A Travellerspoint blog

Spain

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELLA, SPAIN

A whirlwind experience

rain 60 °F

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, we have a colossal blog for you today. We docked in La Coruña, Spain and travelled to Santiago de Compostella, the terminus of the Way of St. James. Hikers and bikers travel from all over the world to come to this sacred place. The pilgrimage takes anywhere from a year to a week; pilgrims carry a credential which gets stamped at each hostel where they stay. Once they arrive at the cathedral, this passport serves as documentation that their journey is complete and provides them meals at a hostel built by Ferdinand and Isabella. So.....
Picture # 1). Proof that it is not always rainy and dreary here, though today was cold and wet.
2) Pilgrims arriving in the cathedral square, getting their photo taken even before putting their heavy backpacks down
3-4). Adam and Eve on the hostel where a) pilgrims get fed and b) guests may stay at a 5 star hotel (parador), and 3) we had a happy reception later in the day with taps and music
5-6) Jolly saints on a doorway; these are the biggest smiles we have seen
[Photos 7-11 are from the museum under the Cathedral]
7) God (on left) expelling Adam and Eve from Eden - no-one looks too upset about it
8) James' bones being returned (by ship) to Compostella
9) Cute Epiphany - big Mary, small kings and Joseph, and the donor
10) Sebastian and arrows
11) My favorite. The Annunciation. Gabriel looks very distressed by the news he has to deliver and won't even look Mary in the eye. Mary looks 8 months pregnant and is not at all surprised by the Angel's declaration -she's just resigned and wishes it would get over.
12) WJE in a small courtyard
13) The rear of the Cathedral nave with huge trompettes on the organ and a hint of the gold to come.
14-15). The chancel with only a tiny hint of the gold and bling and massiveness of it all. The 6 angels holding the baldachin are about 10 feet long.
16-17). Hard to see botafumeiro or thurible that weighs 50 pounds and takes 8 men (my guess is that the teens sign up for this job) to swing it almost ceiling high.
18). Another favorite. This columnar structure is totally flat - just painted to look carved.
19-20) The Spanish musician dancers who entertained us at their reception and a cloak with ribbons denoting their travels
Finally, a shot of the cathedral floor - the tile is magnificent.
Love, H&B

Posted by HopeEakins 09:27 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

CORDOBA, SPAIN

We have what we need, if we use what we have.

rain 57 °F

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Cordoba was wet and cold today; the wind blew through its narrow streets and grabbed our umbrellas; the rain came down in sheets and made driving hazardous. No problem - we would have endured anything to see the splendors of this magnificent and fascinating city.

Cordoba was a Roman settlement taken by the Visigoths, then by the Muslims, and then the Christians. What makes Cordoba's history unique is that for much of the time, the conqueror and the conquered shared the land and its monuments and - guess what - the city grew and prospered. Philosophers, physicians, poets, artists and physicians settled here, and Cordoba became a center of education and learning. Synagogues, churches, and mosques line the streets and the interweaving of the traditions and decoration and food is stunning.

The union of styles is astoundingly evident in the Cathedral-Mosque that is the source of most of the photos. The current building covers SIX ACRES (See the photo of a small portion of the outside walls.) Here's a brief history:
The Visigoths built a basilica here in 6th century
The Muslims divided the space, shared it with the Christians, eventually bought the Christian half (7th century) and then enlarged the mosque again and again
The Catholics conquered Cordoba, did not raze the mosque but built a chapel in the middle of it (13th century). They also closed up all the Islamic arches that opened into the streets and ablution garden and installed metal doors.

Cordoba itself is beautiful even if seen from under an umbrella. The bridge that crosses the Guadlquivir River (next to last photo) was built by the Romans and adapted under various rules throughout the years. It was the ONLY bridge until the 1950's! And even in the rain the geraniums stayed perks.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:21 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

SEVILLE, SPAIN

and Carmona and olives

sunny 60 °F

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We left the Mediterranean, turned into the Atlantic briefly, and then sailed 60 miles up the Guadalquivir River to Seville - a shift from choppy waves to a placid river, from harsh grey to warm green, from a vast ocean to a lovely stream with dogs barking and birds tweeting and family farms adjacent to the ship. After some locks we arrived in Seville and docked right in the center of this great city with a park on one side and the Feria grounds on the other. Feria will occur next week, a huge celebration of spring, Easter, bulls, and Sevillian society. Women dress in polka dotted flamenco gowns; families and clubs gather in casetas where they dance and drink sherry through the night (they sleep in the day); folks ride in fabulous carriages - and 5 million people come and watch. We were here once and will happily sail away before it begins.

What we did do here so far is visit an olive oil producer called Basilippi, saw the trees in early bloom and flowers all around; we tasted splendid fresh (early harvest, cold pressed, extra virgin) olive oil. Then to the hilltop town of Carmona, with a lovely parador and grand views and winding streets.

Posted by HopeEakins 15:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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