Milan, My First View of Italy

Milan has a little bit of everything! It has history, it has industry, it has fashion and design, it has a national security exchange, it has the Gothic Duomo, it has two large soccer teams, it has Da Vinci’s Last Supper, and the list goes on.

Milan has a city population of 1.3 million, but the urban area adds an additional 5.3 million. It is the capital of the Lombardy area.

Milan has a cultural mix. It was conquered by the Romans and eventually became the capital of Western Roman Empire. France, Spain, and Austria each invaded and controlled the area at different times

Milan, like so many large European cities has an excellent metro system.  I used it to get to far ends of Milan, and for some night travel.

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The Gothic Duomo at night. The largest church in Italy, and 5th largest in the world.
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The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls.

After flying into the Milan Airport, it was about a 45 minute bus ride to the Central Station. It is massive.  Inside you have a large mall and a huge train station.  I guess it is something like Grand Central Station, but maybe more businesses.

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Milano Centrale

After arriving, I set out to find the Four Points Sheraton.  It was only 7 or 8 blocks from the railway station, which was one of my reasons for staying there, plus I was able to use my SPG points.

My first morning out, my adventures took me out towards the CityLife District.

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On my walk I found this high-rise. Unique, modern, and as you see, lots of plants.  I love it!

The CityLife District is a residential, commercial and business district still under construction.

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CityLife
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CityLife, is close to the old city centre.  CityLife has roughly 1,300 apartments that will house 4,500 people.

Milan is working on extending Metro Line 5 out to this area for transportation.

Next I was off to the Porta Sempione or the Arco della Pace, one of the gates of Milan.

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Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) completed in 1838

This arch was originally to be a “Victory Arch” for Napoleon and his accomplishments, but was later restyled and crowned the Arch of Peace representing the end of time filled with bloody wars in Europe.

Sempione Park has the Arco della Pace at one end and the Sfroza Castle and gardens at the other end.

 

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Sempione Park with the Arco della Pace in the background.

 

 

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Sforza Castle

The Sempione Park is a beautiful park full of paths for joggers, walkers, and bicyclist.  There were large trees and plenty of shade with lots of green grass, ponds, and benches, a beautiful and peaceful park.

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Sempione Park

 

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Sempione Park

 

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Sempione Park

There was a free park concert setting up for the evening, so I thought I would walk around, and hangout.

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Summer Hypericum Flowers I believe.

As for most of the parks I have walked through on this trip, it was full of couples or groups having fun.  You will see romantic couples everywhere, both young and old.  You see very few people by themselves. As beautiful as the parks are, there can be a sadness associated to the souls who appear lost, homeless and alone.

As I was walking throughout the park, I came upon the Sforza Castle.

 

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The front entrance to the Sforza Castle

 

 

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Inside Sforza Castle

 

The original fortress was built in the 14th century, but was enlarged in the 15th century to be the residence of Francesco Sforza. The backside of the castle was the outer edges of Milan with nothing but a forest behind it in those days.

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The castle is now a museum.

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A fascinating piece that I ran into unexpectedly, was an unknown piece of work by Leonardo Da Vinci that was uncovered during the restoration process in the Sala delle Asse of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan.

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Continuing on through the museum there were numerous weapons and pieces of armor.

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Here was an unusual little piece.  Kind of a devil.  A torso with clockwork mechanics, one that at one time had a moving head, eyes, and a tongue that would stick out, all while making an inarticulate sound.

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At the Castle Sforza, you will also find the last work of Michelangelo, the Rondanini Pietà. He worked on this up to his death.

 

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The Rondanini Pieta, a marble sculpture that Michelangelo worked on from the 1550’s to his dying days in 1564.

This piece of art was purchased by the museum in 1952.

 

The castle had a large moat around it. There were secret tunnels in the underground walls, some that went to other parts of the city once upon a time.

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Came across this guy on my walk back to the concert.  Very pretty butterfly, but I couldn’t get him to show off his wings!

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The concert started much later than I expected, as it didn’t start until 10:00 pm.  The band was two musicians rocking out.  I enjoyed their music.

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After the concert, I headed back to the hotel. I was a good distance from the hotel, but as always, a very enjoyable walk.

Out and about the next day, I cut through the beautiful park, the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, the oldest city park.

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Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
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Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
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Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli
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Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli

Jurrasic Park III anyone? I never would have thought I would see him here!

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This is the Antica Porta Nuova.

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Antica Porta Nuova – On of two medieval gates that still exist in Milan. Built in 12th Century and restored in the 19th Century.

I found the Basilica di San Babila around the corner.

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Basilica di San Babila – Dedicated to the saint Babylas of Antioch. The bell tower fell down in the 16th Century and was replaced in 1920.
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Basilica di San Babila

Bell tower at San Gottardo in Corte or San Gottardo a Palazzo, built in the 1330’s.

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I purchased a ticket to the Duomo, the Cathedral of Milan.

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Cathedral of Milan (Duomo)

 

 

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A view from the arches walkway.

 

 

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Madonnina – Statue of the Virgin Mary atop the Milan Cathedral (Duomo), erected in 1762.

 

The ticket included the Museo del Duomo, entrance into the cathedral, the archeological dig area under the plaza in front of the Duomo, and access to the terraces on top of the Duomo, 244 steps up to the top, and I mean you actually walk on the roof.

The museo del Duomo had a model of the Duomo, and this beautiful sculpture of Magdalene Transported by Angel (1556-1560).

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Guess what this is, you will never guess!

 

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This is the Frame of the Madonna (1773).

 

The Duomo is quite beautiful.

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In the Duomo you can enter the archeological dig museum under the plaza.

 

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Believed to be a baptism offering area.

 

 

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Old crypt

 

Last, the climb to the top, to the terraces. What an incredible view! You are walking on the eves, and the roof!

 

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Looking down toward the square in front of the Duomo.

 

 

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Nice view from the arches on the roof.

 

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On the Roof

Milan is famous for many things, but Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting was one of the top sights for me; furthermore, the story of how it came to be, and how it has survived was particularly interesting. It is not easy to get a ticket to it at the last second, and they are not cheap.  Most online tickets were sold out until the middle of August. I managed to get a ticket to the Last Supper and the Best of Milan. I normally did not pay for tours due to the cost, but I had no choice this time. I was fortunate to find a ticket through Milan Museum and Tuscany Tours.

I arrived at the Duomo at 10:10 am. There was some confusion as there was multiple groups, but it was all worked out. I must say, my tour guide (Christopher) was the best tour guide I had in the four months I spent in Europe.  Extremely knowledgeable, and passionate about Milan. While he walked us through many sites providing great stories and details, like Giuseppe Mengoni, the architect of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, falling from the roof of the galleria, to his death the night before the grand opening. Accident, suicide, or murder, no one knows to this day.

 

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, opened in 1877.

 

 

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, built between 1865 and 1877.

 

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The story goes, if you spin around three times with the heel of your shoe on the testicles of the bull from Turin coat of arms, you will have good luck.
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Statue of Leonardo Da Vinci

My guide’s passion for the Last Supper was the icing on the cake. As the story goes, we are extremely lucky to still have this masterpiece. You have to understand that the painting was almost destroyed by bombings in WWII. Somehow the walls around it didn’t survive, and it did. Furthermore, it had to withstand the wrath of Mother Nature for a year or two, until the building could be repaired. Other obstacles consisted of the heat from the kitchen, which was on the opposite side of the painting’s wall, plus the 80 to 90 friars eating in the same hall/room each day. There was even a time when the room was used as a horse stable for the French during Napoleon’s’ reign.

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Santa Maria della Grazie

 

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Santa Maria della Grazie

 

It is thought and often said that Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Last Supper using the Fresco art style, but that is not true according to our guide and other sources. Fresco art style is the art of painting on wet plaster so the paint dries with the plaster.  The Last Supper was painted over a course of 4 years. Da Vinci was not hired directly as a painter.  His resume had experience in canals and architecture, weapons creator, artist, amongst other things. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, already had several artist on the payroll; therefore, Da Vinci worked on the canals, and spent two days a week, working on the painting.

Looking at the painting, there is a lot to see, and a lot to interpret.  You have the twelve apostles grouped into four sets of three, symbolism of the Trinity. Da Vinci used the hands as well as the faces to emphasize the apostle’s expressions as Jesus was saying one of them would betray him.  Eleven of the apostles are bright and said to be in the light, whereas Judas is in the shadow a symbol of guilt.

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Picture of a Picture of the Last Supper. They do not let you take pictures in the chamber.

