Spain and Morocco on my solo Rick Steves tour

Spain and Morocco on my solo Rick Steves tour

Spain truly has it all…history, art, culture, gorgeous terrain and the passion of the Spanish language and its people. I connected with each of this country’s cities and towns. I feel this country’s history is also a part of my Spanish and American history.

This was my second Rick Steves Tour. My first was a week in Paris, from the day after Christmas until New Year 2010, with my good friend Debra Hall. But this trip I did it on my own. This tour itinerary, “Best of Spain with Morocco in 16 Days” had everything I wanted. Plus, I like The Rick Steves approach to traveling…pack light, small groups, and have an open mind. When I took my first trip, which was also my first solo trip, to Europe in 2006 to celebrate my 50th birthday, I relied heavily on my Rick Steves tour books to plan where I was going to travel to and what I would do once I got there. His guides made my solo trip remarkable.

Since I live and work in Washington, D.C., taking this time off to travel was essential. I left D.C. on May 27, 2010 and finally arrived in Barcelona on May 28 with the tour starting on May 29 in Barcelona and ending June 13 in Seville.

Speaking my broken Spanish brought me back to my childhood days in New York of listening to my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother speaking to me in Spanish. I was frustrated when I couldn’t respond to the locals or didn’t understand because in my heart, I wanted to speak and understand better. I found the Spaniards kind, passionate, animated and wonderful lovers of living.

From my first day in Barcelona, until those last precious moments in Seville, Spain’s blend of Roman history, with Muslim and Christian religions, brought together an intriguing and diverse history that makes Spain bold and beautiful.

For more than 700 years (711-1492), Spain’s dominant culture was Muslim, not Christian. And after a brief Golden Age financed by New World gold (1500-1600), Spain retreated into three centuries of isolation (1600-1900). Its seclusion contributed to the creations of bullfights, flamenco dancing and a national obsession with ham. And, since fascist dictator Francisco Franco’s death in 1975, Spaniards quickly recovered from his rule guided symbolically by King Juan Carlos I.

Although Barcelona and Madrid are fascinating cities, my heart belongs to Toledo, Granada and Seville for their city wise quaintness. The eating was good in Spain, but I gravitated to the tapas and the Paella. We pretty much had wine at every meal, but I became especially fond of the Sangria. I also bought many beautiful pieces of silver jewelry as tokens from my trip and as reminders of how much I enjoyed myself in Spain.

My home in Barcelona, the Hotel Catalonia Albinoni. May 28, 2010
After our initial “Welcome to Spain” get-together with introductions at our Hotel Catalonia Albinoni, we started the evening with an orientation walk of the neighborhood that culminated in our first dinner together. The woman in the middle with the blue dragonfly dress and long blonde hair is our Rick Steves tour guide, Helen Inman. May 29, 2010
This is where our Rick Steves group had its first dinner together on our first night in Barcelona. May 29, 2010
A beautifully lit fountain as we took our evening walk back from dinner to the Hotel Catalonia Albinoni in Barcelona. May 29, 2010
Inside the Hotel Catalonia Albinoni. I just thought this was such a beautiful interior view of our hotel. May 29, 2010
Its our tour group’s first full day in Barcelona and we begin with a walking tour of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter including this gorgeous archway called the Carrer del Bisbe. May 30, 2010
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral was constructed from the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. May 30, 2010
Inside the Barcelona Cathedral in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
The remaining columns of the Temple of Augustus in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter was a Roman temple built during the Imperial period in the colony of Barcino (modern day Barcelona) as a place of worship for Emperor Augustus. May 30, 2010
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and one of the city’s foremost tourist landmarks, with an entrance from La Rambla. La Rambla, or the Rambla is a busy central architectural, commercial street. Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca once said that La Rambla was “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” May 30, 2010
Me in the Plaça Reial, or “Royal Plaza,” a square in the Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The square is off a La Rambla street. And, the light post or lantern I’m standing by was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. May 30, 2010
