Thursday, May 29, 2008

Adios San Sebastian! Hola Oviedo!

I am officially in Oviedo. We had a wonderful 2.5 weeks traveling around Spain and seeing some of my old haunts and finding some new ones. We spent the last few days in Basque Country and have enjoyed the Northern coast of Spain. We stayed in San Sebastian which is simply a beautiful city. I've posted three pictures from San Sebastian. The top one is of the beach, obviously. It is followed by two night shots. The picture to the right is the amazing Catedral de San Salvador de Oviedo - it is as beautiful during the day as it is by night. I live about a 100 yards from the Cathedral. :) It is nice to be back in Oviedo. I look forward to see friends from last year and make some more while exploring more of Asturias.

The Sands of San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian at night

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Burgos y Gormaz

The first time I went to Burgos was 2004. They were just finishingmajor cleaning and restoration and the exterior was the best it had looked in several centuries. The cathedral is still just as brilliant as it was four years ago. The Cid, one of my favorite Spanish historical figures, is buried in the cathedral. His tomb is in the floor under the main cupola. The view from his tomb is amazing! The Cid played an important role in the Reconquista against the Moors invasion. He freed Valencia and pretty much become a "king" in all but title. The Castle of Gormaz (not far from Burgos) was his at one point and is one of my favorite in the whole world. Burgos has another point of interest for me. The Camino de Santiago passes through Burgos and has been a major stop for centuries. I think Burgos is a must see for anyone traveling in Northern Spain.

This is the cupola in the center of the cathedral. Directly below this amazing ceiling is El Cid's tomb. I won't mind having a view like this for the rest of eternity.

Burgos - Ceiling, Chandelier and Glass in the Cathedral

A Bishop carved in stone sleeps in one of the many chapel in the Cathedral in Burgos

Bible from the 10th century!!! - Don't worry it's behind glass to protect it from people drooling over it :)

Cathedral's Choir Seats

Castillo de Gormaz - My favorite Spanish castle. Looks like a fairy tale, doesn't it? :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pamplona and Zaragoza

Pamplona's current claim to fame is the week long Festival of San Fermin or more commonly know in English as the Running of the Bulls. I've been to Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls and know what it is like. I've also been to Pamplona a couple times when it was not the Running of the Bulls and it is a completely different experience. I think there are good things and bad things about visiting Pamplona in the off season and the on season. This time around though I was there in May and it was quite, peaceful and layed back. I had time to enjoy the cafes without hordes of people, see the sites and take a few pictures. I was in the mood to try some black and white shots and I'm posting three of them. The first is a beautiful old bridge and the last two are of an enormous statue of the Running of the Bulls. Hope you enjoy.

Medieval Bridge that forms part of the Camino de Santiago (St. James' Way). Pilgrams have been crossing this bridge for over 7 centuries.

Pamplona - Home of the Running of the Bulls

Pamplona - Home of the Running of the Bulls

The city of Zaragoza was name for Cesar Augusto and still boasts some of the best preserved Roman ruins anywhere. The Romans may have started it all but many many other people have left their mark on Zaragoza... Romans, Visigoths, Moors, Aragonese, Spanish, Mudejar, etc. At the heart of the oldest part of town sit the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. According to tradition sometime after the crucifixion James was preaching the gospel in Spain when one night Mary visited him in a dream and gave him a statue of herself and a pilar. She told him that he should build a church and from that time to the present day there has been a church on the site of the current basilica.
Candles in the Basilica del Pilar in Zaragoza, Spain

Excellent example of Mudejar Architecture in Zaragoza Spain

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Barcelona has some very cool places and buildings. When I think of Barcelona two things come to mind: Gaudi and shopping on the Rambla and in the Markets. Although Gaudi designed and built many buildings outside of Barcelona he spent the last part of his life here and left some gems and some unfinished work as well. The Sagrada Familia was his final project. Its modernist style (sometimes called Art Nouveau) was very revolucionary and cutting edge back when it was started in the 1890's. It is the most visited construction site in the world. It has been fun to compare my picutres from 2004, 2007 and 2008 and see how the building is growing and changing. I've included a few pictures here of La Sagrada Familia. Interior of La Sagrada Familia, Bareclona

Inside La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona offers some fun shopping experiences. Whether you like fashion and clothes, books, food, antiques, flowers, pets or pirated media it has something for everyone. One of my favorite markets is El Mercado de Sant Josep, also know as La Boqueria. It is a food market the is worth a visit and a great place to get a quick healthy snack. Another favorite market is set up on weekend by the waterfront. It is more of a flea-market where you can find loads of interesting things. I, of course, love the book stalls. I talked with one book seller who soon found out that I'm interested in Cervantes and Don Quixote. He showed me an Art Nouveau copy of La Galatea (1585) which is a book Cervantes wrote 20 years before Don Quixote was published. I bought it and made a friend. :) Mercado de Sant Josep (La Boqueria)

