Umbrella in Seville: a city after our own hearts





It's no secret that Umbrella is a big fan of Spain. We think the focus on city centre living for all ages is something that we in Britain and Ireland would do well to learn from. Seville seems to do this better than anywhere else in Iberia– even Barcelona – which is why we travelled there last month to check the place out for a feature in Issue Nine. Escaping the unremitting misery of the British winter was a factor, too. 

Our trip was focused on the city's bike scheme, its tram system and metro – the latter of which is going to grow by a substantial amount over the next few years. But there were other elements that made the trip worthwhile, too, such as the crazy Metropol Parasol, the vast wooden 'umbrella' which covers Encarnacion square.

In summer, it provides welcome shade from the Andalusian sun and acts as a concert venue, though on our visit, it felt a little bit windswept and 'Scottish new town' – mainly due to the blustery, rainy weather. Still, it's great to see a city build something a bit mad and pointless. The fact that it was a quick stroll away from Seville's oldest (and best?) tapas bar, El Rinconcillo , was just a bonus. 

While we love transport, architecture and cycling as much as average urban smartarse, the familiar pull of menswear emporiums was soon felt. Of course, Seville has the same chain stores as every other Spanish city, but we found our particular slice of sartorial heaven in the area behind the Plaza del Toros. Forget silly sandals and ripped jeans, the stores here catered to an older, conservative Spanish audience – one with a heavily military background – meaning that particularly Mediterranean take on formal wear was to the fore.

While we decided against buying a Franco bust in the army shop, we couldn't be dragged away from 'El Puerte', a true gentlemen's outfitters, crammed with unlined blazers, pastel-colured shirts and slim, knitted ties. If we reach the big seven-oh, this is where we'll be getting all our clobber. We can't recommend it, and the city of Seville, highly enough.

If you want to find out more about the Andalusian capital, the full report on Seville will be in Issue Nine, out July. 

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