Philip & Phyllis in Seville

There is a saying that one can choose their friends but not their family.  Philip is Jim’s younger brother by five years and Phyllis is his wife of 43 years.  We could not choose any better friends than these two.  We invited them to spend time with us in Seville and were thrilled when they accepted.  Philip has spent some time in Europe, but mostly prior to age five.  Phyllis has never been to Europe so this was a first for her.  They arrived in Seville at 2:30pm on January 30 after traveling for 20 hours from Asheville, NC.  They hit the ground running and never stopped.  They walked over 50 miles in 8.5 days, averaging almost six miles per day.  Phyllis grew up a Southern Baptist and is now a Seventh Day Adventist and had never been in a Catholic Church.  She has now been in more Catholic Churches than most good Catholics.  Philip who is a multi-talented, meticulous artisan, craftsman, artist and blacksmith could not get his jaw off of the ground and took pictures of every little detail that wowed him.  His phone was running out of power every two hours and he had to use Jim’s or stop at a cafe for a recharge.  We also had perfect 70℉ weather every day which was a welcome change for them from a Western North Carolina winter.

Looking really good after 20 hours and four airports.
Drinking in the warm Andalusían sunshine.
First food in Spain was pre-dinner churros.
How can one not love fried dough dipped in chocolate?
First tapas at La Bartola which is a sister restaurant to Bar Alfalfa, both owned by an Italian.  We have been to both of these tapas bars multiple times.
Morning of their first full day heading for Plaza España.  Philip found a belt at this stand and rued the fact that he didn’t buy it for the rest of the trip.  Never did buy a belt.
They just loved Plaza España and returned there by themselves once and then again on their last night, we closed the place down at 10pm.


We are still hoping to row these boats, haven’t seen anyone in them yet.  Winter you know.
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Walked from Plaza España to Mercado Triana.
Had some small bites and sherry for Jim.
Philip & Phyllis went through the Spanish Inquisition Museum while we sat outside and had a beer.
Looking at Seville from Triana.
We walked back across the river to Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla or The Bullfighting Ring.


We walked around the outside of the ring while Philip & Phyllis took the tour.
Administrative offices of the Bull Ring.


A selection of Philip’s pictures on Jim’s phone.


This is a jug of beer kept in the small chapel where the Matadors pray just before their appearance in the ring.
Princes gate and the Royal Box.  The winning Matador’s exit this gate.


We didn’t get to enter those boxes.


End of their tour.
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Philip used Jim’s phone for pictures here as his was dead.


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Walking home after a very good first day.
The barber of Seville at work.  We go by his door in our entry hall.  Philip tried to get a haircut from him but he was booked solid for the week.
After dinner at home we went out to a 7:30pm Flamenco show at Casa de la Guitarra which is an intimate venue for a show.  They also have a guitar museum.  Philip is quite interested in guitars and is also a talented player.


After the show we enjoyed Sevilla by night wandering the tiny alleys of the Old Jewish Sector which is the closest area to our home here.


While wandering we came across this magical little bar where we were serenaded by “The Maestros at the bar.”  It’s worth watching the video with sound turned up.

Here is where we were if you should ever want to search it out.

Day 2, we took a very nice run while Philip and Phyllis wandered old town, getting lost but finding their way back.  They say that it is a rite of passage for tourists to get lost in the maze of winding alleyways in the old town.  We went out together in the afternoon.

Parroquia de San Ildefonso or The Parish Church of Saint Ildefonso.  Most of the churches in Sevilla are closed except around service times so it is very hit or miss whether one gets inside to see them.  We love going into them as they are each so different and unique.
Parroquia de San Pedro Apóstol.
Setas de Sevilla.  We did not go to the top as the line was much too long on a Saturday.  You can really see how they look like mushrooms from this view.
Philip was constantly shopping for shoes.  Finally bought some handmade in Spain leather shoes on his last day.
View from our balcony.  Philip counted five domes visible from here.  Street view is below.
We had dinner at home and they went out again after dinner.
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Day 3 we went to Las Duenas which is a sweet, highly recommended house museum in the Santa Catalina district of Seville.


