Spain - Barcelona, Madrid, Cordoba, Granada
Nov 13, 2004
|Th city of Barcelona is absolutely beautiful. Our flight over was interesting. I guess somewhere along the way we picked up some bad juju because we ended up in the middle two seats of a row of four. Talk about cramped. We managed, with some chemical assistance, to sleep a large portion of the time.
What a difference between South America and Europe. All the modern conveniences, but unfortunately absolutely packed with tourists. I guess if you have no conveniences, you have no tourists. We have spent time doing the tourist thing looking at Romanesque and Gothic art, as well as artists like Picasso and Miro. The city reminds me of Florence. Its peaceful in the mornings except for one morning. Now don't get the wrong idea because a high percentage of the time everything is great, but the third morning we were here, I got up early to go down and get a cup of coffee. It was the day after Halloween where everyone stays up late and celebrates "All Saint's Day". As I crossed the street I noticed a guy who had obviously been dressed up the night before in a mummy costume lying on the sidewalk with four cops standing over him. I assumed he was just drunk and passed out, but when Melissa and I came down later his and guts were still on the sidewalk and everyone was just stepping around trying to avoid it. Talk about biohazard. I guess they just wash it into the drainage system. Pick pockets and thieves always hang around large tourist areas and this weekend was no exception. Melissa and I watched three guys running down the street holding onto a camera with an older (70's) couple running after them. It is a mistake to carry anything in your hands for a long period of time.
We spent three days in Madrid immmersing ourselves in the art museums. It was also during the time the election results were finalized and most of Europe wasn't happy, but we never felt any reprecussions. No one was outstandingly rude. But there was one funny incident. We were walking thru a large park during a Sunday when everyone was outside with their families enjoying the weather. There were clowns and musicians everywhere enteraining everyone. And there was this lone soul who was dressed as Mickey Mouse and his costume was the same color as the American flag. Yes, red, white and blue. God knows what he was thinking when he stepped outside in that costume. He was relegated to the back of the park with his balloons. He was so frustrated he finally started stepping on his balloons popping all of them. Poor Mickey.
We arrived in Cordoba after taking Spain's the AVE speed train from Madrid. It is a beautiful medieval city with narrow roadways and ancient buildings. Melissa scored again and found us a great hotel room that has several balconies overlooking the Mezquita. We have included several photographs of the Mezquita which is unique in that it was originally built as an Islamic Mosque in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries and was partially converted right in the center with a Christian Cathederal in the 12th and 13th centuries and has continued up to the present day. Really quite amazing.
Granada is in the very southeast of Spain in the Sierra Nevadas. It is their fall season so the weather has cooled down a lot. Melissa found us another great hotel, Hotel America, right in the middle of the Alhambra. The Alhambra was a great fortress starting in 711 AD for the Arabs and remained that way until their overthrow by the Christians in 1492.
We are headed to Seville next for four nights and then we are off to Egypt and Jordan.