Sunny Sevilla

September 21, 2017 Sevilla, Spain

6.5 miles (10.46 km) 

I’m behind in my blogging due to technical problems,  I actually arrived in Sevilla early in September 19. 

Today I got a late start, Last night I had been very tired from the sun (85F-95F) and exercise and my knee had given me some problems. So today I was going to take it easy and wear the knee brace.  I hope that I don’t get a weird tan line!

First things first, breakfast and then getting to the local bus.  It’s not far and I pass some interesting places.

Nutella filled donut after Cafe con leche and toast

Great restaurant where I had my first meal here

Town Hall of Castilleja de la Cuesta

Clock at bus station; what a late start!

1852 Isabella II Bridge going to Triana neighborhood

The same bridge and the Guadalquivir River

13th Century Torre de Oro; now a naval museum.

Selfie crossing the San Telmo bridge

Ok, now which way?

 

From here I hopped into the tour bus to save my feet (especially my heel that was healing) and my knee. Also it was getting hotter.  I was heading to the Plaza de España.

Getting hungry so I got off first at the Plaza del Duque stop in the Arenal area to get something to eat!

They serve much more than beer

A huge selection of cured meats and lots more

A kind and funny man took a picture of me and my tortilla

Interesting seating arrangement for a restaurant!

Then it was time for ice cream. I had the smallest one

Back on the bus to the Plaza de Espana


I took so many pictures at the Plaza de Espana!  I am including only a few.




Adjacent is María Luisa Park

This reminds me of one of the fountains in Granada

A look through the trees

Back on the bus and to Arenal area to eat. Only sweets available, darn!

Chocolate covered olives, or chocolates that look like olives?

A kind waiter took this picture!

Getting tired and Cinderella needs to go back!

 

A very full day!  Tomorrow a trip outside of Sevilla!

Good-Bye Catalunya!  

October 1, 2017 Frankfurt Flughafen, Germany

3.3 miles (5.31 km)

I’m actually writing this a day late due to wifi problems at the hotel last night.

On my last night in Spain I couldn’t get to sleep very early (it seems that 12am is the norm now) because there is as a lot of noise, bells rinknging, people on balconies hitting aluminum pans and oh yes, the drink trying to find his room.  I had hoped to get up early to go to the beach! 

When I woke up I found that it had rained!


When I went to breakfast I asked the man at the hotel what had happened, and was told that the Catalan people could vote now for independence from Spain!

This subject had been brewing even when I lived in Spain 30 years ago, and it had been part of the news daily during my month here. My time in Spain and Catalunya had ended though.  I needed to catch a flight to Frankfurt Germany.

So I checked out, and made my way to the Ocata train station which is in the R1 line.

Still raining as I leave the station!


From there I would go to the main train station Barcelona Sants and transfer to the R2 line to the airport.


I actually got in the wrong train at first, but quickly figured it out. Curiously enough while on this train and going through Barcelona i noticed some lines outside of buildings.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, people were lining up to vote!

I’d been looking for this store all month!


On the way to Frankfurt! To get there we would need to fly over the alps!

Soon we were there!  The flight was only 2 hours!


Now, I needed to find my hotel.  I’ve been to Frankfurt airport several times now, but it’s huge.  The bus station is in terminal 1 section C.


Finally in for the night!  Not the best hotel that I’ve been to in Frankfurt, but it’ll do for the night.  I was a bit concerned that the bus driver was talking to himself, but maybe he had on a headset that I couldn’t see?

Tomorrow, which is really today; I fly home!

Good Bye Galicia, Hello Andalucía!

September 18, 2017 Corcubion to Santiago de Compostela to Sevilla – by bus

Very much a transition, travel day! In hindsight I think that I would have taken the train to Sevilla instead of the bus. I think that I would have enjoyed it more.
I started out the day by getting my backpack ready and saying goodbye to Bernarda. We had our last breakfast and then coffee together and she made sure that I got on the right bus.


This time the bus took about 3 hours and hugged the Costa da Morte. Very scenic trip.


