A Travellerspoint blog

Cordoba was well worth a visit....

Two hours each way on a slow train, but worth it to visit this lovely city. I was impressed with the many parks and public places to just sit around and enjoy the views in this city which seems to be designed with people in mind. I first went to check out the Roman Bridge which was first built in the 1st century and has had a few renovations since then. I stopped in a park to have a coffee and biscuit so by the time I had walked over the bridge and wandered around looking for a place to grab a bite to eat on the other side, I was seriously looking for a toilet. Had to buy a beer in one of the bars for 70 cents to be able to use their rest room, but I enjoyed sitting in the sun with the beer so much I had another one. An hour later I made it back into the city and found a place that made up hot pork and salad rolls for a couple of euros. I needed some food inside me before I tackled the Mosque/Cathedral which was a huge place. I spent 2 hours there and only skimmed the surface of what was to be seen and admired. For 200 years between the years 784 and 987 thousands of artisans and labourers were employed by Moorish Kings who lavished large sums to build and adorn the Great Mosque of Cordoba. It was the most important place of worship in Moorish ruled Spain for three centuries until in 1236 the city was reclaimed by the Catholic Kings of Spain and the Mosque was converted into a Catholic Cathedral, It is a strange place, being neither one thing or the other, but is is still an amazing place to walk through. I would have made the trip to Cordoba just to experience it....

Walked into old town through beautiful parks

Walked into old town through beautiful parks


Past lovely squares

Past lovely squares


1st century Roman bridge from city side

1st century Roman bridge from city side


12th century Calahora tower protects bridge

12th century Calahora tower protects bridge


Roman bridge from Tower side

Roman bridge from Tower side


Walking back into Cordoba

Walking back into Cordoba


past 17th century statue of St. Raphael

past 17th century statue of St. Raphael


through 16th century bridge gate to City

through 16th century bridge gate to City


Almodovar another 14th century city gate

Almodovar another 14th century city gate


Towers and walls surrounding Jewish quarter

Towers and walls surrounding Jewish quarter


door in Jewish Quarter

door in Jewish Quarter


outside of Mosque/Cathedral

outside of Mosque/Cathedral


Past one of many Moorish doorways

Past one of many Moorish doorways


close up detail

close up detail


the Minaret/Belltower in the Court of Oranges

the Minaret/Belltower in the Court of Oranges


First sight of the forest of 856 columns

First sight of the forest of 856 columns


taken from Roman temples

taken from Roman temples


over a period of 200 years

over a period of 200 years


and used to create the Great Mosque of Cordoba

and used to create the Great Mosque of Cordoba


they are columns of jasper,onyx

they are columns of jasper,onyx


marble and granite

marble and granite


hundreds of finely detailed arches

hundreds of finely detailed arches


richly gilded Mihrab built in 941 to face Mecca

richly gilded Mihrab built in 941 to face Mecca


incredibly ornate

incredibly ornate


and then you see one of the 35 Christian Chapels

and then you see one of the 35 Christian Chapels


and glimpse the ceiling of the Cathedral

and glimpse the ceiling of the Cathedral


a closer look

a closer look


The nave of the Cathedral

The nave of the Cathedral


built in 16th century

built in 16th century


space was made for it in the middle of the mosque

space was made for it in the middle of the mosque


18th century Baroque Choir stalls

18th century Baroque Choir stalls


Choir stall detail

Choir stall detail

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Malaga from the top...

I asked the people I was staying with if it was easy to climb up to the Castle on the hill above Malaga to take some photos on my last day in the city. My plan was to walk up the 20 or more ramps that climbed the 400 feet to the castle. Local knowledge is invaluable in such situations because I think I would not have got halfway up the hill before turning around in defeat. They told me that the locals take bus 35 up to the Castle and then walk back down the ramps into town. It was a great castle with fantastic views over the city. Just walking the perimeter of the fortress up and down the steep steps to the different ramparts would qualify as a gym workout. It was worth it though and would probably qualify as the best memory of my short trip to Malaga. I am learning that taking photos that are not washed of all detail and colour is difficult in a blazing midday sun. Many of what I though were going to be amazing shots just didn´t work out, but I got a few that did. Iḿ having a break for a week in Utrera before heading to Marseilles and Lisbon. I do have 2 blogs on Sorrento and the Art Museum in Naples that I didn´t have time to fit in. So I might finish them..

up on the battlements

up on the battlements


high above Malaga

high above Malaga


with views from many levels

with views from many levels


as you walk around the fortress

as you walk around the fortress


named the Castle of Gilbralfaro

named the Castle of Gilbralfaro


Phoenician Jbel-Faro means Rock of Light

Phoenician Jbel-Faro means Rock of Light


built in the 14th century

built in the 14th century


by Yusuf 1 the Sultan of Granada

by Yusuf 1 the Sultan of Granada


Surf´s up on a beach I never got to see

Surf´s up on a beach I never got to see


Keith is right..no rope-no tension

Keith is right..no rope-no tension


keeps the sentries dry on a stormy night

keeps the sentries dry on a stormy night


I see something beginning with C

I see something beginning with C


city view #1

city view #1


#2

#2


#3

#3


last view through courtyard plantings

last view through courtyard plantings


bus up-but walk back down the hill

bus up-but walk back down the hill


I met a little mate on the way down

I met a little mate on the way down


I see something beginning with B

I see something beginning with B


the Port and the Park

the Port and the Park


on the way down

on the way down

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Who said ¨Malaga is shit¨?.....