A stroll through Barcelona’s Rambla reveals quite a bit of architecture including this ornate-looking pharmacy. May 30, 2010
Another ornate looking building in the heart of the Rambla, a little less than a mile long tree-lined pedestrian street/mall in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. It connects Plaça de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. May 30, 2010
A beautiful flower stall on La Rambla in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
The Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church, the unfinished landmark church of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona. This was Gaudi’s most famous and persistent work. He worked on the Sagrada Familia from 1883 until his death in 1926. Since then the church has been under construction. May 30, 2010
A different side view of the unfinished landmark, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
A close up of the work outside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
Inside the still unfinished landmark church, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Crammed with symbolism inspired by nature and striving for originality, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi spent his life working and living like a recluse on the site for 16 years. He is buried in the crypt. The inside is even more under construction than the outside and surprised me to see so little work having been completed. May 30, 2010
Me standing outside of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
A trip to Parc Guell, Gaudi’s colorfully designed park is at the center of an unfinished Antoni Gaudi housing project. Saudi intended this 30-acre garden to be a 60-residence housing project, but it flopped. Also in the park was Gaudi’s home. The title work and ornate shapes were definitely eye-catching. May 30, 2010
The very crowded and very colorful Parc Guell designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. May 30, 2010
The very photographed reptile at Parc Guell in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
Antoni Gaudi’s home inside the Parc Guell in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
The interesting looking furniture designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and displayed in his home at Parc Guell. May 30, 2010
Me at Parc Guell, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s 30-acre creation in Barcelona. May 30, 2010
After a group dinner, we took this photo (left to right Wan-Lyn, Wan, Tricia, Phil and me) at what use to be Picasso’s old haunt, the 4 Cats. May 30, 2010
Segovia’s Roman aqueduct was built at the end of the 1st century AD and channeled water into the city for the Roman military. It culminated at the Roman castle, the present-day Alcazar. May 31, 2010
My tour buddy Bob and I in Segovia. Bob and his wife Barbara celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary during the tour. May 31, 2010
Segovia’s gothic cathedral. May 31, 2010
Segovia’s gothic cathedral dates back to 1524. May 31, 2010
Inside Segovia’s gothic cathedral. May 31, 2010
Inside the gothic cathedral in Segovia. May 31, 2010
Segovia’s Plaza Major, the city center, was once the scene of executions, religious theater and bullfights. May 31, 2010
Me at the Alcázar of Segovia. Located in the old city of Segovia, the castle rises out of a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building. May 31, 2010
This large mural inside the Alcázar of Segovia is of Queen Isabel the Catholic being proclaimed Queen of Castile and Leon in Segovia’s main square in 1474. May 31, 2010
The Throne Room inside the Alcázar of Segovia. May 31, 2010
A view of Segovia from the Alcazar. May 31, 2010
Dinner. Segovia’s culinary claim to fame is its roasted suckling pig, which we consumed during our Rick Steves group dinner at the Restaurant Jose Maria. May 31, 2010
My Rick Steves tour group enjoying the specialty of the house, roast suckling pig, in Segovia. May 31, 2010
Me and my roast duckling pig dinner in Segovia. And, it really was good. May 31, 2010
El Escorial, Phillip II’s magnificent palace, against the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama and northwest of Madrid, it was built between 1563 and 1584. The library houses 40,000 books and its ceiling contains some magnificent and colorful frescoes by Tibaldi. This palace is also a grand marble mausoleum for Spain’s royal family. Plain on the outside but historically impressive on the inside where photographs are not allowed. June 1, 2010
