Cityscape with river in the distance
Lens-Artists,  Seville

The bliss of returning to the air

I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice in this blog that I love travelling! It’s the thing I’ve most missed during the past two years, when the world has been turned upside-down. Yes, I know that sadly worse things have happened to very many people than a few missed trips abroad. But the fact remains, I’ve missed travelling, and I know many others have felt the same.

I recently got engaged in a debate among Facebook friends. The question posed was, is it selfish to travel at the moment, when the pandemic is ongoing? One or two felt that it was, citing the fact that it seemed irresponsible to increase the risk of spreading infection by going to more places and mixing with more people. But most felt, as I do, that there are ways of travelling responsibly at present, and that doing so can be justified on a number of grounds. Importantly, all over the world there are individuals, communities and even whole towns totally reliant on tourism as a source of income. Hotels, restaurants, guides, bus companies, historic sights, wildlife reserves, national parks, ice cream sellers – the list is endless. If we don’t start to travel again soon, even more of them will lose their livelihoods.

The other factor mentioned was mental health. It’s definitely the case that travel is good for our mental health. Whether we crave a week on a sunny beach; the opportunity to sample the food and culture of a different city; a few weeks’ road trip; or a lengthy adventure … All of us can benefit a massive amount when we’re able to get away. The stimulation of new experiences; the opportunities to meet and interact with different people; a change of climate; a chance to relax and forget about the everyday worries of home.

A trip to Seville

Looking down at clouds touched with sunlight
The clouds from above at sunrise

We finally travelled abroad again in early September, after a break of over eighteen months, taking the Eurostar train to Paris. Now seemed the right time to take the plunge and get back in the air. So we booked flights for a weekend away in Seville, a short flight from London that would enable us to see how it felt. And it felt fine.

Gatwick Airport was preternaturally quiet (but then we were departing at a very early hour). But once on the plane and up in the air, apart from the mask it felt just as it always has. The buzz of excitement as the plane’s wheels leave the ground, the views as we climb skyward and up into the clouds, the slight tedium of sitting in the same place for so long (but this was only a two hour flight) and the thrill of seeing your destination country appear beneath you as you descend and land.

When I travel I am definitely following my bliss, the theme proposed by Lindy Le Coq as guest host for this week’s Lens Artists Challenge. So I invite you to join me on a stroll around the city, shared also for Jo’s Monday Walk. My other ‘bliss’ is my hobby of photography, so this walk is really a short photo journal featuring a few of my favourite images from the weekend. I will write about all these sights and more in due course; for now, just enjoy the photos!

Ornate lamppost, old building and tree with oranges

The cathedral and orange trees

Elaborate tomb with statues of soldiers

The tomb of Christopher Columbus in the cathedral (more accurately, probably the tomb of Christopher Columbus as there is a rival claimant to be his resting place, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic)

Lanes in the Triana district

Curved modern structure with older buildings beyond

Las Setas viewpoint

La iglesia colegial del Divino Salvador (Church of the Divine Saviour)

Courtyard in an old building with a pool

Courtyard in the Real Alcazar (Royal Palace)

Also in the Real Alcazar

Oranges hanging from a tree

There are orange trees everywhere in the city; these ones are in the garden of the Real Alcazar

Illuminated buildings with tall stone tower

The cathedral and La Giralda at night; La Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque, now the cathedral’s bell tower – my featured photo was taken from the top!

I travelled to Seville in November 2021


  • Alison

    Seville is a beautiful city and we really enjoyed our stay there a few years ago. You’re very lucky that you can travel, we are still waiting here in WA to get on a plane! Still hoping for February.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, very lucky and we do appreciate that luck. I think we may all appreciate travel even more in the future, having been deprived for a while. I hope you can get out exploring again soon!

  • starship VT

    Sarah, looks like you had a lovely time following your bliss, and your wonderful photos are proof of that! Hope we all can indulge in following our bliss in the coming year!! Although I’ve been on several day trips, and a longer driving solo trip, it’s been a far too long absence from air travel for me!

