Thursday, 1 November 2012


At the beginning of October the Mr and I went on a mini break to Seville.
After a crazy summer of house buying and flat selling, homelessness, living in my in my parents’ study, moving house, about 25 weddings (actually only seven), decorating and renovating our new home, London2012 hysteria and seeing my husband once every three weeks (due to London2012 shifts) we decided to treat ourselves to a relaxing, end-of-summer week somewhere nice and hot, not too pricey but luxurious enough to feel a bit self-indulgent. I didn’t want a city break – too much sightseeing required and sitting by a pool all day in the middle of a city, ready to be explored, just seemed wrong.
So, a cheap, nice, early-October beach break? Pretty simple, you’d think?
Everywhere close (a.k.a. cheap) enough couldn’t guarantee the sunshine that we were craving. Everywhere that could guarantee the sunshine, required a 14 hour flight and three times our budget just to get there. The only option that ticked all boxes, or so we thought, was Cyprus. Short flight, we could use budget airlines, good weather predicted, lovely hotels! Inexplicably, this option was more expensive than the Caribbean, Dubai and South East Asia all put together. And the flight times were bonkers.
As the deadline drew nearer our list of options got shorter. And then we got burgled.
Aside from the feelings of anger, shock, violation, fear and sadness, I was LIVID that after all this time of waiting for our romantic beach break, we were now forking out hundreds of pounds for new doors, our excess insurance fee and a new alarm system, and so we were now unlikely to be going anywhere.

But, after all that extra stress on top of the list above, we refused to let it break us. We hadn’t spent more than a few hours in each other’s company for months and we needed to Chill. Out. So we started looking at cheap city breaks and discovered Seville: Scorching sunshine; a beautiful setting; great reviews from recent visitors; cheap flights from an airport less than 30 minutes away and at realistic times; and a Mr and Mrs Smith Hotel with short-notice availability at a reasonable price – PERFECT!

My full review of the city and the hotel can be found here on Florence Finds, but in short, my Seville suggestions…

  • Don’t bother packing heels. You won’t even take them out of your case.
  • Don’t expect haute cuisine, but equally, no meal cost us more than €30 (at most) for about eight tapas dishes, local wine and/or sangria and bread and olives. Local, tasty and affordable. What’s not to like?
  • Don’t expect great service – as a former waitress I ALWAYS tip generously, but in one place we left without leaving a tip at all to make a point about the so-bad-I-was-looking-for-hidden-cameras service!
  • Don’t make any hard and fast plans – you’ll get lost, find yourself stuck down dead ends, will wait ages for a drink/meal and so will likely miss any deadlines you set yourself. It’s best to embrace the Spanish way and take it easy.
  • Do make sure to explore and soak up the city’s vibe at all times of the day. Europe does it so much better than us – less focus on work and more focus on life in the work-life balance. Even the daily “commute” is a sociable experience with bars, cafes, street vendors and holes in the wall coming alive at a time when most Brits are in “heads-down-ignore-everyone” mode. Maybe it’s the sunshine that makes everyone happier?
  • Do follow the locals to their buzzy drinking spots – impromptu street drinking, music and dancing made for a great carnival atmosphere every night of the week!
  • Do partake in a spot of shopping in amongst the sight-seeing. Sorry boys!
  • Do salivate over the Flamenco-style wedding dresses on display in every second window. I’ve literally never seen so many wedding dress shops in one city. It’s a man’s nightmare. If he’s already engaged he’ll be asked endless questions about “do you like this, do you like that?”. If he’s not, he had better hurry up and put a ring on it! If he’s married, he’ll have to deflect questions about vow-renewal! (maybe this point is just me!)

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