A travel blogger called Runaway Jane came up with that colourful description in 2011 and similar sentiments about Malaga echo throughout the internet. She based her dislike of Malaga based on her observations that ¨ The whole place is just mediocre. Everything is Average¨ Sorry Jane. Either things have changed, or else shit ( like beauty ) is in the eye of the beholder. My expectations have been blown out of the water on many levels. Malaga has the best airport I have seen in Spain. It has the best Central Rail and Bus stations I have seen in Europe. The local buses are modern, cheap and user friendly. Everybody smiles. The shops are big, cheap and have a huge variety of stock. For a city of 600,000 with millions of visitors a year the place is clean and really well maintained, The public spaces are dotted with cafes and bars but are wide and spacious. In the centre of town alongside the waterfront Is a subtropical botanical garden which has dozens of shaded places to sit and relax on a hot day (and there are plenty of those). This was planned and planted over 100 years ago so many of the mature palms are that old. I haven´t even been out of the main city to the beach towns, a short bus or rail ride away, but already I have come to the conclusion that I could happily live here, I think the point that Runaway Jane made has an element of truth in that Malaga is not a quintessentially Spanish town. The people who planned Malaga´s growth for the last 50 years seem to have tried to create a place which would appeal to everyone. In doing so they may not appeal to those who demand a truly authentic Spanish experience, but as far as I can tell they have got the basics right and have put together a more than average, more than mediocre, place to live or visit.

View of Central Rail from my balcony

View of Central Rail from my balcony


Good spot for coffee or cheap wine

Good spot for coffee or cheap wine


how easy is that to find your bus stop

how easy is that to find your bus stop


wide clean city streets

wide clean city streets


well tended plantings

well tended plantings


Town Hall demonstrators making a racket

Town Hall demonstrators making a racket


castles on the hill

castles on the hill


something colourful

something colourful


new  branch of Pompidou Art gallery

new branch of Pompidou Art gallery


wonderful wide waterfront

wonderful wide waterfront


inner port

inner port


lined with bars and eateries

lined with bars and eateries


Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens


subtropical of course

subtropical of course


many different palms

many different palms


some we know well

some we know well


welcome shade on a hot day

welcome shade on a hot day


my kind of graffiti

my kind of graffiti


even a little open stage area

even a little open stage area


At least 4 fountained courtyards

At least 4 fountained courtyards


with classic statues

with classic statues


and beautiful tiling

and beautiful tiling


my favourite

my favourite


courtyard Espania

courtyard Espania


showing everything local

showing everything local


from all the areas that make up Malaga

from all the areas that make up Malaga


found me a Cathedral

found me a Cathedral


all closed off

all closed off


but still impressive

but still impressive


but so is the theatre in the square

but so is the theatre in the square


and the hotels and cafes across the square

and the hotels and cafes across the square


this one in a lane around the corner

this one in a lane around the corner


and further up the street

and further up the street


is a church which is open ¨San Ignacia¨

is a church which is open ¨San Ignacia¨


many parts of the city are so modern

many parts of the city are so modern


but around every corner is a little bit of Spain

but around every corner is a little bit of Spain


found these little gems

found these little gems


on hoardings hiding

on hoardings hiding


a building site

a building site


near the ancient Roman Theatre

near the ancient Roman Theatre


micky gets around

micky gets around


bad statue placement

bad statue placement


In Picasso´s birthplace

In Picasso´s birthplace


where his work is celebrated

where his work is celebrated


There is disturbing contemporary art

There is disturbing contemporary art


being put in its rightful place?

being put in its rightful place?


on the hillside are palaces

on the hillside are palaces


Roman Theatres and Moorish Castles

Roman Theatres and Moorish Castles


from where my next blog will be shot.

from where my next blog will be shot.

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Oia is the most beautiful village on earth.....

Oia is the most beautiful village on earth...That is the opinion of the Readers Digest poll 2015, and many many others. I think they are right, and the reason I think that is that I discovered it is impossible to take a bad photo in Oia. The place is just so damn pretty. It seems incredible that a 7.6 earthquake struck in 1956 and destroyed most of the existing village ( There were so many aftershocks that only 300 people stayed behind, the other 3000 moved to the mainland or other islands ). So Oia is also a wonderful example to other places which have been destroyed by earthquakes what great planning and a unified vision can achieve. You could be cynical and say that it has been created this way simply to attract the tourist dollars. Tourists who flock by the thousands every week to stay at the upmarket small hotels and eat and shop at the upmarket restaurants and boutiques. The truth is, that would have happened anyway. However some person or group of people got together and made it so that the beautiful place that exists today was created. That is why I love Europe. It has throughout the centuries been a place where a tradition of creative architecture has been encouraged and has flourished. Everyone should try to visit Santorini once in their lives, and once there try to spend at least a couple of days in the most beautiful village on earth, Oia....