It’s Madrid time. On our way to our hotel, we a panoramic bus tour of Madrid’s major monuments including this one, the Columbus on Plaza de Colon.The plaza was originally called Plaza de Santiago, or St, James Square. In 1893 it was decided to rename the square to Plaza de Colón in honour of Chistopher Columbus. In Spain Chistopher Columbus is known as Cristóbal Colón.It was erected in 1885 to commemorate the forthcoming 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the West Indies and features an ornamental square base with a long column above, on top of which is a statue of Christopher Columbus. The figure is standing, looking west with an outstretched pointing arm, showing the way to the New World of the Americas. June 1, 2010
After getting to our hotel, we took a stroll around the lively streets of our neighborhood before enjoying our group dinner. Here’s the Royal Theatre, or the Teatro Real, square. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on 19 November 1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats. June 1, 2010
The decorative and tiled street signs on buildings in Madrid. June 2, 2010
Our morning walk including a stop over at the Plaza Mayor which was built during Philip III’s reign (1598–1621) and is a central plaza in the city of Madrid.The origins of the Plaza go back to 1577 when Philip II asked Juan de Herrera, a renowned Classical architect, to discuss a plan to remodel the busy and chaotic area of the old Plaza del Arrabal. Juan de Herrera was the artist who designed the first project in 1560 to remodel the old Plaza del Arrabal but construction did not start until 1617, during Philip III’s reign. The equestrian statue of Philip III dates to 1616, but was not placed in the centre of the square until 1848. June 2, 2010
A close up of the the Casa de la Panadería, a municipal and cultural building on the north side of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It is four stories high, the ground floor comprising porticos and the top floor in the form of an attic, with its sides crowned by angular towers. Although the construction of the Panaderia was was completed in 1619, the exterior frescos have changed a couple of times. These most recent exterior frescos by Carlos Franco are based on mythological figures such as Cybele, Proserpine, Bacchus, and Cupid, as well as others invented by the artist, interwoven into the history of Madrid. June 2, 2010
Tiled art on a storefront in Madrid. June 2, 2010
Me with the Royal Palace of Madrid behind me. June 2, 2010
The statue of Velasquez in front of the Prado Museum in Madrid. June 2, 2010
After our morning walk and spending time at the Prado Museum as a group, it was time for us to go our separate ways. So, I spent the remainder of the day with Wan-Lyn and Wan and one of the first things we did was to hang out at the Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid. These gardens, situated next to the Prado Museum, were inaugurated by Carlos III in 1781 after sending out scientific expeditions all over the world to help build up the collection of more than 30,000 species of plants, including sveral varieties of tropical plants housed in the hothouse. June 2, 2010
Another look at the Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid. June 2, 2010
After the walk through the Royal Botanical Garden, Wan-Lyn, Wan and I decided to jump on the Madrid City Tour bus to get an overview of the city. The entrance to a park in Madrid. June 2, 2010
The Fountain of Cibeles is located within the neo-classical Plaza de Cibeles in the heart of Madrid. It’s named after Cybele – the goddess of fertility and nature – and was built during the reign of Charles III, between 1777 and 1782. fuente de Cibeles in Madrid. June 2, 2010
The dolphin fountain in Madrid. June 2, 2010
Puerta de Alcalá stands at Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid. The original Puerta de Alcalá, which stood nearby, was built in 1599 as a welcome gesture to doña Margarita de Austria, who was the wife of King Felipe III. When Carlos III came to the throne of Spain one and a half centuries later, he entered Madrid in great style on December 9th, 1759. He was not at all pleased with this city gate, thinking it quite unsuitable for an important royal appearance. In 1764 the original Puerta de Alcalá was demolished and work started on the grand new gate. The new Puerta de Alcalá was completed in 1769 and its official inauguration took place in 1778. June 2, 2010
The landmark Tio Pepe sign and bear statue at Puerta del Sol square is close to our hotel in Madrid. June 2, 2010
We, Wan-Lyn, Wan and I, stopped here to sample the shrimp tapas in Madrid. And, they were delicious. June 2, 2010
An evening out in Madrid stopping off at various restaurants to sample the tapas. June 2, 2010
An evening out in Madrid stopping off at various restaurants to sample the tapas. June 2, 2010
Steves tour bus and group stopped on a hillside to take in and get photos of this gorgeous skyline view of Toledo. June 3, 2010
