Monday, July 23, 2007

Ronda - a beautiful town.

Ronda was a great place to stop - Its a beautiful old trading town, surrounded by picturesque countryside (and many horses including the white ones like at El Cabalo Blanco - for those Sydneysiders who remember that place) . It is famous for its bridge linking a major gorge (im in the picture above with the bridge in the background, and its the birthplace of bull fighting in Spain. There are also ruins of Moorish(Arabic) baths from when this was part of the Moorish Empire.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More pics of Tarifa

Some more pics - in pic 4 you can see the very choppy sea from all the wind and Africa to the South - only a 35min fast ferry ride away
Posted by Picasa

So how did I survive ??

Well I found(along with my friend Carmella from the US) a great tiny surfie town called Tarifa - I think many people emphasise the "rifa" here. (The smell of it filled one of the bars we visited )..

We sampled the fresh local seafood - had amazing tex mex food and enjoyed one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. (its such a treat seeing the sun set in the western ocean horizon when you come from East Coast of Australia)

The only down side here is it is one of the world's windiest cities - so much so it is home to "kitesurfing" and windsurfing sports most of the year. Its a cute seaside town with an old city wall - not sure if that was built to protect from invaders or to just keep the wind and sand out. So my trip to the beach was spent nestled in a tiny protected cove.

Posted by Picasa

Algeciras - my low point of the trip so far

Im going to get the grumbling over and done with - I couldnt bring myself to take photos of Algeciras - a dirty noisy port town. It's only plus is that its a transport hub for day trips. Above is a map showing you the location at the very southern tip of Spain. I did not enjoy this part of my trip.

On my second day i thought I should go to Gibraltar. Trinny and Susannah need to visit Gibraltar and make over not just the tourists but the city itself. It is really run down. The only thing I did find amusing in Gibraltar is that one of the main streets is named after Winston Churchill - appropriate I thought.
Posted by Picasa

Seville's cathedral - something for my religious friends

This has to be one of the most decadent churches I have visited. It was previously a mosque which after the reconquest was turned into a cathedral. It is huge and very ornate. Elements of both islamic and christian cultures remain today.

At first it is very confusing to see such a combination in existence. My first two pictures show the cathedral inside and out, and the second two show elements of the mosque still present today.

It is also the site of Christopher Columbus's tomb.
Posted by Picasa

Seville by night..

Just when it finally starts to cool down - is when the Seville comes alive with people. So whether its a stroll past the old buildings, doing some shopping, going to a tapas bar, watching flamenco, celebrating at a local festival or drinking in the street - Seville is a great location.

Linda and I (the other aussie in our group) found the Australian tent at the festival of nations - but I have to confess that drinking at the Brazilian tent was the most fun ) .

Later in the evening I think I found one of the worlds oldest drag queens at a local bar - isbillya.
Posted by Picasa

The Real Alcazar

This had to be my favorite part of Seville. The Real Alcazar is essentially a fortified Palace. It is amazing as it has Moorish, Gothic and Christian influences. The highlight for me were the amazing gardens. I want gardens like that - how will I find a backyard big enough...

Posted by Picasa

Beautiful (and very hot) Seville..

Well Seville is an amazing city - these pictures don't do it justice. Set on a river and its covergence of Spanish and Moorish cultures Seville is a must see destination.

We had a great hotel in the old jewish quarter - importantly close to the many tapas bars that dominate eating out in Seville.

In Summertime it is very hot - each day was at least 40 degrees C - and a very dry heat.

It is the major port that Christopher Columbus departed from and returned to fom the Americas.

Posted by Picasa

Heading south from Madrid - Man of La mancha country

Its true - they really do have those windmills - and lots and lots of olives growing - Spain's centre is so very dry - so very much like most of Australia.
Also along highways there are big cut out shapes of bulls, guitars and other things Spanish - why im not sure - but no advertising is a welcome change to the usual drive along any highway.
We went by bus to Seville - a long trip of about 6 hours all up.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Holy Toledo !!!!

No, Im not re-living watching batman - but Toledo with all its churches of various faiths - is very Holy ! I was also expecting the three (sword bearing) musketeers to emerge at any point(or was that wishful thinking) from the narrow streets.

The interesting aspect is that Toledo has a fusion of christian, muslim and gothic styles making for a charming old city.
Posted by Picasa