We basically kept to the coast from Corcubion south to Noia and then cut inland to the east to Santiago de Compostela. Here’s the bus station. I only had to wait about an hour.
Of course I had something to eat. This is kind of like coffee cake.


Soon I was on my way!

Now there was supposed to be wifi, but it wasn’t very good. Our bus was scheduled to leave Santiago at 4:10pm and arrive Sevilla 7:00am the next day.  
Here are some of the things that I saw:


We basically went south until about Ourense then went east to avoid Portugal until Verin, and then went to Salamanca and Mérida until eventually getting to Sevilla. There were people staying on the bus until Cadiz.

I’m still tired and a bit grumpy but have been working on my wash and will take a short nap and eat lunch!
More exploring later!

Barcelona Day 2 -Montjuic and Sagrada Familia 

September 30, 2017 El Masnou, Spain

5.1 miles (8.21 km)

My last full day in Barcelona and my last full day in Spain! 

My main reason for coming to Barcelona was to see the Sagrada Familia church.  There is so much though to do here though it would take several weeks to exhaust all of the options. I had some time in the morning so I decided to go to Montjuic Castle.  

On my way there I discovered that there was an Iron man competition going on and the bike section went by where I was catching my train!


I was able to catch the train into Clot Arago stop in Barcelona, then transfer to the metro and went all the way to the end of the purple line to the Paral-lel stop.  From there I took a funicular.  Unfortunately my 2 day pass didn’t cover the cable car, but it was fun finding bus number 150 and taking it to the top! Here are some pictures:

Lots of gardens on Montjuic Hill.  It’d be fun to explore sometime!

A very hazy day, if you look carefully you can see Sagrada Familia



Montjuic Castle (a military fortress) was built around 1640 and is on one of the highest hills in the area (Montjuic Hill) and overlooks the harbor.


It was getting late, I was hungry too so I took a couple of pictures and then hopped back on the funicular and this time to the Sagrada Familia stop.

That’s one of the cable cars with Sagrada Familia in the background

I made it with some time for lunch too!


The following are some of many pictures that I took. Sagrada Familia had its dedication ceremony several years ago; but won’t be completely finished until 2026.  

This picture shows the different types of stone used for the columns



Statue of Joseph over one door


Statue of Mary over another door



Again, my pictures don’t do it justice.  Lots more to say on this subject.

By this time, I was tired and it was starting to rain.  Well, sprinkle really.  I got back in the metro, came back to El Masnou and decided to have dinner.  I had a Sobrasada bocadillo, something that I hadn’t had in 30 years, and of course dessert!


Tomorrow I’ll be traveling again.  Tonight is my last night in Spain!

Barcelona!  Wow!

September 29, 2017 El Masnou, Spain

7.7 miles (12.39 km)

When I was planning this trip I wanted to have some Camino walking, but also the opportunity to see some places that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see.  

So I walked part of the Camino Ingles and I’ve walked part of the Camino Finisterre.  Some unfinished business that I’ll have to take care of eventually.

I really wanted to see Sevilla and Córdoba.  Also I wanted to see Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona.  

30 years ago I lived in Girona, which is a bit north if here.  I don’t know what I was thinking, I went to most of the beach towns on the Costa Brava, but only went twice to Barcelona and never visited this church.

Upper right hand corner of the map. The Costa Brava is the area from Girona to the french border


So here are some of the things that I saw today!

First I needed to get from my hotel in El Nasnou to Barcelona.

People hanging the Catalan flag from their balconies

I can see the beach on the other side of the station!

The train station where I got off; there’s also a metro connection there too

This was my train

A “breadcrumb” to help me remember how to get back

Churros!

Some great looking desserts

Cured ham is a big thing here.

A pedestrian only walk Way

Lots of fruit stores here

A good example of one of the pavement design here.


At last!  Sagrada Familia!


However………SOLD OUT!!!

I never dreamt that this was a possibility! Fortunately there were tickets for tomorrow afternoon. I bought one and the audio guide. I really like these guides since they give so much really good information.

