Spain

  • our route through Spain
    Our wanderings through Spain ... obviously, we need to go back as there were many parts we missed. from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/spain/ "Geographically, Spain's diversity is immense. There are endless tracts of wild and crinkled sierra to explore, as well as some spectacularly rugged stretches of coast between the beaches. Culturally, the country is littered with superb old buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals. Almost every second village has a medieval castle. Spain has been the home of some of the world's great artists - El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Dalí, Picasso - and has museums and galleries to match. The country vibrates with music of every kind - from the drama of flamenco to the melancholy lyricism of the Celtic music and gaitas (bagpipes) of the northwest."

Spain ... Madrid

  • a museum of ham?
    The streets of Madrid are full of people long into the night. They walk from bar to bar, having tapas and a beer at each one. All that walking may be why they're all quite thin ... or maybe it's because they all smoke. Our evening with Len's penpal started about 9:00 and lasted until nearly 2:00 am. We must have walked miles. Another night, coming home from a jazz club, we were in the subway well after midnight and it was still quite busy. This is the Puerto del Sol, near our hotel.

Spain ... Segovia

  • the Alcazar - a view from the east
    This aqueduct is what Segovia is most famous for. And it's even more impressive in real life than it is in pictures. This is its highest point. In one direction, it goes to the Alcazar to supply water; on the other it tapers down and disappears into the newer part of the city.

Spain ... Ávila

  • flying buttress
    Ávila is famous for many things -- the 11th century city wall, Santa Teresa of Ávila, and the storks which nest on the roofs. The babies make an odd clapping sound with their beaks when they want to be fed, which echos off the stone walls. It was also cold enough while we were there that Len was wearing a blanket from the hotel while we toured the wall.

Spain ... Salamanca

  • the dome of La Purisima, the "most beautiful church in town"
    Salamanca is not tropical. We arrived to find several inches of snow on the palm trees.

Spain ... Cáceres

  • from outside the old city wall
    Cáceres is an old city, with a long history of battles between Moors and Christians, as in most of Spain. As a result, its architecture is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles Its also a World Heritage city, and much of it looks as it did centuries ago. Apparently, it's often used as a setting in movies as it looks (and is) so authentic. This is of the Ciudad Monumental, from the Plaza Mayor.

Spain ... Mérida

  • Roman ruins
    We hadn't planned on going to Mérida. In fact, I'd only heard of the one in Mexico. As it turned out, we were glad we spent a day or so as the Roman ruins are justly famous and quite interesting. This is of the Casa de Diana ... I was just walking down the street, turned the corner, and there it was.

Portugal

  • Faro
    Lisbon was not our favorite city (we preferred the south of Portugal), but there are lovely churches and other buildings.

Spain ... Andalucia

  • from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/andalucia/index.htm "With strong Islamic roots and a history of unrelenting poverty, Andalucía is perhaps the least European part of Western Europe; but the region's heritage is Spanish as well as Moorish. It gave us Velazquez, Picasso and Lorca, and is also a hotbed of flamenco, fiesta and bullfighting. The Islamic palaces, picturesque little villages, ragged mountains and endless coastline make it unforgettable. Happy hours start at midnight and the cities of Seville and Málaga have a kicking nightlife. You can party, hike, sunbathe and sightsee: it's no wonder Andalucía is such a heart-stealer."

Spain ... Seville

  • city scene
    Seville is famous for many things, including the Alcázar. This is an underground bath, with the light coming down through skylights on the sides.

Spain ... Ronda

  • Bullring
    Rhonda is quite amazing, primarily because of the huge chasm that runs between the old city and the new.

Spain - Granada

  • Granada
    The view of the city and the cathedral from the Alhambra.

Spain ... Las Alpujarras

  • Órgiva
    Las Alpujarras is a mountain region southeast of Granada. There are many small villages, which cling to the sides of the gorges and which are filled with flowers (at the right time of the year, of course). This is a photo of a map of the area, which we found on a wall in the central plaza of Órgiva, the largest town in the area.

Spain ... Málaga

  • Alcazaba
    Malaga is not the prettiest city in Spain nor is it the cleanest. It does have a lovely harbor, with nice beaches (they say ... it was too cold in March), a beautiful cathedral, interesting Moorish buildings, and some Roman ruins. This shot of the harbor was taken from the Alcazaba.

Gibraltar

  • lighthouse
    Gibraltar is huge, really huge. It sort of rises out of nothing and it's hard to get any idea of its actual size until you're right below it. Or, until you remember there are tunnels, hospitals, and weapons storage running through the inside.

