Should we go or shouldn't we? In the middle of our Spanish road-trip lay a 3 hour diversion to Seville, or not, and we could drive straight from Madrid to the Costa Del Sol, where my family were on holiday, and our ultimate destination of the trip.
But how could we miss Seville? So we took the diversion, leaving Madrid in the morning and driving 534km over 5 hours to reach Seville, through gorgeous scenery and lush green hills (Shan even asked if the fields were fake as they were so vivid).
(Seville is the English pronunciation 'Se-vil', Sevilla is the Spanish pronunciation 'Sebv-eya').
I'd read that in the week leading up to Easter there would be daily festivals to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy week). Throughout the week thousands of members of religious brotherhoods parade in penitents garb with accompanying sacred images and candle lit processions throughout the city, while huge crowds look on.
We didn't think we would have time to watch the parade, nor did we necessarily want to get caught up in it as we expected it to be busy, we turned up just in time for the road blockades going , there were many diversions and the satnav got confused and in turn we did, next thing we know we traversing through the central area in a tangle of narrow, twisting old streets and small squares, in the tight cobbled lanes of Seville, A taxi was driving in front of of us we thought it okay but as we approached a moving tram we realised we were entering a pedestrian zone, with cafes and people in our way! It made us both simultaneously panic and laugh, it was just like something out of Top Gear! Shan parked on the side of the road whilst I jumped out to get photographs of the Alcázar (a royal residence for many centuries which was founded in 913 as a Muslim fortress) which we had originally thought we manage to get in. I'd read you could buy tickets in advance or just turn up, but the queue had at east 100 people waiting.
Seville is lovely city, with a mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Hispanic buildings which had such character. We drove around some more whilst grabbing some more photographs and then headed off to Ronda...
Of course we would recommend seeing this beautiful city for a lot longer than us, a few things you could visit are- the Alcazar- try booking online in advance and Metropol Parasol which we didn't (shamefully) know existed until afterwards (our Lonely Planet book is from 2011 and this Metropol Parasol hadn't been completed then).
We were amazed by how stunning the ever changing scenery was, it was such a pleasure to get behind the wheel just to absorb what was whizzing past us...
It was to be a very long day of driving as next we had to make our way Ronda which is situated in a very mountainous area around 750 m (2,460 ft) above sea level. The Guadalevín River runs through the city, dividing it in two and carving out the steep, 100-plus-meter- deep El Tajo canyon upon which the city perches. The Puente Nuevo bridge is one of three bridges which span the two sides. We went a self guided tour around the Bull Ring for €7 each, which is the worlds largest bull ring and Spain, bull fighting is considered to be a bad sport in many parts of Spain and the world now, the Plaza de Toros de Ronda hosts one large bull fight every year.
I visited Ronda when I was 11, and couldn't remember too much so it was such a great experience to see it again. Shannon's best bit of Ronda was the steep mountainous winding roads on the way back down, heading to the coast. The hair pin bends of which we were rolling down, inches from the edge of the cliffs. The scenery was just stunning, although it did take us longer than anticipated due to so many twists and turns.