My front deck at Oia

My front deck at Oia


View of my place from the marble pathway

View of my place from the marble pathway


looking left outside my front gate

looking left outside my front gate


and looking right

and looking right


about 9am before the coaches arrive

about 9am before the coaches arrive


view #1

view #1


steps to a villa

steps to a villa


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


#5

#5


#6

#6


#7

#7


#8

#8


#9

#9


Dozens of little shops

Dozens of little shops


Selling jewelry, clothing,pottery

Selling jewelry, clothing,pottery


and souvenirs by the truckload

and souvenirs by the truckload


preloved books and cats

preloved books and cats


cats and overfed dogs are everwhere

cats and overfed dogs are everwhere


they pop up when you go to take a photo

they pop up when you go to take a photo


view#10

view#10


#11

#11


Bells #1

Bells #1


#2

#2


#3

#3


#4

#4


#5

#5


#6

#6


view #12

view #12


#13

#13


#14

#14


#15

#15


#16

#16


The Old Fort

The Old Fort


where you get photos like this

where you get photos like this


and this

and this


and this

and this


and show

and show


how far up the houses are

how far up the houses are


from the fort you can also see

from the fort you can also see


the old windmill

the old windmill


which looks pretty at sunset

which looks pretty at sunset


You can watch the sunset in restaurants like this

You can watch the sunset in restaurants like this


or with the mob at the old fort

or with the mob at the old fort


who wait around for an hour or more

who wait around for an hour or more


to take photos

to take photos


like this

like this


or this

or this


sun goes down & the party is over folks

sun goes down & the party is over folks

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

Rain stopped play in Sorrento...

On my last day in Naples I decided to take a train back to Sorrento where on my last visit I had only had time to change from train to bus to go to Amalfi and Positano. The forecast was for rain but I hadn´t yet seen rain on my travels so I thought it was worth taking a risk. Got off the train and started walking up the main shopping street to the Piazza Tasso which is the central square. It was then that I got my first indication that there is more to Sorrento than the shopping streets. On one side of the square is a ravine with a long drop down to the bottom where a road heads to the bay. I was impressed by the many shops off the square selling lovely local pottery. I didn´t bother going in to buy any because non of the pieces in the windows had price tickets, which is always a sign that I cannot afford them. I could have afforded to buy stuff at any one of the dozens of stalls and small shops lining the alleyways that led off the square, but a suitcase can only hold so much stuff. After wandering around the streets I ended up at a beautiful little park where I was able to find a bench seat for a welcome sit down and cup of coffee. The bonus was the views out over the Bay of Naples. The park was perched on the edge of the cliffs which separate the town of Sorrento from the shoreline. There are a series of ramps which take you down to the water, or for a couple of euros they have built a lift into the cliffs which would save a lot of effort, especially coming back up. I had planned to walk around the top of the cliff and make my way down to the Marina Grande which is supposed to be like the original fishing village of Sorrento. Unfortunately the rain arrived before I could get there. I managed to stop at a cafe for a bit of lunch ( a huge sausage roll thing filled with spinach and melted cheese ), but after 20 minutes the rain only got heavier and the streets were like little streams. At that point all I could do was head for the Railway station and home. There is only so much shelter to be had from a tiny folding umbrella so my enduring memory of Sorrento is of being soaked to the skin from head to foot and sitting in a railway carriage for an hour on the way home going drip, drip, drip....

St. Anthony in main square of Sorrento

St. Anthony in main square of Sorrento


ravine with steps by the main square

ravine with steps by the main square


shops selling highly detailed pottery

shops selling highly detailed pottery


of every kind

of every kind


be tricky to fit in my suitcase

be tricky to fit in my suitcase


lane after lane of market stalls

lane after lane of market stalls


Park Villa Communale Sorrento

Park Villa Communale Sorrento


I waited to get the bench on the left

I waited to get the bench on the left


a good sheltered spot for a nescafe

a good sheltered spot for a nescafe


and a bit of people watching

and a bit of people watching


finally looked over the railing

finally looked over the railing


to the left are public beach clubs

to the left are public beach clubs


for 10 euros you can sunbathe in a deckchair

for 10 euros you can sunbathe in a deckchair


to the right are ferries to Capri

to the right are ferries to Capri


and a series of ramps that lead to the water

and a series of ramps that lead to the water


behind my bench was this mother and child statue

behind my bench was this mother and child statue


further up the road St Francis of Assisi

further up the road St Francis of Assisi


and an angel in Victoria Park

and an angel in Victoria Park


on the way to the Marina Grande

on the way to the Marina Grande


the rain began to get heavy

the rain began to get heavy


and the streets of Sorrento flooded

and the streets of Sorrento flooded

Posted by astrix7 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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