Greetings from Sevilla, the crown jewel destination of my Grand Tour of Spain. I wanted to save the best for last. My hotel is across the street from the Plaza de España so I can visit it anytime I want.
As mentioned before, Lawrence of Arabia is one of my favorite films of all-time. Sevilla was a shooting location for the film, which it doubled for Cairo. For modern movie goers, it doubles for Naboo in Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.
Beyond the pop culture foundation, it’s just a beautiful structure. The wide center circle, the marble stairs, the ornate decoration surrounding the interiors. It’s a plaza that envelopes your eyes and mind. For me, it represents that best of the Industrial Revolution, man’s ingenuity and might brought to go use in bringing a beautiful public space for everyone.
When I walked through one the gates, I got that “holy shit” moment that leaves you speechless. I had that same feeling when I walked through the courtyard to get in the center space of the Louvre or when you round the corner and you see the Trevi Fountain in front of you in Rome.
The plaza is bigger that you think it is. What surprised me, which I never realized, is that there’s a canal surrounding the plaza that you can rent a boat and paddle through it.
In terms of history, the plaza is not even a century old. It was designed for the World’s Fair by Aníbal González Álvarez-Ossorio in 1928 as a way showcase classic Spanish styles. One of favorite recent books is The Devil in the White City about the Chicago’s World’s Fair in 1893 and serial killer H.H Holmes. The structures for that event were so epic, but ultimately, one one survived. The Plaza de España remains intact, but like most monuments, there will always be restoration and scaffolding.
The time to go is around the sunset. When I went today, it was magical. Locals having their evening walk, CrossFit people were exercising, people taking photos and teenagers having impromptu flamenco sessions in the center. Best part — no costume characters or selfie sticks to be seen. It was actually pleasingly quiet and not bustling at all. I can leave my computer now and stroll around if I wanted.