Three out of the four days we were in Seville, we ate at Filo. And everyday we both ordered the same thing. It turns out we are not the only ones either mad for this cafe, on TripAdvisor several people had visited on multiply occasions during their short stays. If this does not tell you how good this little cafe is, then I do not know what will!
Both me and Jessamyn, as avocado lovers, have both had our fair share of avocado on toast but then we came across this gem who made it like no other and the future of avocado on toast for us had changed. I just feel like no other cafe/restaurant can now compare. It sounds like I am going a bit OTT here with my statements but I would happily visit Seville again, alone, for this avocado on toast. And if you are not an avo toast fan (aka, my mum) – you are missing out.
Where did I come across this cafe?
Instagram. Like everything I place I find to eat or drink, I have found it on Instagram using hashtags or the location tool. It is actually a pretty useful tool for finding nice cafes and especially vegan/veggie eateries or, you know, a good bar…
As I am into eating healthily, when I saw delicious bowls of greens, granola and bright coloured smoothies, I was sold. Filo became a must visit place in Seville for me. Digging a little deeper, I also found out that it had two cafes and one was literally just around the corner from our hostel and we visited this cafe on our first full day in Seville before getting the train to Cadíz, and then everyday since that first visit (lol).
This quaint cafe is on Calle Hernando Colón down the road from Seville’s town hall. Inside is an intimate eating space with lots of wooden benches and stools. White walls provide the background for the rustic furniture, hanging plants and quirky features. However, due to the cafes small size it can get busy pretty quickly but there are two tables outside and a standing area.
From sandwiches, to salads, to sweet treats, Filo provides Seville with tasty and healthy food from breakfast to dinner. And whilst the decor is simple, the food and drinks are vibrant and freshly made right in front of us! One thing we loved as we now know how to make these slices of avocado bliss.
You order from the till so grab a seat and a flick through the menu. Choose between the various breakfast combinations or if is later in the day, choose between the sandwiches or build your own salad. But be ready to be tempted by all the cakes on display as you wait in line to order. Or if you were fans like us, head straight to the bar and order two energy combinations which includes, dark rye toast, tomato, avocado and seeds alongside freshly squeezed orange juice and an expresso. All for €6.50!
Take a seat, relax and watch the cooks at work whilst you wait for your name to be called. I think on our third return, all we spoke about was how excited we were to eat our breakfast!
The service is quick and it is not long until you are ready to eat and enter a dream like avocado toast state. Even the freshly squeezed orange juice is yum. In Seville their chosen breakfast dish is called ‘tostada’ which is toasted bread topped with olive oil and grated tomato or for the meat eaters ham is added. However, Filo took the tostado up a notch with their choice to use dark rye and add avocado and lots of seeds. We tried a tostado at another cafe but without the avocado and it just did not compare to Filo.
So, if you are ever in Seville and you are amongst the avocado toast tribe be sure to visit Filo for breakfast, lunch and dinner… because you can honestly can!
Whilst we loved the city, the sound of waves crashing on the beach and the sand between our toes was calling our names! Especially, as it was so hot. We needed a dip to cool off.
Before leaving for Seville, I had had a quick look at how far the nearest beach was and how easy it was to get to. There I found Cádiz – an ancient port city in the Andalusia region and only an hour and a half on the train.
So, on the Monday we caught the 12pm train to the Cadíz from Sevilla Santa Justa station.
What we learnt on this trip was that Google Maps lies. We thought the train station was going to be miles away but to our surprise, the train station of Cadíz was literally just around the corner to the main square. Like Seville, Cadíz is a maze and over the next 24 hours we had several moments of thinking, ‘oh we are here?’ after coming out of a narrow street and being stood, once again, in the main square. I tell you, these Spanish cities are not the most straightforward.
With the sun shining, we sat outside a cafe in the Plaza de la Cathedral, where we admired the granduer of the square, whilst drinking large espressos and using all of our brain power to finish our crossword.
But we came here for the beach and a dip in the sea, so that was the next item on the agenda. The coastline is dotted with brightly painted houses and is said to be the twin to Havana in Cuba.