A funny story to go along with the finishing of the Last Supper is that the friars were getting tired of having Leonardo Da Vinci interrupting their meetings, so they approached the Duke to speed up the process of painting the Last Supper.  Da Vinci in no way appreciated being told how to do his work, as an artist and genius, he worked at his own pace.  His revenge was to delete the face of Judas, painting in the face of the lead friar who had complained to the Duke, pushing Da Vinci to finish as quickly as possible.

There have been numerous restorations.  The most recent started in 1979 and ended in 1999, and basically removed all the old restoration painting, and preserving everything possible.

On a sad note, look at the copy of the Last Supper that I posted.  As you will see, the friary decided to enlarge the door to the kitchen, chopping off part of the bottom-half of the painting, where Jesus feet were.  All to get their food faster?

Anyway, if you come to Milan, go to the Last Supper, and don’t forget, it is a hard ticket to purchase so plan ahead.

On our walk to the Santa Maria delle Grazie, we stopped at the Castle Sforza.

 

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Entering from the front gate.

 

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If you look close, you will see holes in the castle walls. It is my understanding that these holes were where boards stuck out for a  scafolds effect while building the castle walls.

The tour ended at the Last Supper. On my walk back I swung out to go to the Basilica of Sant’ Ambrogio.  Unfortunately it was closed.

I stopped in at the church of the San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore.

 

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San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore – The Monastero Maggiore, the oldest, the largest, and most important female convent in the Benedictines of the city.

It had its own version of the last supper.

 

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My next stop was the Archaelolgical Museum of Milan. More ruins and artifacts.  I really love seeing items from the 1st century and earlier.

 

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Mosaic Pavements of Herculean Baths – 4th Century A.D. to 3rd Century A.D.  A non heated floor, probably the changing room.

 

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The Parabiago Plate – Discovered in 1907 – Estimated to be from the late 4th Century A.D.

 

 

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Remaining walls of a patrician dwelling built sometime around the 1st Century A.D.  This structure was found just outside the Republican city walls.

 

 

 

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By the end of the 3rd Century A.D., these walls encircled the Late Roman city.

 

 

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This is a 24 sided tower which was connected and part of the city walls built at the end of the 3rd Century. It is the only one that can still be visited. Later the tower was transformed into the Chapel of the Benedictine Monastery of San Maurizio

 

That night I went back down to the Duomo area to go to the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum.

 

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Madonnina at night! The museum with the Da Vinci exhibit was just across the square from the Cathedral of Milan (Duomo).

 

You couldn’t take pictures, but I can tell you it was quite extrodinary! Seeing his studies, detailed notes, it just showed his true devotion to intricacy. His paintings give a 3D look. It is more like you are looking at a sculpture. If you look at the Last Supper, there are examples.

In the old days, Milan had canals intersecting all through it as a means of transportation.  Most are gone, but I did manage to go out to one of the edges of town to see the Alzaia Naviglio Grande, and the Alzaia Naviglio Pavese.

 

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Alzaia Naviglio Grande Canal

 

 

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Alzaia Naviglio Pavese Canal

Milan was the start of many ventures in Italy.  On to Florence!

 

June 2015

 

Porto Portugal, Port Wine Anyone?

Porto is the second largest urban area in Portugal. Porto dates back to 300 BC, and was once an outpost for the Roman Empire, and later invaded by the Moors in 711.

Porto - Dom Luis I Bridge in the background crossing the Douro River
Porto – Dom Luis I Bridge in the background crossing the Douro River

The western edges of urban Porto reaches out to the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean.  Porto is one of the oldest European centres.  It’s historic core was recognized by UNESCO in 1996 as a World Heritage Site.  Porto is also known for having the world’s oldest military alliance (Portuguese-English). The Treaty of Windsor dates back to 1386.  It is said that this military alliance inspired the formation of NATO.

Porto
Porto

I stayed at a nice little Airbnb in Porto. It was located about a 20-30 minute walk from the old town, but it was also only 2 blocks from the metro, which gave me easy access to and from the airport.

My first morning, my host fixed me breakfast. This was a nice treat. As I started walking around the neighborhood on my way to the old town, I passed a laundry-mat. This was good news as I was running out of clothes to wear.

My first stopped ended up being the Igreja da Trindade (Trinity Church) in the Trinity Square, built in the nineteenth century with the doors opening on June 5, 1841.

Trinidade Church
Trindade Church in the Trinity Square
Trindade Church
Trindade Church
Trindade Church
Trindade Church
Trindade Church
Trindade Church

Continuing down the street, I passed the Porto Camara Municipal – Porto City Hall.  While construction began in the 1920’s, it was not completed and settled into until 1957.

Porto Camara Municipal - Porto City Hall
Porto Camara Municipal – Porto City Hall

The Liberdade Square stretched down from the Camara Municipal for a few blocks.

Liberdade Square
Liberdade Square
Liberdade Square
Liberdade Square
Liberdade Square
Liberdade Square

Around the corner from the square was the Igreja dos Congregados, built towards the end of the 17th Century.

Igreja dos Congregados
Igreja dos Congregados
Igreja dos Congregados
Igreja dos Congregados

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Pictures taken while wondering the streets of Porto, early that morning.

Porto
Porto

My next stop was the “Torre de Clerigos”, and the Clerigos Church. The church was completed in 1750, while the Tower at the back of the church was build sometime between 1754 and 1763. The Clerigos Tower has approximately 240 steps to the top.

Clerigos Church
Clerigos Church
Torre de Clerigos
Torre dos Clerigos

There were some great views from the tower.

Picture View of the plaza of Lisbon from Clerigos Tower
View of the plaza of Lisbon from Clerigos Tower
Pciutre Igreja da Lapa
Igreja da Lapa
View from the Torre de Clegerio
View from the Torre dos Clerigos
Porto from Torre de Clegerio
Porto from Torre de Clerigos
Picture [Peninsular War Monument – The Lion (Portuguese and Britain) dominating the Eagle (French)]
[Peninsular War Monument – The Lion (Portuguese and Britain) dominating the Eagle (French)]
Pciute Igreja dos Grilos (Convento dos Grilos) is a Mannerist Baroque-style Church built in 1577 by Jesuits (Douro River)
The Douro River with the Igreja dos Grilos (Convento dos Grilos) – a Mannerist Baroque-style Church built in 1577 by Jesuits viewed from Torre dos Clerigos
Inside the Clegerio Church
Inside the Clerigos Church
The Torre de Clegerio
The Clerigos Bell Tower

Down the road was the Jardim da Cordoaria which was founded in 1865.

Jardin de Cos
Jardim de Cordoaria

As you see, there was a small school group at the park.

Jardin
Jardim de Cordoaria

This picture is actually two churches.

The “Igreja dos Carmelitas” and the “Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas"
The “Igreja dos Carmelitas” and the “Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas”

On the left was the “Igreja dos Carmelitas”.

Igreja dos Carmelitas
Igreja dos Carmelitas

On the right was the “Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas”.

Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas
Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas
Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas
Igreja do Carmo Horario Das Missas

Continuing my stroll around Porto I decided to swing along the bank of the Douro River, towards the Atlantic Coastline.

Looking back down the Douro River
Looking back down the Douro River
One of the many shells of a building in Porto
One of the many abandoned buildings around Porto

My trek led me to a city park, “Jardins do Palacio de Cristal”.

Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal

This park had a center, the Pavilhao Rosa Mota, primarily used for basketball.

Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal-Pavilhao Rosa Mota

There were multiple trails, and gardens with views overlooking the river.

Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
Jardins do Palacio de Cristal
The Douro River and the Arrábida Bridge
The Douro River and the Arrábida Bridge

And I cannot leave out my peacock friend.

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Just outside the park, across the street was the Torre e Palacio de Terenas. The tower is behind the palace, wedged in on an alleyway, so I didn’t get a good picture.

Torre e Palacio de Terenas - Tower in the alleyway
Torre e Palacio de Terenas-Tower in the alleyway-Upper Right

Next door was this beautiful little church covered in the traditional (azulejos) tiles. I didn’t get to go in as it was closed at the time I was there. Furthermore, I didn’t catch its name.

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Further down the road was an  old church with tower at the top left, the “Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas”.

Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas
Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas
Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas
Igreja de Sao Jose dos Taipas

Next I walked to the “Igreja e Convento de Sao Bento da Vitoria” founded in 1598. Unfortunately it was closed when I was there. The narrow streets made it hard to get a good picture of the outside.

Igreja e Convento de Sao Bento da Vitoria
Igreja e Convento de Sao Bento da Vitoria

Next was the Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria completed in 1539.

Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria
Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria
Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria - Alter area up close
Igreja de Na Sa da Vitoria – Alter area up close

Here is a picture of the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco (on the left), and the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco (on the right). The Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco didn’t allow pictures.

Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco (on the left), and the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco (on the right)
Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco (on the left), and the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco (on the right)
Picture = Small Bell Tower attached to the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco
Small Bell Tower attached to the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco

Across the courtyard was the entrance to the Museu da Veneravel Ordem Terceira de Sao Francisco and the Museu Catacumbas.

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The Catacombs were under the Casa de Despacho e Igreja dos Terceiros de Sao Francisco.

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Leaving the Igreja S. Francisco I went back to the church across the street, the Igreja de S. Nicolan.

Igreja de S. Nicolan
Igreja de S. Nicolan
Igreja de S. Nicolan
Igreja de S. Nicolan
Picture of Statue of Infante dom Henrique (Prince Henry the Navigator)
Statue of Infante dom Henrique (Prince Henry the Navigator) around the corner

As you have seen, there are churches everywhere!

Here is a perfect example of  many of the buildings I would see walking around Porto, abandoned and run-down. This building is decorated with tiles. I love the tiled buildings. The tiled buildings generally date back several centuries. You see it on many churches. At first glance, especially from the street, you would say this building is closed. The 1st floor was pretty much gutted. Most floors and windows look abandoned, but then look closely at the right side, the 3rd floor with the balconies. The first 3 look abandoned, although 2 have buckets on the balcony. The 4th and 5th balcony have newish looking doors, and then there is the realistic naked manikin chained to the balcony rails. Did someone still live there, or is someone sending a message?

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Next stop, the Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto). The Porto Cathedral was built in the 12th Century, and completed in the 13th Century. It is one of most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal. Many changes were made to the cathedral in the late 17th Century, both inside and out.

Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto
Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto in the distance
Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto
Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto
Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto
Se De Porto (the cathedral of Porto
The
Pillory place in the Cathedral Square

A kitten that lived in the nearby trees and bushes, in front of the cathedral.

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A side view of the cathedral.

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Here is a view of the city taken along my walk.

Porto - Click to enlarge
Porto – Click to enlarge

The Camara Municipal (City Hall) Clock Tower in the distance:

Camara Municipal (City Hall) Clock Tower
Camara Municipal (City Hall) Clock Tower

The Igreja de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso) was completed in 1739 and sits near Porto’s Batalha Square. There are approximately 11,000 tiles covering the church. The tiles were created (by artist Jorge Colaco) and attached to the church in 1932.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso)
Igreja de Santo Ildefonso (Church of Saint Ildefonso)

The following day I headed out to the opposite side of town, in search of a soccer tournament. I had it in my mind it would be a tournament like in Texas, one with many park fields. As it turned out, the tournament was being held in the FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao), Home of the Dragons.

FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao)
FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao)
FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao} - Peaking through a gap in the fence
FC Porto Stadium (Estadio do Dragao} – Peaking through a gap in the fence

It was a hot day!

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Back down towards old town, I used the Dom Luis I double-decker bridge to cross the Douro River. At the time the bridge was built, this bridge was the longest of its type in the World. I walked across the top section (built in 1886), and down through the neighborhoods to get over to the Wineries.

Dom Luis I Bridge - Upper Deck
Dom Luis I Bridge – Upper Deck

When I walked back across the river, I took the bottom deck (completed in 1887).

Dom Luis I Bridge
Dom Luis I Bridge

As shown, the upper-deck was well above the river, and it was quite a trek down to the riverfront. Many people took this gondola.

June is a time to celebrate popular saints with religious and festive celebrations in Portugal. I believe one of those celebrations was ending as I was walking along the river front, maybe the NOS Primavera Sound.

The Portugal’s Hells Angels? No, just a group out enjoying the day!

A little Portugal Hell’s Angels? Not! (-:

I made my way down to the wineries for a taste test. I went to Sandeman. You have to take a tour to taste their wines. They kept their wines in barrels, with barrels going back to the early 1900s. Some were massive. If I recall right, they had barrels that held thousands of liters of wine. Thought I took a picture of the middle sized barrels in the caves, but I couldn’t find it if I did. Porto wine, or Port wines are very thick and sweet. A great experience!

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When I walked back across the bridge, on the right was the old city wall.

Not sure
Old City Wall – Funicular running down to the Douro River along side the wall

On the left was the Pilares de Ponte Pensil. They are the remains of a suspension bridge inaugurated in February 1843, and decommissioned in 1887.

Pilares de Ponte Pensil
Pilares de Ponte Pensil

A nice view of the riverside.

The Douro River riverwalk
The Douro River riverwalk

On my walk back to my Airbnb, I passed the Majestic café, at which time I turned around and had a seat for dinner. The Majestic Café (originally named the Elite Café) opened December 17, 1921. It is one of the most beautiful and meaningful examples of Art Nouveau in Porto. Good food too!

Majestic Café
Majestic Café

On my last day in Porto I decided to rent a bike to ride down the the Douro River front and out along the Atlantic Coastline of Porto, on the far West (I believe) end of Porto. The bike wasn’t the best, but it allowed me to do what I wanted to do.

The Douro River just before coming to the Atlantic Coastline
The Douro River just before coming to the Atlantic Coastline

There was a pretty good bike and jogging lane set up.

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One of the coastal inhabitans.

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Off one of the piers or jetties, a fisherman caught a small octopus. He was carving him up for bait.

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A small lighthouse out off the point.

Small Lighthouse where the Douro River and the Atlantic Ocean meet
Small Lighthouse where the Douro River and the Atlantic Ocean meet
Coastal Waters
Coastal Waters

Along the bike trail there were some beautiful Little John Dwarf Trees or Bottlebrush Trees!

Beautiful Bottlebrush Tree
Beautiful Bottlebrush Tree

Further down the trail were some beaches.

Beaches on the Atlantic Coastline - Porto
Beaches on the Atlantic Coastline – Porto
Beaches on the Atlantic Coastline - Porto
Beaches on the Atlantic Coastline – Porto

Beyond the point was what I believe was the Castle (Fortress) of Sao Joao da Foz. They started building the fortress in the late 1500s.

Castle (Fortress) of Sao Joao da Foz
Castle (Fortress) of Sao Joao da Foz

On my ride back, I came across another example of an old building that looked abandoned, yet looked like one or two rooms/apartments might be still used.

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Well, I enjoyed my stay and experience in Portugal! Now it was time to fly to Italy, Milan to be exact!

Lisbon Portugal, a Town of Ups and Downs

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, was my first stop in this Portugal. The population within the city is about 560,000, but including the urban outreaches, the population is about 2.8 million, one-fourth the population of Portugal. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, but it was almost wiped out by the 1755 earthquake, which also produced fires, and a tsumani.

In Lisbon, I stayed with a family on the outskirts of the old town. The walk into the old town was a little lengthy but easy as it was all downhill. You can guess what that meant when walking back!

One of the many ups and downs in Lisbon
One of the many ups and downs in Lisbon

There was a small park around the corner from where I was staying.

Jardim Braancamp Freire
Jardim Braancamp Freire

Lots of baby hens and rosters.

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At the end of the park was a statue, a memorial, “Monumento ao Doc Sousa Martins”. Jose Tomas de Sousa Martins was a physician specializing in combating tuberculosis. On March 7 and August 18 of each year, anniversaries of his birth and death, thousands of devotees visit and pray at his grave and at this monument.

Saint T
Monumento ao Doc Sousa Martins

As I came out of the buildings, down a long hilly trek, I came upon a festival in progress. June is a month of festivals in Lisbon. This particular one was the “Sumol Summer Fest”.

The Festival
The Sumol Summer Fest
The Plaza
A Plaza where part of the festival was being held

I continued on down to the shoreline until I came across  “Commerce” Plaza or Commerce Square.

Commerce Plaza
Commerce Plaza
The
The Commerce Plaza
The Commerce Plaza
The Commerce Plaza

There were plenty of outdoor restaurants at the plaza, so I enduldged. It was more of an American plate, but very good. Thin sliced roast beef, spinach puree, and seasoned potatoes. Oh, and a Margarita! They were actually good, so I had another!

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In the distance, you could see the statue of Jesus, “Christ the King”, on a hillside, across the bay. Unfortunately I never made it over to the other side of the bay.

Christ the King statue
Christ the King statue

This was my preliminary walk to figure things out. Walking back, I ran across a large fire. The fireman were busy trying to get control of the blaze.

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As I stated earlier, June is a month of festivals and celebrations. I could hear a celebration going on for most of the night, well after 2:00 am with horns constantly honking in the distance, and fireworks exploding every few minutes. I scoured the internet to try to determine what the celebration was for, but didn’t find anything particular although I did keep running across the violent protests and riots that happened just a week or so before I got there. Glad I missed that!