We arrived in Toledo just as celebrations were taking place in the Plaza de Zocodover for Corpus Christi day, a Catholic holiday in honor of the presence of the body of Christ in the holy water. The streets were crowded and vibrant as well all stood and enjoyed the colorfully dressed cities and the religious parades. As vibrant as Barcelona and Madrid are, Toledo is a city with a small town feel even though it had this huge celebration going on. Maybe it was colorful the festivities, but I felt very much at home in Toledo’s old world charm. June 3, 2010
Enjoying the pageantry of the Corpus Christi Day celebrations in Toledo. June 3, 2010
Taking a group walk through Toledo during the festivities of the Corpus Christi celebrations in Toledo. June 3, 2010
Toledo’s beautiful cathedral, the streets and buildings around it were decorated in celebration of Corpus Christi day in Toledo. June 3, 2010
Our tour group continuing our walk through Toledo. Tricia, waving in the lime green top, and I were both solo travelers and spent time talking. We also had a very relaxing evening at a quaint restaurant in Toledo enjoying Paella and Sangria. June 3, 2010
We left Toledo this morning to continue our journey, on our Rick Steves bus, through Spain and its miles and miles of olive trees that dot this countryside on our way to Granada. June 4, 2010
The legend of Migue de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, published in the early 17th century, is alive and well in Consuegra and the plains of La Mancha. Here I am in front of the restored Spanish windmills. June 4, 2010
The legend of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, published in the early 17th century, is alive and well in Consuegra and the plains of La Mancha. This is a Don Quixote gift shop in Consuegra. June 4, 2010
And, this is our colorful Rick Steves tour bus that continues to take us from place to place while we are enjoying Spain. Here the bus is parked at the windmills of Consuegra. June 4, 2010
Our entire Rick Steves “Best of Spain with Morocco in 16 Days” tour group, including tour guide Helen Inman and bus driver Jorge, in front of the restored Spanish windmills in Consuegra. June 4, 2010
Granada is a place I could come back to again and again. The Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand conquered the Moors in 1492. The city has a wonderful mix of Moorish/Catholic texture, charm and culture. June 4, 2010
The beautiful streets of Granada. June 4, 2010
A quaint but commercial street in Granada’s exotically tangled Moorish quarter, the Albayzin which begs to be explored. June 4, 2010
Just before heading to a group dinner, on a hill with a beautiful night’s view of the Alhambra, we stopped to enjoy the view. Me with the stunning Alhambra, the last stronghold of the Moors, as a magical backdrop in Granada. June 4, 2010
We spent the morning touring the Alhambra, the Moorish treasure of Granada. A palace and fortress complex, the Alhambra was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, and then largely ignored until its ruins were renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir who built its current palace and walls. And, after the conclusion of the Christian Reconquista in 1492, the site became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella (where Christopher Columbus received royal endorsement for his expedition). June 5, 2010
The Alhambra integrates natural site qualities with constructed structures and gardens, and is a testament to Moorish culture in Spain and the skills of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian artisans, craftsmen, and builders of their era.The literal translation of Alhambra, “the red (female),” reflects the color of the red clay of the surroundings of which the fort is made. The buildings of the Alhambra were originally whitewashed; however, the buildings as seen today are reddish. June 5, 2010
More of the interior designs of the Alhambra in Granada. A majority of the palace buildings are quadrangular in plan, with all the rooms opening on to a central court. Much of the ornamental carving are made of stucco. The the upper part of the walls, as a rule, are of Arabic inscriptions -mostly poems and tile mosaics are largely used as the lower parts. June 5, 2010
A close up of a wall carving or calligraphy at the Alhambra in Granada. June 5, 2010
The beautiful gardens of the Alhambra in Granada. June 5, 2010
The gothic 16th century Capilla Real, or Royal Chapel which houses the tombs of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand, the Catholic Monarchs. Their marriage united the Aragon and Castile kingdoms, allowing them to conquer Granada, the last Moorish capital. As a symbol of their victory, Granada was their chosen burial place. June 5, 2010
Inside the Capilla Real in Granada. June 5, 2010
The tombs of the Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand in the gothic 16th century Capilla Real in Granada. Their marriage united the Aragon and Castile kingdoms allowing them to conquer Granada, the last Moorish capital. As a symbol of their victory, Granada was their chosen burial place. June 5, 2010