So…….what now?  I basically wandered around the city!  I also got a 2 Day Barcelona card which helps with discounts and pays for public transportation. Here are some of the things that I saw:

Bike share is everywhere!

I was hungry! Cuban rice and some sort of albóndigas.

Pretty big stitches!

Definitely not MY hotel!


I finally got to the Plaza de Cataluña!


I’m not sure why this kid was sitting amongst the pigeons but…….


Barcelona Cathedral


By this time I was tired so decided to pop into……


I’d seen a couple of these in Sevilla also; in addition I’d seen several fast food places, but had avoided them. This was ok, I didn’t order my normal drink though. 😉😇😉😇 (those who have had coffee with me will understand the joke).


By this time I was getting tired and my legs and feet were complaining.  I’d been walking for awhile with the only long stop at lunch and then for coffee.  


So, I used my pass (see above) and jumped on a bus.  This took me down to the harbor to a place called Barceloneta.

Kind of an interesting place that caters to tourists a lot.  But the water looks so great!  I have to go to the beach!

Too tired tonight!  Let’s see what happens tomorrow.  Time to make the trip back to the hotel before dark!

Not a great picture; but this is the Metro map.  There are lots of signs too so I think that I have it figured out!

Good night!  Tomorrow, my last full day in Barcelona!

Travel Day -Córdoba to Barcelona

September 28, 2017 El Masnou, Spain 

3.4 miles (5.47km) I was on the train most of the day!

I always get a little bit sad leaving someplace that I’ve been visiting.  Córdoba turned out better than I thought once I got out of the tourist area.

Here are a few pictures from my walk to the train station.

Puerta de Sevilla – I went in the wrong direction


A veterinary school not too far from the station

I love arbors!


I was scared that I would be late, but my train leaves at 9:50am





Some pictures that I took during the 10 hour trip.  The window was kind of dirty.  Here’s a map of Spain:


So we went from Córdoba (towards the bottom north of Malaga and Granada) through Albacete to Valencia.  From there we followed the Coast up to Barcelona.

I think that’s a church on the hill

That’s my first view of the Mediterranean in about 30 years!


Made it! I found out that I could show my train ticket at the ticket window and get a free local pass!  So I was able to get a pass for the R1 when heads towards Blanes. 

I got off at the El Mansou stop, but found out that the next one, Ocata station was better.  Not what I wanted to hear at 9pm in the dark!

Glad that I was dressed when I took this picture!


Well, I’m here.  Not my favorite room so far, but it’ll do for a couple of days!  Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I’m close to the beach!

More adventures tomorrow!

Córdoba- One Day and Three Religions

September 27, 2017 Córdoba, Spain

5 Miles (8 km)

My hotel is very close to the Mezquita which I visited today. 


It’s an interesting location.  From about 8pm to 10pm there’s Flamenco music and by 11pm it’s mostly quiet.  In the morning the area wakens again by about 7:30am so that the local restaurants can be open for breakfast.  Here are the views from my window:

To my right

To my left


Straight below


Hotel Gonzalez is located in what’s called the “Judería” or the Jewish section (there was a large Jewish population here until about 1492). So the streets are narrow. Here’s a map:


You can tell by all the numbers on the map that there are a lot of things to see; mostly historical.  The hotel is very close to number 63. 

Today I visited number 1. The Mezquita which translates to Mosque. It is also known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba or Santa María Madre de Dios, but it’s official name is Catedral de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora.  

It began as a Christian church (Visigoth Basílica of San Vincent mid-6th Century) was rebuilt into a Mosque (786-788) and then rebuilt again into a Catholic Cathedral (dedicated 1146 and again in 1236). It never closes for the day and has Catholic worship services daily.

Here is the outside and you can already see the different styles by looking at the tower. I didn’t go up the tower (still nursing my knee).


Too many pictures to include, but I’ll put a few in to give you the idea.


This is from the 6th century visigothic church





My pictures don’t do justice to this historic location.

From there I went back to the hotel. I had bought a book at the Corte Inglés (department store) in Sevilla but its in Portuguese!  So I decided to see if the Córdoba branch could help me out! So now I was walking out of the Juderia to downtown Córdoba!



