Friday, October 5, 2012

Seville with Kids, Part 3 - Plaza de Espana, Park Maria Luisa, University Area

Day 3

With still a lot on our “must see” list we woke up around noon and set off to visit Park Maria Luisa, the setting of the 1928 Ibero-American Exhibition where many of the pavilions are still preserved. However, as we were strolling casually through the historic area and enjoying some unexpected architectural gems, it started pouring rain. We ducked into the first restaurant that we saw and were in for another great surprise. The tiny place specialized in local olive oils and the owner suggested we try their “olive oil tasting” which included 4 different oils with various flavors. 

Some were served with bread but one was surprisingly served with ice cream (the oil was orange-flavored). I have never put much thought into my olive oil but after this trip, let’s just say we no longer buy the $9.99 variety from the grocery store.

The rain stopped and we continued on, passing by the Seville University (an old tobacco factory made famous by the Bizet opera Carmen, who was a beautiful gypsy woman working in the factory), lots of little squares and fountains and numerous displays of azulejos (tiny painted tiles that decorated anything from walls, to floors and doors). 

Park Maria Luisa is vast and provides great entertainment for both adults and kids because it allows the kids to run around and discover different fountains, statues and alleys. It is a favorite of the locals as well and you can see a lot of families strolling, riding bikes and taking their kids for a walk. For Chris and I the highlight was Plaza del Espania – the Spanish pavilion designed for the World Fair and an absolute work of art. 

Multiple benches surround the building, each decorated with azulejos and highlighting one area or city in Spain. While we were snapping photos left and right, Victor loved running along the vast square and chasing the birds. 

The rest of the park is also beautiful with a number of features designed by Gaudi and the notable American Pavillion where hundreds of birds come to be fed by people and, if you don’t mind, they will land on your head, jacket or arm. And yes, they do poop, so be careful J

For dinner we were back in barrio Santa Cruz where we found a little tapas place that was not overly crowded and Chris was happy to find a tapa with tripe (typical Bulgarian delicacy) while victor and I were happy to share a bunch of fish plates. 

Fish in Spain is always a great choice for kids and here are many varieties of fresh fish prepared in many different ways. For the more picky eaters, there are lots of cheeses, breads, olives and small salads. I was surprised, however, that Gazpacho soup. Which in the US appears to be a staple of Spanish restaurants, was almost impossible to find in Seville and when we did find it in one restaurant it was very expensive. Go figure…

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