A break in blogging again...

I’m off again, for a rather long trip. I’m going by the Transsiberian / Transmongolian train all the way from Saint Petersburg to Beijing via Moscow, Ekaterinenburg, Irkutsk (the Baïkal Lake), Uulan Bator (a longer stay in Mongolia). I will be away the whole month of September  - and will not be blogging, sorry! I hope to have something to report when I'm back!


Spanish vacations - more from Sevilla

I feel a bit embarrassed about this last post from our Spanish vacations. As many, I have very mixed feelings about the corridas … but we went to see one. Of course the “Plaza de Toros” in Sevilla is something special and is worth a visit already for itself! It was the first circular bullfighting arena to be built – in the 18th century. This was to avoid the cornering of the actions and to give a similar view for all spectators (like the Roman amphitheatres). Before that, bullfighting mostly took place on open plaza areas. The present final shape of the Sevillan “Plaza de Toros” dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The real season is in April. We just saw a smaller “novillada sin picadores”; the bullfighters have not yet taken the “alternative” to become professional matadors. Anyhow, as said, we went there… (It started at 10 p.m., it was of course dark and my zooming gave some not always very neat photos.)

… and to end up our Sevillan visits correctly, we went again (I have been there three times the last ten years) to “Casa Anselma” in the Triana district – on the other side of the Guadalquivir River. This is a real flamenco bar. Anselma opens – most evenings - at around midnight. There are of course tourists around, but also a dominating number of locals. The artists may vary from one evening to the other and there is spontaneous singing and dancing from people in the audience, often excellent artists. There is no charge to enter, but Anselma makes sure that everybody buys a drink. … and then sings fabulously.


Spanish vacations - Sevilla

Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, on the river Guadalquivir.

Following the Romans, Vandals and Visigoths came the Moorish era, as from 712 to 1248. The Moorish architecture survived somehow also through the Christian times, the Mudéjar style.

The Moor’s Palace became in the 14th century the Castillian royal residence, the Alcazar. The buildings and gardens were developed through the 12th and 17th centuries.

The cathedral in Gothic style was built during the 15th century. Its bell tower, the Giralda, is a rebuilt minaret. Sevilla had for a long time after Columbus the monopoly for trade with the Spanish Americas. All the gold to be seen in the cathedral remains as a proof of the richness of the city. Columbus’ remains (at least supposed to be) are in an imposing catafalque in the cathedral.

I captured the rowing ladies above at the Plaza de Espana, a gigantic place and "palace" built for an Ibero-American World's Fair in 1929.

There is a lot more to be seen; it’s a true pleasure to walk through the city. I will make a second post about Sevilla.

I just realised that by registering my little video on You Tube, the image quality is better than when integrating the video directly. So, I changed to You Tube also on the two preceding Spanish posts.

You may listen to some local Sevillan music and to Alexandre Lagoya playing “Romance” (Jeux Interdits).


Spanish vacations - Granada with Alhambra

More from our Spanish vacations - Granada with Alhambra at the foothill of Sierra Nevada.

The place became really what you would call Spanish in 1492 - the year Columbus made his discoveries - after having been Ibero-Celtic, Greek and Roman and for more than 700 years having been occupied by the Moors.

The typical Spanish-muslim art is of course especially visible at Alhambra with Gerealife, most of it dating fom the 13th and 14th centuries.

The remarkable cathedral was built over a previous mosque during the 16th century in renaissance style. In the Royal Chapel, the Catholic Monarchs - Queen Isabella I of Castille (1451-1504) and King Ferdinand II of Aragaon (1452-1516) are buried.

The music is - of course - "Recuerdos de Alhambra", once more with Andres Segovia at the guitar.


Vacations in Spain - Cordoba

So, I'm back from vacations (although as retired, you may say that I'm always on vacation). First a little visit to Cordoba, the ancient Iberian and Roman city, which in the Middle Ages became the capital of an Islamic caliphate. In the 10th century it was the most populous city in the world. It's perhaps most known for its Great Mosque, now a catholic cathedral, and the old Jewish quarter.

We can listen to Andres Segovia playing Suite Espanola by Albeniz.

I will be back with some visits to other places around Andalusia, but I will be busy the next couple of days, helping my daughter and her partner to move to a new flat.