  • Anna

    Omg you went to Seville! And you went on a plane!! What a dream! Lol. Our dictator premier of Western Australia is ruining Xmas for us..l can even fly interstate in our own country. Totally locked out from the rest of the world. While we might be “Covid free” I’m so over it! I can’t wait to see more of Seville from you Sarah, I need something to keep me going! X

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Oh dear, Anna, you are going stir crazy! And no wonder, I would be too!! Yes, we went on a plane, for the first time since February 2020. I expected it to feel more strange or tense than it did, but apart from the mask it felt just as it always has 🙂 Seville was lovely, so many more posts to come …

  • Teresa

    What a great post and happy that you were able to travel and return safely. It is a very different scenario here in our part of the world as we are so far from everywhere. But the time will come when I can do some travelling again. Fingers crossed. Such beautiful photos of Seville by the way.

  • Tina Schell

    Well Sarah, lucky you! I too miss traveling most during the pandemic – both to visit family and to see more of this marvelous world. I also miss it as you said because of the many opportunities to photograph things we don’t normally see. It’s a real challenge to maintain enthusiasm about photographing the same places when one is more used to the excitement we get from seeing and shooting new people, places and things. Your images of Seville are marvelous and really made me hunger for another adventure!!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Tina 🙂 Yes, I feel much more motivated to take photos when I find myself somewhere new, whether close to home or (better still) abroad as this was! I hope you get another adventure soon.


    I absolutely loved Seville and would be very happy to return. The financial implications of a dearth of tourism will in our opinion be more damaging than the pandemic itself..millions will suffer financial hardship if this source of income stays dried up, and the effects of that hardship will be long lasting. Contributing to a local economy is a much more direct way of giving than donating to charities where up to 90% is syphoned off in salaries and overheads, don’t you think? It feels great to be travelling again: we worked and waited all our lives to retire and travel and we too missed it enormously when it was taken away. Enjoy Seville!!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, absolutely agree – it’s why we try very hard to avoid chains and certainly avoid multi-nationals when we travel (actually, we do that at home too!) But Seville has been and come and gone – we were only there for the weekend and got home on Monday. Still I have lots of photos to sort through and lots of impressions and memories to share 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      We had two and a half days – I think one more at least would have been good as there were several places I’d like to have seen and didn’t make it to. Maybe we’ll go back one day and combine it with Cordoba which I’d also love to see!

  • maristravels

    I, too, love the excitement of airports but I always book the ‘specials’ lounge for the extra comfort, drinks and snacks in peace and quiet (and frankly, the cost of the lounge covers the cost of coffee and snack in the high-priced outlets in the main concourse). Seville is my favourite Spanish city and your photographs brought me many happy memories. I look forward to some more later.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Glad you enjoyed the photos Mari. I have to say we’ve not really thought about booking lounge access but that’s a good tip, I’ll look into it in the future. We did have it once at Gatwick – when we flew to Cape Verde it was a charter flight and the company we booked with included lounge access as a perk. We had a super relaxing breakfast before the flight 🙂

  • Lindy Le Coq

    Such an impressive city! Thank you for taking us on your trip – up in the air and into the beautiful architecture of Seville. Thank you for the up-close photo of oranges – I could almost smell them!

  • restlessjo

    It’s a good looking city for sure, and you may well have got there before the weather broke. I assume you’ve been before? A real treat if not. Many thanks for sharing, Sarah.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      It was our first time there and we really liked it 🙂 But no, the weather broke on the Saturday with showers on and off all day (you can see in the Triana shots that the sky is pretty grey) and a storm in the evening. Sunday though was sunny again, but not nearly as warm as Friday, so a mixed bag overall!

  • margaret21

    Great memories of Seville for me here – thank you. Personally, I loathe flying. I trot out the environmental reasons, though I take the points you make seriously. But from the moment you’re syphoned through the indignities of security into the duty-free shopping areas, to the cattle-market queues to board, and then vice-versa on landing, with still awkward miles to get to an allegedly nearby city for an onward journey it’s all bad news (though I enjoy looking out of the window). Where its feasible, a train journey is so much nicer, and doesn’t bring with it that weird sense of dislocation which you get from breakfast in Manchester, lunch in Rome or wherever.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I understand everything you say Margaret and it’s all true (although we avoid flying with any airline that doesn’t take us to an airport within easy reach of our destination – you know which one I mean!) And yet, I can’t help loving it, with all its discomforts 🙂 Probably because of what it represents, the excitement of the new, rather than the experience itself. But I love train travel too, it just isn’t practical for short breaks much further than France or Belgium, or for the long-haul trips we love!

Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you!