Lisbon was a big town with lots of hills, so I decided to take the Hop-On Hop-Off City Bus Tour to get a lay of the land. I purchased the four-in-one tour so that I got both large routes covering each end of the city, the tram up through the castles and hills, and the Belem bus, which took a specialized route.

Riding the Bus down towards the bay
Riding the Bus down towards the Tagus River

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I had 48 hours to use the buses, starting at 11:25 am, to develop my strategic plan to see how much of Lisbon I could visit. The bus tours are good for this, but not great for taking pictures, unless you get off the bus. After the Belem tour, I walked down towards the shoreline through Jardim de Belem,

Jardin
Jardim de Belem
Fountain in Jardim de Belem
Fountain in Jardim de Belem
A little friend at the fountain in the Jardin de Belem
A little friend at the fountain in the Jardim de Belem
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise at Jardim de Belem

I got lucky and stumbled across the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.  That was fun to watch.

Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace
Changing of the guard at the Royal Palace

Next I headed for the Torre de Belem.

Torre de Belem
Torre de Belem

Following the shoreline, I passed this Replica of Fairey 17, the first plane to make the south Atlantic crossing.

Replica
Replica of Fairey 17

Continuing down the shoreline.

Old Belem lighthouse on Tagus River
Old Belem lighthouse on Tagus River

The Monument to the Discoveries, originally built in 1940 for the World Exhibition. It was designed to be a temporary structure, and was demolished in 1943.  In 1958, the government promoted the reconstruction of the monument, finishing in 1960 for the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death.

Monument of the Discoveries
Monument to the Discoveries

There was quite a view from the top of the monument.

Sailing on the Tagus River
Sailing on the Tagus River
Bridge over Targus River
The Ponte 25 de Abril “25th of April Bridge” crossing the Tagus River

 

Jardim CC with the CC Futbol Stadium in the background
Jardim de Belem with the Os Belenenses Stadium in the background
Christ the King statue on the Tagus River hillside
Christ the King statue on the Tagus River hillside

After 2 days of riding around, getting a horrible sunburn in one spot on my leg, I had my game plan. I used the last 2 ½ hours I had left on the buses to head up to Parque Eduardo VII. Once off the bus, I walked through the park with the plan of catching the bus at the top of the hillside where the bus looped back, taking it all the way out to the museums, and then walking back about six or more miles over the course of the day.

Beautiful old fountain in the park that was shut down and vandalized
Beautiful old fountain in Parque Eduardo VII that was shut down and vandalized with graffiti
Art Structure in the Park
Monument of the Carnation Revolution commemorates the 1974 Revolution that took place in Lisbon
A view of the park looking down from the Art
A view of Parque Eduardo VII looking down from the Monument of the Carnation Revolution

Of course I missed my bus, ran after another, missed that one, but did catch one out to the museum area right as my ticket expired.

Here I went to the Museu de Arqueologia and the Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem.

Museu de arqueologia lisboa
Museu de Arqueologia (Belem District) Lisbon, and Jerominos Monastery on the far end
Museu de Arqueologia courtyard
Museu de Arqueologia courtyard
Neomanueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama at Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem
Neomanueline tomb of navigator Vasco da Gama at Jeronimos Monastery Mosteiro dos Jerominos in Belem

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Walnuts from the 15th - 17th Century
Walnuts from the 15th – 17th Century

I had been told that while in the Belem district, you had to try the “Pasties de Belem” at 84 Rua Belem.

Very tasty!
Pasties de Belem – Very tasty!

There was a line out the door. I grabbed four of these delicious little treats for the road. The filling of the “cake” reminded me of Mart’s family custard, in a very crisp shell. Very tasty, and you were to add the final ingredients, powdered sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled on top.

After a few “Pasties de Belem”, I headed for the Jardim Botanico Tropical.

Jardim
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Fountain within the grounds of the Jardim Botanico Tropical
Fountain within the grounds of the Jardim Botanico Tropical

It was a nice garden, although there were a few spots in need of a manicure and haircut, but still a beautiful garden.

Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical
Jardim Botanico Tropical

Once again I head the call of a Peacock.

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I had never seen a white Peacock, but there she was with her chicks.

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From the Botanical Gardens I headed towards the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda.

Palace
Statues on the roof of the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda

The Palace is now a museum of decorative arts. I didn’t venture in.

Just off the palace grounds I ran across this small church bell tower.

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On my walk through the neighborhoods you would see some old homes/buildings with the tiles that go back to pre-earthquake time.

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Some were still lived in, and some were not.

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Some date back to the 15th Century.

An old cemetery I passed on my walk
An old cemetery I passed on my walk

I had missed seeing the Estrela Basilica (Royal Basilica) the day before as it was closed, so that was next of the stop.

As you see, it was hard to get a good picture with all of the cable/tram electric lines.

Estrela Basilica, Lisbon
Estrela Basilica, Lisbon
E
Inside the Estrela Basilica

Crossing the street I found another quaint little park, Jardim de Estrela, inaugurated in 1842.

Mother Goose
Mother Goose and company in Jardim de Estrela
Jardim
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela
Jardim de Estrela

Earlier that morning I had noticed what looked to be some type of greenhouse by the Parque Eduardo VII. I thought I would check it out. It was the Estufa Fria, or the Cold Greenhouse, inaugurated in 1933.

Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden
Lisbon & Estufa Fria Garden

I guess by know you can tell I like my parks, gardens, and plants.

Cutting back through the Parque Eduardo VII, there was a book festival going on. Let me tell you, books are alive and well in Portugal. There were at least one hundred tents or booths, and they all had books, and only books.

Book Festival in Parque Eduardo VII
Book Festival in Parque Eduardo VII

After walking through the park and the book festival, I headed down toward Avenida da Liberdade. In between the park and the start of the Avenida da Liberdade was the Monument to Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755.

Monument to the Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755,
Monument to the Marquis of Pombal

After the earthquake of 1755, the avenue was built and styled after the wide boulevards of Paris. It was named Passeio Publico (public street) which was far from the truth as there were massive gates at both ends back in the day.  At that time, it was a park for the rich.

Avenida da Liberdade
Avenida da Liberdade

The following day I bounced all around. Initially I was out towards the east end of town, the modern end of town.

Expo Tower from Lisbon Expo (98)
Expo Tower from Lisbon Expo (98)
MOE Arena
MOE Arena
Expo 98 commemorative sculpture
Expo 98 commemorative sculpture
Oriente Railway Station
Oriente Railway Station

The bridge in the background is the Vasco de Gama Bridge, and it is the longest bridge in Europe stretching over 17 km crossing the River Tagus.

Vasco de Gama Bridge
Vasco de Gama Bridge in the background

Up into the hills of Lisbon I headed to Igreja da Graca. Wikipedia indicates that the convent began construction in the late 1200’s, but other sources indicate differently. One thing for sure is that the building was severely damaged in the 1755 earthquake, and what you see know, is the reconstruction from the 18th century.

Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca
Igreja da Graca

There were great views from the hilltop of the Igreja da Graca.

View of Lisbon, the Tagus River, and the blank Bridge that looks similar to the Golden Gate Bridge
View of Lisbon, the Tagus River, and the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge that looks similar to the Golden Gate Bridge

Some of the many beautiful old tiled housing in Lisbon.  The picture doesn’t do them justice.

Pasted this on my way to the Sao Jorge Castle
Pasted this on my way to the Sao Jorge Castle

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From the hillside you can see Castelo de Saint George.

Sao Jorge Castle (Moorish Castle)
Sao Jorge Castle (Moorish Castle)

This is the entrance to Castelo de St. George. It wasn’t as easy to find as I thought it would be, nor was it the shortest trek to the entrance.

Entrance to Sao Jorge Castle
Entrance to Sao Jorge Castle

View from the courtyard.

São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle – 1824 Cannon

Castle grounds.

Sao Jorge Castle
Sao Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle

The first fortification was erected sometime around 48 BC as part of a Roman municipality.  Sometime around the 10th century, the Muslim forces rebuilt the fortification, Castelo de St. George. Lisbon was later freed of the Moorish rule by Afonso Henriques and the European knights, in the Seige of Lisbon in 1147, as part of the Second Crusade. The castle was later used as a fortified residence for the governor Afonso III in 1255 once Lisbon was the capital of the kingdom.

São Jorge Castle grounds
São Jorge Castle grounds
São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle
São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle

Once again, more peacocks! Gorgeous birds! First time I have caught them in the trees!

