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Café Levies, Seville Spain

I found Café Levies in Seville, Spain on one of my first days in town, early 2001. I was staying in a room in a "hostal," one of the ancient houses converted into inexpensive accommodations, near the popular tourist area Santa Cruz. Café Levies is nearby, and it was only a matter of time before I passed by and got drawn in.

Café Levies is glass on two sides, nicely colored inside, open, very attractive. Easy to walk into; and the staff were excellent. I met Jose, the young owner, on my first visit. He was friendly and spoke English, so it was a natural that we would get along.

Levies was an excellent place for coffee in the morning and beer in the evening. They served some great little tapas, too — small servings of food, for those unfortunate not to be aquainted with the tradition.

After a couple of weeks in town, I passed by Café Levies to say goodbye. While I was there, I met somebody who was offering rooms. I stayed in Seville for six months.

Café Levies became the favorite coffeehouse in town for me, where I would go with my newspaper and notebook to begin the day most properly — reading and writing. I was reading the International Herald Tribune, a joint European effort by the American newspapers New York Times and Washington Post. I also made attempts to read Spanish papers: El Pais, ABC, and El Mundo. For a couple of months, in fact, I renounced English-language reading to concentrate my effort on learning Spanish. I did much of this in Café Levies, with house copies of these papers.

My favorite coffee drink, café Americano, is espresso and hot water. The hot water, for me, is merely a way to keep a hot drink hot for a while, since the coffee is really just accompaniment for the time I like to sit in a good establishment. Jose would often say "American coffee" when I ordered. I explained to him that Café Americano is not an American drink, and that in America we call it "café Americano." That didn't stop him, though. It was a running joke, and I learned to live with it.

I lived in Seville from December 2000 until June of 2001.