At the Plaza Isabel de la Catolica in Granada, is this sculpture which represents Queen Isabel giving Columbus her permission to make his journey to the Americas. It was sculpted in Rome for the Fourth Centennial of the 1892 Discovery of America. June 5, 2010
Granada’s grandness, with its Moorish to Christian rule, yanked at my soul. From its grand palace to its Catholic Monarchs, in Granada you might catch a festival or even a wedding. June 5, 2010
Our Rick Steves tour group left Granda to drive along Spain’s sun-worshipping capital, the Costa del Sol. Although our destination is the port town of Tarifa, we paused along the way to explore the gorge-straddling town of Ronda, the birthplace of bullfighting. The Ronda main square features a statue of Hercules holding on to two lions he aims to tame. June 6, 2010
Ronda’s 1700’s bridge across the El Tajo ravine and gorge. June 6, 2010
Parade of flowers in Ronda. June 6, 2010
Ronda, the birthplace of modern bullfighting, offered quaintness and a beautiful terrain for such a small place. The bullfighting ring with museum, the ravine called El Tajo and the 1700’s bridge across the gorge made this a wonderful stop on our journey to Tarifa. June 6, 2010
The Rock of Gibraltar, a self-governing British dependency, is a narrow peninsula (three miles by one mile) jutting into the Mediterranean. We didn’t make it onto the rock but seeing it from Tarifa was impressive. June 6, 2010
The Rick Steves tour group is enjoying dinner together during our one night in Tarifa. Tomorrow we take the ferry from Tarif to Asilah and then drive to Tangier in the North African country of Morocco which borders the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. June 6, 2010
Asilah is a fortified town on the northwest tip of the Atlantic coast of Morocco and about 19 miles south of Tangier, which is where we will be spending the next two nights. Its ramparts and gateworks remain fully intact. The town’s history dates back to 1500 B.C., when the Phoenicians used it as a base for trade. June 7, 2010
Me at the beach in Asilah, Morocco. June 7, 2010
A colorful residence in Asilah, Morocco. June 7, 2010
A Morocco shoe store (strings of shoes for sale) in Asilah. June 7, 2010
The room I shared with my roommate, Ann, in Tangier. Finding the B&B was an adventure as we traversed maze like corridors to find it. I really had to pay attention so I could find my way back. June 7, 2010
A good, hearty breakfast on the rooftop of our B&B in Tangier, Morocco, gets our Rick Steves tour group off to a good start for a day’s adventure. June 8, 2010
A morning view of Tangier, Morocco, from the rooftop of our B&B. June 8, 2010
Although only a 35-minute boat ride from Spain, Morocco has its own feel. Our local guide Azia Begdour assured us that Tangiers is progressive because the women’s dress has begun to reflect their fundamental shift about women’s rights. I can’t say I saw that because I saw mainly men working in the shops and lounging outside of the restaurants. And, contrary to our local guide’s information, I did feel the air of oppression rather instantly in Tangier. The next few photos show the look and feel of Tangier. June 8, 2010
The look and feel of Tangier, Morocco. June 8, 2010
The look and feel of Tangier, Morocco. June 8, 2010
The look and feel of Tangier, Morocco. June 8, 2010
The look and feel of Tangier, Morocco. June 8, 2010
The Grand Soco is the main square in Tangier, Morocco. June 8, 2010
Our ride out of Morocco and back to Spain. June 9, 2010
Waking up to this view from our hotel in the whitewashed village of Arcos de la Frontera back in Spain. While the group plan for the day is to tour a traditional sherry bodega and visit the famous Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, my plan is to take the train to Cordoba, spend the night there and meet the group in Sevilla tomorrow. But in the meantime, I’m glad I got to take in this gorgeous view. June 10, 2010
I left the Rick Steves group in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, as I ventured solo on to Cordoba, Spain, by train so I could see a Catholic Mosque. That’s what the Mesquite is, a massive former 10th century islamic mosque with a 16th century Catholic church rising up from the middle. This is an outside view of the Mesquita. June 10, 2010
One of the arched entryways into the Mesquite courtyard in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The red and white striped Visigothic horseshoe arches inside the Mesquita in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The interior Catholic portion of the the Mesquite in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The Mihrab, the Muslim portion of the Mesquite in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The Christian relics of the Mezquita in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
