24-hour City Guide: Seville, Spain

seville collage
Clockwise from top: the Metropol Parasol, Puente de Isabel II (bridge spanning the Guadaquivir river), a pretty building, a gorgeous lamppost outside Plaza de España, Seville Cathedral, and Plaza de España. Photos by Katrina Sklepowich

What to see and what to skip if you only have one day in the cultural capital of Spain

Hello wanderers!

This is your 24-hour city guide for what to see and what to skip when you only have 24 hours to “see it all” in my favourite city in Spain – Seville! Written by Kaeri Rempel, this guide will help you navigate this gorgeous city when you’re short on time. She mentions all of my favourite spots and has some excellent advice on where to go and what to see. Enjoy!


When planning my last trip to Europe, there were so many places we wanted to see. My cousin, Chad, wanted to visit Seville particularly because he wanted to see the “mushroom sculpture,” also known as the Metropol Parasol. This last addition to our flight schedule was well worth it! Seville was by far my favorite stop that we made.

If you only have 24 hours in Seville, I have a few recommendations:

First off – if you plan to stay the night, do your research and find a reasonable hostel. Ours had breakfast provided, as well as a few dishes in the evening. I should also mention that they served Sangria every evening!

During the day, I suggest a walking tour. Not only do you get to wander through the beautiful city, you also learn so much about its history. The tour guides try to keep it interesting and do a fantastic job. After travelling all over Europe and going on countless walking tours, the best tours I had were in Seville and Berlin. Just a reminder: the streets are all cobblestone, so make sure to wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes or sandals!

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Huelva Ocho tapas bar in Seville. Great flamenco performances here! Photo by Katrina Sklepowich.

After a day of walking,  stop by a local restaurant for some “tapas”. Don’t hesitate to chat with the front desk at your hostel or ask your tour guide which nearby pubs and restaurants are worth a visit. Some pubs also provide entertainment. We went to a pub just down the street from where we were staying for drinks and a flamenco show. The dancing was amazing – and so was the live music.

MetropolParasol Collage
Views from the Metropol Parasol in Seville. Photos by Katrina Sklepowich.

You cannot forget to visit the Metropol Parasol, which is claimed to be the world’s largest wooden structure. It is built above an archaeological excavation site of Roman ruins – there’s even a museum. Throughout the structure are multiple bars and restaurants. On our trip, we decided to visit the Metropol Parasol during the day and were able to appreciate the 360-degree view of the city on the terrace. While the view was spectacular during the day, I would also suggest visiting at night. I imagine the lights from the city would be enchanting.

If you have more time, visit some of the places on the tour that piqued your interest, or simply wander the city. There is nothing quite as fun as losing yourself in a new place and simply appreciating its beauty.


 

Kaeri and Katrina visiting the Metropol Parasol in 2012.
Kaeri and Katrina visiting the Metropol Parasol in 2012.

Kaeri Rempel is an elementary school educator in Winnipeg. She loves to travel and has been to many exotic places, including India and Turkey. She also participated in an exchange program in high school, living in Germany for 9 weeks. When she isn’t teaching, she’s on the field, playing soccer and ultimate frisbee. She’s also Katrina’s bestie!

What else do you recommend seeing in Seville when short on time? Is there any spot you love that we missed? Comment below or send me a message on Facebook – I love hearing from you!  Also, a big thank you to Kaeri for writing such a great post!

Until next week, stay well.
Katrina

On the Road Again

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Beckie, Kaeri, and I at our high school graduation! I used to have really curly hair!

Hello wanderers!

It would seem that about every two years, I get the itch to go on an adventure. Usually, these trips line up with a milestone in my life – a graduation, a major birthday, etc. And every time, I justify each trip by saying “it’s probably my last chance…”

I think it’s important to say yes to opportunities as they come along –  if you have the chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, then why not say yes? But I’ve also come to realize that it’s never really your “last chance” to do something – so many of my trips in the past have been motivated by the “well, it’s probably my last chance” justification, but I’m beginning to think that if you want to do something, just make it happen (duh, right?).