Flora & Fauna

  • an English robin
    Len loves trees. And he loves taking pictures of trees, animals, and flowers as it's a chance to use the special features of his camera. Besides, they're interesting. This is a collection of pictures from all over, many from Gibraltar.

Spain ... Cádiz

  • Manuelo & Inez
    Cádiz is the oldest city in Europe, or so they say. It's on the Atlantic, with several pretty beaches and great views of the sunset. We spent a couple of weeks here, but took several side trips to nearby towns -- Arcos de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, and so forth. There are so many fronteras as the Christians and the Moors battled back and forth over this aree for years and years.

Spain ... Córdoba

  • Alcazar of the Catholic Kings
    Córdoba has the Mesquita. It was built by the Moors but the Christians later inserted a church in the middle, resulting an odd (but beautiful) combination of styles, symbols, etc.

Paris

  • a memorial to the Jews killed by the Nazis
    See? We really did go to Paris. Here we are, at the top of the Eifel Tower ... after the snow stopped.

UK ... the south

  • Bradford-on-Avon
    Stonehenge, of course.

UK ... Bath

  • St. John's
    If you've read any Jane Austin, you know about Bath ... the place for the upper crust to meet and socialize. It's still very charming. This is one of the oldest houses in Bath which is famous because the owner, Sally Lunn, ran a bakeshop.

UK ... the Cotswolds

  • Leachlade-on-Thames
    The Cotswolds lie between Bath and Oxford and include famous places like Stratford-upon-Avon. The houses and other buildings are generally made of cotswold stone, which ages to a soft cream or beige. It's sheep and farming country, now mostly recovered from the mad cow frenzy of a few years ago. The roads are narrow and twisting, the fields are small and lush, the little towns charming ... in short, it's a beautiful area. Do not use the word "quaint." We stayed in Stow-on-the-Wold, in a small B&B run by an even older couple who had lived in the area their entire lives (they have since moved to France). Ken's greatest pleasure seemed to be taking tourists around to show them all the out-of-the-way places they couldn't get to by bus. So, that's how we spent our evenings ... being driven around and told about laying hedges, remodeling cottages, and how people lived when he was a child, some 70 years ago. He's a lovely man.

Brussels

  • St. Michael's
    Once again, American culture and enterprise defeat European decadence.

Germany ... Köln

  • Köln, 2004
    A photo of a postcard we found, showing the fishmarket and the church after the bombings of 1945. Our hotel is on the left.

Germany ... die Schiffreise

  • Ruine Rheinfels
    We took a beautiful, several hour trip along the Rhine. Since it was early in the season, there were only about 12 passengers on the boat so we could run from side to side and see everything. This is St. Goar, one of the small towns along the way.

Susie & Slavek

  • part of Susie & Slavek's family
    We met Susie and Slavek when we were in Slovenia a few years ago, and have kept in touch since. They travel a lot ... this picture is from their trip to Egypt.

Spain ... Barcelona

  • Palau de la Música Catalana - detail
    Barcelona is full of Modernist architecture ... always weird and often beautiful. It give the city a flavor quite different than that of other Spanish cities. This is Casa Lleo, a Gaudi building

Spain ... Zaragoza & Pamplona

  • Pamplona
    Zaragoza is about 3.5 hours away from both Madrid and Barcelona. It's the regional capital and big, with a population of over 600,00. The core of the old city, the Plaza del Pilar, contains the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar, inside of which is the legendary pillar on which the Virgin Mary descended from heaven. Pamplona is about 2 hours farther north, in Basque territory. It's famous, of course, for the Fiesta de San Fermin and the running of the bulls ... an activity which takes place in many Spanish cities. After all, they had to get the bulls to the ring somehow. Unfortunately, many of our Pamplona pictures were lost.

Spain ... Gijon & Lluarca

  • Lluarca - old house
    Gijon, Asturias's largest city, has some 280,000 inhabitants. Once again, standard Spanish is not the norm; rather, they speak Bable, a variant that is not different enough to qualify as a unique language but which is still confusing (for example, in Babel, Gijon is spelled Xixón). This picture is of the harbor. Lluarca, otoh, is a smallish fishing village os some 3000 people. The book says it will appeal to "lovers of seaside decay."

Spain ... Santiago

  • Catedral del Apóstol - east side
    This is the church to which all the pilgrims are going -- la Catedral de Apóstal. It is said to contain the body of St. James, brought here from the Holy Land in a stone boat (or, so the story goes). This facade is baroque ... built in the 18th century in front of the orignial and much older potico. It does serve to protect the original from the weather so that it is in wonderful condition now.