Monday, November 5, 2012

Spain - Our Top 10

Over our four weeks in Spain we were able to cover a lot of ground, visiting Madrid, Barcelona, and a number of cities in Andalusia with a short stopover in Lisbon part way through. Here are our favorite sites, most memorable meals, and must see attractions from our time in beautiful Spain!

Mezquita 
If you've had a chance to read up on our visit to the Mezquita in Cordoba, it's probably not a surprise that it took the top spot. From our first steps inside we were captivated by the forest of red and white arches, while the detail of the Mihrab and the stunning Renaissance chapel and alter rendered us speechless for the duration of our visit. 




Segovia
A popular day trip from Madrid, Segovia grabbed out attention with it's stunning aqueducts and held it throughout the afternoon with a display of breathtaking viewpoints, a fairytale like alcazar, and an incredible gothic cathedral.  



 
 
Markets Galore 
Travis may go for the food and Calli for anything kitschy, but in the end cheap prices and people watching is the great equalizer. We've found wonderful markets throughout Spain, from La Boqueria in Barcelona to San Miquel Market in Madrid, and wonderful small flea markets throughout Andalucia, we definitely got our fill of window shopping.
 

 
The last and greatest palace complex of the Moorish civilization in Spain is not only Granada's crowning jewel but a definite must see as well. The lines may be long, the admission process a bit convoluted, and the site expansive, but any confusion and sore feet are immediately forgotten upon entering the Nasrid Palace. 




 

Like much of Andalucia, the beauty within this building lies in the seamless melding of Islam and Christianity. Rennaisance ceilings in some rooms, intricate tile work in others, and a central garden and reflecting pond made famous by Ridley Scott.





 

Gaudi devoted over forty years to shaping Barcelona's architectural landscape and today, the city, and millions of tourists each year, pay homage to his creative genius. With seven of his buildings categorized as protected UNESCO World Heritage sites there are plenty of chances to contemplate his unique style. 

Although the French Impressionists at the Thyssen topped our list of Top 10 Art - Spain and Portugal, the Prado museum won us over in the end. With a seemingly endless collection of paintings and sculpture it's possible to spend a week here and still not see everything.



 

Madrid's Architecture 
From the Cathedral to the Royal Palace to the Piazza Mayor to the Gran Via, no city thus far (except maybe Zagreb) has put on such a display of architecture. Wandering through the city we didn't know where to look next, or where to focus the camera.
 


 

Plaza de Espana 
Hearing it was a worth a look, we decided to wander towards Parque de Maria Luisa one morning during our time in Seville. We ended up spending half the morning exploring and photographing the amazing Plaza de Espana. In a city boasting one of the largest cathedrals in the world and the only alcazar still in use in Europe, the Plaza has some heavy competition and it definitely holds its own.
 


 

We had a blast walking around the stadium, watching old people scream at the players, and laughing as a young guy paced up and down the aisles "coaching" the players and yelling instructions to the (actual) coach across the stadium. Oh and seeing a 30 yard volley to win the game in the 94th minute wasn't too bad either.
 

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Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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