The Atlantic waves crashed against the sea walls as we made our way around the peninsula to Playa de la Caleta, the cities beach. The small cove is sandwiched between two forts; the Castilla de San Sebastían and the Castillo de Santa Catalina. Along the back of the white-shored beach is their mock-Moorish, oriental-inspired bath house, or in Spanish balneario. Fun fact: Bond’s Die Another Day (2002) was famously filmed on this beach, when Halle Berry strode out from the sea in her orange bikini. And, I mean, me and Jessamyn looked exactly like that trying to plunge ourselves into the freezing cold sea! It was quiet uncanny.
We had not had anything to eat since our breakfast back in Seville at a cafe called Filo, which was so unbelievably good that I am dedicating a whole post to it (keep eyes peeled), and some crisps and bananas on the train. So, our bellies were starving! The good thing about the Spanish culture is that dinner is always late so you can afford to have lunch at 4pm. We both fancied a sandwich rather than a tapas style lunch and opted to go to the Spar for fresh bread, tomatoes and oranges. This ended up being such a good lunch that we both inhaled and cost us each around 30p…
In Cadíz we choose again to stay in a hostel which we booked through Hostel World called La Casa Morada. At first, we did not think we were able to get in the door or check in with no one on reception whilst we ate our sandwich and oranges in the common area. Eventually the man arrived to check us into our dorms. Phew! We were planning potential sleeping spots on the sofa or the beach. Again, the hostel was in a great location, clean and had all the facilities we needed. A quick freshen up after the beach we headed straight back out to get the most out of Cadíz.
And by this I mean trying the local delicacies. AKA, ice cream! I had seen this place on Instagram called Verde Pistachio and we made it our mission to try it. And boy, was it a good choice. Now as we were on holiday and you know, calories don’t count, we both went for the larger chocolate and nut cone with two scoops each. I had salted (SALTED!!) pistachio and dark chocolate, which was bloody amazing, and Jessamyn had pistachio and vanilla. Quiet possibly this was the biggest ice cream I had ever eaten and for the whole time it took us to eat these scoops of utter deliciousness we either did not speak and simply savoured the amazing flavour or we could not stop laughing at how good it was! Does that happen to anyone else? You just can’t stop laughing when something is so so good? Laughing in disbelief? Or, maybe it was the sugar…
Cadíz was beautiful and I simply loved the way that no matter what street you headed down, your eyes were busy trying to take in all the detail. The sinuous streets are shabby, yet romantic and you just have to wander in any direction the wind takes you to come to one of the cities neighbourhoods such as El Pópula, Santa Maria and La Viña. All with a different story to tell. Cadíz is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe, so there are definitely lots of stories to be told in these streets.
Semana Santa continued through the streets here as well and we decided to head to the front to catch a glimpse of the sun setting and less crowds. However, as we had only come to stay for one night and really only one day, we only had the clothes we were wearing. Jessamyn in a short dress and myself in shorts and a top and Cadíz on this day decided to be extremely windy and goose-bump inducing! Determined to see the sunset and probably looking like crazy tourists in barely any clothes whilst everyone else was in jeans, coats and scarfs, we sat on the sea wall and enjoyed the sounds of the waves and the burnt orange sun.
Sunset and us two cold, we sought the warmth of a sweet sangria and dinner. And you will never guess what we found… vegan tapas. Yes! Vegan tapas in a city of fried fish, cheese and meat. We did not even use the Happy Cow app on this occasion, the vegan Gods were simply there for us. We pretty much had the whole menu, with the seitan fillet being the favourite. We both reviewed a solid 8/10!
The next day our train was at 2pm and we wanted to know more about this historical city. We wanted to learn about the culture and history of Cadíz and we decided to join the free walking tour at 10am, which allowed us plenty of time to pack up and also have lunch before going back to Seville. Breakfast of cereal and toast was included in the price of the hostel so before checking out we had a bite to eat and a chat with some of the others staying there also.