Hello Mr. Peacock!
Hello Mr. Peacock!

The archeology dig was a little disappointing. Everything was poorly marked, with most signs unreadable due to the sun. The handout indicated that there were 3 different discoveries: 1) Dates back to the 7th-3rd century B.C. This appeared to be a kitchen area due to the pots, pans, bowls, and jars.

Kitchen - Not a great view as I was looking down through a small opening
Kitchen – Not a great view as I was looking down through a small opening

2) Dates back to the 11th-12th century, the Moorish Quarter – two houses.

Moorish Quarters - 11th-12th Century (archeological dig within Castelo St. Jorge)
Moorish Quarters – 11th-12th Century (archeological dig within Castelo St. Jorge)

3) Dates back to the 15th-18th century – Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago.

Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago
Ruins of the ground floor of the Palacio dos Condes de Santiago

Walking the walls of Castelo de Saint George,

Castelo St Jorge
Castelo St Jorge

 

I got this pretty shot of the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia.

Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia
Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, and the Church of Santa Engracia
Ready set go - Stairs on the backside of Castle St. George
Ready set go – Stairs on the backside of Castle St. George
Plaza
View of Commerce Square from Castle St. George

Walking down from the castle, I headed down the tram track to Se Cathedral, the oldest church in Lisbon. Of course, impecible timing, closed.

Se Cathedral
Se Cathedral, Losbon

Last stop, the Santa Justa Lift or Carmo Lift. This is another great way to see the city.

View from Santa Justa Lift - St George Castle
View from Santa Justa Lift – St George Castle
View from Santa Justa Lift - Se Cathedral with Tagus River in background
View from Santa Justa Lift – Se Cathedral with Tagus River in background
View from Santa Justa Lift - R Square
View from Santa Justa Lift – Russio Square

The Santa Justa Lift brought me to a building I had been meaning to get to from day one in Lisbon, the Carmo Convent and Church. The convent was primarily destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. It is now the Carmo Archeological Museum.

Carmo Convent and Church
Carmo Convent and Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church
The Carmo Convent, ruins of the Gothic Church

I want to share a few pictures associated to the beautiful plazas (squares) I walked through each morning walking down to the old town area to get my day started.

Plaza de los Restauradores
Plaza de los Restauradores
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Praça do Rossio
Monument to the People's and Heroes of the Peninsular War
Monument to the People’s and Heroes of the Peninsular War

Lisbon was great! I enjoyed every minute of it.  Even with everything I saw, there was still plenty left to discover in Lisbon.

Next stop, Porto Portugal!

Malaga, Viva Las Vegas

Malaga has multiple aspects to it in that it wasn’t just a tourist town for the old town, ruins, and history. It had a big beach, and lots of hotels along the beach that were modern. That is where I got my title from, I was staying in the Las Vegas Hotel.

Malaga Beach across the street from where I was staying
Malaga Beach across the street from where I was staying

Malaga lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean, with Africa a little more than 100 km south, and the Strait of Gibraltar just about 100 km to the west. It is currently a town of over half a million.

Malaga
Malaga

Malaga’s city center could be called an “open museum” with archeological remains and monuments dating back over 2,800 years. Here you will find the ruins from the Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras.

Malaga
Malaga

A little tidbit, Malaga is also the birth place of Pablo Picasso, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, and Antonio Banderas.

As usual, I took the first day off. I swam 20 laps in the pool, and then headed over to the beach. There were few people there. I did get in, but it got deep quick, and the current and tide were pretty strong, so I didn’t stay in long.

Malaga Beach
Malaga Beach

The following day, I set out to explore the town. Walking in towards the old town, I came across another Bullring, so I ventured in. You were allowed to enter the stadium free of charge if you let them take your picture, so I did.

Plaza de La M
Plaza de Toros de La Malagueta

On my way out, the photo expert had cropped my picture nicely, as a matter of fact, too nice. I laughed, and bought it.

Torro! Viva Malaga
Toro! Viva Malaga

To get to the Castillo de Gibralfaro, you had quite a little hike up to the top of the hill.

Walkway up to Castillo de Gibralfaro
Walkway up to Castillo de Gibralfaro
Plaza below the walkway to Gibralfaro
Plaza below the walkway to Gibralfaro

This is a good picture of a model of the Castillo de Gibralfaro and the connection to the Alcazaba.

Model of the Castle of Gil and the Alaczaba
Model of the Castillo de Gibralfaro and the Alcazaba

There were great pictures from the walls of the Castillo de Gibralfaro.

View of Malaga and port from Castiloo de Gibralfaro
View of Malaga and port from Castillo de Gibralfaro

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The Castillo de Gibralfaro, including the lighthouse, was initial built around 929 AD, later expanded in the early part of the 14th century including a double wall down to the Alcazaba. The castle name comes from Arabic and Greek, meaning rock of the lighthouse (gebel-faro).

Walking the walls of Castillo de Gibralfaro
Walking the walls of Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Castillo de Gibralfaro

The trail down to the Alcazaba was above a lovely park.

View of the park below the trail to the Alcazaba
View of the park below the trail to the Alcazaba

The Alcazaba was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the early 11th century. It is the best-preserved Alcazaba (citadel) in Spain.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba
Alcazaba

A little friend looking for water on the grounds of the Alcazaba.

Skippy
Skippy
Rose garden at Alcazaba
Rose garden at Alcazaba

As I came out of Alcazaba the Teatro Romano was on my right.

Entrance to the Roman Theatre
Entrance to the Roman Theatre

This is the remnants of a Roman theater dating back to the 1st century BC. It is currently under restoration.

Roman Theatre dating back to 1st century BC
Roman Theatre dating back to 1st century BC
Roman Theatre
Roman Theatre

Walking through the town I ran across the Santa Iglesia Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria de la Encarnacion.

Basilica
Basilica

The Cathedral of Malaga, also known as Santa Iglesia Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria de la Encarnacion was built over a course of 254 years. The original plans included two towers but due to the lack of funds, only one tower was completed. This unfinished state has led to the Cathedral being called “La Manquita”, meaning in English, “The One-Armed Lady”.

Cathedral of Malaga
Cathedral of Malaga
Cathedral of Malaga
Cathedral of Malaga

I decided to swing up above the old town and go to the Museo Del Vidrio Y Cristal de Malaga. This was actually a group of gentlemen who purchased an old house and restored it 40 years ago, and started collecting glasswork. One thing lead to another, and they were following glasswork as far back as the Roman works, up to modern time.

Museo
Museo Del Vidrio Y Cristal de Malaga
Museo
Museo Del Vidrio Y Cristal de Malaga

The Paseo del Parque was another beautiful park stringing along the Alameda Principle Ave.

Park
Paseo del Parque
Park
Paseo del Parque
Park
Paseo del Parque

Exploring the city, I found the Museo Picasso Malaga. Just like the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, you couldn’t take any pictures. As previously noted, Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Malaga. This museum opened in 2003, and has 285 pieces donated by the Picasso family. While I do not have my own pictures, here are pictures from the internet on my favorites at the museum:

Picasso - The Acrobat
Picasso – The Female Acrobat
Picasso - Woman with Raised Hands
Picasso – Woman with Raised Arms
Susanna with the Elders
Susanna and the Elders
Picasso - Musketeer with a Sword
Picasso – Musketeer with a Sword

I enjoyed the Thyssen museum in Madrid so much, I thought I would check out their museum in Malaga. As it turned out, this was more about Spanish artist, so I didn’t really know any of them. One section of the museum didn’t allow photos, but here are a few pictures that I liked.

Picture-Juan Martinez Abades (1929) – Puerto Exterior y Abra de Bilboa and Punta Galea
Picture-Juan Martinez Abades (1929) – Puerto Exterior y Abra de Bilboa and Punta Galea
Picture-Guillermo Gomez Gil (1918) – Dusk Over the Coast of Malaga
Picture-Guillermo Gomez Gil (1918) – Dusk Over the Coast of Malaga
Picture-Dario de Regoyos y Valdes   (1905) – The Almond Tress in Blossom
Picture-Dario de Regoyos y Valdes (1905) – The Almond Tress in Blossom
Picture-Dario de Regoyos y Valdes   (1905) – The Almond Tress in Blossom
Picture-Antonio Munoz Degrain (1905-1910) – View of the Bay of Palma de Mallorca

After the art museums I stopped in at the Museo of Archeology. Here, they wouldn’t allow photos, which was a little unusual. I can tell you there were ruins of Phoenician walls from the 6th-7th B.C. There was a unique storage system uncovered, one where there was 6 very large vases buried in the ground with the tops sticking out of the floor, a process of using the ground for temperature control. This was the first time I had seen anything like this (saw this later in Pompeii). Very smart! This was from the 16th century. Last, but not least, there were remains from a 16th century fortress tower. Sorry, no pictures. I would have like to have provided some.

