The good weather continues. We need jackets in the morning, but by afternoon, it is warm.
On our last day in Seville we finally found what will be our go-to breakfast place. It is nearby, no more than a 5-minute walk. Called Bar el Comercio, it was packed about 75% / 25% with locals and tourists. TripAdvisor reviews said it was busy and they were not kidding. We didn’t get there for breakfast until 10:30 and it was still very busy. We have learned to grab an empty table, even if it hasn’t been cleaned. If we don’t, someone else will.
Bar el Comercio offers a nice variety of breakfast items. Patricia had the tortilla Española, which she thought was quite good. I had churros con chocolate. With both orders we got juice and coffee and Patricia had bread with tomato. These come as combinations so desayuno for the two of us was less than 15 euros. Given the quality AND quantity, we thought it was a great deal. The churros were quite good and somewhat different from the churros in Jerez. I did get to see the process of making churros and it was interesting, but I forgot to take pictures.
As I mentioned it was very busy at el Comercio. One orders food at the bar where the order is not written down, but shouted towards the kitchen area. As the component pieces are created, a server puts them on the bar and points to you, as if telling you “those 2 coffees are yours, señor.” But the thing is, it may not have been the same person who took your order and I can’t figure out how they keep it straight. While we were there there must have been at least a dozen orders at a time flying around. And, when it is time to pay, a similar process occurs: you walk to the bar, someone notices you, reaches up to the old-fashioned cash register and hands you your individual bill. Magic!
More about el Comercio later.
From there we walked over to Las Setas de Sevilla (“the mushroom”) which is a market built on the site of a previous market at Plaza Encarnación.
I’ve written about this before, but this place has about 25 market stalls selling everything from fish to meat to produce to cheese to olives. Patricia really like to spend time in there because the displays are so vivid and lively. We went by many of the stalls and Patricia tried some of the jamón Ibérico that is so expensive: about $60 a pound.
We had gone to the mushroom with the intention of visiting the archeological museum below the plaza. Seville dates back a long way, and when Plaza Encarnación was dug up to create the mushroom structure—which is very large—remains of a Roman area were found. That was preserved (largely) and turned into a museum under the mercado. The museum receives mixed reviews, with many reviews saying signage is terrible. We never found out. I got in the wrong line—not paying attention—bought a ticket, and was herded into an elevator and, to my surprise, the elevator went up, not down. Oh, no, I thought. Not up to the viewing area on top of the mushroom. Why would I spend money for something like that when I could go to a perfectly good museum.
We climbed to the viewing area via a spiral walkway and when we got to the top we were treated to a unique view of Sevilla. It was a bright sunny morning and we could see everything. There was signage with pictures to tell us what we were looking at. We could see the residential rooftops with people hanging out laundry, the spires of churches dating back to the XI century, bridges, old and new buildings. It was a great perspective. At one point many of the church bells rang out simultaneously and I managed to get a video of that.
After looking around for a while we walked to the next level down, and—how touristy is this?—we sat at an outdoor table high above the plaza with cold drinks and just observed. Then we had an extra treat. We heard a loud roaring which I recognized as a jet fighter. It went on for a bit an Patricia spotted the plane in the air just to the west of us, probably west of Triana. For about 15 minutes the fighter (maybe an F16, but it was pretty far off) banked, swooped high and low, and made incredibly tight turns. It did barrel rolls and inverted rolls. It was like an advertisement for the new Top Gun movie. When it used its afterburners, the sound was incredible.
Now it was decision time: should we have ice cream before our lunch or after? We strolled (well, Patricia strolled; she can do that. I walked.) down Calle Serpiente (Serpent street, perhaps because of its crookedness) which is lined by stores. There may be more shoe stores along that street and its tributaries than anyplace but Florence, Italy. We went back to our apartment to to unload our purchases (by “our” I mean Patricia’s) so we could go out again.
I haven’t mentioned too much about our apartment in Seville. It is in an area where we have stayed before and it is in a really good location for walking to the places we went. How convenient is it? We discovered today that if we go out the back courtyard we are only 75 feet away from our favorite ice cream place. That proximity made our decision for us: ice cream now, lunch after. We sat on the steps of Iglesia Salvador (Church of the Divine Savior, second largest church in Seville after the Cathedral) while we ate our ice cream and wondered again when the Spanish people have time to work. In plaza del Salvador there were many people sitting at outside tables and most of them were not tourists. This was at 3 in the afternoon.
I wrote “more about el Comercio later.” Now it is later. We liked our breakfasts so much we went there for lunch / dinner. I even had churros con chocolate again. It was an inexpensive and enjoyable meal. Patricia tried their homemade vermut (vermouth) and liked it. El Comercio was nowhere near as busy as this morning but the magic process of keeping track of orders without seeming to write anything down was the same.
We won’t go out tonight because we have to pack. We take the train to Granada tomorrow. However, since the ice cream place is so close…