Originally from Canada, I have been living and working in Seville, Spain since 1993. Aside from running several of my own blogs about Sevilla and doing freelance travel & food writing - I've had articles published in National Geographic, Slow Travel Europe and Travel Intelligence - I also manage social media for restaurants and wineries and do amazing tapas tours. http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/tapas-tours
Before Seville I lived in Winnipeg, Toronto, Bristol (UK), and Salamanca, in that order. I am never quite sure how to answer the question "why did you come to Spain?" other than to say I had been looking for my real home all my life and - for reasons I still can't explain - thought I would find it here. I knew the first day I arrived in Spain that I was finally home and that feeling has never left me.
I love the craziness of Semana Santa even though I'm not religious. I love that Sevillanos take their holidays seriously and think nothing of shutting down for a month in August or during Christmas holidays. And I love that people here take time for each other and don't worry about schedules too much, even if this means having to wait all day for the plumber to show up. It's give and take. It has heart. The first place I take a visitor from out of town is out for tapas. Then I help them "get lost" in the labyrinth of twisty streets in the Barrio Santa Cruz and point out one of my favourite things - that they even tile the underside of the balconies. The architecture here is exquisite and breathtaking.
Where I always grab a coffee: My favourite place for a coffee is the Horno San Buenaventura on the Avenida de la Constitución. Not only do they make the best coffee in town, but also the best breakfasts, with a wide assortment of breads for toasting and lots of different toppings, as well as pastries that you can choose from the display counter. My favourite place to sit is at the bar so I can chat to the bar staff and make sure Paco makes my toast with "extra cariño".
My favourite stroll: People live in the streets here. I love sitting in my apartment with the balcony doors flung wide open and listening to the "hum" of the people standing outside the bars having tapas and chatting, but when I'm in the mood for a stroll I prefer to just wander the streets and see where I end up.
Books for inspiration: The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez Reverte takes you through the winding streets of Sevilla with this intellectual thriller. It's great fun to read this after you've been here as the city is one of the main characters and you will recognise many of the places mentioned.
Where to be seen this summer: The newly opened Fontecruz Sevilla Hotel has the most fabulous rooftop bar with several different levels and a variety of seating, from comfortable tables and chairs to small sofas with low tables in front of them, as well as (my favourite) long sofa beds with cushions where you can take off your shoes and put your feet up as you enjoy your drink and the view. Oh yes, the view is of the splendid Cathedral and Giralda tower. Not to be missed.
The most breathtaking view: Has to be from the top of the Giralda Tower. You can see all of Seville from there.
The best spot for some peace and quiet: The Maria Luisa Park is an oasis of calm near the centre of town, across from the Plaza de España. It is so large you can always find a secluded spot with a lovely tiled bench to read or have a quiet chat.
Shopaholics beware: The two main shopping streets in central Seville (Sierpes and Tetuan) have probably the most shoe shops that I have ever seen in one single area. And if you are a lover of electronic gadgets then FNAC on Avenida de la Constitución will prove very hard to resist.
City soundtrack: I know it isn't a Spanish tune, but that old song by the Rascals called It's A Beautiful Morning seems to fit Sevilla so well, especially as summer mornings here are always the best time of the day.
Don't leave without: Enjoying the tapas. Seville is reputedly the birthplace of tapas and you can find such a variety of food and locations, from tiny ancient bars serving basic traditional fare to trendy gastrobars offering innovative tapas and extensive wine lists. My Sevilla Tapas blog lists a lot of my favourite tapas bars and restaurants.