I love getting email from readers, which is good because ever since I announced my decision to return to Seville from the US, my inbox has been flooded with questions. Practically everyone seems to be contemplating a trip here at some point over the next year, and they are baffled by the entry requirements (a fast-moving target) and curious whether the city’s street life has returned to its usual congenial roar (it has). It’s clear 2022 is shaping up to be a boom year for the city, and for my email inbox.
Part of this upsurge in popularity is because “Spain Is Now the Safest EU Destination,” according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Our region, Andalucía, has vaccinated more than 80% of its residents, achieving herd immunity and “green status” (less than 50 Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants). Sevillanos are matter-of-fact about observing all the appropriate public safety protocols, especially masking, while maintaining an attitude of cheerful normalcy. People are moving on with their lives.
I am constantly astonished to find myself in a city that feels so post-pandemic. Not post-Covid, of course; we all know that the virus is still stalking the planet, and we’d be fools not to take proper precautions. And there’s always the chance some hideous new variant could arise, throwing everything into chaos again. But as of this writing, Seville feels like an oasis of safety in an uncertain world. Is it any wonder so many people are contemplating a visit?
My friend Charles is always telling me to stop saying nice things about Seville on this blog because we don’t want too many tourists overrunning the city. I keep explaining to him that people are going to come anyway, and if anyone should be held accountable, it's the city's leaders. At the very same time I started this blog, they launched a multi-million euro campaign to attract visitors, and it’s been successful beyond their wildest dreams. And yet Charles is convinced it's all my doing.
I point out to him that I may play some small part in inspiring people to visit, but my real job is making sure they have fun when they get here.
Those who don’t do their research often show up expecting a European version of Mexico. These poor souls wander about, bewildered by the complete lack of spicy food and mariachi music, and confused when ordering a tortilla results in the arrival of a dense potato omelet instead of the flat bread used to make burritos. Others read the tourist literature and limit themselves to the cathedral, the Alcázar palace, and the corporate-owned restaurants and cookie-cutter souvenir shops nearby. My job is to open doors for my readers, so they know where to find the oddball stuff, like tiles that predict your matrimonial future, sites used in filming Game of Thrones, and the kind of backstreet food that makes you want to get up and dance with the cook.
On top of all that, now I’ve got tips about Covid safety to share: where you can dine outdoors, get tested before your flight home, and buy masks that are as safe as KN95s but come in fashionable patterns and colors because hey, we all need a break from black and while and surgical blue sometimes.
So I’ve decided to put together a short guide to the city at this unique moment in its history, helping people figure out travel logistics and entry requirements, navigate the recent changes in the local culture, and stay safe and comfortable in transit and throughout their visit. I’m taking a few weeks off from writing on this blog to organize my notes into something approaching coherent form, and when it’s ready I’ll post the guide online so my regular readers can download it for free and others can purchase it in Kindle or paperback form.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or topics you’d like to see covered in this little guidebook, please let me know. And for heaven’s sake, don’t tell Charles about any of this. The less he knows the better. Mum’s the word.
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I'm an American travel writer living in Seville, Spain. I travel the world seeking eccentric people, quirky places, and outrageously delicious food so I can have the fun of writing about them here.
My current project:
OUT TO LUNCH IN SEVILLE
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Winner of the 2023 Firebird Book Award for Travel
#1 Amazon Bestseller in Tourist Destinations, Travel Tips, Gastronomy Essays, and Senior Travel