I am not a morning person.
…but we awoke early that bright, clear, spring morning to avoid long queues for the Catedral de Seville in Andalusian Spain. The streets were nearly empty. The golden morning light brought a unique liveliness to this piece of architectural history.
When it was completed in the early 1500’s it surpassed The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul as the largest cathedral in the world… a record the Byzantine church had held for one thousand years prior! Today, the Catedral de Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest cathedral in the world. It is also the location of the tomb of Christopher Columbus (that is if you believe everything the Roman Catholic Church tells you).
Nonetheless, a very impressive résumé.
Seville is the cultural capital of the vibrant, colourful, passionate and deeply traditional Andalusian region of southern Spain…
“…And la Catedral de Seville is Seville’s beating heart.
In the few short days we spent in this beautiful and lively city, we:
- Enjoyed fantastic food, drink and tapas al fresco in the warm Seville sun
- Sampled local cuisine by the best family-owned bars and restaurants on an amazing food tour with Devour Seville… Cyra and Lauren do an incredible job with food tours throughout Spain… highly recommended!
- Wandered into and explored neighboring barrios like Triana just across the Guadalquivir river, and
- Met a fellow American traveler in a tapas bar and shared a black squid dish that none of us had ever tried before. Tip: don’t try it. Seriously. No matter what the bartender says, it is not good. But, I’m glad I tried it. Once.
The morning we awoke early to avoid the queue, we arrived at a cathedral that was not yet open to the public. This is what I get for getting out of bed at o’dark thirty!
Need cafe con leche.
We enjoyed a coffee and pastry on the quiet early-morning streets in the diminutive Plaza del Triunfo adjacent to the cathedral. The city slowly began to buzz around us. We leisurely sauntered the grounds of the gorgeous Patronato del Real Alcazar de Sevilla next door to kill some time.
It was now opening time for the cathedral.
We made our way back to the cathedral, but there was now a formidable line encircling the massive stone structure. The wait was easily hours. At this point, a lesser traveler would have either sucked it up and waited in line or skipped it altogether. Not this guy! For once, my obsessive planning was going to pay off big time!
You see, there is a loophole. The Seville Cathedral sells a dual-entrance ticket with the much less popular Church of El Salvador.
Darting over to the tiny Church of El Salvador a few short blocks away, we happily handed over cash for a dual ticket. After paying our respects at the small Catholic Church (we may feel the sacraments of the church are silly, but we know when NOT to push our luck), we made our way back to the cathedral. My girlfriend was doubtful. Confidently, I grabbed her hand, pushed through the crowd, flashed our tickets and we were in… cuz that’s how I roll!
A huge shout-out to all the wonderful people at Devour Tours for their amazing food tours and especially their awesome Devour Seville Food Blog, where I found this awesome travel hack! You guys rock!
What are your favorite travel hacks? What UNESCO world heritage site is on your bucket list? Share your experiences in the comments below.