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Posts from the ‘Terraces’ Category

To Beer or Not to Beer

A spell of warmer than usual for the time of year weather (which is to say, HOT) has got me thinking about my favourite hot weather tipples, especially for the middle part of the day. Wine is fine for the evening, and Spain has plenty of good quality wines to choose from at very reasonable prices, but during the day you may want something that’s a little more cooling, refreshing and hydrating to keep you going. So here’s a quick guide to how the locals do it.

beer

First of all, of course, drink plenty of water. Visitors are sometimes wary of the local water (everywhere), but the tap water (agua de grifo) here is fine, and of course it’s free – unlike mineral waters, which are generally rather pricy. Ask for un vaso de agua (glass of water) and whatever else you’re eating or drinking start with that. It’s not only good for you, it clears the palette and helps avoid overdoing it with other fluids. The other alternative to alcohol is soft drinks. Most of the international brands are available, as well as some local varieties.

Then there’s beer. In Spain, beer is loosely regarded as a soft drink and so is available pretty much everywhere. Local brews include Cruzcampo (Seville), Victoria (Malaga) and Alhambra (Granada), and people can be quite passionate about them, but they’re all lagers, and need to be drunk really cold. Beer is usually served in a small glass (ask for a caña) so it doesn’t get warm before you drink it. One or two of these will keep you going while you’re out and about.

sangria

And so we come to the vexed question of sangria. Everybody’s heard of it, and for a majority of visitors it’s perceived as the quintessential Spanish drink. It’s a red (usually) wine based “cocktail” with a soft drink/fruit juice mixer and chopped fruit, often fortified with brandy or other spirits. Precise recipes can vary considerably, depending on who’s making it. But the truth is the Spanish regard it as something for the tourists, and rarely drink it themselves. It also often has a higher alcohol content and isn’t the wisest option for a hot weather drink.

tinto de verano

So, if you want to join the locals, go for our final option, the Tinto de Verano – red wine of summer. It’s simple and easy, being a roughly half and half mix of red wine and a sparkling soft drink with ice. Choose either tinto con limón (with sparkling lemonade) or tinto con blanca (a 7-up type Spanish soft drink). It’s light and refreshing, and the lower alcohol content won’t leave you feeling wrecked mid-afternoon.

All of these can be also bought or prepared at home, and consumed on the terrace of your apartment, a great way to finish one of those perfect Seville days.

Seville | World Heritage Centre

At the south end of the old centre of Seville is an outstanding group of three buildings that were registered as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987, comprising the Cathedral and Giralda Tower, the Alcázar Royal Palace complex and the General Archive of the Indies.

archivo india, cathedral, alcazar

Cathedral and Giralda Tower

The Cathedral stands on the site of the former Grand Mosque built by the Almohad kings between 1184 and 1198. The Mosque was converted to a cathedral when the city was reconquered by the Christian king of Castile in 1248, but after it was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1356, the decision was taken to demolish it, and build a completely new Cathedral in its place. At the meeting of the church council in 1401 where the decision was made one of the members is said to have proposed “Let us build a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad”. The work lasted for over 150 years, including substantial rebuilding after the collapse of the lantern in 1511, the Capilla Real (Royal Chapel) only being finished in 1575. The result is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, and the third largest church in the world after Saint Paul’s and Saint Peter’s. Inside there are more than 80 chapels, and a massive gold altarpiece, as well as the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Curiosities include a stuffed crocodile outside the Puerto de Lagarto.

The Giralda Tower, now the bell tower of the Cathedral, was originally the minaret of the Mosque, the bells and upper portions, including the statue that gives the tower its name, being added in 1568. You can climb the tower up the internal ramp, and the view from the top over the roofs of the city is one of the highlights of any visit to Seville, and endlessly fascinating.

Admission is €8.75, €2 for students and pensioners. Free to disabled, under-16s, and those born or resident in Seville.

The Real Alcázar

The first fortress and palace was built as long ago as the 10th century, but little remains from this period. The outer walls that we see today are from the 11th century, but the main palace dates from the time of Peter the Cruel in the 14th century, with later additions. The palace is still an official residence of the King of Spain, making it the oldest palace in continuous use in Europe.

Much of the palace was built in the style known as Mudejar, the mix of Islamic and Christian styles that defined the period.

Highlights include the Courtyard of the Maidens (legend has it that the Moorish kings extracted an annual tribute of 100 young girls from their Christian subjects), with its reflecting pool and sunken gardens, the Baths of Lady María of Padilla, which are actually rainwater tanks beneath the palace, and the Pool of Mercury in the Palace gardens.

Admission is €8, or €3 for students and pensioners.

General Archive of the Indies

The building that now houses the General Archive of the Indies was built between 1584 and 1598 as the commodities exchange for the merchants engaged in the trade with the New World. Before that time the merchants had been in the habit of transacting their business on the steps of the Cathedral, or even inside when it was either too hot or raining, causing considerable friction with the church authorities (the contemporary depiction of the expulsion of the moneylenders from the temple above one of the doors of the cathedral may have been inspired by this).

Later, after the monopoly of the Americas trade passed to Cádiz, the building fell into disuse, until Charles III decreed in 1785 that it should be used to house all the documentation relating to the Spanish American Empire. The archive is still one of the most important in the world for historical research, although many of the documents are now in a building across the street.

Admission is free and there are often interesting special exhibitions.

