I am currently on a cycling tour of Andalucia with ExperiencePlus! for a 10 day tour through the Andalucia region of Spain.
Our first day was a meet and greet in Seville, followed by orientation and a fantastic five course meal. The bar was set extremely high on the first night’s dinner, with a traditional Andalucian meal in Seville’s 132nd oldest house (they keep a list of this.)
I had arrived in Seville a few days early in order to explore the city, and see Spain’s fourth largest city.
Seville is incredible. It’s the second oldest city in western Europe, and it has the history to back it.
It’s a maze of old cobble-stoned narrow streets, plazas, churches, more churches, and fantastic architecture.
The majesty of Seville was greatly influenced by nearly 800 years of Moorish control. The Moors brought Arabic design and architecture to the south of Spain. Their legacy is evident on every corner in the old city.
They left behind some of the most impressive buildings of the era. After the fall of the Moors, the Christians converted the mosques into churches, and the famous minaret of Seville (La Giralda) was turned into a bell tower.
Walking the streets of Seville the history of Spain comes alive.
Before the Crusades Christians, Muslims and Jews lived peacefully in Seville. There were large and vibrant communities of each group, and they worked together in relative harmony.
This, unfortunately, was all changed once the Crusades began. These people who had lived peacefully beside each other for centuries were no longer in peace, and the Jews and Muslims were forced to leave, convert or be killed. Unfortunately there were many massacres in the now romantic and tranquil streets of Seville.
An interesting cultural result of the Crusades in this area is that pork is widely eaten. In order to prove their new-found ‘Catholicism’ the new converts (or just people that wanted to live more than they wanted to follow the culinary laws of their religion) would eat as much pork as they could afford. This tradition continues today in the region.
Seville was a fantastic starting point for our Andalucian tour, and somewhere I would highly recommend for anyone to visit.
My first day with ExperiencePlus! was definitely impressive. Cycling, history, culture and amazing food (yup, my kind of trip) were all interwoven with the help of our great two guides, Juan and Joan. I can’t wait to see more of this region.