The free walking tour was really insightful and provided us with so much information about the city of Cadíz. It lasted for around 2 hours and we weaved in and out of the streets, hearing of stories from the past and learning about the people of Cadíz. Time peeled back down each street as our tour guide lead us from the centre to the beach and we finally gained an understanding of the city. Previously when I have done free walking tours in other European cities, there are normally around 30 people all taking part. But just to show you how un-touristy this ancient city is to English people, only six people spoke English and the English speaking tour was almost cancelled due to the lack of us. The Spanish speaking group was massive! This had its advantages as we got a more intimate tour of the city.
Two o’clock rolled round pretty quickly and we were once again back at the train station. Sad to leave the beach and the beautiful port city of Cadíz but excited by the lure of the city, our train pulled away and we watched Cadíz fade into the distance. Glad we took a mini-trip on our trip to see more of what Andalusia had to offer and only confirmed my thoughts of Spain being a truly wonderful, rich and exciting place to be!
Next stop: Seville, calling at flamenco shows and more cocktails…
In the heart of Seville, the Real Alcázar is the oldest palace still in use today. Over the 11 centuries it has been in use, it has seen many changes. From being a fort for the governors of Seville to a royal palace for the Spanish royal family to reside when they are in the city. And it is no wonder they choose to reside in this glorious palace – it is utterly breathtaking. Gold ceilings, intricate and colourful tiled walls and lush gardens, I could picture myself wandering around this peaceful palace in my long silk dressing gown and heeled slippers… unfortunately, when I visited so were 200 other people.
A few minutes walk from our hostel, we saw people still queuing for the palace despite the opening times online saying it shut at 5pm? We decided to queue as we had been pre-warned that during the day you can be queueing for several hours! They tell you to buy your tickets online beforehand but the website does not seem to work. Twenty minutes later and closer to the entrance, the palace was now working to their summer opening hours until 7pm. And to top this off, we only paid €3, as we are between the ages of 16-25. €11 otherwise or free is your a Seville citizen.
Walk through the Puetra del León onto the Plaza de Triunfu, where the palace’s beauty truly begins. Take your time to meander at the rich history of the palaces rooms and gardens, taking in its detail. My favourite area of the Real Alcázar is the Palacio Mudéjar. The elaborate interior is unbelievably detailed that you could spend hours letting your eyes work over the tiled walls, carved archways and golden ceilings (especially in the Ambassadors Hall). In some rooms this Moorish interior designs does not leave an inch untouched. With contrasting designs and clashing of colours, you can become almost hypnotised! Adding the golden sunlight, and the palace feels even more magical.
Luckily, the evening we spent in the palace the sun was like liquid gold seeping into the rooms and the blue sky matched perfectly with the iconic Triana-made ceramics.
But the beauty does not just run within. Step outside into the lush gardens and a whole new world awaits to be explored. You would not believe that you are in the heart of a busy city when you are daydreaming around the grounds of the palace’s gardens.
Walk through the different time periods and let your mind wander to who and what has once happened in each. Choose from the more modern English Garden or the Poets’ Garden, or head further back in time to the Cross Garden or 12th century garden. Walk beneath the 170 types of trees, sit on one of the many benches or watch the peacocks roam amongst the visitors.
Mesmerised by the tranquil Real Alcázar, we needed hydrating and a sit down to let the beauty sink in. Walking down the river earlier in the day we spotted a small bar perched on the rivers edge, and with it being such a beautiful evening we both agreed this would be the perfect place to stop. Now, it would not be a true holiday without a little alcoholic beverage and as tradition goes now, for mine and Jessamyn’s trips, an Aperol spritz was in need. The bar was called Manhattan River Bar Cocktails. It had a great atmosphere as the sun set in Seville and cheap drinks with big slices of Seville oranges in!
Not only did the bar have a nice atmosphere but as we were walking back along the river, we noticed the chilled out vibe of the city. People sat on the rivers wall, sipping beers and chatting with friends. There was a buzz as the sun set over Seville.
Back on the Happy Cow app, we headed to a restaurant in the center of the city where we tried sherry and had big bowls of pasta. Not our most authentic meal of the trip but we were so tired after being up since 2:30am and disorientated of not only being in a new city, but also having to navigate the Holy Week processions taking place.
After a long busy day, once we had dinner we climbed up into out top bunks and fell into a much needed sleep.