Trip Recap: Picturesque Seville & How To Travel On Your Own Safely

Hi guys!

Thank you so much for showing your outpouring support yesterday. You are the best!… AS ALWAYS!

Today, I’d like to tell you more about yet another city in Spain I traveled to in April: Seville. If you have missed my previous posts, here is your chance to catch up:

Seville is definitely one of those cities that just take your breath away. Due to time constraints, my brother and I had only one day to spend there. When we woke up, I was ready to go and explore. Unfortunately, my brother told me that he had to finish some work and had to stay at the hotel all day. I hesitated for about a second, took the map and headed out the door. It was daytime and the hostel we stayed at was not that far from all major attractions. I had nothing to worry about.

It was definitely strange to be all by myself, but it was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk by the river which cut through the city.

canal

I reached the nearest bridge and took some pictures of colorful buildings all around. They were so cute that I got cheered up almost instantaneously and all worries went away.

That feeling didn’t last too long… As I turned around, I noticed a man was looking at me. I didn’t think much of it and continued on walking along the river. Suddenly I got a strange feeling. What caught my attention was bizarre. Somebody was walking behind me, and it seemed like that person was trying to match my pace. I tried to keep my calm. After all, it was a busy street. I blamed myself for being paranoid.

When I turned to check out who it was, I saw the same man following me. I knew it was him because I remembered the red folder he carried. It stood out against his otherwise bland outfit. Once again, I tried to stay calm and simply pretended to stop and take a picture of a random monument and let him pass me.

A few minutes later, I lost a sight of the man and headed to the Plaza De Toros which was nearby. It is the oldest bullring in the world and I was really excited to see it.

Since I wanted to cover as much of Seville as possible, I decided to forgo getting a ticket and simply walked around it to enjoy its beauty. Then I had this wonderful idea. I figured maybe if I went into a souvenir store inside, I could peak through and see more stuff. *Hey! No judgement here! I was a tourist… poor tourist! Haha!*

Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

Sadly, I wasn’t able to see much through the inside, so I looked over cute things they had there. I didn’t find anything special, or at least not something I wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere in the city. As I turned around to leave… I saw him again standing next to the exit, pretending to read a book about Seville… He was facing me…

I am kidding you not, I freaked out all the way! I knew that something was definitely wrong. I was NOT being paranoid. That man was indeed following me. I felt helpless because there was not a single person who spoke English in there. I also knew that the man wasn’t a tourist either because he wasn’t dressed like one. He didn’t have a camera or map on him, and just the very first vibe I got from him rang danger.

I was certain that he wasn’t there to rob me since he had multiple occasions to grab my purse and run before, when there was no people around and yet he didn’t do it. I WAS SCARED for my life. Literally!

My first instinct was to head outside and mix in with people. Mixing in didn’t work because as you can see from the picture above there weren’t THAT many people. I considered approaching police, but I didn’t see any. So instead of wandering off in a smaller street, I decided to stop. Yes, stop! I turned around and saw him approaching. I sat down on a flowerbed next to some people and stared him in the eyes. I wanted him to know I knew he was after me. For a second I even considered confronting him, but then I am NOT that courageous. So I just sat and stared. Thankfully, he walked passed me again.

You can’t imagine the fear that was running through me. For the first time in my life I was scared to death. I was in a different country, I didn’t speak the language and there was literally no one to help me. So I listened to my instincts. I looked around and didn’t see him anywhere *which meant absolutely nothing, because the same thing had already happened before*. What did I do? I sprinted in the opposite direction from where I was headed first. I ran for good 10 minutes on a busy street, my heart was racing, I was about to collapse and cry.

The timing was good because as I was about to fall apart, I came across yet another big street. I made a decision to avoid smaller streets completely and be extra vigilant as to what was happening around me. I also made sure to stick around families. And I am glad I did so. The city won back my love and affection as I continued to explore it.

One of the most beautiful landmarks was the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. It is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus!

Seville Cathedral

Right next to the cathedral, there is a bell tower called La Giralda. You should definitely look up its history, it’s quite fascinating!

La Giralda

In addition, the cathedral shared the same square with one of the sides of Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. It was incredible to see these two completely different styles somehow working together.

The Alcázar of Seville

Around that time, I somewhat calmed down my nerves and headed to the Torre del Oro by the river. It was constructed in the thirteenth century. What’s strange about its history is that during the Middle Ages the tower served as a prison. How crazy is that?!

