We last left off in Toledo in our Iberian adventure. Hard to believe this trip was a year ago. We left Toledo via train, heading back to Madrid to make another train to Seville. Arriving in Seville, we caught a cab to our home for the next few nights, the Hotel Amadeus. Situated right in the heart of the old city, it is quite stunning. We spent 3 wonderful days and nights here, with a few side trips. We tend to do B&B’s when we travel, but they seemed to be in short supply here, ergo a hotel. No regrets on this one.
Not surprisingly, Seville has both a major cathedral and a Moorish Alcazar. First the cathedral, an awe-inspiring structure that is known for the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, constructed in the years between 1402 and 1506, is a recommended spot. Not the oldest cathedral we’ve been in, but one of the most impressive. It is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site (stroke this one off the list). Let’s let the pictures do the talking from here.
The size and majesty of this building can be understood just a bit by this perspective shot. This is only a small section of the cathedral.
We climbed to the top of the tower, which gives some spectacular views of a great city.
Close by, and making up part of a magnificent monument centred old part of the city is the Alcazar. Of Moorish construction dating back to the 10th century, it consists of a former residence and some beautiful gardens and grounds.
The city is filled with excellent restaurants and Tapas places. A few recommendations? Really just one, La Taberna Poncio is our favourite. If we had discovered this place on the first night, we never would have tried anywhere else. The food was great, the service spectacular. A thoroughly enjoyable experience. After this, every else was just good and kind of touristy. Poncio was basically locals and very Spanish. There was a bit of a language issue, which again spoke to the atmosphere. Highly recommended by Lori and I. A few photos from places we sat down at. Hard to find a place without a great setting.
We decided to stay an extra day here, but could not stay at the Amadeus, meaning we had to find alternative lodging. This leads to a bit of advice. DO NOT STAY at the Hotel Alcazar. Supposedly a 3 star, more like a 2 star. Not as advertised, but any port in a storm.
We leave you with a video that I posted once before. I call it the Skaters of Seville. Canadians have an interest in skating, a genetic thing, and love to do and watch it, on wheels or blades. We had some fun watching these people. Maybe there is hope for Spanish Ice Hockey??
This week we have The Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern. We have seen a lot of patterns in our travels, clouds, lights, architecture, but, to date, we have seen nothing more interesting than the Mezquita de Córdoba in Cordoba, Spain. A unique structure that melds a mosque, converted to a cathedral. Originally started as a church, it was converted to a mosque after the Moors conquered this part of Spain. It was largely rebuilt and then, when the area was retaken by the Spanish, it was again converted to a church. A very interesting background and a stunning combination of various architecture.
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After Lisbon, we headed for Toledo. We flew Lisbon to Madrid, caught a cab at the airport to head to the train station and then a high-speed train to Toledo. A trains, planes and automobile kind of day.
The highlights, the longest (and easiest) walk up a mountain, the greatest Sangria ever and an introduction to Spanish cathedrals.
They do train stations right here.
It seems they know how to do hotels as well. Hostal Del Cardenal
We had lunch at a little place called La Boveda and experienced the best sangria ever. The recipe includes, Gin, Cognac, Martini & Rossi, sugar, red wine, lemon juice, portion to taste, wow. Lunch was good to, but it tasted better after each pull on the sangria.
To reach the town from the hotel, we had to scale a mighty mountain. It was tough as we had to walk from the top of one escalator to the bottom of the next one. Exhausting.
And of course, the cathedral.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here.
On our arrival in Lisbon. Portugal, we were saddened to be informed that my cousin Lynn’s husband Dale had succumbed to cancer.
Keeping in mind that we are not Catholic, and neither are Dale and Lynn, we decided on a proper tribute (we think) in that we were in Spain and Portugal, both of which have a multitude of beautiful cathedrals. We decided we would light a candle in remembrance in each cathedral we visited.
Our first candle on this part of the trip was lit in Funchal, the capital of the Madeira Islands. The church is The Church Of our Lady of Monte.
Our next opportunity was in Barcelona. We actually visited 2 churches here and lit a candle in each. The first was the iconic Sagrada Familia. This first shot is of the interior.
This is one of the exterior.
Our next stop was Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, or the Barcelona Cathedral. Another amazing structure.
Our next visit was Montserrat, a hillside monastery. We visited 2 churches here. the first was a chapel that we had to first take a cable car and then walk a couple of miles along the mountain to get to. The Capella de la Santa cova.
People left articles here in remembrance as well as candles. We left these seashells on a bench. Please look for them if you are ever there.
Our last stop was the Santa Maria de Montserrat, the main basilica.
This was the last candle that we lit. We will miss you Dale.
Couldn’t find anything truly representative of the season, so I chose this. The Magic Fountain in Barcelona. Very cool. A must see thing in Barcelona, Spain…and festive all the time. To set this up, we got off the train from a day trip to Montserrat and came up to the Plaza de España. We knew we were close to the fountain, and sure enough, bigger than life was the fountain. Spectacular. The fountain runs in 30 minute computerized sequences. On this occasion, we were fortunate enough to be here during a Jazz Festival, so the program was all jazz.
Dean and Laynni say hi from Burgos, Spain. They did Spain in a bit different way, on foot. Check it out.
Vacation time is over, time to get back into the blog habit. We had a great time and I look forward to sharing this recent adventure in Spain and Portugal. We made some new friends, caught up with some old ones and saw lots of great things.
I missed a lot I’m sure, and really have no hope on catching up on everyone, so it will almost be like being a blog virgin again.
Just a quick update for you all. Arrived in Barcelona yesterday evening after a week of little Internet access. Spent a beautiful week in Seville then cruised to Madeira islands then to the Canary Islands. I can hardly wait to get home and put fingers to keyboard. This is a photo of the bull ring in Malaga, Spain.