Zalia Ivanova, design assistant at Ryder, gives an insight into a recent team trip to Seville, Spain.
The team gathered at dawn on Friday morning, among large groups of travelling golf enthusiasts. In Malaga, we were met with a considerable temperature difference and scorching midday sun. We had lunch in a local restaurant, neighboured by rather provocative shops, before taking a faulty train to Seville.
Our tiredness from the early flight was rewarded with a bonus evening visit to the closest venue on our itinerary. Arriving with scepticism, we were delightfully surprised by the Metropol Parasol, locally known as the mushrooms. After the intimidation of the big structure had settled, we found ourselves at a busy public square filled with children playing under the canopy. Conceived as a statement for the existence of Seville on the contemporary architectural map, the controversial object breaks up the dense urban fabric and its roof walkway provides panoramic views across the predominantly low rise city. Taking in the local ambiance, we sat in one of the surrounding bars to enjoy the view with some tapas and wine before a panoramic night walk on top of the Parasol, followed by a lengthy tour of the local nightlife – purely for better cultural understanding, of course. A few hours and many glasses later, the night ended with us enjoying cervezas and mojitos in a lively square.
Ambling our way through shaded narrow streets, we started our second day at the Alcazar’s Palace – the long queue at the entrance suggesting what was hidden behind the old walls would be worth the wait. Each room competes with the next one in decoration and craftsmanship. Most impressive of all was the Ambassador’s Hall with its intricately carved wooden dome, representing the heavens.
As diverse and controversial as Seville’s history is, the walls throughout the whole palace are engraved with two different propagandas. One is Moorish, with the view that no one is more powerful than their god, in contrast with the other, denoting that King Pedro is the greatest conqueror. We wandered for hours in the tropical gardens beyond the castle, moving between pleasantly symmetrical courtyards of sunken gardens and water pools.
After what felt like travelling back in time to medieval Seville, we regathered to apply emergency sun cream – the searing sun exposing us as typical English tourists. On the tour guides’ recommendation, we walked along the promenade along the Guadalquivir River, strolling past Torre del Oro, a historic watchtower, and Torre Sevilla, a skyscraper which breaks up the relatively flat skyline of Seville. We also enjoyed a delightful visit to the Ceramics Centre Triana, an interestingly repurposed building. Past the street façade and main entrance, the internal courtyard’s walls are renovated with gridded façades ornamented with patterns made of ceramic sleeves. This created a pleasant internal space that was mostly shaded on the southern side whilst allowing in enough daylight.
We decided to visit the site for the Expo’92 before dinner – Isla de la Cartuja. We found a forgotten eerie wasteland, decaying structures and overgrown greenery. Unnerved by what might be hiding in the derelict land, we headed to our venue for the night, the oldest tapas bar in Seville. The air inside was thick with the smell of aged wine and cured ham hanging above the bar and we left feeling our waistlines were a little rounder than usual. The night continued with a trip to the local cervecerias and a frantic search for ice cream.
On day three, we decided that the Parasol deserved a second, daytime visit. We climbed again to the top of the big mushroom to enjoy the morning Spanish sun with views toward a landscape of white buildings. The remainder of the day was spent wandering through the maze like streets of the old town to reach the Gallery of Beaux Arts.
Later that day, Malaga welcomed us back with a much needed cooling breeze. We dumped our bags at the hotel and rushed to the old port, recently transformed with public spaces, many shops, busy restaurants and bars. The waterfront promenade led us to the multicoloured glass cube of the Pompidou Centre for a quick look around. As with many of our other journeys over the weekend, we ended the trip by soaking up in the intense mix of cultural influences in Malaga’s narrow streets filled with enlivened bars. A glorious dish of traditional seafood paella accompanied by a couple of bottles of red wine successfully rounded off our last evening in Spain.
Thank you to Ryder for this opportunity.