Plaza de España, March 2017. I’ve been living and traveling around the world for over fifteen years now, but I’ve never seen anything quite like the incredible Plaza de España in Seville. Situated in the city’s gorgeous Maria Luisa Park, this staggering renaissance/neo-Moorish style structure stands in a league of its own in terms of scale and ballsy grandeur. A semi-circular brick structure with a tower at each end; it stands guard over a five hundred meter canal crossed by four bridges. The entire thing was built especially for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, to showcase Spain’s industry and technology exhibits.
Entrance Gate, April 2017. “Seen one cathedral, seen them all!” I overheard an American tourist say as I strolled through the historical centre in Seville. I’m not sure I agree. I have never been nor will I ever be anything approaching religious. And yet whenever I’m on my travels I always take the time to stop by the local churches, basilicas and cathedrals. I like the quiet more than anything else, the weighty sense of history and the incredible art. I’ve seen a bucket load of churches over the years and I always feel like each new one brings something different. Seville’s Cathedral is an immense old structure; one of the largest Christian churches in the world. The queues that form at this entrance gate can get crazy, winding all the way around the structure and out of sight. I got there on a Saturday morning about half an hour ahead of opening time to find a hundred or so people ahead of me.
Patio de la Monteria, March 2017. Much like The Alhambra in Granada, a great deal of Seville’s tourism revolves around its amazing royal palace. With its architecture dating back to a succession of distinctive eras, it feels like there’s a surprise around every corner, with Moorish (11th to 12th century), Gothic (13th century), Mudejar (14th century) and Renaissance (15th-16th century) sections of the complex. This shot is of the palace’s main courtyard, where King Peter I and his posse used to meet before setting off on local hunting expeditions.
San Telmo Palace, March 2017. What an absolutely gorgeous city Seville is! With its captivating cathedral, mind-boggling Alcázar Palace and astonishingly picturesque Plaza de España, I knew I’d need multiple Top 5 articles to do this place justice. This post puts the city’s three major sights to one side and focuses on my general wanderings over two perfectly sunny days. Architecturally Seville is a real wonder, with Renaissance, Gothic, Arabic and Baroque buildings all mixed together to stunning effect. One of the most impressive structures is San Telmo Palace, which was built in 1682 as an orphanage. Today it’s the presidential headquarters of the Andalucian government.
Birdseye View, March 2017. Finding a place to stay in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar turned out to be much harder than I thought! For the dates of my visit, the town’s only hostel was all booked up and I was met with a perplexing dearth of Airbnb options. That left me with nothing but glitzy five-star type hotels, a huge turn-off for a thrifty no-frills traveller such as myself. But then… praise the lord… up stepped the Spanish town of La Línea de la Concepción to the rescue!!! Located on the eastern side of the bay of Gibraltar in the province of Cádiz, this sleepy little town is nestled right on the edge of the border, earning its nickname The Gateway to Gibraltar. This shot of La Línea was taken from Gibraltar Rock.
Puerta del Perdon, March 2017. Cast your eyes over any Best of Andalucia lists and you’ll see the city of Granada catching most of the plaudits, thanks in part to its stunning Alhambra Palace. But there’s nothing second fiddle about the city of Córdoba and its equally dramatic Mezquita (Great Mosque). Hailed as one of the world’s most impressive examples of Islamic architecture, I arrived from Malaga on the bullet train with great expectations. Located in the city’s beautiful historical centre, I entered the Mezquita through this 14th century Mudéjar gateway with a feeling I was about to see something special.
Kairouan, March 2017. I really have been spoilt here recently in the south of Spain. Camino Del Rey is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen; Ronda has that amazing gorge and Granada boasts The Alhambra. Although ever so slightly in the shadow of its neighbors, Córdoba’s main draw is The Mezquita, the world’s third largest mosque. Rather than suffer a tedious two hour forty-five minute bus journey, I opted for the pricier sixty-minute bullet train from Malaga. Having focused all my pre-trip research on The Mezquita, on arrival I was blown away with how gorgeous the city itself is! This charming street sums up the vibe nicely, a cobbled stretch that runs alongside the walls of the historical centre. Illuminated by the afternoon sun, you can also see The Puerta de Almodovar Gate, the entrance point to the old town.