My name is Tori, and I am the new German Editor for the Linguist. I’m a final year Modern Languages student and spent the last year studying abroad in France and Germany.
So many people swear that solo travel is the best thing you could ever do. You get out of your comfort zone, explore a new place, and learn about yourself. But even after hearing so many great things about it, I just didn’t think solo travel was for me. It seemed scary and lonely, and I thought, what’s the point of going on holiday when you’ve got nobody to do anything with? But after a semester of living abroad in a city where for the first few weeks I didn’t know anyone, the idea of a solo trip didn’t seem so intimidating anymore. So, in March this year I packed my bags and set off for a solo adventure to Seville, Spain for perhaps one of my most memorable travel experiences to date.
After spending a long weekend in Malaga, I said goodbye to my friends and headed off on my own to Seville. Waiting at the bus station in Malaga, the nerves began to set in. My knowledge of Spanish is limited to say the least and my brain was in a flurry as I scrambled to navigate the bus station. Eventually I located my bus, settled into a window seat, and relaxed as I watched the Spanish countryside race by. In just under three hours, I arrived in one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Seville is a beautiful, ancient city, a melting point of European and Islamic history and architecture, with cobbled streets, colourful buildings, and sweet-smelling orange trees. I spent my first day wandering through the quaint streets of the Old Town until I reached the Catedral de Sevilla. I climbed what felt like a thousand steps to the top of the bell tower where I was rewarded with stunning views of Seville set against a backdrop of sepia-toned skies dyed an orangey-brown by dust blown in from the Sahara.
By the time I got to the hostel, I was shattered and could have easily gone up to my room and spent the rest of the evening alone, but I plucked up the courage to go and sit in the common room. I’m an introvert by nature, so I was nervous to meet new people, but as soon as I sat down, I realised I never should have worried. I was immediately invited into the conversation and before I knew it, I’d made friends from Colombia, Germany, Belgium, and the US. A couple of people were going out for tapas and invited me to go with them. We ordered so many dishes: spicy patatas bravas, garlic prawns, pork marinated in whiskey sauce, bread, salads, and of course a few glasses of red wine. When I embarked on this solo adventure, I’d pictured myself eating alone every evening. Instead, here I was, sat around a table sharing food and stories with strangers.
After dinner we went to a local bar to see a free flamenco show. I’d never seen flamenco before and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely blown away! The performers were insanely talented, using their voices and bodies in ways I’d never seen or heard. The applause was deafening. By the time the show ended it was past midnight, but one thing I learned about the Spanish is that they live for the night-time, and the night had really only just begun! We headed out to another bar where we drank beer and Tinto de Verano until the early hours, before going to a little club in Feria where we danced until closing. It was raining heavily by now and our clothes got soaked through on the walk back to our hostel, yet our spirits were high, feeding off the energy of good music and great company.
I’ll always remember Seville as the place I stepped out of my comfort zone, the place where I made temporary friends and lifelong memories. This city has my heart, and I’m certain I’ll be back again soon.