See you in Lisbon Portugal!

Granada, A Last Second Selection

I left Seville by train, only to arrive in Granada by bus. I didn’t realize that there was a bus transfer until one hour into the trip when the train steward came by and informed the group of Americans that I was sitting with, of the situation. No matter, the bus ride was just another adventure. As usual, when I arrived, I set out to figure how to get to my reservation without a Taxi, but that didn’t happen.

The region surrounding Granada has been populated since 5500 B.C. By the 1st century A.D., Granada was a Roman municipality called lliberri. Its current population is about 250,000, and lies in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Andalucia. As you will see later in the blog, the area had a great Moorish influence starting around 711 A.D.

Granada
Granada

My Airbnb selection was great. It was facing a small plaza, which was up against a small creek (Darro River), looking up at the Alcazaba within the Alhambra.

View of the Alcazaba from the Darro River
View of the Alcazaba from the Darro River

The Calle Chirimias isn’t listed as a plaza, but that is what I would call it. It was full of people enjoying food, drink, music, and an incredible view.

Calle Ch
Calle Chirimias

The medieval architecture of Alhambra dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Across the creek was a building that appeared to be an old hotel at the base of the Alcazaba. Below the hotel were windows in the wall leading down to the creek. This all grabbed my curiosity. I asked around, and was given the name Hotel Reuma. Looked like a great location, and what probably was a beautiful hotel. I researched the hotel and found that it was the Hotel Bosque de La Alhambra. It opened in May of 1910, right as tourism was starting up in Granada.

Hotel
Hotel Bosque de La Alhambra – Hotel Reuma

Unfortunately, it didn’t stay in business but for a few years due to the humidity in the rooms causing health issues, hence Hotel Reuma.

I walked back up the narrow road that the taxi had brought me earlier in the day, to see what night life might be occurring.

Basilica with Alcazaba in the background
Inglesia San Pedro y San Pablo with Alcazaba in the background
River Darro
River Darro

I came upon a familiar site at the first square, swing dancing. Everyone was having fun. Reminded of Austin and Lindsey, my oldest daughter.  It may not have been a full moon, but there were plenty of people kicking up their heels, howling at it, enjoying themselves.

Night-time in Granada
A Beautiful Night in Granada

Beautiful shot of Alcazaba lit up at night.

Alcazaba at night
Alcazaba at night

The following morning I headed up to the Alhambra, Alcazaba, and the Palace of Carlos Quinto. The hike to Alhambra was a nice little hike up the mountain.

Start of the hike to Alhambra and Alcazaba
La Puerta de las Granadas (The gate of the Pomegranates)Start of the trek to Alhambra and Alcazaba

As I got to the Alcazaba, I found out I had to walk around to the other side of the grounds to purchase a ticket. That was no small hike either.

The hike up to Alhambra and Alcazaba
The hike up to Alhambra and Alcazaba

Once there, it was the slowest line ever. It was relatively short in length comparison, but it took an hour, and in that time the tickets for the Palace sold out. When I finally did get to the ticket booth, I found out you couldn’t purchase tickets for future dates. Not cool! I went ahead and purchased a ticket for Alhambra and Alcazaba, with the plan to purchase a ticket to the palace the following morning.

Alhambra was developed as a walled town in the 11th century. It wasn’t until the 13th century that the Alhambra heyday began. At this time the royal residence was established on the grounds making the Alhambra a palace, citadel, and fortress.

Palacio de las Carlos
Palacio de las Carlos

I enjoyed walking through the grounds.

Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds

There were plenty of old ruins in the Alhambra.

Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins
Alhambra Grounds and Ruins

Loved the rose garden.

Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds
Alhambra Grounds

The Alcazaba was very fascinating.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Right up my alley!

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

I enjoy the old ruins.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

You can only imagine what they were once like.

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

I enjoyed walking the walls of the Alcazaba!

Alcazaba
Alcazaba

Great panoramic of Granada from the walls of Alcazaba.

View from the walls of the Alcazaba
View from the walls of the Alcazaba-Click to View

Here was the grand bathing area.

Bano - Bathing area
Bano – Bathing area

View of the old ruins within the Alcazaba from the top of the fortress walls.

Barrio Castrense - Military District
Barrio Castrense – Military District

This was the Torre de la Vela. It was one of many towers associated with Alcazaba.

Top of Torre de la
Top of Torre de la Vela

A couple of kids playing in the restricted zone.

A group of kittens playing in the Alhambra
A group of kittens playing in the Alhambra

Another great view, this one of the Nevada Sierras in the background.

Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Bridge over the Darro River
Bridge over the Darro River

Out in front of where I was staying were a number of places to eat. The seating was just about all outside, which was great. I found a excellent deal, a pizza and beer, 6 euros. After lunch I headed back towards the centre of the old town, stopping at the Granada Cathedral.

Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral
Granada Cathedral

After touring the Cathedral, I headed for the bus station across town to purchase my ticket to Malaga. My route lead me past the Basilica De San Juan De Dios. It had just closed for the day, but I would see it later in my trip.

Next I came across the Monasterio de San Jeronimo.

DSC01467

The church was the first in the world consecrated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Grounds of the Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Grounds of the Monasterio de San Jeronimo

.  

Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo
Monasterio de San Jeronimo

The Granada Central Bus Station excursion was an adventure in itself. I was told by the Tourist Information Office I could take the SN2 or the N4 bus. The N4 got me to the station, and I purchased a ticket. I hopped on the SN2 to go back, my bad. After about 30 minutes of going nowhere near where I wanted to go, I was talking to the driver. I was as far off course as I could get. I hopped off the SN2, and caught the LAC, which ended up back towards the Cathedral.

The next morning I headed down Calle Reyes Catolicos, past the Cathedral area, to an area I had not explored. I found a nice park or walking belt stretched out over many blocks running along the Carrera de la Virgin.

DSC01483

Along the way I found the Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias.  Another beautiful church.

Basilica
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de las Angustias

Continuing forward, I stopped at the Plaza del Humilladero, next to the Genil River, the main tributary of the River Guadalquivir, which I saw in Seville.

Fuente de las Granadas
Fuente de las Granadas

Working my way back I stopped at the Palacio de la Madraza. This was a pleasant surprise. The Palacio de la Madraza was originally an educational university. Over time with different groups in power, the building had been used for different functions, but in the end, it had come full circle.  Once again it is associated with education as it is part of the University of Granada.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza – ceiling

Take a look at the picture of the ceiling. This ceiling does not have any nails or bolts. It is all intertwined pieces of wood. Love it!

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza – Ceiling

This is the one room that stayed preserved over the years. At one point these walls were covered up to meet the needs of the Christian group in power, preserving the old and beautiful Moorish walls.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza

This was the drinking well back in the day.

Palacio de la Madraza
Palacio de la Madraza

Next I headed to the Palacio de los Olvidados. I hadn’t researched it, so it too was a total surprise. As it turned out, it was kind of a museum on the Jewish history in Spain. In the 1400’s they were forced to pack up and leave, leaving all worldly possessions behind, or convert to Christianism. It reminded me a tad of how the Cherokees were kicked out of Georgia (Trail of Tears), although the Cherokee Nation didn’t receive any options.

Artifacts dating back
Chess Set dating back to 1450
The
The Room of Inquisition

Walking down the mountain, through the back streets, there were tons of little shops, one after another.

Here is a good view of the narrow street I was staying on.

Granada along the Darro River
Granada along the Darro River

Bath house dating back to the Muslim Granada.

Bano
El Banuelo or Banos del Nogal

This is the remains of the Puente del Cadí (built in the 11th century) – an old Arab bridge which was knocked down in the middle of the 17th century.

Puente del Cadí
Puente del Cadí

After a quick break, I was on my way to the Basilica San Juan de Dios when I passed the Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo. It had been closed every time I pasted it. This time my, timing was right as it was open for one hour.

Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo
Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo

The Basilica San Juan de Dios was open this time when I got there.

Basilica
Basilica
Basilica San Juan de Dios
Basilica San Juan de Dios

One of many German Shepherds I have seen. They are a very popular dog in Spain.

DSC01549

I had one more stop, the Puerta de Elvira, once the gate to the Arabic Granada.

Puerta de Elvira
Puerta de Elvira

Lots of walking!

Well, it was that time again, time to keep moving on! Time to head on to Malaga.