We have four luxury apartments with stunning views of this very special place, the Catedral Terrace and the three Giralda Terrace apartments.

Seville | Luxury Holiday Apartments

Here at Veoapartment Headquarters we pride ourselves on the quality and variety of our apartments. Whether small or large, open-plan or with cosy rooms to snuggle up in, we go to a lot of trouble to make sure that all our apartments are top quality and that they are in excellent locations, so that all you have to do is relax and enjoy your holiday.

At the top of the range, though, are some apartments that just make us go, “I want to live here. Forever.” They don’t have to be big, though most of them are certainly spacious. Large windows and lots of light are a common feature, together with terraces and balconies. Furnishings may be chic and modern, or in the classic style, but always include all those little conveniences we can’t do without, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, air-con to keep you cool in summer, and internet access to keep you connected. What they have in common above everything else is that feeling of being special – that combination of luxury with good taste and interesting spaces, all in excellent locations, that makes these very select apartments such a perfect home from home.

marques paradas

The first of three of our special favourites is Marques Paradas (the name is not actually Spanish for paradise, but we think it should be), a contemporary modern three bedroom duplex apartment in the Arenal for up to six people. Big double-glazed windows let in lots of light and keep out any noise, and even in the heat of summer central air conditioning and ceiling fans keep it pleasantly cool. Light colours and wood floors add to the sense of space, and the decorations include original artworks. There’s a modern kitchen next to the dining area, and the option of eating out on the terrace.

teodosio terrace

The second is Teodosio Terrace, another three bedroom apartment for up to eight people, complete with its own private rooftop swimming pool on a spacious terrace. Wood floors, underfloor heating and air conditioning keep it comfortable all year round. Big windows and a private balcony round the interior patio give plenty of light, and the three bedrooms all come with lots of storage space and modern en-suite bathrooms.

catedral terrace

The third, and most luxurious of all, is Catedral Terrace, a Sevillano townhouse with two terraces and a superb view of the Cathedral and Giralda tower. The house has its own interior patio complete with fountain and other traditional elements such as wrought ironwork, tiling and carved doors, as well as all the modern necessities, including WiFi, air conditioning and a modern kitchen. Four bedrooms and bathrooms give plenty of space for up to eight people, and the living room has classical style sofas and chairs.

This is definitely a case of “how the other half live”, and we’d trade places with them anytime.

Rooms With A View

Imagine waking up of a morning, looking out of your window, and seeing views like these! All of them are views from veoapartments in the historic and beautiful city of Seville in Southern Spain

                  

Cathedral – There are lots of apartments that give you a glimpse of the 15th century cathedral and Giralda tower, but from the Cathedral Terrace apartment you get the whole thing.
Indian Archive – This is a fine view across Constitución to the Archivos and the little garden in front of them from the Constitución 5 apartment. The Archivos were originally built during the 16th century as the trading centre for the merchandise brought back from the New World, before being converted to their present use.
Metropol Parasol – A fascinating view of the newest addition to Seville’s city centre, the world’s largest wooden building, as seen from the Laraña Terrace apartments.

  

Iglesia del Salvador – The El Salvador church as seen across the square from Salvador Terrace apartment. It was built on the site of the original Grand Mosque, and elements preserved from that time can still be seen in the church courtyard.
Alcázar Gardens – It’s only a glimpse, with one of the towers of the 12th century fortifications, but the rest of the view from the Murillo Terrace apartment is pretty good too, taking in the Plaza Santa Cruz in the heart of the old Jewish quarter.
Maestranza Bullring – This is the view across the river from the Betis Blue apartments of the Arenal waterfront, including the famous bullring, one of the oldest and best preserved in Spain.

  

 

 

 

 

Iglesia San Luis – An unusual up close and personal look at the towers and dome of San Luis church from the San Luis Terrace apartment in the famous Macarena neighbourhood of Seville.
Fine Arts Museum – A view across the street from the Museo 5 apartment to one of Spain’s most important art museums, housed in the impressive Convent de la Merced.
Isabela bridge – Seville’s iconic Triana bridge, with some of the expo ’92 pavilions in the background, again from the Betis Blue apartments in the old sailors’ and gypsy quarter of Triana.

Holiday Houses in Seville and Granada

We’ve talked before about the advantages of renting an apartment for your holiday, but now we’re going to up the ante. How about renting an enitre house? This is for sure the ultimate in enjoying a home away from home in your own space, with all the freedom, independence and privacy that you could wish for. Veoapartment now has four complete houses for rent, two each in Seville and Granada, all in prime locations, and luxuriously furnished with all mod cons.

Alhambra Terrace

As you might guess from the name, Alhambra Terrace has a stunning view of the Moorish fortress from the lower Albaicín, as well as being within easy reach of the town centre and all the important sights. Nearby Casa Valenzuela is a thoughtfully renovated traditional family house, and the perfect base for seeing the city.

Casa Valenzuela

Campanario Terrace in Seville has an unique location alongside the 12th century belltower of El Salvador church, and from the back of the house you can see the church itself and also look down into the picturesque inner courtyard.

Campanario Terrace

But the star of the show is undoubtedly Catedral Terrace, a fully renovated four bedroom townhouse with three (count them!) terraces, a traditional cierro window (a big glassed in balcony) in the living room, and an unrivalled view of the Giralda tower. Sure to be anyone’s idea of a dream holiday home.

Catedral Terrace

Things to do in Seville
Things to do in Granada