Silent Sunday

I absolutely love how this tree has been pruned (or not). Botanical Garden, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Linking with Photalife

City Exploring: Seville Cathedral

 I've been to practically every major cathedral in the Europe and this building can hold its own with Notre Dame, Chartres and the Duomo. The choir and alter piece are the creme fraise that make this building so incredible. The Seville Cathedral, completed in 1507, was built on the site of an old mosque and is the largest cathedral in the world, bumping the Hagia Sophia who held the honor for about 1000 years. It is also the resting place of Christopher Columbus.

Because we didn't book our tickets online beforehand (ding dong) and because the "short cut" way of getting tickets isn't allowed during Semana Santa we had to wait in line for our tickets. But to be honest, it worked in our favor. My husband left for his early morning run and secured our place in line--number two. I then swapped him places and about an hour later when the church opened we had about 10 minutes to ourselves to photograph the cathedral before the tour buses showed up. If you can manage some alone time, it is worth it. I literally ran around photographing everything I could while the place was empty, then went back to the beginning for a leisurely stroll. 

The Details
Address: Av. de la Constitución, s/n, 41004 Sevilla, Spain
Hours: 11am-3:30, but these change during the holidays or special days so it's best to double check. 
Cost: €9

The photo below is Christopher Columbus' grave

Linking with...Friday Photo Journal * My Town Shootout * Pierced Wonderings * Weekend Wanderlust * Weekend Bloghop * Friday 5

Rhonda--The Rest of It.

Rhonda is best known for its expansive bridge--you see it all over Pinterest boards--but there is a whole other side to the town, one that dates back to Roman times. Rhonda is not a big town, you can easily see all there is in one day on foot. We left the crowds by the bridge and meandered our way to the back side of town for the views below. 

Rhonda is home to the oldest Bull Fighting Ring in Spain. An interesting museum explains the history and importance of the game. Earnest Hemingway and Orson Wells spent summers here and helped bring the town some popularity. 

Rhonda: The Bridge

Rhonda is a small town in Spain with a long and interesting past dating back to 6BC. Settled by Celts, conquered by Roman, it has seen the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Moors, the Napoleonic Invasion and the Spanish Civil War.  Today is a sleepy city of little significance except for the massive bridge built in 1791 that attracts visitors. Known at the Puente Nuevo, the new bridge rises almost 400 feet above the ground floor offering up a great photo op.  

Bob and I took a hike down to the bottom of the bridge and into the valley below. There is actually a pilgrimage road you can follow that will lead you all the way around to the other side of the city, but we didn't have time for such a long hike. With limited time we contented ourselves with the verdant fields below then stopped at the small hotel below the falls for a respite before making the accent back to the top.  

Linking with...Randomosity * Life Thru the Lens * Thru My Lens * Our World Tuesday * Imagine-in-ing 

Silent Sunday

These massive floats are brought out once a year during Semana Santa to parade around the city. Taken from scenes from the life of Christ they are quite ornate and evoke a certain sense of awe. 

Linking with...Photalife and Seasons

Hill Towns of Andalucia

Rick Steves' recommends a stop in at least one of Andalucia's hill towns. These white washed towns perched atop hills are charmingly quaint with labyrinth alleyways, crumbling architecture and beautiful vistas. At one time they were the Christian front line of defense pushing the Moors and Islam back into Africa. Today they are quiet respites from Spain's bigger and busier cities.

We spent an afternoon in Arco de la Frontera. Most memorable of the day was the animal trainer with a host of birds and a curious meerkat and the old man weaving sun hats in a tiny room off one of the alleyways. He was the post man for his career and when he retired he took over his father in laws small weaving practice. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture!

One Day In Tangier

If you find yourself at the southern tip of Spain it is very simple to catch a ferry over to Morocco, the ride over only takes about an hour. We went over for a day trip, but one could easily use Tangier as a jumping off point for a longer Moroccan vacation.

To be honest, Tangier seems like a city that has completely lost its relevance. Every place we visited had its glory day in the 1970's. Younger generations might not respond well to names like Elizabeth Taylor, Tennessee Williams and Malcolm Forbes--even the US consulate has closed its location here. The city (or its guides) would do well to move on from these American and European encounters of the past and focus on its unique history, customs and architecture. 

If all you want to do is check the box to say, "been there" a day wandering through Tangier is enough, but to really get a feel for the country I'd recommend going to Marrakesh or Fez and plan to spend one night in the desert.   

The Details
From Tarifa you can buy ferry tickets right at the port for about €65 roundtrip. We found that the que for the afternoon ferry back to Tarifa can be quite long. We arrived one hour before sail time and barely made it onto the ship. We arranged for a private guide using a Rick Steves' recommendation. The all day private tour cost us €110 and while the tour was very interesting, I wasn't super impressed with our guide.

The architecture of Tangier is beautiful and the colors bright. I delighted at all the fabulous doors and windows. The fish/meat market is always a fun place to photograph. Side stepping puddles of stinky water I never cease to be surprised (and my kids grossed out) by what is for sale. If you look closely you will see full cow heads, stomaches, tongues and intestines.