Seeing Spain: The final excursion…

For the first 8 days of this month, we went on our final official group excursion to Andalucía–the very South of Spain, and home of many grand artistic maestros–Velázquez, Picasso, and Antonio Banderas…

Photo courtesy of pictures2.todocoleccion.net

Photo courtesy of pictures2.todocoleccion.net

On our journey, we went to 6 major cities: Mérida (which isn’t even in Andalucía–it’s the capital of Extremadura), Córdoba, Granada, Antequera, Ronda, and Sevilla…To save time (and space), I’m only going to brief on my favorite sites in each town…

Mérida:

El Teatro Romano

 

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

 

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Córdoba:

El Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Comissioned by Alfonso XI in 1328, this splendid fortress was buit over the ruins of Islamic buildings…Los Reyes Católicos (Fernando and Isabel) lived here for 8 years, and Colón (or Columbus for us native English-speakers) visited them here in order to ask for $$$ for his trip (just a little voyage–no big deal), and now it belongs to the City Council of Córdoba…I have to say that this place will probaly go down as the most beautiful (or at least one of the most beautiful [I haven't seen the Alhambra, yet]) places I’ve seen yet–not just in Spain, but throughout the entirety of my short life–And I have the pictures to back up that statement:

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

 

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

La Mezquita

The other place I fell in love with was the Mezquita (Mosque)…Initiated in the 8th century (I say initiated because it’s gone through many amplifications and reforms over the years), it’s the largest mosque in the Western world and, without question, the most famous structure in all of Córdoba–and it’s not hard to tell why…It’s resplendent, with the alterations of red and white (typical of Islamic architecture), decoration with silver and gold, and pillars of colored marble…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

But one cannot enter the Mezquita without noting one glaringly obvious thing: there’s a cathedral (La Asunción de Nuestra Señora [The Assumption of Our Lady]) right smack dab in the middle of the whole mosque…The thing is, in 1236, when Córdoba was conquered by the Christian forces, instead of choosing to destroy the Mezquita (like they would have normally), they appreciated it for all its artistic value and spared it…Come the 16th century, Carlos I decides to build this cathedral within the Mezquita, and, well, there you go!!…It’s still a functioning cathedral today, I must point out…And like all the grand cathedrals of Europe, this place is chock-ful of treasures…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Granada:

Our first night in Granada, we went to a Flamenco show–something that is very stereotypically Andalusian…Originating here in Andalucía, flamenco is believed to have been formed perhaps at the end of the 15th century, a time when Spain’s Gypsy, Jewish, and Muslim populations had to endure great oppression (in lamens terms, you either converted to Catholicism or were burned to death)…It’s believed that, during this time of suffering, these three groups turned to each other for solace, and flamenco formed as a means of expressing their profound sorrow…Expounding on this emotional base, some quintessential themes of flamenco are depression, rage, anguish, passion, love, joy–you get the picture here…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

La Catedral de Granada

One of the two places I went on my free day here…Commisioned by Carlos I and constructed from 1536-1561, it has a distinct stylistic mix of the Renaissance-iness and the Baroque…It’s really, really pretty, with all the gold and paintings (including some by El Greco and Juan Ribera), and even though technically I wasn’t supposed to take photos, a lot of people were–and nobody stopped them (I figure that rule isn’t enforced)…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

 

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

La Basilica de San Juan de Dios The other place I went on my free day…As you can probably tell, it was built in honor of a guy they called San Juan–a pastor/soldier who fought for Carlos I…Built between 1737-1759, it’s not hard to see why it took so long–this place is just wow with gold everywhere…It’s like someone took the Baroque essence, chewed it up, spit it out, and added about 5,000 tons of gold (not to mention paintings–including some from Titian)…But hey, I’m a flashy girl who loves flashy things, so I loved it!!!!…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Antequera:

Los Dólmenes

This place is a conjuction of 3 prehistoric (3-4,000 B.C) crypts…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Ronda:

La Mina del Rey Moro

A special surprise site that was: La Mina del Rey Moro (The Mine of the Moorish King [I don't know which one]), a series of escavated tunnels (the opening is next to the Casa del Rey Moro) that goes down about 300 ft. down to the river…During the Reconquista, captive Christians were forced to climb down, fetch water, and climb back up day-in and day-out–and to add insult to injury, they had to live down here (you would just have to kill me outright–’cuz I ain’t the one)…No wonder the vast majority of them died here…Now, I didn’t have to climb down the blasted thing, but being the considerate blogger that I am, I did, just so I could get pictures for you beautiful people–And let me assure you, it was probably the most vile thing I’ve ever done in my life…It was damp (even more so considering that it was raining heavily that day [which made no dang sense--Andalucía's supposed to be sunny {stupid climate change}]), dank, and dark, with centuries of build-up of God-knows-what on the floor…I could have easily slipped and broken my neck–but hey, I’m not one to dwell on such things…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

 

Sevilla: La Plaza de España Our first main stop in Sevilla…Unlike most other plazas in Spain (or Europe, period), this one was built in the 20th century…Completed in 1929, it was built as part of the Exposición Iberoamericana held that year as a way to present Sevilla and the rest of Spain to the foreigners in attendance…One of its distinctive features are the bancos along the wall–one for each province in Spain (in alphabetical order) with the crest, map, and an image of an important historical event for each province…This way, foreigners can get to know all of Spain without leaving Sevilla!!…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Los Reales Alcázares

Then we hit up the Reales Alcázares (Royal Alcázares), a conjunction of palaces surrounded by a muralla (wall) that was initiated in the 8th century…I personally prefer this place to the Alhambra, because there’s a lot more color…The gardens aren’t anything to sniff at either, with loads of exotic plants from all over the world…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

149

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

 

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

La Catedral de Sevilla

And I can’t talk about Sevilla without mentioning its Catedral…Constructed from 1401-1507 (ridiculous), this Gothic cathedral is the largest in the world…It’s known for many things, like being the resting place of Colón (Colombus for us native English speakers) and the Giralda, its belltower…

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black

Betty J. Ogburn/Old Gold & Black