Torre del Oro

After that I headed back to the main street, I aimlessly walked and enjoyed the atmosphere. I tried to soak in the beauty of nature and fountains…

fountain

As well as minor details such as this bike path sign *so different and cute!!!*

bike path

When I looked at the map, I realized that I still had time to visit one of the places I really wanted to see: The Plaza de España. It is a gigantic half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge with numerous bridges stretched over ponds and beautiful fountains.

Plaza de España

I fell in love with it and its railings… Aren’t they absolutely beautiful?!

Plaza de España details

This whole experience totally made up for the stress earlier that day. I was again a happy and relaxed person. To make things even better, I saw this dove. To me, it was a sign of forgiveness. So I decided not to keep a grudge at this beautiful city and instead left a piece of my heart there because that’s where it belongs.

dove in Seville

Have you ever been followed by someone? What did you do?

xoxo
Olena

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31 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health, Travel

31 responses to “Trip Recap: Picturesque Seville & How To Travel On Your Own Safely

  1. What beautiful pictures! Looks like you had an incredible time! I am very jealous of all your traveling. Great tips here too, I actually like going some places on my own, you take it in more I think. Thanks for sharing your story with us 🙂

  2. Wow, your pictures are seriously breathtaking, I especially love the yellow and blue picture of the bridge towards the end, so beautiful! I cannot wait to get back to Spain in Sept, I haven’t been there since August 2011! I travel a lot on my own, I actually really enjoy it, but of course, you always have to be really aware of surroundings. Thankfully I have never run into any issues!!

  3. All of your pictures are SO gorgeous!! I’ve never been followed but it sounds terrifying! I’m always so paranoid when I’m running by myself, it’s better to be aware of your surroundings. I’m so glad you got out of there safe!

  4. Thank goodness you are/were ok! I had an experience like that once when I was doing research for my undergraduate thesis–in short, I was walking in an abandoned mill town. But luckily, I wasn’t abroad, so I called Alex (my boyfriend, at the time), and made him stay on the phone with me until I was safely back in my car. I’m glad that you were able to rebound and move on with your day–it would have been such a shame to miss out on the beauty of that place!

    • Thank God, you could call! I was thinking of calling my brother too, but I had 3 issues:

      – It would cost me an arm and a leg,
      – It would have him forever to get to me,
      – That is if he found the way to me…

      LOL! ❤ xoxo

  5. Alas to be so pretty that someone would follow you around. I know it was scary and so very dangerous but it was also a compliment to you. A compliment that most women would forego but still a compliment. 😉 I hope it never happens again but it was so exciting to read! I’m glad you stood your ground and confronted him (because stopping and staring him in the face is a confrontation, just a silent one). Good job taking care of yourself!! 😀 SO glad you’re safe! It can be scary traveling alone, especially if you don’t speak the language.

    Awesome pictures too! So beautiful!! 😀

  6. I’m so sorry that happened to you, how scary! I was followed once when I was in Ecuador and it was awful. At first I was worried I was just being paranoid but then I knew I wasn’t and now I tend to trust my inner gut a little more. Beautiful pictures Olena!

  7. That sounds so scary! I’m glad you got away from that guy and were able to enjoy the city. It really is beautiful!

  8. Beautiful pictures! That sounds very scary, though! I am glad things ended well, though. I thought this creepy van with no windows was following me one day when I was running very early in the dark. Turns out it was just a man fixing an electric pole!

  9. Wow, I live in Sevilla. Sorry to hear you got followed. I might add this post to a list I am creating of the best blogs about Spain, is that okay? Thanks Barry.

  10. Wow these pics are gorgeous, but ugh to getting followed. 😦 So scary. 😦 I’m glad everything turned out okay for you! ❤

  11. That’s so scary but you were 100% right to follow your gut instinct and stay safe. I loved Seville – it’s so pretty but compact so you can see it all pretty quickly. When we were there we caught some troubadours in one of the old squares, and visited these amazing Turkish baths. Plus the tapas there so good.

  12. Wow what I beautiful place! I’m so sorry about your experience though! That’s so scary 😦

  13. Such a beautiful city! I visited a church in Ireland once that they said Columbus stopped in. I have a connection cause I’m from Columbus, OH, so he’s always on my radar.
    Such a crazy story!!! I have been followed twice. Most memorably in London. I was walking by myself at night and I noticed two men on opposite corners as I crossed an intersection. I saw they gave a sort of head nod signal to each other and both started walking toward me. I figured they were about to mug me or worse – nobody was around. So I did what I did the other time I felt like I was being followed…I acted like a CRAZY person. I started screaming strange noises, walking in circles, slapping my own face, talking gibberish to myself. It worked! The two men immediately turned around and walked away. They didn’t want any part of a crazy person!

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