The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, July 2013. I’ve never really been that bothered about Spanish football. But if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to pick a team, Real Madrid would be the first to go into the NO WAY pile. I could point to the fact that I don’t like their kit much, or voice my disdain for their miserable fans, who routinely boo club legends during games at the slightest provocation. But the real reason I don’t like Real Madrid is Cristiano Ronaldo, a hideous individual for reasons I surely don’t have to go into. In any case I didn’t let any of that stop me from taking a tour of The Bernabeu, one of Spain’s most impressive and historical football stadiums.
Plaza de La Nogalera, July 2016. It would be an understatement to say that the Spanish resort of Torremolinos doesn’t have a great reputation. Disparaged by many as the grottiest of the Costa del Sol towns, I arrived here with staggeringly low expectations. After all, this is a resort that’s picked up unwanted nicknames like Torrid-Molinos and The Armpit Of Spain. Imagine my relief then when I exited the train station out into this sleepy little square. Ok, there was a Dealz pound shop and some tattooed bottom feeders leaning against a lamppost discussing how amazingly pissed they’d got the night before. But other than that the overall vibe seemed rather… pleasant.
Calle Mercurio, June 2016. I’d only been living in the city of Malaga for a few months when I decided to kick off my explorations of southern Spain. With so many of the country’s major highlights lying in wait throughout Andalucia, I decided to begin my wanderings gently with the perhaps unspectacular and often maligned resorts of the Costa del Sol. With Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Marbella all easily accessible on the train from Malaga’s central station, I simply picked one at random and set off! On arrival I took the escalator up to this long main street stuffed with cafes, shops and bars.
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.