In September 2011 my daughter Shayne and I started the Via de la Plata in Seville.  Ahead of us lay just over 1000km kms of pilgrimage northwards through Spain towards Santiago de Compostela.  Every good pilgrim needs credentials before setting out so we  contacted the Amigos de la Asociación de la Via de la Plata in Seville.  As we were arriving in Seville after their closing time, they told us that the Albergue Triana Backpackers, Calle Rodrigo de Triana, 69, 41010 Sevilla or the Hotel Simon, Calle García de Vinuesa, 19 Casco Antiguo, 41001 Seville could supply our credentials over weekends and when they were closed.

Shayne and I had decided to use hostels rather than albergues and because Hotel Simon could give us a comfortable first night’s sleep as well as supply our pilgrims credentials we decided to stay there for our first night’s stay in Seville. We had travelled up from Marbella by bus and arrived at the Prado de San Sebastian bus station in the south of Sevilla. Two minutes walk from the Estación de Autobuses Prado de San Sebastian is the Plaza transport interchange. We climbed aboard the super smart T1 tram  and glided at walking pace towards the Giralda Cathedral. There is a T1 stop at Archivo de las Indias and the next and last T1 stop on the short journey is Plaza Nueva. Hotel Simon is halfway between the two. I suggest getting off at the Archivo de las Indias stop, just before the Giralda and walking along the left hand pavement in the direction of  travel until you intersect with Calle García de Vinuesa just after the Giralda. You could easily walk from the Prado de San Sebastian bus station to the Hotel Simon but it’ll be your last chance to travel with your pack on the floor and for less than €2 it’s well worth it!

If you are arriving by plane and taking the Sevilla airport bus into the centre of the city, you’ll also get off at the Prado de San Sebastian bus station and follow the same route as we did on the comfortable T1 tram. We actually arrived by bus from Marbella having booked our tickets online using the Gomarbella online bus ticket booking engine.

At the Hotel Simon we were given the first room on the left on the ground floor and for a bit of fun laid our packs out ceremoniously on the beds. It was getting on in the evening and time for carb loading. We walked up behind the Giralda cathedral through the still crowded streets and stylish Sevillanos to a pizzeria I had eaten at before. If you would like to treat yourself to good food in pleasant surroundings before setting off and you are staying at nearby Hotel Simon then Restaurante Pizzeria San Marco will be a good choice. It’s not more than five minutes from the hotel, tucked away behind the Giralda in Calle Mesón del Moro, 6, 41004 Sevilla Tel:  954 21 43 90.  With lots of little side rooms and an attentive staff, we had a tasty, filling meal finished off with cold beers. Shayne suggested a glass of Pacharan. Sharing the start of such an adventure with my daughter was a very special experience and made it a memorable evening. The traffic rumbling past our window on the cobbled street outside did nothing to disturb our sleep.

The next morning as we checked out we were pleased to learn that by staying at the Hotel Simon and collecting our credentials there we were being given a special “Pilgrim’s Discount.” Paying €2 each for our credentials at the reception desk we had to state if were travelling on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Our receptionist suggested we went to the Giralda Cathedral to get the first  stamp in our pilgrim’s passport.

We left our packs in our room and walked around the corner to wait with the other early morning worshippers at the  Avda Constitución side entrance to the cathedral. The security guard that you see on the left of the photo taken inside the cathedral told us to wait until the end of the mass and then kindly took us into an inner room through the black door that you see to the right of the cathedral explaining to the priest that we wanted our credentials stamped. The priest did so and wished us ¡Buen camino!

Our route out of Sevilla took us past the Hotel  Simon again and after picking up our packs from our room we stopped to pose in front of the door. It was a lovely day, already warming slightly but we were fresh, happy and we were off! Just over 1000kms to go! That first night we finished our walk in Guillena. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun!


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