Seville, Southern Spain Here I Come

Seville, a very beautiful town. Originally founded as a Roman city. Serves as the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region. Seville is well known for its Flamenco Dance, and is the site of Christopher Columbus’s tomb.

I was booked in an Airbnb outside the city centre, but it was right next to the metro, so all was good. I found myself a little tired, so my first evening was purely about logistics – where to go, routes, and transportation access.

One of my first stops is always to an Information Office to pick up a tourism map with sites numbered on it. This becomes my city map.

Walking down Av. de la Constitucion, I came upon the Seville Cathedral, the third largest church in the world, which opened in 1528. It was on my list to stop, but there was a long line, so I chose to catch it later.

Se Cathedral - Seville
Se Cathedral – Seville
Se Cathedral - Seville
Se Cathedral – Seville

As in all of the cities I had visited, there were many beautiful buildings throughout my walk.

Seville
Seville
Seville
Seville

I walked past the Plaza Nueva on my way to the Iglesia del Salvador or Church of the Savior.

Plaza Nueva
Plaza Nueva – Monument to King San Fernando

The Iglesia del Salvador was another gorgeous church! It is currently the second largest church in Seville.

Iglesia del Salvador
Iglesia del Salvador-Church Treasure-Processional Monstrance
Iglesia del Salvador
Iglesia del Salvador

I am finding that many of these churches are along plazas, or along thin corridors. In this instance, the covering for the restaurants made it hard to get a good picture. As you see, this is not in the Gothic style that so many of the churches I am visiting are.

Iglesia del Salvador
Iglesia del Salvador

The Metropol Parasol was a change of pace. This unique piece of art is all wood (except for the bases).

Met Parasol
Metropol Parasol

The building is approximately 85 feet tall, 490 feet in length, and 230 wide. Due to the cost and delays associated to building it, the locals call it Las Setas de la Encarnacion (Incarnación’s mushrooms).

Metropol Parasol
Metropol Parasol

Personally, I liked it.  You can go up to the top, for a charge, and see the sculpture. From there you have a great view of the city.

Metropol ParasolView from Metropol Parasol
Metropol ParasolView from Metropol Parasol-Click for Panoramic View

 

Metropol Parasol
View from the Metropol Parasol

There was an archeological center in one of the base towers, but it was closed.

Archeological Museum under the Metropol Parasol
Archeological Museum under the Metropol Parasol

I headed towards the Alamillo Bridge (Puente de Alamillo) and what appeared to be arches (Pabellon del Futuro-Pavillion of the Future) that I could see from the top of the Metropol Parasol.

Arches
Pabellon del Futuro from Expo’ 92

Along the way I stopped at the Basilica de La Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena).

Basilica de La Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena
Basilica de La Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena) – Look Mere, our Montero.
Basilica de La Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena)
Basilica de La Macarena (Our Lady of Hope Macarena)

Once again, my timing was off, but I just waited at a café across the street.

Seville
Seville

On my way to the Alamillo Bridge, I came across the Torre de los Perdigones (Tower of Pellets). The tower was once part of the old factory of “San Francisco de Paula”, “pellets Factory”.

Torre de los Perdigones (Tower of Pellets)
Torre de los Perdigones (Tower of Pellets)

I walked up as a man was coming out of the tower, switching the sign to Closed. I decided to stick around a little bit to see if he was just taking a break. I took a small siesta in the park by the tower.

Park
Park by the Torre de los Perdigones

For those of you in Austin that are familiar with the green parrots, well guess what, they are also here, and love the top of the local palm tree.

DSC01157

Next thing I knew, a large group of students, probably 30 or so, were entering the Torre de los Perdigones, so I waited for the crowd to leave. I headed over as they were leaving, but the man Closed the tower again. Oh well! Onward!

I made my way to a park near the arches where I had a clear view of the Alamillo Bridge.

Alamillo Bridge (Puente de Alamillo)
Alamillo Bridge (Puente de Alamillo)

Here I also found the La Barqueta Bridge which spans the Alfonso XII channel of the Guadalquivir River.

La Barqueta Bridge
La Barqueta Bridge

I always stumble upon little plazas that have these great trees. Every time I see one, I think of my girls. They would have loved to of climbed these trees.

DSC01169

There was a great river walk that I followed back towards the Puerta de Jerez (old door Jerez), once a gateway to the city of Seville, hence the name.

Riverwalk along the G
Riverwalk along the Guadalquivir River
Triana
Triana Bridge (Puente de Isabel II)

Before I got to the metro area, I stopped at the Bullring. I had completely forgotten about it.

Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Seville
Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Seville

I had seen many of the old Bullrings throughout my travels of Spain, but had not taken a tour of one yet, so I did this time. It was quite interesting. There were 5 gates if I recall correctly.

Inside the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Seville
Inside the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Seville – Click to see Panoramic View

You had a gate where the Picadors came out, another where the Matadors entered the ring, a gate for the Bulls,

Gate Where the Bulls Come Out
Gate Where the Bulls Come Out

a gate to the infirmary, and last but not least, the gate to haul off the dead bulls. This bullring, the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Seville dates back to 1761, and is still in use. Ferdinand VII, King of Spain twice, visited the bullfights frequently. The story goes that when he couldn’t make it, his painting was displayed in his box seat. (Hope I got my Kings right.)

Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
Ferdinand VII, King of Spain

There was a famous bullfighter, Jose Gomez Ortega, nickname, “Gallito”. Gallito was a professional at 14 years of age, and this was his suite at that age.

“Gallito”. Gallito was a professional at 14 years of age
Gallito Matador Suite at 14 years of age

With that said, he died at the age of 25, from a bull goring. Ouch!

Matadors Chapel
Matadors Chapel

The visit at the Bullring was educational. In all the years of bullfighting at this arena, some 254 years, only 2 bulls have had their lives spared or pardoned. That is a lot of bulls to die considering that there are roughly 6 bulls each fight.

The following day, I headed out to the Plaza de Espana. My walk took me past various sites. I pasted the Alfonso VIII Hotel walking to the Plaza de Espana.

statues plaza don juan de austria
Statues at the intersection of  Plaza Don Juan de Austria

I really enjoyed this unique plaza, Plaza de Espana. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

Plaza de Espana de Seville
Plaza de Espana de Seville used for Government Officials

It has been used in many movies: Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and The Dictator.

Plaza de Espana de Seville
Plaza de Espana de Seville

I tried to get a panoramic shot but I couldn’t go from tower to tower without it completing the picture.

Plaza de Espana de Seville
Plaza de Espana de Seville – Click for Panoramic View

Next stop was the Parque de Maria Luisa, Seville’s primary green area. Once the gardens of the Palace of San Telmo, donated to the city in 1893.

Parque de Maria Luisa
Parque de Maria Luisa

As usual, I enjoyed my walk in the park.

Parque de Maria Luisa
Parque de Maria Luisa

I stumbled upon the Archeological Museum of Seville

Archeological Museum of Seville
Archeological Museum of Seville

as I got to one end of the Parque de Maria Luisa. Another joyous venture into the past.

Archeological Museum of Seville
Archeological Museum of Seville-Mosaic piece in the background, and a statue of Mercury to the right

Many interesting artifacts inside.

Archeological Museum of Seville
Archeological Museum of Seville-Venus of Italica, and at her feet is a lovely opus sectile flooring

I enjoy viewing all the old artifacts from Roman days. It amazes me what they could do in that day and time, create, build, and produce.

This is just a copy of a picture they had displayed from a dig, but when you see this, you ask yourself what happened? Here are dished just stacked upon each other.

Archeological Museum of Seville
Archeological Museum of Seville (Copy of Picture)

The Mudejar Pavilion, now the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Seville was across the street. I loved the beauty of the building, but I didn’t have time to visit it.

Museum of Arts and Traditions of Seville
Museum of Arts and Traditions of Seville

There was a pretty plaza in between the two museums, the Plaza America Square, with lots of roses.

Plaza America Square
Plaza America Square

I continued my walk through the Parque de Maria Luisa

Parque de Maria Luisa
Parque de Maria Luisa

on my way to the Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville.

Parque de Maria Luisa
Parque de Maria Luisa

As fate would have it, I walked all the way around this massive fortress to find the entrance.

monument to Christopher Columbus – Lions Courtyard
Monument to Christopher Columbus – Lions Courtyard

Once there, I found it quite interesting, and very beautiful. To see things this old, and yet in this condition.

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

The grounds were quite magnificent!

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Grounds of Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

I ran across the biggest Bougainvillea plant I had ever seen. Loved it!

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Grounds of Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

I kept hearing what I thought was a Peacock, and sure enough, I ran into them, on the backside of the grounds. One was standing around making calls.

