Seville in the Spring: A once in a lifetime experience

By: Maria Brunetta

Nothing could prepare me for the unique atmosphere that Seville has during the springtime. When we arrived on January 17th, the sun was shining and the air was crisp. For lovers of a classic trench coat, like me, it was perfect. It was cold for a good month, but we slowly started to see warm weather by March with the heat really kicking in by April.

One of the most beautiful parts of Seville were the orange trees. We arrived during the peak of orange season and every morning, I opened my window to see the beautiful fruit – something that’s not common in the United States. While it was tempting to pick an orange right off the tree, we were quickly told that these oranges were actually very bitter and were used to make marmalade. We also saw the process of picking the oranges off the trees and by the time we left, the trees were bare and preparing to bloom again.

My favorite spot in Seville was Maria Luisa Park. I was there almost everyday, basking in the sunlight, reading a book, chatting with friends or painting. The park is formerly the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo and connected to the park is the Plaza de Espana, a site that is so beautiful words will not do it justice. I often walked around the park, exploring it and constantly finding new nooks or learning new history,

Seville in the spring also brings two impressive festivals that students should take part in. First, is Semana Santa the week before Easter. The city stops with grand religious parades with beautiful images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Even if you’re not a religious person, this is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s impressive to see the size of the “pasos” and how people choose to carry them through the streets. You don’t need to stay for the whole week, but try and catch a few parades. Madruga is probably the biggest one and starts in the middle of the night going into the morning. Two weeks later, the entire vibe of the city changes to welcome Feria, a festival that’s all about the culture around Flamenco. Dressing up is not required, but if you have a host family who is willing to lend you a dress then wear it! Feria was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend staying for a few days. For both of these events, you’ll likely get adequate preparation from your CIEE professors and staff. I recommend doing a flamenco dance class and trying the sweets of the semana santa, which are both offered by CIEE.

Seville is a romantic city, the historic sites blend seamlessly with the modern architecture and the entire city glows in an inexplicable way during sunset. I would go and sit by the Guadalquivir River almost everyday to take in the colors of the sky. By the end of my time there, the orange trees were replaced with beautiful purple flowered trees that complimented the orange, purple and pink colors of the sunset.


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