Spain, Toledo – Trip for Romance VI
On my road from Cádiz to Toledo, I spent couple of days in Lisbon. I think I really deserve some comfort and a shower. Thus, I would live in a hostel this time.
I was excited about Lisbon. Two beautiful bridges, a fortress on a hill, the main street Rua Augusta and vast square with a memorial. Those beautiful ancient trams… I take pictures like crazy. I cant get enough of this all even on the following day. I fell in love with the city instantly. I even start to understand some Portuguese.
I set off to city exit to the north along the coastline. I travel by local public transportation. It goes below beautiful red bridge to royal palace. I hitchhike up to Sintra. The town is home to beautiful Castillo de Pena where I spend a whole day. I didn’t know something so beautiful could be there. Then I travel additional 30 kilometers to the north where I unpack my tent on beautiful beaches for surfers.
In the morning, I headed to Madridu yet before actually getting there I planned to turn to Toledo. I asked a man from Madrid on a gas station. We traveled 400 kilometers together. He wouldn’t even stop me but when I directly asked him he would have felt unpleasant to say no. I stepped off at a turn to Toledo. There a Spanish doctor stopped for me.
Finally we reached fabulous Toledo. My mind is only about the story of Die Jüdin von Toledo by Lion Feuchtwanger. It is a story of King Alfonzo VIII who fell in love with Jewish girl Rachel despite the fact he was already married with Leonor.
History was preserved here in Toledo. Philip II made Madrid the capital instead of Toledo in 1561. The time stopped there. Phillip wanted to get rid of the city constantly reminding him of the Moors. So Toledo slept like Sleeping Beuty. The one who approaches the city with love and understanding would see the city like it was then…
Arabic way of fortification was splendid as the walls of Toledo make apparent. Originally built on the Visigoth foundations they evidence the city was built on a strategy-wise perfect place as it is on a rock with river flowing on three of its sides. First, the Romans lived there. They built the Toletum fortress. In the second half of the 5th century, the Visigoths who came from Germania conquered almost all of Spain. Toletum became the center to culture with its many monasteries and libraries. During the Arabic rule after the year 712 many Goth churches and monasteries were demolished or transformed to mosques. The Arabs called the city Talaitola and it was the residence of emir, a high official serving under caliph. The city became the center of Islamic education.
400 years later under the rule of Alfonzo VI the Brave the territory became again Catholic and free. However, Moor influence was still strong but the Christians were constantly demolishing mosques and building churches. The Arabic language was still common and many Christians have Moor as well as Viziogoth, Iberic, Celtic or Roman blood in them. Their traditions merged to what we call today their traditional way of life.
To be continued...
Text and photo: Sylvie Halouzková
In the last part, we have just got a glimpse of Avila,a home to 60 thousand people. Today we will continue on our trip and see some more of city's interesting sites.
I visited the Catalonian capital with my family for a week in the time of Christmas holidays. I like to learn about culture of the country I spend my time in so I spent lot of time wandering in the streets, in parks or had breakfast in back-alley cafes with locals. I enjoyed hours-long dinners having great tapas and even better wine. I tried to met as new people as possible. True, only disadvantage was that I didn’t speak Spanish or Catalonian.
Whether you are lured by noisy streets of Sevilla, rhythm of flamenco and Sevillans, mystery of Cordoba, charm of Cadiz, or beauty of Granada with the Sierra Nevada in the background. You simply can’t let this slip away...
From old fortress of San Servando I look deep down to a canyon between the rocks where the Tajo River flows. I admire the vista from the rock surrounded with the wall.
I walk in the park around Museum Prado. It is the temple of the art. Yet even the greatest of the art enthusiasts would get tired after couple of hours.
On this very day we take you to the Spanish island of Mallorca situated in the western regions of the Mediterranean Sea. It belong to the Balearic Islands autonomous region. As it is winter now, the beginning of the year is the best time to plan a summer vacation. The following lines should introduce you to this amazing, shiny island.
Cuenca offers a beautiful view, overlooking the gorge of the river Huecar. The location of the city has the result of a specific architecture in the form of hanging houses rise on steep rocks.
