Seville, Andalucía is a sunny city, rich in history, and famous for its flamenco, tapas bars, and orange trees. It certainly is one of the most beloved places by visitors of Spain. The fertility of this land and its favorized climate, with mild winters and about 3000 hours of the sun per year, make it ideal for travelers to visit any time of the year. Famous worldwide for its culture, monuments, traditions, and artistic heritage, this is the birthplace of flamenco and the city where the most amazing Easter processions take place.
This is the home of famous (and infamous) figures of history—the legendary “Don Juan” started from here to conquer the hearts of women across all Europe, while Columbus started from a port close to Seville to discover a new world.
Why visit Seville?
To play in the Copa Femenina Internacional in the polo club La Mata del Herrador.
Where to stay?
One of Spain’s most prestigious hotels Hotel Alfonso XIII is located next to Seville’s Real Alcazares. This Luxury Collection Hotel is an impressive building that dates back from 1928.
The stylish EME Catedral Hotel is located next to Seville Cathedral. All of the rooms are modern in design. La Terraza restaurant and bar opens in mild weather and offers great views of the cathedral and Giralda.
What to see?
Of course, the flamenco spiritual dance and music which originated from Seville! Stroll through Maria Luisa Park to the amazing Plaza de España. Visit the city’s vast cathedral originally built as a mosque in the 12th century. See the New Sevillian viewpoint—a vast, wooden structure towering over Plaza de la Encarnación.
Spain has always been famous for its Corrida as have other countries all over the world. Whether you like it or not, bullfighting exists in Spain and is an important part of their history and culture.
Where to eat?
Seville is a city of eaters and drinkers! Have breakfast in any cozy cafe-bar and dine in tapas bars and bodegas.
El Pinton in Francos 42 is a great and reasonably-priced restaurant in the center of the old city. It is famous for its traditional-style tapas bar with a superb wine selection.
What to buy?
Local artisan sombreros with fabrics in every conceivable color.
Sevilla is well connected to Madrid by the Spanish high-speed train AVE. The city also has an international airport and you can hire cars at Seville airport to visit other cities.
September is an ideal time of the year for polo in the Spanish province of Andalucia, with warm, late summer sunshine and a slight breeze to keep players and ponies cool when in action.
Certainly, there was plenty of exciting action in the latest edition of the Campeonato de Andalucia Femenino, which took place in September at the beautiful Polo Club La Mata del Herrador. Situated in four hundred hectares of land, it is some 35-minute ride by car from Seville, the ancient and historic provincial capital of Andalucia, and a short distance from the airport. There is stabling for 60 horses.
Owned by well-known Spanish player Pepe Carrasco, whose fifteen-year-old son Jose is also showing great potential in the game, the club is based on the family hacienda. As the name suggests, La Mata indicates that the estate was once a center for olive oil production, with many relics of those days on display. Pepe Carrasco is also a carriage enthusiast and his impressive collection is an additional attraction for visitors.
The tournament, which saw lady players from Spain, Argentina, England, Russia, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia competing, was organized by polo manager Klarina Pichler, a young Austrian professional. Klarina, who provides mounts for teams in Kitzbuhel, Ibiza, Ascona, and St. Moritz decided to move her breeding operations from Austria to Spain, as the country is now a major international Polo center, especially in the vicinity of Sotogrande. This is not altogether surprising, as there is a long history of the game in Spain. In the early part of the last century, King Alfonso XIII, great-grandfather of the present King Felipe VI, was the only reigning European monarch to play.
Making his first appearance umpiring at the international level for the weekend was a friend of Klarina, Greg Gibb, who plays at Prague Polo Club, where he is helping develop a growing interest in the game. He brought with him Solveig Zoske, who was recruited by La Mata del Herrador for the main tournament.
The three teams competing in this year’s event were equally matched, each with two professionals. Over the course of two days, La Mata del Herrador, Ital Fiocchi, and CUE took part in a four-chukka round-robin tournament. All games were fast and exciting, proving once again that players on the distaff (women’s) side were not lagging behind the men when it came to skill on the field.
La Mata del Herrador and CUE equalized, 4-4, while Ital Fiocchi defeated La Mata del Herrador by a narrow 5-4 in the dying seconds of the game. CUE eventually beat Ital Fiocchi by two goals, so that Alex Jacob, Alexandra Benikova, Harriet Styles, and Carla Alvarez rode out the overall winners, receiving the handsome Copa Internacional Feminina from Juan Alvarez, President of the Federation de Polo de Andalucia. He is the father of Carla Alvarez, one of Spain’s top lady players, who has represented her country and province. She was the only Spanish player in this tournament.
In the evening, they ate in some of the best tapas bars in Spain and also had the chance to explore the historic city of Seville. Founded by the Romans, who called it Hispalis, Seville is well known for its 15th-century Cathedral de Santa Maria (which contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus), the 18th century Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza bullring, narrow cobbled streets, and, by no means least, flamenco dancing. The city received a major boost in tourism as a result of the 1992 World Expo, with over a million visitors. There followed eight bridges being built across the Guadalquivir River and there is now a fast train link to Madrid.