More of the interior of the Mezquita in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
Me inside the Mezquita in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The exterior of the Mezquita and the bell tower in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, also known as the Alcazar of the Christian kings, is a medieval fortress located in the historic centre of Cordoba to the Guadalquivir River and near the Mezquita. The fortress served as one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. This is a statue of King Alfonso X at the entrance of Alcazar. June 10, 2010
The palace-fortress of the Christian Kings, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, has tranquil gardens and fountains in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
Me at the Alcazar in Cordoba. June 10, 2010
Exploring the old town area of Cordoba. June 10, 2010
I spent the night in Cordoba and left this morning to meet my Rick Steves tour group in Seville. Arriving at the Seville Santa Justa train station which was about a 45-minute ride from Cordoba, then I jump in a cab and with my broken Spanish let the cab driver know I want to go to the Basilica de la Macarena. June 11, 2010
I got to the Basilica de la Macarena in Seville just slightly ahead of my Rick Steves tour group just checking out the exterior of this Catholic church Catholic church famous for housing The Virgin of Hope, a revered jewel-encrusted wooden statue, “Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza,” which locals call La Macarena. June 11, 2010
Inside of the Catholic church famous for housing The Virgin of Hope of Macarena, simply known as La Macarena, a revered jewel-encrusted wooden statue. The pious 17th century Roman Catholic wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated in Seville and can be seen literally glowing at the altar of the church. June 11, 2010
A close up of the venerated Virgin of Hope of Macarena, commonly known as La Macarena, enshrined at the high altar of the Catholic church in Seville that bares her name. The La Macarena image, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, belongs to an anonymous sculptor dating back to 1680. She is a mannequin style image made of pine wood and cypress combination. Her face is sorrowful with glass teardrops as she looks downwards with an open mouth complete with tongue and teeth. She holds a mourning handkerchief in her right hand and rosary beads in left hand. June 11, 2010
The canopy that transports La Macarena during her processions is part of a treasury of ecclesiastical relics housed and on display at the Catholic church in Seville that bares her name, the Basilica de la Macarena. June 11, 2010
A painting of the Virgin of Hope of Macarena, La Macarena, inside the Catholic Church in Seville that bares her name. The painting is part of a treasury of ecclesiastical relics displayed at a section of the church. June 11, 2010
The Romans were the first to build city walls around Seville, as early as in the first century BC. Seville was long encircled by a defensive wall, called murallas, built to protect the city from possible invasions.The wall stretches from the Puerta de Córdoba to the Puerta de la Macarena near the Macarena Basilica. June 11, 2010
The city center of Seville. June 11, 2010
A street in the city center of Seville. June 11, 2010
Seville’s massive cathedral occupies the site of a once great mosque. Work on this Christian cathedral, the largest in Europe, began in 1401. June 11, 2010
Inside of Seville’s massive cathedral. June 11, 2010
Inside of Seville’s massive cathedral is this tomb of Christopher Columbus. His coffin is being carried by pallbearers representing the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra. June 11, 2010
Horse drawn carriages take people around the city center of Seville. June 11, 2010
Me by the fountain in the city center with the Seville cathedral behind me. June 11, 2010
We spend our last full day in Seville with a visit to the Alcazar palace, the home of the Spanish Royal family, which was built by the Moors for their Muslim kings in the 10th century. June 12, 2010
Inside the Alcazar in Seville. June 12, 2010
Inside the Alcazar in Seville. June 12, 2010
This painting in the Alcazar in Seville could be a portrait of a young Christopher Columbus in the top left corner. June 12, 2010
A fountain in the garden of the Alcazar in Seville. June 12, 2010
The gardens of the Alcazar in Seville. June 12, 2010
Me enjoying the gardens of the Alcazar in Seville. June 12, 2010
I end my stay in magical country of Spain with these beautiful flamenco dresses that line a store in Seville. I have seen and learned so much during this journey. I feel extremely connected to this country’s history, culture and colorfulness. June 12, 2010