Here’s a recap of my “last chance” trips over the years:

  • When I was in university, I had opportunities to do some extraordinary travel for school – real “once-in-a-lifetime” trips that I couldn’t pass up (I promise they were educational!). I got to go on a UN Study Tour to Ottawa and New York and sit in on incredible workshops from speakers around the world, as well as a real Security Council assembly (to this day, this was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had).
  • Following the UN Study Tour, I took a course in South Africa, came home for a month, and then hopped back on a plane to Africa – this time, to Zambia (remember that story about borrowed pants?! Yep, same trip). It was the craziest, busiest summer of my life, but I had the best time and all that travel just got me hooked on adventuring. To be honest, I thought going to South Africa would be my one and only chance to go to Africa – it’s funny how things work out, because I certainly didn’t expect to go to Africa twice in one summer!
  • When I was about to finish my degree, I thought my traveling days were coming to an end – my best friend and I planned our India/Spain/Germany extravaganza, thinking it was “our last chance to travel together”. I thought I’d return from our trip and jump right into a job and be an adult for real. However, post-grad life didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would…
  • Within a year of graduating, I knew I wanted to go back to school. I worked to save up for my studies and got my travel on!
    • I went to Osheaga in Montreal because it was “my last chance to see Mumford & Sons” (I hope that isn’t true!).
    • The following summer, right before I began my CreComm journey, I dragged my lovely mom and cousin Hayley across Europe because I thought it truly was “my last chance to travel”. I thought CreComm was it. Once done, it was adult time for real.

Well, dear ones, with another graduation on the horizon (only a few months to go!), this summer really does look like “my last summer to go on a major trip” (I can seriously justify anything!)…so I decided to take this summer off and go on another adventure!

I’m so excited to be traveling with two of my favourite people – my best friend and travel buddy Kaeri (who gets bitten by the travel bug as often as I do!), and our friend Beckie (this will be her first time across the pond!). We’re starting things off in London and then trekking it across Europe for 5 weeks, just 3 girls and some backpacks. I can’t wait!

beckie kaeri and katrina at rempel wedding
Beckie, Kaeri and I at Kaeri’s sister’s wedding a couple of years ago. I’m so incredibly excited to be traveling with these girls this summer!

As our travel plan starts to emerge and solidify, I’ll keep you all updated on where we’re going and how we plan on getting around – follow along for some great tips!

Thanks for following me on my planning journey – 2016 will be an exciting year.

Until next week, stay well!
Katrina

What not to do: when travelling with someone

blog collaborationHi all!

It’s week three of the Wanderlust + Heart and Hopeless Wanderer blog series, and this week, Elizabeth is exploring what not to do when travelling with someone. Make sure to check out her post – she’s got some great tips on what not to do!

Solo travel can be super rewarding – it’s a great way to find out more about yourself, and also push your boundaries and try new things. There are also benefits to travelling with others – all of my favourite trips have been shared with friends or family (and sometimes, complete strangers!). I like having people to bounce ideas off of, and make memories with! It’s also great to have someone with you in case things go off course (missing flights, getting lost, losing luggage – it’s so much easier to deal with mishaps if you have a friend to help you out). It’s also more fun!

Chad, Kaeri, and I in Barcelona. I love this photo!
Chad, Kaeri, and I in Barcelona. I love this photo!

If you’re on the fence about travelling with a buddy or flying solo, take some time to think about what you want to get out of your trip and if going it alone is going to work better or make you lonely. Then, if you decide you want a buddy or a group to join you, choose those companions with care. While you won’t always get along 100% of the time,  if you choose people who know you well (and love you unconditionally, even when you’re being a total troll! It happens to the best of us!), you won’t encounter many situations where you won’t get along. Travel can certainly bring out the worst in you, especially when you’re tired and stressed out, but having great travel companions can make things a whole lot better.

Here are some snapshots of some of my favourite trips – from Spain to Germany to Disney World with my family, all of my best times have been shared with my favourite people.

Kaeri and I visiting our German Exchange Students, Sümi and Kathy, and some other friends, in Munich.
Kaeri and I visiting our German Exchange Students, Sümi and Kathy, and some other friends, in Munich.
Kaeri, Kathy, Ramona (another friend we made while on German Exchange), and I in Friedrichshafen.
Kaeri, Kathy, Ramona (another friend we made while on German Exchange), and I in Friedrichshafen.
Kaeri and I celebrating a birthday in India
Kaeri and I celebrating a birthday in India
Me and my fam in Florida! The biggest kids at Walt Disney World.
Me and my fam in Florida! The biggest kids at Walt Disney World.
Chad, Brayden, Kaeri, Jerras, and I at the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.
Chad, Brayden, Kaeri, Jerras, and I at the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain.

Make sure to check out Elizabeth’s tips about what not to do when travelling with a buddy, and then start planning your next trip!

