Tag Archives: Spain

Valencia, Spain

Recently, we spent a wonderful (sunny) weekend in Valencia, Spain.  As the country’s third largest city, there is plenty to see and as the “home of paella” there is certainly plenty to taste.  Here’s a look at this friendly, vibrant city through our lens…

Mercado Central

Mercado Central

Mercado Central Interior

Mercado Central

As one of the oldest food markets in Europe, Valencia’s fascinating Central Market (Mercado Central) sells a tantalizing variety—from fruits to meats to wine and baked goods.  The striking building, with its domed ceilings, colorful tiles and ceramics, is worth seeing (even if food is not on your mind).

Plaza de laVirgen

Plaza de la Virgen

At the center of Valencia’s historic district is the bustling Virgin Square (Plaza de la Virgen), once the forum of Roman Valencia.  Surrounded by cafes and landmark buildings, it’s a great place to people watch.
[The photo above shows the Turia Fountain in the foreground, the Basilica of the Virgin of the Helpless on the left, Valencia Cathedral in the center with its bell tower, the Miguelete, in the upper right.]

Valencia Cathedral Altar

Valencia Cathedral Altar

Valencia Cathedral Aisle

Valencia Cathedral

Consecrated in 1238, Valencia Cathedral (Iglesia Catedral Basilica Metropolitana de Santa Maria) is an architectural beauty.  Designed primarily in the Gothic style, it also contains Romanesque, Baroque, and Neo-Classical elements.  The Gothic Chapel of the Holy Chalice (Gothic Capilla del Santo Cáliz), near the main entrance, is said to hold the Holy Grail—the chalice Christ sipped from during The Last Supper.

Museo del Patriarca

Museo del Patriarca

The Patriarch Museum (Museo del Patriarca), housed in the Royal College of Corpus Christi Seminary, was founded by Saint Juan de Ribera in the 16th Century.  The museum contains a wonderful collection of paintings, including works from El Greco and Francisco Ribalta.

City of Arts and Sciences

City of Arts and Sciences: L’Hemisfèric (foreground) & El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia

With a modern architectural complex located in a city founded in 138 BC, it’s no wonder Valencia is often described as a “city of contrasts”.  Simply striking on a bright, sunny day, the City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) contains several fascinating structures, including a cinema, planetarium, science museum, oceanographic park, and an opera house/performing arts center.

Playa de las Arenas

Playa de las Arenas—one of Valencia’s city beaches.

Being the birthplace of paella, it wouldn’t be a proper visit to Valencia without feasting on this delicious rice dish more than once.  However, in true k&mk fashion, we forgot to take a photograph.  Apologies.  I can assure you it was terrific.  We enjoyed seafood paella (paella de mariscos) at a restaurant along Playa de las Arenas (photo above) as well as traditional Valencian paella (paella valenciana) in the city center.  Muy bueno!

And just a few street scenes to close…

ValenciaStreet2 ValenciaStreet1 ValenciaStreet3

Muchos Gracias, Valencia!  We had a great time.

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Seville, Spain

To celebrate our anniversary, Kevin and I took a short trip to Seville, Spain last weekend.

Gardens of Catalina de Ribera

Gardens of Catalina de Ribera

As the fourth largest city in Spain, Seville is simply beautiful.  Rich in Gothic and Moorish architecture, tasty tapas, flamenco and bullfighting, Seville offers up a truly Spanish experience.  Here are some of the sights…

Metropol Parasol

Metropol Parasol in Plaza de la Encarnación

Euro 2012

Euro 2012 – Spain v France

Being in Seville for the Euro 2012 Spain v France Football Match was a real treat.  Hundreds of fans flocked to the Metropol Parasol (a huge, mushroom-like, wooden structure) in Plaza de la Encarnación to watch their Spanish team defeat France 2-0.  The cheers were endless…

Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral

As one of Seville’s main attractions, the Gothic Seville Cathedral is an impressive architectural feat.  Built on the site of the Great Mosque of the 12th century, it is the third largest cathedral in the world, behind St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

La Giralda - Seville Cathedral

La Giralda – Seville Cathedral

The original mosque’s minaret, La Giralda, converted into a bell tower, was preserved during the cathedral’s construction.  It is a beautiful Moorish structure that offers amazing views of the city from the top.

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Inside the cathedral stands the monumental tomb of Christopher Columbus.  The authenticity of the remains inside the tomb, however, are still up for some serious debate between Spain and the Dominican Republic, despite DNA testing.

With its numerous chapels, a great deal of time can be spent inside the cathedral viewing notable works of art, reliquaries, stained-glass windows, as well as the Gothic altarpiece of the Capilla Mayor (high chapel)—referred to by many as the largest altarpiece in the world.

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Originally designed for the Ibero-American Expo of 1929, the recently refurbished Plaza de España (Spanish Square) is currently home to several government offices, including Seville Town Hall.  This semicircular complex of buildings with brightly tiled sections and ornately decorated bridges was featured in the film Star Wars Episode II:  Attack of the Clones.

Real Alcázar of Seville

Real Alcázar of Seville

The Real Alcázar is a royal residence once used as a military fort by the Moors in the 9th century.   With Spanish, Christian, and Moorish architectural influences, this palace offers a myriad of design elements to stimulate the senses.

Puerta del Leon

Puerta del Leon (The Lion Gate)—Main Entrance to Palace.

Palacio de Don Pedro

Palacio de Don Pedro  (Palace of King Peter I)

The Palacio de Don Pedro was the palace of King Peter I in the mid-1300s and is considered one of the most important Mudéjar style buildings in Spain.  The upper floors currently serve as the official Seville residence of the Spanish royal family.

Patio de la Montería

Patio de la Montería (Hunting Patio/Courtyard)

Alcázar Designs

Design elements of Alcázar

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Baños de Doña María de Padilla

Baños de Doña María de Padilla (Baths of Lady Maria of Padilla)

The Baths of Lady Maria of Padilla are rainwater tanks named after the mistress of King Peter.

Plaza de Toros

Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Bullring)

Matador

All Hail the Matador!

Plaza de Torres

Plaza de Torres – Main Entrance

The Plaza de Toros (full name – Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Cabelleria de Sevilla) is considered the oldest bullring in Spain as well as one of the finest.

Torre del Oro

Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold)

The Torre del Oro (Tower of Gold), located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, served as a watchtower in the 13th century.

Here’s to a great anniversary in hot, sunny, summery Seville.  Muchas Gracias!