Snapshots from Spain - Tapas at Las Teresas
During prime dining hours Las Teresas fills up quickly with locals and tourists. There are some nice tables outside and a few lovely tile-lined booths inside. But, for my money, the best seat is at the bar. From there you can watch the experienced staff pour glasses of sherry, record orders in chalk right on the marble bar, and carve their way through leg after leg of Jamón. It's also the best spot to strike up a conversation with your neighbors.
On this visit I ended up chatting with super sweet young lady from Denmark for several hours. Neia was in Sevilla to take on El Camino de Santiago, by way of the Via de la Plata. The Camino is basically an epic hike (1000 kilometers!) across Spain to the shrine of St. James the Great at the Cathedral of Santiago in Galicia. Before leaving pilgrims apply for a credencial, like a 'pilgrim passport' which allows them to stay in pilgrim hostels, or albergues, along the route. It was incredibly fascinating to hear about her past experiences walking the Camino and her hopes for the upcoming adventure. Neia, if you read this I hope you had an amazing journey!
Don't try ordering any hot food before at least nine pm. As is the tradition in Spain, dinner is served late. Of course, in the mean time, you can nibble at cold dishes, salads, and cured meats. And drink! Straight away I ordered a tinto al limón and a tapa of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. Just the right size and price, the tapa portion is a perfect introduction to high quality Jamón. The owner told us the restaurant goes through 6 legs of pig a day! No wonder there are so many hanging from the ceiling.
Once the kitchen opened I placed my order for a tapa of morillo, aka tuna collar, while Neia ordered a skewer of grilled shrimp. Topped with bright green parsley oil and served with a side of pickled carrots and peas, the seafood was lovely in its simplicity. After several more drinks and another round of tapas (chorizo for me, pickled peppers in olive oil for her) we said our goodbyes. Neia was leaving on her journey early in the morning, while I had plans to tackle El Real Alcázar de Sevilla, followed by the Catedral de Sevilla.
But before the tapas, I spent the afternoon at the Plaza de España, then made my way to the banks of the Guadalquivir River. I walked along the water until I reached the Torre del Oro, or Golden Tower. Moorish in design and military in function, the watchtower was built way back in the 13th century. The wide walking paths and courtyards near the tower are fantastic for people watching. With plenty of benches and great views of the water, it's a perfect spot to take in the sunset.
Nearby is the Plaza de Toros, one of the oldest bullrings in the world. It's also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sevilla, visitors can tour the ring as well as a museum celebrating the history of the sport. Though bull fighting is an important part of Andalucían culture, it also creeps me out, so I did a walk by outside before making my way back into the city center for dinner.