Chase-ing Spain: Don’t eat the oranges in Seville

Chase Hollenkamp, Staff Writer

¡Hola! After the past few weeks of chaos, I finally got the chance to fit some traveling into my schedule. Last weekend, I took a trip to the beautiful city of Seville, Spain alongside a group of 40 students in my study abroad program. 

We all met at the train station at 11 a.m. to board the fast train heading to Seville. Once in Seville, we immediately took a bus to our hotel and arrived around 3 p.m. After entering the hotel, we were all in shock. Our program placed us in a 4-star hotel, and it left us in awe. 

As much as we wished to stay in the hotel to enjoy its luxury, our immense hunger after travel led us to go get lunch. A friend from class and I decided to stay somewhere close. Eventually, we found a restaurant with good reviews that was only a three minute walk away. 

We were surprised by how crowded it was, but we were too hungry to be deterred. We asked if they had space for two, and they told us that we could stand at the bar. We weren’t able to sit because there was a wedding reception. How we ended up in the middle of a wedding reception, I have no clue, but what I do know is we sadly didn’t succeed in crashing the wedding and getting some free paella*.

Plaza España stands in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Chase Hollenkamp)

After an amazing lunch, we met back at the hotel for a city tour. We began by seeing Plaza de España where a scene was shot for “Star Wars” on the planet Naboo. We then continued on into the city center to see the outside of the cathedral and the old Jewish district. The tour left me instantly impressed by its charm and buzzing life. 

The next morning, I woke up at 8:30 a.m. to head down for breakfast. Our tour guide was sure to tell us we needed to go to the hotel to eat. It seemed strange he would say this until we saw the incredible buffet the hotel prepared. They offered all types of croissants, cheeses, hams, donuts, fruits, made-to-order eggs and even honeycomb. I stayed from 8:30 until 10:30 and kept returning with my plate for a refill.

Sophomore Chase Hollenkamp stands outside to admire the Alcazar gardens. (Photo by Chase Hollenkamp)

After breakfast we got moving with a tour to the Royal Alcázar of Seville. This royal palace was built in Mudejar style with aspects of Islamic and Christian architecture. Each piece of the building catches the eye, but the real beauty of the palace is the array of gardens held within its walls. 

We spent nearly two and a half hours wandering through the gardens and admiring the beautiful architecture. Afterwards, we moved on to the Cathedral of Seville to go up the Giralda. The Giralda is a bell tower in the cathedral with a great view overlooking the cathedral and the city landscape. After going up the Giralda, we had some time to look through the cathedral, originally a mosque, and admire the impressive artwork. We even saw a tomb of Christopher Columbus.

View from La Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Chase Hollenkamp)

Later in the day, after lunch, I visited Plaza de España once again to have a nice walk through the gardens. I ended the day by getting dinner with new friends and walking through the city center. 

The next morning, I woke up for the amazing breakfast buffet once again then left to see Las Setas de Sevilla, meaning mushrooms of Seville. This monument was created in 2011 and gives the area a very modern feel. It was originally named the Metropol Parasol, but the people began to call it Las Setas because it looks like big mushrooms. Sadly, we weren’t able to go up the monument, but instead we walked through a different part of the city and bought some souvenirs before getting on the train back to Madrid. 

For the next two weeks, I will be traveling through Andalusia. First I will visit Jaén, considered the olive oil capital of the world. Then I will see Granada, Córdoba and other towns in the region. This excursion will take place during Holy Week, a special time in Spain when everyone returns to their birthplace to be with family and enjoy the many religious processions. 

When you hear from me next, I hope to be able to recount all of the beautiful places on my itinerary during the Holy Week. ¡Hasta luego!


Paella = typical rice dish from southern Spain