Seville Snapshots: Colorful Windows in El Centro

Madrid and I have a complicated relationship: it took me a few years in Spain and several trips to discover what was beneath the flashy Gran Vía, to understand the pulse of the big city that houses Velázquez and Guernica. Then my friends showed me where to have the best Thai on Atocha and Indian in Lavapiés, the metro became second nature.

I’m a city girl. I love walking over grates and feeling the subway thunder under me (or above me back home in Chicago), anticipating the changes of the stoplights and the cacophony of car horns and radios.

But returning to Seville after ethnic food and cañas with friends in La Latina or Malasaña feels like the new me. The car horns are replaced by horse hooves in the city center, and the metro can’t take me as far as my feet or bike. The garritos in Madrid aren’t as lively as the flower-clad iron bars in Seville, and while the orange and stone buildings of La Capital are beautiful, I prefer the crumbling, whitewashed walls of Andalusian villages like Osuna or Arcos. To me, the hallmarks of Andalusian architecture help it stand out from Madrid’s busy streets and high-rises.

Te dejo, Madrid. It’s an inevitable stop for me while traveling or for work, and perhaps the Novio and I will end up there in a few years, but for now, yo soy del sur.

Have any photos of Spain or Seville to share? Sunshine and Siestas is looking for contributions from readers for the busy summer months ahead. Get in touch with me through Facebook with your ideas, photos o lo que sea!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. I like Madrid quite a bit, but I agree that while it’s a nice city it doesn’t reach out and grab at my heart the way the smaller cities in Andalucia do. Madrid has it’s own feel, but in my mind, lacks the personal characteristics that other cities offer.
    Mike recently posted..I Did Not Like BarcelonaMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I agree with you to a point. I enjoy going to Madrid, but I think it’s because I have so many people there. It was impossible to plan to see everyone I wanted to!

  2. Melanie Murrish says:

    I love crumbling abroad, and even embrace graffiti in Spain and Italy but don’t like it in my own country; stange eh?

  3. You must’ve brought the heat from the south with you; it’s now getting hot(ish). I suppose that, for a Sevillana, it’s not that hot though!
    Kaley [Y Mucho Más] recently posted..My Madrid Neighborhood: ArganzuelaMy Profile

  4. Madrid and I get along pretty well. When you live outside of NYC your whole life, any other city seems pretty tame in comparison. I never understood what people meant by telling me Madrid was such a bustling, crowded city because my point of reference is one of the most populous cities in the world! For me it was just the right size and I was sad to leave.
    amelie88 recently posted..The Alcatraz of the East Coast: Inside the Walls of Eastern State PenitentiaryMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      It’s all about perspective! I think that, of all the places I’ve been to in Spain, it would be my second choice for residing, after SEville, of course!

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