Posts tagged ‘spain’
The Andalucia region is about as Spanish as it gets. The south of Spain is known for flamenco, bullfights, churros, sweltering heat and an amazing history of African/Moorish/Muslim influence. This can be felt (and we felt it!) throughout its grand monuments, the very buildings on every street, the dancing lights and rowdy passionate music well into the early mornings, and in the people themselves.
Poor Pammy was a little ill for the start of our Andalucia trip, so it was up to me to capture the first day’s/night’s festivities in Sevilla. I even managed to get amazingly lost looking for a pharmacy to get anti-dehydration stuff for Pam.
The Catedral in Sevilla is the largest (in terms of internal space) in the world.
The Alcazar is also gorgeous, and had gardens in a very organic Moorish style in which I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost.
We managed to catch the Feria in Sevilla – a flamenco festival that’s been going on for decades. It was a huge row of tents and music stages down by the glittering river.
The tents were bars, and every so often we’d be lucky enough to catch some live music and SPONTANEOUS FLAMENCO (*bliss!*)! Enjoyed two nights by the riverfront with our hostel buddies.
Thank you for the friends, music and flamenco Sevilla!
Santiago de Compostela is coined as being ‘the most beautiful city in Spain’.
We were sceptical but hopeful, and luck was on our side! The entire place is a maze of medieval laneways and amazing religious relics or monuments at every turn. The place is saturated with them!..
Also, our hostal was a gorgeous little apartment with twin balconies over a stunning medieval laneway! Run by the cutest old couple who spoke nothing but Spanish. LOVE.
Ok, so the story behind Santiago:
– The remains of St. James the apostle of Jesus was discovered here over 1000 years ago
– A city was built around the crypt
– Pilgrims have been making the journey here, to the very West coast of Spain (in the middle of nowhere!) since then
– It’s the 3rd most important religious sepulchre site outside of Jerusalem and the Vatican
– It has the highest concentration of artwork per square metre in Spain (or Europe?)
I didn’t know most of this til after we’d left – good one being an ignorant ‘oh that’s so pretty!’ tourist Ange!
Humbling? Definitely. Even without knowing the complete history or significance, the mood captured in the architecture of the main Catedral is amazing. The dedication over centuries behind building a city full of these religious relics is awesome.
The whole place is full of pilgrims, which is awesome. Young to old, equipped with their hiking gear, backpacks and walking sticks. They have to walk a minimum of 100km – the whole Camina (road) to Santiago is like 400km long! The mood is holy but festive, with music and good food aplenty. Had amazing muscles in vinegar here 🙂
Personally I enjoyed seeing these young pilgrims, unshaven for weeks and evidently road-weary, laying on the stones in front of the mighty Catedral, chilling with their beers.
That, and the old ladies and old men running an early morning market against ancient church walls.
Many more details, but I wouldn’t do it justice. Look up the place if you like.
Toros! Toros! Toros!
(Pamplona/Iruna San Fermin Festival – Running of the Bulls 2009)
First of all, a huge
to Jase, Mesiti and Para for doing the run. Way to go guys! Pam, Szemei and I cheered on in spectatorial and photographic support 🙂
…but more on that later.
Days were spent lazing around the gorgeous beach town of San Sebastian. I stayed in an amazing hostel called David Quinn, which was more like a guy’s apartment – super chilled and run by great people, and always with a fun crew of travellers!
Pam, my travel buddy and fellow St.Joey’s (primary school) girl joined me here. Hi Pam!
I was literally a stone’s throw from the beach and promenade, where I spent a lot of time…
The Old Town/Latin Quarter/Parte Viaje was beautiful, and full of great pinxto/tapas bars (as well as hidden surprise churches)…
The views from the hilltop Jesus (statue), the ancient fairground up the top of the ‘mountain’, and other piers were also beautiful!
People here live and breathe the beach, everyone is so tanned and weathered!
Of course, the Saturday Sangria Party and crowded bars also added to the experience 😀
Also, I don’t want to eat for another week!
Pamplona – San Fermin!
A sea of red, white and pink (for those covered in Sangria).
What a vibe! From the tiniest baby to elderly couples, and all inbetween – everyone got into the spirit of San Fermin!
It was wicked to share the fun with mates from Sydney 😀
We were going to be there for the last bull run on the morning of July 14th. The night before, like every night, was one huge street party. Pam and I had many a fun run-in with the friendly locals while the guys got some much-needed rest!
Unlike many, we weren’t relegated to crashing in some freezing park. Thank you guys for the hotel room floor!
In the morning, the guys awoke to prepare themselves for the daunting task ahead, while Szemei, Pam and I set out to find the best vantage point. Good luck guys!
We ended up upstairs in the stadium, where we stood outside with a view of the runners and bulls entering the stadium. The atmosphere was electric!
A few minutes past 8am, we saw runners start to trickle in, then more and more running with more panic! Szemei even managed to catch Para and Mesiti on her camera! Then came the crowd of huge bulls running in a pack.
As soon as they entered the stadium, we ran inside to the ringside seats, where we could watch the release of the baby bulls on the crowd of runners. Jase, Para and Mesiti were all in the ring, but had enough brains to stay out of the line of fire!
The guys said that the scariest part was waiting for the gun to go. The anticipation, not knowing what was going on or where the bulls were, the panic on everyone’s faces as they started bolting…intense!
Again, awesome work guys! You’ve done it now!!!
Struggling to make myself sit down and write – but dammit I will!
Madrid was a sweltering humid 34 degrees when I landed at like…6pm
Fact: The sun doesnt go down here until like 10pm?! And everyone’s out all night. AWESOME. My kind of place.
The view from my dorm room balcony is gorgeous. Observe:
Began my wander at about 10pm. Plaza Mayor is stunning. The stones on the ground are warm and smooth. I sat in the middle of the plaza for ages and let everything sink in. The buskers, the people, the kids and ball games, the music…*sigh*
More solo wanderings led me to the Palacio Real, which revealed itself in front of me after various laneways of gorgeous balcony’d (yes, it’s a word now) buildings. Stunning lit up bright white at night. Once again, I found myself a patch of warm cement to sit on and chill.
Impromptu music jam
I returned to Plaza Mayor after my wander down to the Palacio Real.
Most of the tourists and cafe crowds had filtered out by now. There was a crowd clapping in syncopated rhythms around a guy playing Spanish guitar. I ambled over to observe. They would clap and sway and pass the guitar around, and pretty soon the air was filled with passionate voices, heated beats and even topless men stomping out the rhythm in the middle of the circle.
Loved the impromptu jam 🙂