Category Archives: Spain

Nazrid Palaces – Al Hambra, Granada

In Granada, the famous Palaces of the last Moorish rulers in Europe.

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A view on one of the courtyards.

Wood inlay on a ceiling board

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You simply can’t do justice to the grace of these designs.

All 17 mathematically possible wallpaper groups are represented at the Al Hambra. A feat not repeated in architecture anywhere else.

And you still have to imagine the whole lot in colour. Some remaining colour here and there gives us some idea.

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Those Majorica tiles were added by a later and somewhat less subtle stylist.

Another charming courtyard.

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The Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabella set up their cannons on a opposing hill in 1492 and threatened to bombard the Al Hambra. This was too much for the emir of the time and he surrendered.

According to legend the emir’s mother berated him on the way out of the region, – you couldn’t fight like a man to keep the city and now you are crying like a woman because you lost her.

Well perhaps he was right, they survived him by centuries, even in a ravished state, and we can still wonder at them today.

The Generalife are gardens surrounding and completing the palaces. They are a story on their own. Here is just a glimpse.

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The water for the gardens and fields for feeding the city comes from these mountains. Its is one of those magic spots where you can ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon.

Burgos

Never heard of the place before I was there. Should have really, it is the capital of the region Castille and Léon.

They have the oldest gothic cathedral on the Iberian peninsular.

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Its massive. Here are a few of the domes and rose windows.

Like lace.

Gaudì reckoned phantasy belonged to the nations of the north, but the image, the concrete fell in the purview of the south. His Spain included..

The Neanderthal is meant to be one, it is in front of the Museum of Human Evolution and the horseman is El Cid. The great conquerer of Spain.

My vote for creativity goes to the girl with the umbrella. Eternal rain dripping from her umbrella. The bards are before the old city wall.

Not to mention the ‘wide ones’. Not too proud to make fun of themselves then. In classic Cervantes style..

The bane of Spain – those ugly rubbish bins they put everywhere. One doesn’t mind putting your own rubbish in the bin a half mile away, but they are so ugly.. Someone in Burgos agreed with me and rosefied this one.

Off course the cathedral remains the centre of this city. They are on the road to Santiago, or El Camino. The pilgrimage to Compostela.

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Two of these photos are taken through my rose tinted glasses 😉 I bought them here and so far they are only an improvement. Here is another photo taken through them. Don’t you agree? Charming..

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The old city retained its wall and this gate.

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I think it is the Maria gate, may be wrong.

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Its hard to stop adding pictures, the place is just so beautiful. I don’t understand why they are not more on the tourist route. Perhaps I am just not well informed. If it weren’t for the fact that I was passing though on the way from Ourense to Bilbao I would have never have gone there.

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The Museum of Military History and just one more..

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And then, the Picos de Europa in the distance. On the way to the magical land of the Basques..

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La Vila Joiosa

I’ve been meaning to add this one for quite some time now. The town of joy they are named and their main industry is chocolate..The locals just say La Vila. They are on the costa blanca (white coast) in Spain’s Valencia province. Their language is Valencian. Not so far removed form Catalan if I have it right. Catalan being somewhere between French and Spanish if I may be so crude. They have personal pronouns as opposed to the Castilian that goes for ‘Spanish’.

Chocolate off course made its way to Europe from the New World and the ships landed in la vila so the town started making chocolate. I seem to remember they had a monopoly for some time.

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Looking at the flora you can already guess that Africa is not far and yes the Moors attacked this poor town repeatedly. So they decided to build a wall.

But the town kept growing, probably even more when they were better protected and space inside the wall was limited. They started building on top of the wall and even leaning over it. They are still building today!

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See how well trained their see gulls are, following the boat like that?

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Charming little town. Quite a lot going on there in terms of renovation. Probably many northern Europeans moving there for the good weather.

The people of Spain.

There is the most wonderful story about the people of Spain.

With the turn of the last century, Barcelona hosted a world exhibition. Lots of construction work took place and many poor people went to Barcelona to find work.

After a vacation when the workers returned from their home provinces, they talked about how they spent their time at home.

One guy was from Aragon and said he spent the weekend with his grandmother. She cried all the time.

Another guy was from Andalucia and told the same story, he spent his weekend with his grandmother.

When asked what they did, he said, oh, we danced all weekend!

Catalonia

Catalonia, one of the Spains with Barcelona as capital. The border used to be quite a way over the Pyrinee into France.

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Round the 1500’s, Catalonia was a mighty empire that stretched all the way to Greece. Today after years of oppression by a central regime in Madrid they have home rule in many affairs.

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Paleis – Barcelona

Gaudì figurehead of Catalan modernism and his Sagrada Familia is probably the most well known son of the region. He claimed that the mediteranian people own the image, the northerners may lay claim to fantasy, but the image belongs to the south. Interesting assertion really as he seems quite well acquinted with fantasy.

The director of the school of architecture said ‘ today we bestowed this academic title either on a genius or an idiot, time will tell’ when Gaudì qualified.

Strange that people feel these concepts are mutualy exclusive..

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But let’s not forget Montseral Caballé, who can forget Baaarcelona, with Freddie Mercury?

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Barcelona hawe

By the way, did you know Freddy was Parsi? People for Persia who moved toIndia some time ago. Fire worshippers after Zoroaster. The first great Asian pop star. Hy was born in Zanzibar.

But off course you knew that..

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Plaça St Jaume – Barcelona

And off course Salvador Dalì. And Joan Miró. We are almost getting an impression of the catalan people, right or wrong. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

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Straatmark – Barcelona voor die Santa Maria del Pi

Your average Catalan is taller than the rest of Spain and apparently they have a way of tilting their heads to the side when they are listening. I see a siamese cat..

On my way from the airport to the hotel, I got lost. All went well, I found the bus and paid my Quenta e quenta 5 euro 50 , got off the bus at the Plaça Catalunya and started looking for the hotel. I know I had to go down the Ramblas but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, two ladies I asked for directions took one look at my bags and warned me not to walk in that area after dark. I was to go back to the Ramblas post haste and go over to the other side where the old town is.

On my way I found the Lycee (where Montserat did her training) and made enquiries at the little ship.

It was my first day in Spain and I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Europe. To this day I remember the pride with which the girl told me, no, she speaks Catalan, she is Catalan. Up till then I thought it was just a story of some historic situation. But no, they are very much a nation and proud of the heritage as well as their language.

In the region typically you see three languages, Spanish, Catalan and French. In Cataln it is parlo vir I speak, somewhere between the Spanish hablo and the French je parle sort of..

The other half of Catalonia is off course in France. Not many people there speak Catalan any more. Too many French kings telling them they are FRENCH I suppose.

But still they have a nationalistic feeling and Canigou, a mountain in the Pyrinee is a symbol of national unity.

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Canigou

Hope you enjoyed this one and to see you again soon!