Today, we visit the Spanish city of Salamanca, located in the Autonomous Community of Castile-Leon. Since 1988, the historic center of the city is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and after reading the following lines you will understand why it is so. You will feel as if you are walking in some huge historical open-air museum.
After our last week's first taste of this amazing city we continue and take you to to some sacras structures and local museums. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
In the west of Spain, close to the borders with Portugal, there is the town of Merida, a city of amazin excavations which are protected by the UNESCO. Merida offers some of the most preserved pieces of Roman architecture.
We will spend the first October Friday in Merida again, where we will visit some of the other ancient sights, such as the Roman amphitheater with a huge auditorium for 15,000 spectators, who were also watching gladiatorial matches. The amphitheater was so vast that there were also naval battles in it, because the stage could be flooded and the ships were let off by a gate.
Today we take you back to the Asturian town of Oviedo.
In narrow streets of historical center in Barcelona is really easy to get lost. However, you can be sure that you would always end up at some cathedral or, at least, small shrine. They are hard to see from distance, they just suddenly pop up in front of you. On the other hand, famous Sagrada Família is easy to see from distance.
Having 512 meters, Tibidabo is the highest summit of the Serra de Collserola. Therefore, you should miss it if you want to enjoy one of the best vistas over Barcelona. Tibidabo is on city’s northwest. You can easily distinguish it for its white temple on the top.
Coimbra City used to be more than a century, at a time when the Portuguese fought for the rights of the Arabs in the territory, the Portuguese capital (1143-1255). Since the year 1290 there is still work to university - we will not - you count the break, which, together with the status of the capital was moved to Lisbon.
Fátima - Mecca of all Catholics, and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites around the world. It is located in central Portugal, about 120 km from Lisbon. There is a place, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three children, and prophesied many later events.
Spain’s second largest city, the center of Catalonia, popular destination of digital nomads, and mostly the place from where you bring countless great experiences. Barcelona is very kind to any type of traveler and you can visit it in any season.
My trip to sunny Andalusia, rhythm of unbounded and wild guitarist Paca de Lucía, flamenco dancers, people of Sevilla goes on and this time it takes place in marvellous Granada.
I believe I will visit Granada one more time at some point in the future. Yet now I head to Málaga and Córdoba.
Cordoba was the richest city of the West and the center of Islamic culture. First emirs resided in Seville. In the sixth year of Arab occupation (716) Emir Alhor moved his court to Cordoba. The ruled as deputies of the caliph of Damask. They were military warlords subordinated to the might of the House of Umayyad.
It is time to move on in the direction to Cádiz. Everybody recommended me to see it. So why not?
«I believe in eternity», said the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson when proclaimed to see the genius of Greece, Italy and Spain. Without any doubt, Emerson knew Granada or, at least, he had a feeling of how it would be like.
The visitor will feel at home in the Patio de los Leones whose fountain, surrounded by a slim gallery of 124 columns, provides a humane architectonic space put to the service of men, in a miraculous mixture of geometry, light and rhythm.
Welcome to our series dedicated to the fascinating Spanish city of Barcelona, which about we will be following three parts. In them you will know that it is a city that you should see at least once in your life.
In the second part about the beautiful city on the Mediterranean coast you can find out more about the beautiful villas that the famous architect Gaudí left here.
In the third part of our series you can learn about other notable references genius of Antonio Gaudi, which are the Sagrada Família and Parc Güell.
This rich city boasts with more than just architecture of brilliant Antonio Gaudí. In today’s part we will visit local aquarium and Barcelona coast promenade where are berthed historical ships and other interesting things.
We bring you the last part of our series on sunny a shinning Barcelona. The trip will end on Montjuïc.
This small article is dedicted to Spain, better to say to the whole Pyrenee Peninsula (even Portugal will not be forgotten). I try to describe the places, which I had to make acquintance with during my stay in Spain. Nevertheless, it would be useful to say a few words about Spain in general.
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Photo: Maxim Kucer, Jakub Štantejský
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