That’s right, it’s ‘City Rumble’ time again, and this time it’s a bit of a Europe versus Asia thing happening for you. And in the two cities, Seville – the capital of Andalucía in Spain, and Mumbai, the main city in Maharashtra, India, we have two of my all time favourite cities in the world and I can tell you 100% right now as I type this introduction – I have no idea who will win. I am just sad that one of these two will be eliminate by the end of this leg. I mean post.
Mumbai is a city of dreams, with influences from so many including Moghuls and the British. It is the home to Bollywood, where they shoot films like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and other blockbusters. Because Bollywood is the world’s biggest film industry, believe it or believe it not. But you better believe it! The luckiest of visitors get plucked from who knows where and find themselves extras in a Bollywood film. Didn’t happen to me but I have met travellers who had just that happen to them.
Seville has a huge Middle Eastern/Islamic influence to its look and feel, with one of its premier attractions, the Palace Alcazar, boasting a huge Islamic influence to its architecture reflecting the times in which it was built. It’s old town is a mix of alleyways and squares and inside you can find some real gems in terms of churches, and indeed a museum dedicated to the Spanish dance ‘Flamenco’. Both cities have a lot to excite and entice the visitor. So without further ado, let’s get ready to RUMBLE!
How did they make it to this auspicious showdown? Well, Mumbai had its first round match a few years back now when it took on the Indian capital in Delhi all the way back in 2015 now. Clearly there was no contest there as Delhi is… not my favourite place in the world. See City Rumble – Mumbai versus Delhi. More recently (as in earlier this year) Mumbai fought off much stiffer opposition in the form of the Middle East’s most happening city, Dubai. See: City Rumble: Dubai Versus Mumbai.
Let’s look at Seville now. It had a simpler route to the third round, skipping the second and defeating Portugal’s Porto for a spot here. See City Rumble – Seville versus Porto.
Let’s look at this match up category by category.
Weather for me is definitely a factor. Actually I’ve discovered that for sight seeing and spending time in a city where I’m not there for the beach at all, I prefer cooler weather. Actually the perfect weather I think is around 20 degrees and sunny. The sun allows great photos and a lower temperature means you can walk around a city as much as you need to. Seville, in November, was absolutely perfect in my book, bar one day. One day it rained and rained. It was a little on and off so it was still possible to get out and about, and it was supposed to be very rare for that time of year. Otherwise blue skies, cool but not freezing, it was great. Having said that I would not be heading to Seville in the summer. Temperatures of over 40 degrees are common and I know all too well what that is like.
Mumbai is steamy most of the year, and then in the monsoon season it’s, well, really wet! So I guess I wasn’t a fan of the sticky weather of Mumbai. Having said that it’s not like Dubai, and being on the water it can experience the odd refreshing breeze.
Mumbai’s transport is a little bit on the legendary side, with London-style red double decker buses probably the cheapest option to get around. Of course, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws are very common too, and can be a lot of fun, the taxis are better avoided I think, especially at the airport unless you use the prepaid taxi counter – this is from a personal experience where I got well ripped off. Mumbai also has a busy and packed metro system I didn’t get to use, although I did take the metro train to a spot close to the airport where it was a short auto rickshaw to the airport from there.
Seville’s public transport is mostly buses. And then in the old town there is a tram, which I can’t say I took. I walked a fair bit in Seville and didn’t use a lot of public transport there. The bus was fine and I was able to navigate the route to get off at the spot I needed to. Taxis are not cheap in Europe but I fancy cheaper than Melbourne, at least in Seville. I think it was 30 Euro from the centre of town to the airport, which isn’t too bad. Seville has reliable, decent public transport. Mumbai’s is an adventure, and that’s half the fun.
Mumbai is probably India’s most expensive city. It’s certainly busier than Delhi, the capital, and that city has had a lot of modernisation. Food is still going to be pretty cheap, it’s accommodation that doesn’t match much of India in its value of money. Having said that, it’s still cheaper than Seville, but looking for a hotel that equals value for money is almost definitely easier in Seville. Seville is in the EU and uses the Euro, the Indian Rupee is obviously used in Mumbai, and presently one USD is around 72 rupees.
So this section is going to come out in favour of Mumbai. The main reason here is that I didn’t meet a lot of locals there, whereas in Mumbai I met LOADS. And despite it being one of India’s biggest cities they were so friendly. I joined in cricket games, met so many people randomly on the street, and I met a whole group of students in a little café and chatted for ages with them. It was great fun and it really made the city of Mumbai special for me.
So in Mumbai you see a range of influences. Perhaps the biggest is the colonial British influence, with buildings such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus show incredible colonial flair. Then you have the Taj Mahal Hotel, on the waterfront and location of the terrorist siege that rocked the city many years back now. It’s one of the world’s most beautiful and opulent hotels and even though, like me, you might not be able to afford to stay there it’s worth a walk through. Then you have this huge arch on the water’s edge called the ‘Gateway of India’. And that’s a tiny sample of all the amazing buildings you will see there.
Then in Seville there is an Islamic influence mixed with Spanish and other European influences. The Real Alcazar is a beautiful palace where you can see Islamic influences blending with European designs. It’s a must see in Seville. The main cathedral is an incredibly beautiful building too, massive and impressive and in the gothic style. There are other cathedrals around town that impress as well, others with more of a Spanish style, and then there are houses open to the public with beautiful courtyards, staircases, arches and more. Both cities offer so much to the lover of architecture.
Well, Mumbai is full of these fields where people play cricket all the time. So even if you don’t really understand the game but want to give it a go, you can always ask and for sure you’ll meet some locals. The food is some of the best in all of India in Mumbai, I had a delicious ‘sizzler’ cooked on a metal hot plate and one of the hottest dishes I have ever had as well. The ghats are fun to explore and you’ll meet loads of kids and get to see where so many of Mumbai get their laundry done.
Seville has the historic Plaza del Torres where they hold the bull fighting and that is something quite unique although there are question marks over the ethics of the sport. You can like me get a tour of the grounds and inside the stadium which is very cool indeed. Also Seville is a big centre for Flamenco dancing and not only is there a Flamenco museum in Seville, I stumbled on an impromptu performance at the garish yet magnificent Plaza d’Espana too.
Main Sites That Andy Saw…
Well in Mumbai I’ve run through many of them already including the station, the ghats, the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Gateway to India and so on. I would also add Ghandi’s House to that list, a little way from the centre reached by auto-rickshaw or for added fun one of the local buses. Delves into his life as it is now a museum.
Seville I’ve covered the Alcazar Palace, the Seville Cathedral, you’ll find more than one interesting church in Seville. And there is the Plaza Del Torres as well. The San Jorge Castillo is along the river banks and now a museum showcasing the remaining ruins. Find a few old houses and buildings to explore and get blow away at the Plaza d’Espana which is beautiful in its own unique way and there is always activity there including gondolas, flamenco, people getting wedding photos done and more.
Okay, so if I could declare this one a draw I honestly would. But that wouldn’t work in what I’m doing here, so I have to choose and I am going with (drum roll…) Seville. Yes. I think so. I honestly was about to type Mumbai. That’s how hard I found it to split these two but at the end of the day I think Seville is a bit more manageable for the visitor. If you are little more hardcore Mumbai would be your go but honestly, both are just brilliant cities. What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading, I’m cutting and running here as this was a bit hard on the ol’ noggin! Take care and May the Journey Never End!