The geography and layout of Sevilla has been the most surprising thing for me in Spain. I didn’t have very many expectations coming into Spain, but when my plane flew into Madrid I was shocked to see all of the flat land that was full of olive trees, dirt, and grass. There is SO much open space all over Spain. Any time you try to go to another city or town in Spain you have to take a car or bus through at least an hour if not two hours of fairly deserted land to make it to the next city. Even when I went to Rhonda and Huelva I had to take about an hour long bus ride just to get to the nearby cities. The buses are not bad I’m just used to seeing cities next to each other and being able to travel through towns to get to other towns. Massachusetts doesn’t have much bare land until you get over to Western Mass.
The other thing I love about Spain, and that I’ve mentioned many times before, is it’s walkability. I am in absolute shock every time I take a bike around Sevilla at how EASY it is to travel. I still cannot comprehend how I can just use a bike to get to one side of Sevilla to the other and most of that route will be on a path specifically designed for bikes. I love that the city is so accessible and that I see people of all ages walking to school, restaurants, grocery stores, or the park every day at every time. I also don’t think I’ll ever get over how late the old and young generations stay out, because in most places I’ve been to in the US kids are in bed by 10 and you really only see the older generation out late during the weekends.
While I was in Spain I watched Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez’s, Congresswomen from New York, instagram story where she highlighted the accessibility of the Netherlands. She talked about how the walking, biking, and driving lane were all built on different heights so it was less likely for anyone to swerve into an unwanted lane. This made me even more aware of Spain’s accessibility. There are some places where each lane is at a different height but sometimes it’s just a different color or there are little metal buttons separating the lanes. Fun fact: if you ever go to Spain STAY OUT of the lanes next to the metal buttons with bike symbols because you’ll either get hit or have a bell aggressively rung at you. Sevilla also has a really great bike sharing program with Sevici. All you have to do is pay for the weekly or yearly plan (the yearly plan is only 33 euro and is definitely worth it) and you can take out a bike wherever they are stationed. There are plenty of stations all over the city and although sometimes Sevici can be difficult with full or empty stations, I’ve found it to be very worth it. Between biking to and from frisbee twice a week and biking around town a couple times a week I have definitely gotten my money’s worth. I am very much an outdoor person who much prefers to walk somewhere if I can and to be able to strictly walk everywhere in Sevilla has been a dream come true. There are quite a few sidewalks in my hometown in the US and this experience has inspired me want to start walking more so hopefully when it starts warming up I’ll start to walk around Auburn more frequently.
Make sure to bring your walking shoes to Sevilla because there will be plenty of opportunities to explore! Sevilla is also pretty accessible for those who are not able to walk- most sidewalks are quite wide and there are plenty of cheap cabs and taxis that are available all over the city, so don’t get discouraged. Sevilla is a city for everyone and its sidewalks will always be there to entertain.