Biking my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass…
To get a genuine taste of Spanish life one of the best places to go is Sevilla, the heart of Andalusia, Spain’s southern region. My favorite way to explore the colorful plazas, rich history, and beautiful monuments of the fourth largest city in Spain is by bicycle!
Students and faculty at my college in the States know that my bike and I are practically one in the same. I am always racing across busy streets and sidewalks to class or the latest campus-wide event five minutes before it starts. If I am not riding a bike, I have either misplaced it or it has “mysteriously” disappeared from the bike rack. It should not be a surprise that I have managed to continue this tradition while abroad in Spain, though I exercise significantly more caution than before.
Sevici Bike is the cost effective city bike system in Sevilla that conveniently allows subscribers to explore the city with unlimited 24/7 access. With Sevilla’s flat terrain, bike riding is ideal and one of the most common forms of transportation. Additionally, there are 250 bike stations and bike lanes located throughout the city, making it really easy to navigate.
Local tip: The first 30 minutes are free and riding longer costs; however, most Sevillanos ride for free by simply returning their bike to the nearest bike station before the time limit expires and checking it out again.
In order to get to El Centro, the bustling district for shopping, restaurants, and a variety of iconic monuments, I grab a bike from the station just two blocks away from my home, then ride through the neighborhood El Porvenir to cut through Parque de María Luisa. Plaza de España, built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, is the focal point of the park with its impressively intricate architecture.
Streets in Sevilla are not on a grid system like most cities in the United States and are quite narrow. It is very easy to find yourself lost in one of the many charming plazas in El Centro. On my first ride, I spent half an hour trying to locate the closest bike rack. The few people I asked in my very broken Spanish were not sure where a station nearby was located and I did not have wifi to figure it out. It was frustrating at first, then I realized that I might as well enjoy the sights and live in the moment! In one particular plaza, charming horse drawn carriages were lined up waiting to embark on a beautiful tour of the city, and a guitarist played captivating Spanish rhythms on the steps of the monument as if it were a scene from the Cheetah Girls 2. I was an amiga cheetah in that moment and I loved it! I have now learned that the were several stations nearby, I just was oblivious to them.
After shopping the rebajas, end of the winter season sales, and grabbing a bite of delicious gelato, I ride back home, usually seeing a familiar face or two from school, which is always comforting. Once you learn where the closest bike stations to your destination are, there’s nothing stopping you from exploring the picturesque capital of Andalusia!
Until my next journey, hasta luego!
The world awaits…discover it.