Next week, I’ll share some tips on what not to do when you arrive at your destination and adventure awaits. Get excited.

Until then, stay well!
Katrina

 

Beachy keen!

beaches

Hey travellers!

Living in Winterpeg, as it’s so often and lovingly referred, is awesome…but long winters and extreme weather can take its toll on you. Today, we got our first taste of winter – though the flurry action we saw today didn’t stick, I know we’re not far from icy, snow-covered days. Romantic in December (I’m a sucker for a white Christmas), by January, I’m usually over it.

So how do Winnipeggers get over the cold? Well, we’re pretty hearty folk and we don’t just survive in winter – we thrive. We skate, we play hockey (okay, I’m excluded from the “we” here, but in general, this is all true!), we build snowmen, and go sledding (both of which I can do!). But we also like to escape to tropical getaways!

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With the knowledge that winter is on its way (possibly sooner than I’d like), I can’t help but dream about sunny destinations where there’s nothing but beach for miles, unlimited piña coladas by the pool, and time to relax. Each year, my parents typically head out on  a week-long all-inclusive vacation (my sister and I were spoiled when we were younger and often got to go along! Alas, usually I’m left here now! Sad!) – life goal: get a good job that will allow for me to go on an all-inclusive vacation in the winter.  Just the other day, my mom told me about a good deal on flights to Hawaii and I straight up told her she wasn’t allowed to go without me. I’ll pay my own way. I’ll squish into a suitcase (I’m short, I’ll fit). Whatever it takes.

With that said, because I’m wearing slippers, pjs, and am cuddled up in front of a fire (okay, it’s not that cold out, I just like being cozy), here are the tropical destinations I’m dreaming about. Maybe one day, I’ll get there!

Beachy Getaways – Top 10 Destinations

  1. Hawaii. No mosquitos, really pretty, volcanoes, enough said.
  2. Jamaica. Apparently the rum is delicious. Worth it.
  3. Barbados. The heroine of my one of my favourite childhood books, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, is from Barbados. I used to want to be her, so I should probably go to Barbados. Am I right?
  4. The Bahamas. Why not?
  5. Bora Bora. I just want to, okay!
  6. Tahiti. It just sounds exotic and I need to go.
  7. Fiji. Well, Fiji Water is a thing for a reason.
  8. Santorini, Greece. This one is happening for sure. I don’t know when, but it’s been on my list forever.
  9. Barcelona, Spain. I’d like to go again. And again. And again.
  10. Tofino, British Columbia. Manitobans love Tofino. I’d like to check it out.

Honestly, I could go on and on. Thailand. Belize. Mexico. It all sounds go to me! So, who’s with me? Where would you like to go on your next winter vacation? Do you like it hot or do you prefer to stay in the winter spirit with some alpine adventures? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next week, stay warm!
Katrina

Walk your own walk…

walkyourownwalk


Hi all,

Each and every one of us has our own travel style. Some of us prefer luxurious all-inclusive vacations, while some of us like survivor-style wilderness adventures. I’m somewhere in the middle – some trips are made for backpacks, hiking boots, and bug spray, whereas other trips are all about the beach, margaritas at the swim-up bar, and unlimited chips + pico de gallo.

I happen to love the spectrum. I’ve done the seven-lake-portage canoe trips and I’ve also done the all-inclusive resort trips, and I couldn’t tell you which I liked better because both were amazing. That being said, though, the more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve been able to figure out my preferred style of travel. I like being active when I travel and I also like being comfortable…but I also like going out and dressing up – basically, I like balance.

I have a lot of friends who’ve gone on amazing trips for months on end, where they’ve trekked through several countries, climbed numerous mountains, ridden on the backs of elephants and camels, and flown by the seats of their pants. I know people who are comfortable camping their way through Europe and couch surfing their way through the Middle East. I’m a little less adventurous – and that’s okay.

I also know people who pack their suitcases to the brim and shop so much they have to purchase another bag while travelling just to bring souvenirs home (I won’t name names, but you know who you are – no shame!). I know people who dress to the nines, shop ’til they drop, and go to shows every night while on the road. I’m a little less ambitious and a lot more laid back – and that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping (every year, my mom and I go on a trip purely to shop – it’s so bad but so good!) – but I like to break up what I do when I travel with different activities. Variety is a good thing!