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Las Duenas was built between the 15th and 16 centuries and was named after the now razed Monastery of Santa María de las Dueñas. Its Origin was the Place-house of the Pineda, lords of Casa Bermeja, one of the dynasties of the patricians of Sevilla.


The house has been passed down many times and was eventually owned by the Duke of Alba and has been known as the Casa de Alba since.  At one point it was a guest house and one of the property administrators of Las Dueñas, was Antonio Machado Álvarez, father of the famous poet Antonio Machado, who was born in Las Dueñas in 1875.


In the 20th Century Las Dueñas was a meeting point for members of the European royal families and international personalities of culture, politics and art. Distinguished people such as the Empress Eugenia de Montijo, Lord Holland, Eduardo VIII and his bother Jorge VI, Alfonso XIII, Jacqueline Kennedy, Wallis Simpson, Grace Kelly and her husband Rainiero de Mónaco, among others have partied here.
We really enjoyed this place and spent a lot of time here.  It’s on our must see places in this city.

Our plan was to visit the Basilica of the Macarena after this but Jim found out that it was closed until 5:30 so we returned home for siesta and went out again at 5:30.

We passed by this beautiful Parrish church on the way to La Macarena, Parroquia San Luis De los Franceses, not open when we went by.
Basílica de la Macarena.  We came here on one of our runs as Jim had read about it and was very keen on seeing the Virgin Esperanza Macarena who is Sevilla’s favorite and most famous virgin.  He was very happy to return and see her again though. This time they were allowing people to get up close to her from behind.
The Virgin of Hope Macarena.


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She was carved in the 17th century, has articulating arms, real hair and several changes of clothes including underwear.
Profile view in a mirror from behind.
View from behind, looking back into the Basilica.
Ceiling of the Basilica.
Ceiling of the dome.
For Holy Week the Virgen is removed from the high altar and placed on this float and walked to the cathedral and back.  It takes 36 stevedores under the float to carry it as it can weigh up to two tons.  We will probably be writing a lot more about Semana Santa in April as we will be in Madrid for Holy Week and Easter.
Day 4 P & P walked back to Plaza España for another look.  We left after them on a run and caught them here.  After Plaza España they took an 11:30 tour of the Cathedral rooftop which we have done but not written about yet.  They also toured the Cathedral on their own and climbed the Geralda.
A nice view of the ceiling of the cathedral from behind the main altar.
This view is looking back at the main altar and the floor of the cathedral.

Day 5 we took a train to Córdoba for the day and will write about that in a separate post.  Day 6 Philip and Phyllis went to see Iglesia Colegial del Divino Salvador or Church of the Divine Savior which is an over the top baroque church which we have visited but not yet written about, more about that later from us but here are a couple of their pictures.471774B3-6CF2-4383-80A5-89F3F07127612905F407-4424-4F2C-9CD5-161DA0B1FCBB

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After their church visit we met up with them in Plaza Alfalfa for lunch.
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Lunch at one of our favorite tapas bars, Bar Alfalfa.
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After lunch we took a four hour wander of the old town.
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Lots of shopping and fun with the store clerks.
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A beautiful hat shop that we discovered just behind the bull ring.
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Jim sat down for a caña, small beer, while the girls were shopping.  Philip had coffee and a smoke.
A wonderful little family owned ceramics shop in the city center, Ceramicas Sevilla.  They bought this hand made piece of tile.
Jim bought more churros.


This is an alley that we take all the time.  It is also quite busy with cars but not both at the same time.  Note the mirror pulled in so just the car can make it through the tight squeeze.
This city is so wonderful and well lighted at night.

Day 7, their last full day in Seville we walk to Mercadillo Historico del Jueves which interprets as the historical Thursday flea market, on Calle Feria in the San Lorenzo district.