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Peacock at Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

And the other was strutting it stuff, showing its feathers.

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Peacock at Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

The grounds’ walls were quite massive.

Walls of the Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Walls of the Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

How about this for a bath area!

Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville

Coming out of the Alcazar I had a beautiful view of the Cathedral.

Se Cathedral of Seville
Se Cathedral of Seville
Alcazar of Seville, the Royal Palace of Seville
Se Cathedral of Seville

I went to go into the cathedral, but they were having communion. That was too bad, I am sure it was a gorgeous church inside. It is the largest Gothic church in Spain.

On my walk back I came across the Torre de Oro, and old military watch tower.

Torre de Oro
Torre de Oro

Once again, time flew by. I enjoyed my stay in Seville. My host in Seville was extremely nice, making my stay an exceptional one.

I had tried to catch a futbol game while here as the stadium was just down the street, but no luck. As I was walking to the train station, I had to get a picture of the Seville Futbol Stadium. Little did I know, but when I got to Malaga, Seville and Malaga would be playing for the league championship.

Seville Futbol Stadium
Seville Futbol Stadium

Santiago de Compostela, The Way

So far I had traveled by boat and by train, this trip I flew into Santiago de Compostela. Another gorgeous town with lots of history. I had trouble finding an Airbnb near the old town so I splurged on a hotel, the Capitol Boutique Hotel. It was a good choice.

Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso - You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue
Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso – You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue – “Sacred Peak” in the background

As I have stated in the past postings, each town is a new experience, and the first day is generally about finding my way around. From the airport I took the EA bus into the middle of the city, got off the bus and called the hotel for directions. Unfortunately they didn’t speak much English. One obstacle I have had this complete trip, is the lack of data/internet on my phone. Verizon was extremely expensive, and when I purchased a SIM Card for Europe with phone and data, the data/internet piece failed to work. Bummer! Anyway, I decided to wave down a taxi. I provided the address, which the driver looked at, he looked at me, said something, and we were off. A left turn around the square, a right turn at the corner, a right turn at the next street, and there in the middle of the block was my hotel. Now I know why the driver looked at me funny. What could I do?

Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela – Click for Panoramic

I was only scheduled to be in Santiago de Compostela for two days, so I needed to get exploring. My first stop was the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, believed to be the burial-place of Saint James the Great.

Basilica Santiago de Compostela - Side Entrance
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral – Side Entrance
Backside of Cathedral
Backside of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

The Camino de Santiago or The Way of Saint James is a pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela. The pilgrimage has many routes and distances.

Saint James the Great Shrine in the tower
Saint James the Great Shrine in the tower

As it would have it, there was major reconstruction of the main entrance while I was there, forcing me to enter one of the sides.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - Main Entrance under repair
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral – Main Entrance under repair

I knew about this “pilgrimage” prior to getting to Spain, and therefore wanted to come here for that reason. There is a good movie with Martin Sheen, called “The Way”. I recommend viewing this movie.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and the Botafumeiro
Inside Santiago de Compostella - View of alter and smoker
Inside Santiago de Compostella – View of alter and smoker

Butafumeiro means smoke expeller. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container. All day, and each day I was there, you would see hikers coming in from their pilgrimage.

Plaza de  by a side entry
Plaza de las Platerias – the fountain is the La Fuente de los Caballos – by a side entry to the Cathedral – look hard enough and you might see a hiker

When I was eating at the Café Casino, I talked to a man whose wife and friend were finishing up on their pilgrimage of 33 days, and were expected there in Santiago de Compostela in two days. He was planning to meet up with them about 10 miles out. I wished him the best!

Museo do Pobo Galego - Santiago de Compostela
Museo do Pobo Galego – Santiago de Compostela

To the side of the front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was a Hostel for travelers, although not your every day traveler. It is a 5 star Hostel and averages $200 Euros per night. As I said, not your normal hikers stop. I believe it was the place Martin Sheen and group stayed upon arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

Hostel
Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos

Outside the Cathedral you could hear the non-stop playing of bagpipes. I finally found this guy playing in kind of a corridor between plazas. The location helped to spread the music multiple directions. Over the course of the two days, I saw two other bagpipe players.  They just played and played! The music was great!

Bagpipe player #1
Bagpipe player

On my walk I ran across several other Iglesia or Churches.

Iglesia de Sn Francisco
Iglesia de San Francisco
Iglesia de San Martin
El Monasterio  de San Martin Pinario
Iglesia de San Frutuoso
Iglesia de San Frutuoso

A loop around the outskirts of town led me to Parque de la Alameda.

Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda

I enjoyed walking through this beautiful park.

Parque de la Alameda
Parque de la Alameda

I ran across an old church, closed and boarded up, on top of a hill, right next to a Ferris wheel. I didn’t know if the Ferris wheel and other rides found in the park were a passing event, or more permanent. In researching, I found a picture of the church and Ferris wheel from 2008, so I guess the carnival is a permanent site in Parque de la Alameda.

Iglesia de Susanna - with Ferris wheel
Iglesia de Santa Susanna – with Ferris wheel

The old church was called Iglesia de Santa Susanna .  She has seen better days. At the same time, there was a piece of artwork nearby that I never found any information on. As you can see, it is a rock, with a molded ghostly body imprinted.

Ghostly Artwork in Parque de la Alameda
Ghostly Artwork in Parque de la Alameda

I started looking for a hike as soon as I got there, stoping at the Tourist Information Office. A young lady overheard me discussing possibilities and gave a recommendation. My oldest daughter also sent me a possibility hike, so I was set. I headed out to go to “Sacred Peak” or Pico Sacro, outside the city limits of Santiago de Compostela, in the parish of Lestedo. This option soon disappeared as I walked to the central bus station only to find out I had just missed the bus to Lestedo, and the next bus was 2 hours away. Waiting didn’t leave much room for error for a return bus, so it was on to option B.

“Sacred Peak” or Pico Sacro, from Monte Predoso

Monte Predoso, or “Stony Mountain”, was a hike you could start from the Cathedral. I was told it was a 3 hour round trip hike. I followed the information provided by the tourist bureau, which led me to a dead end.  I was a little disappointed in markers and directions at times.  There was a creek nearby, and I felt adventurous, so I followed the creek. It was like a greenbelt.

Greenbelt along a creek
Greenbelt along a creek

The trail was peaceful, no other trekkers. I ran into this guy along my route.

Spanish Slug
Spanish Slug

Reminded me of the Banana Slug I saw while staying at the Jedediah Smith Campgrounds in the Redwoods State Park, just outside the Redwoods National Park. Possibly a cousin? Along the path I found wild strawberries. DSC01077 This path led me a couple of miles to a small town called Lermo.  I had to adjust my route, so I headed back to the left, down a road until I came to a small park, adjusting my route back to the right. I came across this beautiful little house and garden as I continued up the mountain.

Little White House w/garden on route to Monte Predoso
Little White House w/garden on route to Monte Predoso

Next I came to a large park on the side of the mountain. It may have been Parque de la Granxa do Xesto. It was a quaint little setting.

Frogs in harmony along this pond
Frogs in harmony at this creek bed

The frog choir was out in full force. I spotted this guy along the creek bed.

Ribbit!
Ribbit!  Ribbit!

A few other friends of the park!

Mr. Butterfly
Mr. Butterfly
Not sure what this was, but Mr. Frog probably would have liked him
“Beautiful Demoiselle”,  Mr. Frog probably would have liked him too

There were many beautiful and colorful flowers and bushes leading up to this park. (move to before)

KYellow Bush
Spartium Junceum, known as Spanish Broom
Purple bells
Digitalis Purpurea

At the top of the mountain, was a great view of Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso - You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue
Santiago de Compostela from Monte Predoso – You can see the Cathedral -Restoration wrapped in blue

The top of the hillside had this beautiful bush with yellow flowers. The bush reminded me of sage, yet it was prickly.

Spanish Gorse Bush (yellow)
Spanish Gorse Bush (yellow)

Coming down from Monte Predoso, I took a completely different route. It swung me around to the far side of the town. At one point I was hiking on a Camino de Santiago trail. Should have taken a picture of the marker! The trail lead me through some abandon areas.

This was on part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails
Part of one of the Camino de Santiago trails

Up and over hills, into the backside of Parque de Alameda.

Parque de Alameda
Parque de Alameda

It was a very nice hike. I believe it was supposed to be a 3 hour hike, and I turned it into a 5 hour hike. I enjoyed every minute of it. I highly recommend a visit to Santiago de Compostela. Nest stop, Seville, Spain.

Trey's Europe Adventures