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Posts tagged ‘summer’

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 | Rooftop Swimming Pools

If you’ve been dreaming of spending your summer holiday somewhere warm and sunny with your own swimming pool to cool off in after a hard day of strolling around one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, the good news is that you can make the dream come true, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either.

We have two spacious holiday apartments in Seville with private swimming pools – Teodosio Terrace and Miguel Terrace – as well as two one-bedroom rentals with access to shared swimming pools – Ibarra Terrace and Pedro Miguel – where you can enjoy those bright blue skies (don’t forget your shades and sunblock!) and unwind in sumptuous surroundings with all the comforts of home.

As a bonus, you’ll also get to smile smugly to yourself when you’re at the top of the Giralda Tower and overhear someone comment enviously on the rooftop pools. And while in Seville you can also sample the famous local cuisine in some of its many tapas bars, stroll along the river, or take in a flamenco show (or opera at the market!). Sound like a plan?

 Cooling off in your own pool is just one of the many ways to beat the heat in Seville.

Seville | How To Beat The Heat

Metropol Parasol in Plaza Encarnación

It’s barely midday, and already the thermometer is reading meltdownºC. The sun is shining relentlessly, and even the mad dogs have called it a day. Well, okay, it’s not that bad, but Seville does get seriously hot in July and August, and even though you’re already wearing sunscreen and loose clothing and drinking lots of water you’re probably thinking this is a good time to be doing something that doesn’t involve walking around in the mid-afternoon sun. How right you are, and here are a few tips for things to do.

First, and perhaps most obvious, is to find a nice air-conditioned bar and order up a round of one, or both, of those two Sevillano summer staples, Gazpacho and tinto de verano (summer wine). Gazpacho is a cold tomato and cucumber soup, thickened with softened bread, that has been called the “Spanish coca-cola” by super-chef Dani Garcia. An alternative is ajo blanco, a cold soup made from ground almonds and garlic, that has been around much longer than the introduction of tomatoes from the new world. Tinto de verano is a mixture of red wine and fizzy lemonade served over ice, usually with a slice of lemon. It’s like sangría but lighter and more refreshing, and won’t mark you out as a tourist.

Second, go shopping. Not the sort of shopping that involves struggling around with half a dozen heavy bags, but the sort that involves taking advantage of the fact that the shops are air-conditioned to browse as much as you like without having to buy anything (unless you really want to).  Nervión Plaza and the various El Corte Inglés department stores are perfect for indulging in a little retail therapy in air-conditioned comfort.

Take in a movie. The Avenida 5 Cines in Marques de Paradas shows films in original version – and is air-conditioned throughout.

Museums and monuments. The Alcázar palaces and gardens offer plenty of places to take refuge from the sun. Or you could try the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Popular Culture in the late afternoon, and stroll back through the Maria Luisa Park as it starts to cool down in the evening. Casa Pilatos has shady gardens, and Casa Lebrija a cool Sevillano style patio. You get to look at some cool stuff, too.

If you have kids, the Isla Magica theme park has lots of watery rides and other amusements. A bit pricey, but there’s a discount for only going for the afternoon.

Ice-cream. There are several good ice-cream shops to choose from, including a Ben & Jerry’s in the Campana, but for the best locally made ice-cream in town head for Rayas next to Plaza Cristo de Burgos or Fiorentina in Zaragoza street.

In the evening take advantage of the breeze at higher altitudes and visit one of Seville’s rooftop bars. Roof, atop the Hotel Casa Romana, has a nice eclectic menu and views of the city centre and Metropol Parasol. Both the Doña Maria and the Fontecruz hotels have great views of the cathedral where you can enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun go down.

Of course there’s no place like home, and cooling off in your own veoapartment swimming pool.