A stall in the open air market with dried fruits. I got grapefruit and ginger!



I didn’t have any luck at the Corte Inglés, but I found a food court on the way back and had lunch.  I forgot to take a picture of it.  Lo siento hermano!

I didn’t have any, but it sure looked good!

This was at a stand that sold tortillas



This interested me because of the director Pedro Almodóvar


Puerta de Almodóvar

Jewish Synagogue built in 1315 and the only preserved one in Andalusia


The entrance to an area where arts and crafts are sold



I made it back to the hotel.  My last night here and tomorrow I go to Barcelona by train.  A long trip (no I’m not taking the fast train Stuart), so I won’t get there until late! That means I have to pack tonight. 

Adiós Andalucía!  I visited 3 towns on this trip: Sevilla, Niebla and Córdoba.  A long time ago I went to Granada.  When will we see each other again?

Córdoba 

September 26, 2017. Córdoba, Spain 

4.7 miles (7.56 km)

I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t get into this town.  Maybe it’s because I was just in Sevilla, or maybe it’s because I’m hot and tired.  I just don’t have the enthusiasm that I’d like to have right now. 

I woke up this morning a bit worried about my end of trip travel plans and spent the cool part of the day working on that.

I eventually got out of the hotel and went to visit the Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos.  In English, the Palace of the Christian Kings.  


The picture below provides some information of its history.  Constructed in the 1300’s it served as a royal palace, also a home for the Inquisition, a jail, and most recently a place to show local Roman mosaics.

At the entrance

Román Sarcophagus 3rd Century



It also has some lovely gardens, though I admit that I liked the ones in Sevilla better!

My mom will be jealous of the allysum which grows quite well here


I hadn’t really eaten very well in the last few days so I stopped for lunch after the visit to the Alcázar.

Pisto con huevo – veggies sautéed in tomato with a fried egg

Beef cooked in tomato with french fries

Natilla -basically pudding!


Being still pretty tired, I went back to the hotel to take a nap.  After a bit I decided to go back to the Roman bridge that I’d crossed yesterday and visit the Torre de la Calahorra.


This tower was built in the late 12th Century to protect the Roman bridge. It is currently a museum which celebrates the history and culture of Al-Andalus between the 700’s and the 1200’s.

A mockup of what I’ll see tomorrow

A view from the top of the tower at the Roman bridge with the Mezquita in the distance

Surgical tools used in that era



Time to get back before I turn into a 🎃 

The day turned out pretty good after all!

The Real Alcázar of Sevilla in 6 Hours

September 23, 2017 Sevilla, Spain

6.2 miles (10 km, close enough)

Today I totally intended to get up early, take the bus into Sevilla (I’m staying in a town close by) and see both the Cathedral and the Alcázar.  I sort of did what I set out to do.

I woke up at 7am and decided to have breakfast at the hotel and by 8:30am I was at the bus stop.  However the bus came at 9:15am since its Saturday.  I guess that I better look at the schedule for tomorrow!

My bus takes me in about 15 minutes directly to the bus station. The Plaza de Armas.


From there my phone says it takes 17 minutes to get to the Alcázar and the Cathedral is right before it. Looking at the map I go from the lower left to the upper right of this picture.  The good thing is that my heel is practically healed and my right knee is in a brace.  So I do pretty well (at least for several hours).


No problem!  I first got to the Cathedral and realized that Mass was going on and that I was dressed inappropriately anyway (no sleeves).  So after a very brief look I moved on to find a ticket for the Alcázar, which would open soon.

The other day the line was horrible, but today, early, it was manageable.


Here are the hours:


So, what is the Alcázar?  It’s basically a Royal palace that’s been around awhile and whose structure and gardens have been influenced by many different eras in Spanish history.  I ended up paying an entry fee, for an auditory tour and a book.   The title of the book is interesting:


Right below the title it says “More than a thousand years of art and architecture.” Wow!

This royal palace went through Almohad, Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Romantic eras from about the 8th century to the present.  The Spanish Royal family stay here when they are in town (I did not pay the additional fee to look).

