in Sevilla, check out the golf, but don't forget the tapas
SEVILLA, Spain - Sevilla's legendary reputation endures -
it is "Spain's eternal city," and there are few who walk away from
it unmoved by its liveliness and dignity.
If, however, the place is not already an irresistible destination by
virtue of its monuments, shopping, tapas and sheer love of life make it
your base for a sortie into southern Spanish golf. Three courses are within
20 minutes of the city, and there are at least six more less than an hour
away. Attractions within the city include one of Europe's most exciting
theme parks (Isla Mágica), a huge zoo, wondrous gardens, horse-drawn carriages,
museums, and a nightlife that carries on well into the wee hours.
should be done on foot. Cobbled lanes are everywhere, so sensible
shoes are mandatory. Leave the car behind except for forays outside
of town. Buy a copy of La Guia Verde to use as your city guide,
one of the best city guides in Europe.
La Giralda, the city's symbol and most representative of past Islamic
presence, is loftily predominant. Just down the block is the largest
Gothic church in the world - the Cathedral - covering almost 12,000
square metres and into which several churches could easily fit.
The Alcazar, the bull ring and, of course, Carmen's ancient tobacco factory
(Fabrica de Tobacos) are all within the same area. Plaza de Espana, a
magnificent and grandiose gesture, is nearby. Sevilla's parks are as impressive
as its buildings; lush examples are the Reales Alcazares Gardens and Maria
|FOOD AND PLACES TO STAY
|Sevilla claims to have invented
the tapas custom. Excellent options include "Casa Blanca"
on Plaza Nueva, packed at lunch and worth the sardine squeeze.
The Triana neighbourhood is famous for tempting tapas after
sunset, and there are certainly worse things than finding
yourself comfortably ensconced on a Gaudalquivir riverside
terrace, drink and snack at hand.
As a university town, Sevilla caters to all pockets and
tastes. There are three Japanese restaurants (the most
elegant in Hotel Alfonso XIII, the most economical across
the Triana bridge) and varied international fare throughout.
La Albahaja in Plaza Santa Cruz is a fine restaurant.
Restaurants around the Cathedral are plentiful and give
a good glimpse of Sevilla's character.
Two five-star hotels are outstanding: Alfonso XIII, C/San
Fernando 2, Tel: 34+ 954 222850 and Hotel Colón, C/Canalejas
1, Tel: 34+954 222900. A range of cheaper hotels is available;
visit any Tourist Office for information. The ultimate
in lodging luxury can be found at Hacienda Benazuza 20
minutes up the Huelva motorway: C/ Virgin de las Nieves,
Sanlúcar la Mayor, Tel: 34+95703344. Wonderful kitchen,
Another way to see the city is to take a cruise boat up the Guadalquivir
River. Their departure point is the Torre de Oro. This languid option
is especially enticing in the summer. Some prefer to travel from neighborhood
to neighborhood, and in this way discover Sevilla's layers of personality.
Each of the town's barrios has it own traits, and although the Barrio
Santa Cruz (home of most of the above mentioned monuments and of the university)
is the most famous, Barrio Triana and Barrio Macarena exemplify the variety
to be enjoyed. The former lies across the river and is one of Andalucia's
cradles of flamenco, while Macarena boasts churches of distinction.
Sevillanos love to shop. All is meant to entice; the efforts are largely
successful. Try Sierpes first. Cervantes said that Calle Sierpes was where,
"all the social classes of the city came together." It is perhaps because
the appeal of Sierpes is universal, having more to do with the spirit
Stroll down the "serpent" (so called for its meandering twists) with
an eye alert for surprises, for here you will find more treasures to remember
than money in your pocket. Discover the classics: "El Cronometro," a timekeeper's
paradise - has been in the family and on the street for more than a century
- the best of state-of-the-art boutiques, art galleries and one of Sevilla's
liveliest theatres, the "Teatro Imperial." "La Compana," the city's most
deliciously decadent pastry shop, is set at Sierpes point of origin, and
it defies resistance.
a good day, you may find that shopping is accompanied by music from
the Russian National Orchestra, which performs full concerts for
contributions dropped in a violin case. On a bad day, you may be
regaled by the clatter of one castanet in the hands of a worse-for-wear
drunk. It's the luck of the draw. The golf, however, is not and
play in Sevilla is consistently satisfying.
Real Club de Golf Sevilla is, despite a "royal" appendage, open
to the public and has been played by Sevillanos and visitors since inauguration
in 1991. José María Olazábel designed the course, which neatly dovetailed
with EXPO '92 festivities. Because Seville's topography is basically plains,
the layout is flat but planted with some 12,000 trees for interest and
perhaps, more importantly, shade. The 6th and 15th are considered the
most difficult; the green on No. 3 is surrounded by water and brings mixed
emotions. Club facilities include tennis and squash courts, a swimming
pool and stabling for 50 horses.
commission to design Zaudín Golf brought Gary Player back
to Spain in the early '90s, where his course is thriving. Great
views of nearby Sevilla add to course attractions. Two lakes are
features on several holes and the parkland layout meanders through
palms, olives and oranges. Player is particularly pleased with the
17th, a dogleg right with a green almost completely surrounded by
water. Zaudín has 70 bunkers, creating a counterfoil to generous
sized greens. A hacienda clubhouse is well equipped and affords
a glimpse of typical Sevillian architecture.
Twenty minutes drive to the west of Seville is Las Minas, whcich
is set among the pine forests surrounding Donana National Park.
Raised greens alleviate the general flatness of terrain and are
protected by bunkers. Olive and orange trees are colourful, and
shady and although the course has just nine holes, it is popular
with horseback riding and shooting as additional sports. The club
restaurant is noted for good food.
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