"It is impossible to resist its Andalusian charm, the flamenco, tapas, wine and sun. I love it! Maybe I’ll never ever return home."
Some people adore Barcelona, Madrid or even Valencia, but I believe that they don’t have any idea about the real Spain. The most beautiful city in Spain, the very heart of it, and at the same time, the best kept secret for many tourists, is definitely Seville!
It is impossible to resist its Andalusian charm, the flamenco, tapas, wine and sun. I love it! Maybe I’ll never ever return home.
The city itself is simply gorgeous. When I first arrived here I was surprised and impressed with the richness of its history and architecture as well as the vibrance of the city and the openness and kindness of the people who live here.
Seville is known as one of the most religious cities in the whole of Spain and has many events that demonstrate this devotion. The most religious event celebrated in Seville is “La Semana Santa” (the “holy week”) which takes place a week before Easter and includes many different religious celebrations and unforgettable processions.
However, I must say that for me, the most interesting event in Seville happens approximately three weeks later, and is called “La Feria”.
This event is actually just a fair. But what kind of a fair! I have never seen anything like it before. It lasts for one week and most of the locals take the entire week off so that they can participate and spend time together with their family and friends. You can probably imagine that this means that the whole of Seville is there! Everybody is on their feet, talking, dancing, drinking and eating. This goes on for seven days straight and lasts all day and night. It’s almost like in my own country which means I managed to adapt perfectly.
For me, it all looked like one wonderful journey through time and space. At the entrance of the fair I was impressed right away with the gate that gets especially designed and constructed every year. Once you pass the entrance, you find yourself in the middle of colourful stands, all of different sizes and hues, where the music never stops playing, and everybody is dancing “las sevillanas”, the typical dance that originated from Flamenco and is very characteristic for Seville and this fair.
The streets between the stands are full with carriages, horses and people that are dressed in their traditional clothes - men are mainly dressed in suits and women wear colourful dresses and flowers in their hair. I didn’t know where to look first!
The gate at the entrance and the atmosphere would have most likely been the only things I would have experienced if I hadn’t visited this fair together with my friend Christina, a Spanish girl that had her own stand at the fair.
This is something that’s very special about Seville’s fair - Most kinds of fairs in other Spanish cities in the south have stands that are open to anyone. However, here in Seville, there are only a few large stands that are open to the public while the rest of them are private ones that you can only visit if you know the owner who will invite you to their stand. I realized fairly quickly that this is quite difficult if you are not from Seville but somehow I made it!
It was here where I first tried the typical drink of the fair called “Rebujito”. It is a special mixture of white wine and a soft drink, with a lot of ice, which will refresh you and make you tipsy at the same time. Apart from that, I also got a chance to try different Spanish dishes. My favourite ones were the mussels and prawns. Delicious!
To make the experience complete, Christina borrowed me one of her old traditional flamenco dresses, which she doesn’t wear anymore because it’s a few years old and sleeveless, and totally “out of fashion” this season. It was here where I found out that there is an entire fashion industry for these types of dresses which can cost up to a few thousand Euros! After putting on the dress, Christiana braided my hair and fixed a flower atop my head.
Once we arrived at the fair, and every time I met some of her friends, she introduced me with: “Ivana -Señorita sevillana de Belgrado“ - which means “Ivana, Sevillian lady from Belgrade”. Together with my dress, my hairstyle and my medium knowledge of the Spanish language I felt more and more confused with every new person I met, but at the same time, the whole experience made for some incredible stories and inside jokes.
In between the stands, Sevillan women were dancing the typical dance, “las sevillanas“. On the first day we arrived at the fair at 2pm and didn’t get back home until around 6am the next morning. And that was only the first day! Within the next few days I got a chance to visit some other stands, try more of the typical Spanish food, learn to dance the first steps of the “las sevillanas”, ride on a carriage and carousel (of course there was an amusement park at the fair), meet many of Christina’s friends and family, practice some Spanish, and enjoy one of the best events in Europe.
This trip was just one wonderful, unforgettable experience and I hope I will get the chance to repeat it again someday!
Author - Ivana Stojadinovic
Born and raised in a small country in The Balkans, with a big dream to see the world. I’ve loved to travel since I can remember and I’ve lived in Serbia, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and hope there are more places to come. Follow me at https://www.instagram.com/ivana.lola
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