You may know your travel style right away. You may need  to take a few trips before figuring out what you like best. And what you like now may not be what you like ten years from now (incentive to keep travelling!). But that’s okay! One of the best things about travelling is self-discovery – getting to know more about who you are, what you want, and what you want out of life. Whether you travel as a lone wolf or as a part of a big group, you will learn a lot about yourself. The more you travel, the more you’ll learn. And the best way to do this is to walk your own walk.

“Walk your own walk” is a mantra inspired by backpacker and adventurer Francis Tapon’s book, Hike Your Own Hike. A lot of people I know have hiked or biked El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage from France to Spain, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Over the past month and a half, my family and I have followed the journey of a friend as he traversed the Camino, and I’ve loved reading about his experiences.

Inspired by his friend’s adventure, my dad started doing some of his own research of the Camino. He came across a post online that alarmed him somewhat – written by Tapon, it’s called “10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks”. Tapon argues that the Camino really isn’t this amazing walk everyone says it is and goes through a list of why it isn’t worth it. The article could have been a very discouraging read if Tapon hadn’t also included the caveat that what he may have found sucky on his walk may not be something you or I won’t really enjoy or prefer.

Toward the end of the article, Tapon reminds his readers that, at the end of the day, the most important thing on your travels is to hike your own hike – something I recommend every traveller does on every trip. Travelling is something you should do for you! As much as possible, try to walk your own walk and truly savour every moment of your travels (and of life! Aw!). The more you walk your own walk, the more you’ll get out of your experiences, and that, my friends, makes it all worth it.

Stay well,
Katrina

I wonder, I wander

Hello, all!

I just finished watching this week’s episode of Amazing Race Canada (hilarious, amazing, I’m in love) and I’m suffering from a major case of the travel bug. There’s nothing like a good backpacking trip with a friend or family member – I’m honestly considering signing up to compete next season. Anyone want to partner up?

There are so many reasons to travel – I can’t name all the virtues of traveling in one post but I hope to cover as many as possible throughout the year. You find out so much about the world and about yourself, and you get to encounter so many new things. I’m not very spontaneous or adventurous by nature, but the more I travel, the more open I am trying new things. I’ve been out of my comfort zone in quite a few situations (you can look forward to future blog posts on this) and it’s so incredibly true that those situations make for the best stories. My advice: get out there and go on an adventure!

Travel Snapshots
From top, left to right: Chobe National Park (Botswana), Taj Mahal (Agra, India), Victoria Falls (Zambia), Neuschwanstein Castle (Bavaria, Germany), Colosseum (Rome), Arc de Triomphe (Paris, France), the Golden Temple (Amritsar, India), Metropol Parasol (Seville, Spain), the Grand Canal (Venice, Italy). All photos my own.

How did I get bitten by the travel bug in the first place? My parents are big travellers – we did a lot of family road tripping, summer camping, and winter vacationing to tropical places when I was a kid. Later, I went on trips through school, including a 9-week exchange to Germany when I was in eleventh grade. Living in Germany was a game-changer for me – after exchange, all I wanted to do was travel!

I continued to travel throughout university, going to Ottawa, New York, South Africa, and Zambia on school-related trips. But what I really wanted was to go on a trip with my best friend – something we’d been talking about for years but had never acted on. Both of us had done some significant travelling since our German Exchange experience, but we hadn’t gone on any trips together. It wasn’t until my last year of university that we finally committed – we went on an amazing trip to India, Spain, and Germany right after I graduated (best grad gift ever!). My obsession has started to rub off on my family members, too, so last summer I took my mom and younger cousin, Hayley, backpacking through Europe. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

Now, it’s safe to say, I’m addicted. I can’t stop. All I want to do is go on another adventure! I’ve made it a habit to visit one new place each year, whether local or international (because it’s also fun to be a tourist in your own city, province, and country!). I don’t know where I’m heading next, but I have a growing list of destinations I’d like to visit.

If you’re looking to plan a trip in the near future, the best way to get started is to set goals. Trust me, setting goals doesn’t take the fun out of anything! Write down all the places you’d like to visit (write it all down – landmarks, cities, countries, etc.), and then set some budget goals. Set aside some funds, look into flight discounts and deals, and dream a little dream. The more you consider where you want to go and what you want to do, the more serious you’ll get about heading out into the great wide yonder. Soon, you’ll be packing that backpack (tips coming soon!) and hopping on a plane.

Where do you want to go next? Send me a tweet @KatrinaSklepo or comment below.

Stay well,
Katrina