Mercado de Sant Josep (La Boqueria)

Sugar Attack! - Candy in Barcelona

I really like this Bareclona picture. Even if it's hard figure out what it is... I think it is very interesting and has so much going on. If you like it and want to know more about it let me know and I'll explain it to you. :)


Sevilla is a big city with lots to see and do. It is the capitol of El Flamenco, home to the largest Gothic structure, home to the Spanish Monarchy, set for parts of Star Wars and loaded with architectonic and historical gems. Here are a view pictures. The one to the left is part of an arch in the Alcazar, which is the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain in Sevilla. The first picture below is on of the side naves in the cathedral and gives you an idea for the beauty and grace of the Gothic style. The remaining pictures are all taken in or around the royal palace.
Cathedral in Sevilla

Ceiling in the Royal Palace

Detail of tiles from the 16th century

Royal Palace - Note the Moorish and Mudejar style on the bottom part and the Renaissance style of the upper gallery (which was added during the time of Carlos V)

True Moorish or Islamic details often had words from the Koran craved into them, but here the detail is created by Christians and is missing the words but highly detailed in its design.

Royal Palace in Sevilla

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Amazing Granada! The Alhambra is one of my favorite places in all of Spain. It enchants, intrigues, impresses, excites, and inspires . . . oh and it photographs well! :) I love walking around the rooms and thinking about all the people who have call this place home. The list is actually quite long and varied: Charles V, Ferdinand and Isabel, Washington Irving, Gypsies and Moorish Princes. Reading Irving's 19th century description of his stay in the Alhambra makes me wonder what it would be like to actually stay over night in such a place. I think it would be a thrilling experience and maybe a little terrifying (at first). There is a Alhambra by moonlight tour that I'd like to try sometime... but maybe I'll just have to get a job as a night security guard at the Alhambra so I can stay over night. :) Either way, it ranks in Tim´s Top Ten places!
Alhambra - Granada Spain

Alhambra - Granada Spain

Alhambra - Granada Spain

The cathedral in Granada is simply amazing! The main cathedral is an early Spanish Renaissance structure and it is on a BIG scale. Attached to the cathedral is a chapel that is one of the last truly Gothic structures ever built. It houses the tombs of the Reyes Catolicos (Catholic Monarchs - Ferdinand and Isabel). The picture on the right is a close up of one of the hymn books en the cathedral (awesome!). The golden picture below is of Santiago (St. James) who is the patron saint of Spain and a figure that interests me. The final picture gives you an idea of how impressive the cathedral is, but as is the case with most sites you have to be there to fully appreciate the grandeur and power of the place.

Santiago (St. James)

Royal Cathedral - Granada

Monday, May 12, 2008


Valencia is a wonderful place for architecture. Here are a fewpictures to give you an idea. I'm hoping to update this postingwith some more pictures, but I just don't have time right now. :) Come back and look at this one in the next few days and I'll haveposted... If I have time... :) The first two pictures below are of the Palace de Dos Aguas. It was a noble family's house and it is incredible. The other pictures are of various churches in Valencia. Then there are pictures from the Aquarium and the Ciudad de las artes y ciencias. The last picture is of the window in my room taken while laying down on the bed. :)
Palacio de Dos Aguas

Palacio de Dos Aguas

Santa Catalona - Valencia

Cathedral - Valencia

Cathedral Valencia

City of Arts and Sciences

Aquarium in Valencia

My hostel room in Valencia


A short drive from Madrid is the extremely historic city of Segovia. The city dates back to Pre-Roman times when there was a Celtic settlement on the site. The Romans built the world famous aqueduct and it was used for over 2,000 years until the 1940’s. The Spaniards and Moors added to Segovia with a dozen churches and an amazing castle (El Alcazar). The cathedral in Segovia is huge! It replaced an older church in the 1500’s. I’ve added two cathedral pictures, one from about 1,000 meters away and one from about 2 meters away. :) Here are some pictures of the castle as well. It is a pretty famous castle and Disney use it (and other castles) for the inspiration for his castle. It is also in Camelot; it is where Lancelot saying the ´Tis I song.

Cathedral - Segovia

Cathedral - Segovia

Castle - Segovia

Castle - Segovia

Castle - Segovia

Castle - Segovia