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December 31, 2015

Portugal: Lisbon, Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém


Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Along the north side of the Tagus River estuary at the edge of the municipality of Lisbon Portugal is Belém. This civil parish is the location of the UNESCO World Heritage designated “Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon,” two of Lisbon’s top tourist attractions. (more…)

December 27, 2015

Spain: Córdoba, Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba


The inside of the Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba looks like a mosque...

The inside of the Catedral y Mezquita de Córdoba looks like a mosque…

It is not unusual for a cathedral in Andalusia to be constructed on the foundations of a Moorish Mosque. Indeed, post the Reconquista, the Spanish symbolically reasserted the supremacy of Catholicism by rebuilding mosques as churches. The Moors, as they occupied Iberia, had done the same thing: early Christian churches were recast as mosques when the Moors took control in the 8th Century. (more…)

Spain: Seville, Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See and the Giralda


Looking up inside Seville's Cathedral.

Looking up inside Seville’s Cathedral.

Seville’s cathedral, the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, is the largest cathedral in the world. It gets this distinction through a technicality: There are two larger churches in the world, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil and the Vatican’s St Peter’s Basilica, but these structures are not seats of bishops and thus do not qualify as cathedrals. (more…)

December 26, 2015

Portugal: Sintra, Pena National Palace


DSC_6446-Edit-Edit

Pena National Palace’s story begins in the Middle Ages with the construction of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena on a hilltop above the Portuguese town of Sintra. Later, in 1493, King Manuel I ordered the construction of a monastery to house eighteen monks at the site. In 1755 the catastrophic Lisbon earthquake heavily damaged the structure leaving it in ruins. The monastery remained unused for decades until in 1838 King consort Ferdinand II acquired the ruins, the surrounding land, and the nearby Castle of the Moors. (more…)

Portugal: Sintra National Palace


Sintra National Palace

Sintra National Palace

Considered to be the best-preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal, the Sintra National Palace is located centrally in the town of Sintra Portugal. As a consequence of its prominent location, Palácio da Vila or “Town Palace”, as the National Palace is called, is the first of Sintra’s numerous attractions that many visitors encounter. (more…)

Portugal: Sintra, Castle of the Moors


Tourists climb the ramparts of Castelo dos Mouros.

Tourists climb the ramparts of Castelo dos Mouros.

A popular day trip from Lisbon Portugal is the Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sintra is known for its 19th-century Romantic architecture. In the woody hills surrounding the old town center are numerous fanciful villas, royal retreats, estates, and castles. Though Sintra is celebrated as the 19th Century playground of the aristocracy, human history in the area dates to much earlier times. Indeed, one of the more popular tourist attractions in the area, the Castle of the Moors, dates to Moors rule in the 8th Century. (more…)

December 24, 2015

Germany: Kehl

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Germany, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 4:29 am

A pedestrian bridge near Strasbourg crosses the Rhine linking Germany to France.

A pedestrian bridge near Strasbourg crosses the Rhine linking Germany to France.

Strasbourg is very bike friendly. Bike lanes cross the city and allow easy access to the suburbs. There’s one downside: At times there’s more bike traffic than car traffic. Navigating through hordes of bikes can be a serious challenge. In Strasbourg the chances of being hit by another bike seem much higher than being hit by a car. (more…)

Spain: Seville, Casa de Pilatos

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Photography, Spain, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 2:19 am

Casa de Pilatos' inner court: The place to be when it is hot.

Casa de Pilatos’ inner court: The place to be when it is hot.

La Casa de Pilatos is an Andalusian palace in historic district of Seville Spain. The house dates from the 16th Century. It is the permanent residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. (more…)

Spain: Seville, The Hop-on Hop-off Bus

Filed under: Architecture, Dog, Europe, Photography, Spain, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 1:45 am

Near a bus stop is Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, the current seat of the Parliament of Andalusia.

Near a bus stop is Hospital de las Cinco Llagas, the current seat of the Parliament of Andalusia.

Many large cities throughout the world have hop-on hop-off tourists buses. We generally avoid them thinking that we are more likely to find the unexpected if we walk. One day in Seville a tout on the street told us that we could take our pooch Gigi along with us on one of these buses. There’s a pleasure in seeing the world through your dog’s nose-eyed view but taking a 25 kg canine along comes with access compromises. As a result we are always looking for things to do where we can take Gigi with us. Touring Seville via the double-decked tourist bus suddenly became an option worth considering. A few days later we boarded the bus with our occasionally well-behaved canine. (more…)

December 23, 2015

France: Verdun

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 9:14 pm

 

Gigi photo bombs the remains of a fort in Verdun.

Gigi photo bombs the remains of a fort in Verdun.

In the north of France roughly thirty kilometers by car from the Belgium border is Verdun. Though the town itself is attractive many visitors are like us and come to area primarily to see the World War I battlefield. The hills to the north of Verdun were the location of one of the biggest battles on the Western Front during World War I. (more…)

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