Seville at Christmas is buzzing with loads of things to see and do – right up until Reyes, Kings’ Day (6 January), which marks the end of the programme of festive activities. Or so we thought.
After a visit to the Casa de la Ciencia (Science Museum – don’t compare it to the London one, it’s a fraction of the size – post to come soon) and a fun afternoon in Maria Luisa Park with friends last Saturday, making the most of a sunny day after rain and grey clouds (gasp! Yes, we do have days without blue sky in Andalucia), on our way to the Metro we chanced upon the Prado de San Sebastian.
This is the park separated from Maria Luisa by the Portuguese consulate (built for the 1929 Expo, don’t you know), and home to the kitsch-but-fun Feria de las Naciones every autumn – a hangover from Expo 9, it’s a fair when you can get kangaroo burgers, German beer and pisco sours all in one place (though perhaps not together).
Lo and behold, Christmas was still in full action! A ferris wheel, skating rink, fairground rides, and market with rows of cute wooden cabins offering various different snacks; scarves, jewellery and all the other knick-knacks you expect from such a fair, including ashtrays made from vinyl records. All lit up at night, to make you forget your January blues.
It’s on till 31 January, so there’s still three whole weeks of fun to be had! We loved our ride on the big wheel, with spectacular views: the skating rink and attractions below; behind, the Fabrica de Tabacos (Tobacco Factory), setting for the opera Carmen and now part of Seville University, with the Torre Pelli, the city’s new (and only) skyscraper, in the distance; and to the right, the cathedral and Giralda.
We didn’t go skating as they were charging for glove rental, ladrones, so we’ll back, fully equipped, later this week. But the kids bounced for all they were worth on the jumping (flying from a trampoline into the air attached by elastic strings to a harness), and then went on a spinning fairground ride which apparently wasn’t spinny enough (I felt dizzy just watching them).
If you or your offspring get peckish after all that action, you can get slices of pizza, savoury pastries, crepes with Nutella, and churros con chocolate. For your browsing pleasure, stalls have ethnic apparel, handmade jewellery, Moroccan lamps, and some old favourites like the roll-up blackboards (pretty fabric with writable material on one side, comes with chalk, rolls up neatly).
So take my advice and give the kids a few hours of extended Christmas magic while it’s still on this weekend. The days are sunny, but the nights are getting chilly (by Seville standards) – January is our coldest month, so wrap up warm when the sun goes down. And don’t forget your gloves!
Prices (per person, same for adults and children) are: ice-skating: 8 euro (glove rental 2 euros). Noria and rides: 3 euros. Open daily rom 11am-11pm until Sunday 31 January.