That’s why I ended up spending 6 hours here.  So much history and so many things to see.  I’m tired now so will NOT be providing more specific info, but I will show you some of the many pictures that I took.








There are a lot more pictures.  I spent a lot of time in the immense garden.  I have a lots of pictures for this too.  Here is a map of the whole complex from the brochure. The green is the garden.





I looked at my entry ticket and it said 10:30am and it was now 4:30pm.  I’d only had some cookies since breakfast and I was hungry, thirsty, hot and tired.  I’d seen about as much as I could.  

So I checked out and went to the closest place to eat.  Then I took a leisurely stroll back to the bus station.  I wanted some ice cream, but surprisingly didn’t walk by any as I headed back.

On the bus I met a couple from Australia.  Colin and Janice.  They just got to Sevilla and had been to Córdoba.  That’s where I go on Monday!

I multi-tasked when I got to my room by washing clothes, updating computer stuff, going through my pictures, straightening out my brochures, showering and eating!  Oh yeah, I was still hungry so I picked this up at the store to eat in my room.

Ham and cheese empanada


Well it’s late and I have to get to bed! Good night!🌙😴💤 

By the way, I’m wondering if anyone will ask me about the peacock!

Niebla – My Ancestral Home?

September 22, 2017 Sevilla, Spain

4.5 miles (7.24 km)

About half a lifetime ago I started doing genealogy with my mom.  Recently we have been updating information about her fathers family.  The Nieblas family.  

We know quite a bit about the descendants of her paternal grandparents; they are scattered all across the United States.  Next July we’re hoping to have a reunion.  The first big one in about 30 years.  

So part of my reason for coming to Andalucía (southern Spain) was to come to this town. We don’t really know if there’s any tie to our family, but it’s fun considering the possibility.

Here’s a map of Spain:


If you look in the bottom left corner you’ll find Seville and Huelva.  Almost at the border to Portugal.


Niebla is not on this map, but is right in between Sevilla and Huelva.  About 55km to the west of Sevilla (34.18 miles) and 25 km (15.53 miles) to the east of Huelva.  In a bus it takes about an hour and a half, but by car about 30 minutes from Sevilla.

So it took me awhile to get going this morning.  I had a late breakfast at the hotel and then headed to catch my bus.  No picture of the clock today, but I got tickets for the 11am bus with plenty of time to spare.

After we got out of the city it looked like I’d been transported to Eastetn Washington or Eastern Oregon.  Everything very dry.  


I had to change buses one time, but finally we  arrived after crossing the Rio Tinto on a Roman era bridge.  I took this picture from the castle.


Here’s what’s in the pamphlet that I got. 


The city was bigger than what I had thought.  Also it was very hot outside.  So I went and had a Kas Orange.  I don’t know why I like this in Spain, but never drink or in the U.S.


Here are the pictures of the castle.  It’s apparently been through a lot, including an earthquake, but they are trying to show how it was in the Middle Ages. It was home to Visigoths, Arabs and Christians.

First,  a picture of me with the Niebla Crest:




Here are some of what they show about life in the Middle Ages. There was a torture chamber too with implements used at that time, but I decided to pass on that.:







There are a few churchesin Niebla, but the one that I was able to see was that of St. Martin; it’s from the 15th Century and is of Gothic/Mudejar style. I wasn’t able to go inside, but they had a small chapel open.






I had to take a closeup of the mantel.  It looks like something that my Mom or Aunt Alice made.




I tend to think of the walk and Castle as one thing, but my pamphlet says that the wall is of Almohade origin and extends for about 2 km (1.24 miles) and has 6 doors (openings) named: Buey, Sevilla, Socorro, Agua, Agujero and Embarcadero. Here are some of them:


It was so hot that I decided to quit walking around and see when the next bus was leaving.  Fortunately my timing was great and I got back to Sevilla really hungry.  Here is what I ate:



Then a quick was to the Arenal area for ice cream and then back to my “home.”

Tomorrow I hope to see the Cathedral and the Alcázar. Maybe I’ll take a boat ride too!