Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Southern Spain Topography

As seen from a bus window southern Spain is:

 More flat with miles and miles of olive groves
Flat with a bump and a castle or church perched on top 

Dramatic at times. Still lots of olive trees. 

Olive production is a going concern in Spain. 

Seville, Spain

Spanish cities tend to look the same at first and yet they are very different and have their own unique characteristics and personalities. A young Spanish man I was talking to said the people of Seville are the funniest people in Spain. Can't say I witnessed this - I will take his word for it. What I did witness was stupendous architecture. In the city centre you cannot look anywhere without seeing something that is absolutely stunning. My camera was full of images of buildings and a careful edit was required.

Plaza de España with it's incredible tile work.
I could not believe that the pillars and railings were accessible. Kids were climbing on and over them, etc.
In North America this would be completely roped off. 

It was really hot in Seville. I got a bicycle in the early morning (Seville is a very bike friendly city) and headed out. I wanted to cover more ground than I could walking, to be out when it is cooler and less people about. 

Another tower.... the Giralda is a former minaret that was converted to a bell tower for the Cathedral of Seville.  
A cool building. Moorish influence is very evident. 

Full moon over Seville street. 

I just liked this view. 

A quiet courtyard I peeked into while bicycling down a street. 

El Toro! The bull ring in Seville. Yes, bull fighting is alive and well in Spain. September is not bull fighting season so no action. You could not pay me any amount of money to see a bull fight. I believe it to be completely inhumane and no Spanish argument that it is their 'culture' can persuade me otherwise. Not necessary!! 

I did see bulls however, These, along with a dozen others, were mounted in this bar where I stopped for some Sangria.

Yup, when in Spain one must see Flamenco. It was so hot in this room and these two worked up an incredible sweat. I don't know how they did it. La Casa del Flamenco Sevilla.
Art shot. Brutally hot day and I was walking around the Alcatraz (royal palace). I was carrying my iPad but didn't realize my hand was on the shutter and I probably fired off about 75 consecutive photos of me walking. I remember I was trying to find a bench in the shade with a bit of a breeze. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cordoba, Spain

Cordoba's old town contains numerous architectural reminders of when it was the capital of the region during the Roman Empire and then capital of the Islamic Emirate. During the 10th century it was the most populous city in the world. Lots of history here. It is probably most well known for the Mezquita de Córdoba (Mosque of Cordoba). 
Roman bridge and across the river a view of the Mosque/Cathedral
Briefly put -  it started as a Visigothic Catholic church about 600 A D, then a mosque was built and enlarged four times from 784 to 1236 and finally a significant Catholic Cathedral was slammed into the middle of the mosque starting in 1236. The whole building is considered Christian. 

Inside. The mosque is vast. It spreads over the size of a couple of football fields

It was increased in size four times over 500 years. 

An extremely detailed niche. 

A fantastic Catholic Cathedral. Check out the pipe organ.
I wish organs in churches were played more often. 
Since the early 2000s, Spanish Muslims have lobbied the Roman Catholic Church to allow them to pray in the cathedral. This Muslim campaign has been rejected on multiple occasions, both by the church authorities in Spain and by the Vatican. Hmmm..... that doesn't seem very neighbourly. 

I visited during a Saturday which is the day for weddings is would appear. There were wedding parties lined up to get into a chapel that was part of the building. 

Across the river, having lunch, these local fellows walked past with what appears to be their mascot or ??. Note police uniform, black stockings which he wears rather well I thought (nice legs) and chicken comb hat. 

Had to get a photo. None of the fellows spoke English and so I never figured out just what they were all about. 

Just a window with flowers in the old town. 

Wall of flower pots. Gave me some ideas for my fence at home.

Algarve, Portugal

A dull day on the coast of the Algarve. Supposedly the water has lovely aquamarine colours in the sunlight but, alas, I did not witness it. 
On the way to southern Portugal's Algarve region by local bus, I stopped into a small town, Evora, to view the Chapel of Bones, which as the name implies, is a small chapel where the interior is decorated with human skulls and bones. It's suppose to be a reflection on the transitory nature of life. A bit creepy. No doubt unique.

Could this be Uncle Jim? 
Restorer taking a break from working on the tiles.

Worst. Statue. Ever!
El Rei Dom Sebastião Statue. 
Lagos, Portugal

Okay, I'm going to insult someone I'm sure but this is the all time worse monument. I thought is was a joke until told it truly commemorates a king from the 16th century. Really? I mean what are they thinking?  Hate to see what they would do if they did not like someone. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal

A charming city by the sea with hills, beautiful tiled buildings, street cars and lots of street art. 
A view of roof tops

Beautifully restored tiled buildings

Close up of tile from building on the right.
A very tiny shop that sold exquisite leather gloves.
Someone told me it was the smallest shop in Lisbon.
Not sure if that is true or not.

Many of the streets in the old city are paved with this stone work, 
which can have no, to little, to...

... elaborate design.


Old street cars travel the city, as well as modern transportation.
In the narrow, winding, hilly streets however these are the only public
vehicles that make it.

Funiculars ( covered in graffiti) take people up the steep streets.

It is really hard to show the perspective of these slopes. They are steep!

Lisbon cat standing guard.

Check out my page on 'Lisbon Street Art' 
Link in top right.