

Last year’s farewell picnic

4. Semana Santa processions

Who knew I’d ever have such an affinity for watching hundreds of men marching in KKK-like outfits, smelling pungent incense, and listening to somber drummers and brass brands, all in the name of Catholicism? Yet, seeing Sorrento, Italy’s Holy Week processions last week, very similar to the ones that are so popular in Sevilla, I was struck by an intense, pit-of-my-stomach nostalgia for Sevilla. I may not be Catholic, I’ll never fully understand the rivalry between La Virgen de la Macarena and La Esperanza de Triana, and I’ll always be instinctively creeped out by nazarenos, but there’s something amazingly beautiful about Sevilla’s Holy Week traditions, and, in general, how much Andalucía adheres to ancient traditions.

These guys? Endearing? Apparently.

5. My fabulous friends

You know one of the best things about being a nomad? Making new friends wherever you go. You know one of the worst things? Forming those deep connections only to say farewell to them when your stint in that location comes to an end. I’m all too familiar with this phenomenon, and it’s disheartening at times, but, mostly, I’m just grateful for all the people I’ve known in my different lives. And I’ve gotta say that the group of friends I made in Sevilla was one of the best groups of people I’ve ever known. Cheers to them for making last year so special.

Celebrating my 23rd birthday with friends along the Guadalquivir

Five reasons is nowhere near enough, so I’m sure I’ll be back soon with plenty more.

9 Responses

  1. Shannon says:

    I applied to BEDA, UCETAM, and the Ministry program this year. Obviously BEDA and UCETAM are both in Madrid, but I put Andalusia as my first choice for the Ministry. I love Madrid and would be happy to live there, but there would be sooo many things that I would miss about Al-Andalus! I lived there during my study abroad stint and last year as an auxiliar. It’s such a magical region and it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else in Spain!

    What are your plans for next year? Another year in Spain, or are you returning stateside?

    • Kirstie says:

      I hope you do get Andalucía! What’s your inscrita number? I’m glad I made the move to Madrid because it’s bigger and I feel less confined, but nothing compares to Andalucía’s encanto.

      As much as I adore Spain, I think I need a change of pace (at least for now), so I’m looking into going elsewhere. I haven’t decided what to do yet, but I’m researching Australia’s working holiday visa program!

      • Shannon says:

        Inscrita 5, so I am pretty confident that I will get it. I semi-requested to go back to my old school, so if that works out, I will be back in Granada 🙂

        Best of luck in whatever decision you make!

        • Kirstie says:

          Wow, yeah, those odds are fantastic! I hope you do get to return to Granada — or anywhere else awesome. If it were easier to choose a city, I’d be incredibly attempted to do this program again just for the opportunity to live in Granada.

  2. I think my list would be six times as long for the six years I’ve lived here. I often have friends and family back home ask why it is that I’ve never gone home, and then they come and visit Spain and fall in love with Seville. I don’t even have to make excuses anymore!

    Let me know if you get back here sometime soon since I missed you last year!

    • Kirstie says:

      I already have a lot more reasons outlined for future posts! The number of reasons to love Sevilla is endless.

      I think I’ll be coming to Feria its last weekend (the 19th-21st)! If you’re there then, perhaps we’ll see each other there!

  3. Nana says:

    You brought back memories of Sicily with your mention of the scent of orange blossoms. I was there in April 2010, and it was fabulous! Orange blossoms and lemon blossoms – not something we Virginians get to experience unless we travel. Sounds as if your weather is paralleling ours. Abnormally chilly for this time of year. I was in Williamsburg on 4/4, and it sleeted briefly that night. The peak time for the cherry blossoms was pushed forward a number of days and the lovely flowers usually blooming in profusion in Colonial Williamsburg were nowhere to be found. However, seeing original Michelangelo sketches made up for that – mostly. Hear you had a good time in Italy. Love you!

    • Kirstie says:

      Lovely! There were plenty of orange trees in Italy (like the giant lemon/orange grove in Sorrento), but they weren’t blooming yet. Too bad!

      Sounds like the whole world is experiencing bad weather. Hurry up, spring!

      Love you too!

  4. Sigh. BEST. PLACE. ON. EARTH. The smell of Sevilla in the Spring, the río, the beautiful sevillanas…. That city just makes my heart melt. While I’ve fallen in love with many cities in Spain, Sevilla will always be my first love. There is nothing that makes me happier than walking along the river. Life just stops.

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