Popped into another open church, Santa Catalina with another virgin pictured below.


Philip had a ball at the flea market looking for treasures.  Even Jim kind of enjoyed it.
Looks like mostly junk to Jim.
Stopped in another church on Calle Feria, Iglesia de Omnium Sanctorum, where Jim lit a candle for his longtime friend and college roommate, Lyle Herrmann, who is courageously fighting Multiple Myeloma.  Blessings and good health to you Lyle.
And Jim bought some more churros, he ate most of them himself.  How do you like the new leather jacket, hand made in Sevilla?

Philip and Phyllis spent their last afternoon doing a self guided audio tour of Real Alcazar.  Here are a few of their pictures.

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Beautiful view of the gardens which we haven’t been to yet because it was raining on the day that we went.  We are going back to tour the upper floors and gardens later this month.


Final night we walk back to Plaza España to see it lit up at night.


We are missing them so much.


Brother’s jumping competition.


We had such a great time with these two, already looking forward to another trip with them.
Heading back to a cold, snowy North Carolina winter.

What a great week we had together.  We so enjoy having family and friends visit us in each place that we decide to settle for a few months.  We are houseless, but we always have a home.  We are alone in foreign cities all over the globe but we are always making new friends and having old friends come to visit.  We are very blessed and very happy doing what we are doing in our golden years.  We are especially happy to have each other, best friends, lovers and partners in such a great adventure.

This is Philip and Phyllis’s granddaughter Rowan dressed in the Flamenco outfit they took home to her.












16 responses to “Philip & Phyllis in Seville”

  1. […] in this blog from time to time. The youngest brother Philip and his wife Phyllis last visited us in Seville. They were scheduled to visit us again in Madrid this spring but were unable make the trip due to […]

  2. Claude E Steen, III Avatar
    Claude E Steen, III

    Wonderful to see two of my brothers and their ladies enjoying Seville together! Genuine family fun! Donna and I enjoyed Seville together about 15 years ago even though we were serving as chaperones for a group of high school kids with whom we visited several cities in Spain. I also had the privilege of playing tour guide with Philip and his son and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Summer in Ethiopia, Kenya and Italy. Philip & Phyllis are some of our favorite people even if Philip IS my youngest brother!

    1. It was a very special time and they were awestruck by this city.

  3. Oh my God how we wish we were there with you!!!! Bringing back s many wonderful memories of that wonderful city. Miss you guys. ENJOY!!!

    1. You just went the wrong year.

  4. I really enjoyed reading how these two were finally lured away from their wonderful cove in NC and ventured out into the wonders of this part of Europe. I hope they go exploring…time and time again.

    1. We will certainly be encouraging them.

    2. Did you notice the huge smiles on their faces and how relaxed they were?

  5. Philip & Phyllis Steen Avatar
    Philip & Phyllis Steen

    Just as you can’t put in a picture, the beauty of Seville, We can’t put in words the gratefulness we feel toward you, for the fulfillment of a dream, turned into reality, You have always been there for me brother, despite the miles and years between us, I do always feel close to you. You both have been so generous and giving of the greatest treasure, your time, your care and concern for others, there is more gold and grace in your hearts , than in all the cathedrals of Europe!
    We love you both so much, Philip & Phyllis

    1. Wow, what a beautifully written reflection. Thank you so much for your kind words. We so much enjoyed every second of time spent with you. It was decidedly our pleasure being able to host you for the week.

  6. This looks like it was amazing! Phillip and Phyllis look the happiest I’ve ever seen.
    We hope you enjoyed their stay and we look forward to seeing you in April.

    1. It was a great time. They loved it here.

  7. Your intro brought me to tears- How amazing for brothers and wives to spend this kind of quality time together.

    1. You are so sweet. It was our best week ever with family and friends.

  8. Happy Valentine’s Day to the two of you! This week’s pictures are breathtaking!

    1. So sorry you and your family couldn’t make it here. It’s so wonderful and fun to be speaking Spanish again.

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