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Palermo is an ancient city at least 2,700 years old, Of course it has grown and modernized over the years, but it has an old and gritty quality to it. I was charmed during our rambling to see how many narrow roads and lanes persist. It reminds me of cities that were laid out in medieval times.
Many of the lanes are quite narrow, in places narrow enough that a standard car might have trouble navigating the passage. For that reason alone its worth exploring on foot, where you’ll experience the true personality of the city. Here you’ll discover people’s homes, cafes, small restaurants, and children playing in the road. There aren’t many places like it that I’ve encountered in …
One of the most written about tourist attractions in Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia, Modernitme architect Antoni Gaudi’s last greatest project and perhaps the most unique cathedral in the world. And it is magnificent, as you can see from the photos below.
Instead of sharing details of the church’s unusual architecture and style in this post, I wanted to highlight what was most memorable to me. We visited in the afternoon, and the sunlight was bathing through the windows, especially those facing west. The light coming through the stained glass was as lovely as any I’ve ever seen, and I stop many times to enjoy it’s beauty. Gaudi himself said, “Sunshine is the best painter”.
(Stained Light La Sagrada Familia)
The stained-glass windows …
The walls of Seville surrounded the Old Town portion of the city. The first walls were constructed by the Romans almost two millenia ago. The walls were maintained and updated over the centuries and portions of them still remain, especially around the Alcázar and in the barrio de la Macarena.
This section of the old wall likely dates to the 12th century Moorish period of the city, although it was modified about 200 years ago. It contains one of the city’s few surviving gates.
(Click on thumbnails below to enlarge the photo)
While rambling through the streets of Cordoba we came across this historic Synagogue in the city’s old Jewish neighborhood. It was an unexpected finding, making it all the more enjoyable to visit.
The Cordoba Synagogue is rather small but is said to be one of the best-preserved Medieval synagogues in Spain. It was built between 1314 and 1315 A.D. and was in constant use until the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.
(Main chamber of Cordoba’s Historic Synagogue)
There is no admission fee and you get to see the main hall, a rectangular room decorated with plant motifs and Hebrew inscriptions. A separate woman’s gallery still stands but is not open to the public.
After the Jews left, the building was used as …
Bullfighting remains a popular sport in parts of Spain, especially in Seville. Here you can visit Plaza de Toros, one of the oldest bullrings in the world. The arena’s construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1881; it can hold up to 14,000 spectators, making it competitive with most popular sports.
(Inside of Seville’s bullfighting arena, courtesy Wikimedia and Harlock20)
My wife stopped by the arena late in the day so we didn’t have a chance to do a guided tour, which I think would have been interesting. Besides visiting the inside of the arena (you need to take a tour or see a bullfight to do so), the tour includes a visit to a museum of bullfighting, the chapel where …
Before I visited Brussels I had no idea the city had a love affair with comics. Not so much the DC and Marvel type of superheroes, but comic strips of the type seen 100 years ago.
The most popular character seemed to be TinTin, whose likeness we spotted many times around the city He’s an intrepid reporter who first appeared in 1929. Accompanied by his faithful pouch, Milou, TinTin has adventured around the world.
(TinTin Street art in Brussels)
Brussel has a Comic Arts Museum which we didn’t have time to visit, but I think would be quite interesting to explore. I liked this aspect of Brussels!
Situated in Alexanderplatz, beside the tall Soviet-era TV tower (Fernsehturm), sits a medieval church known as Marienkirche (St. Mary’s church). It’s one of the oldest churches in Berlin and is worth at least a quick visit if you’re in the area.
Construction of Marienkirche began around 1250 A.D. in the then recently established town of Berlin. In the late 14th century it was damaged by fire and rebuilt. Originally a Roman Catholic church, it has been Lutheran since the Protestant Reformation.
The church underwent an extensive overhaul in the 18th century yielding the appearance you visit today. During World War II, Marienkirche was heavily damaged by bombs and was nicely restored in the 1950s by East German authorities.
The King’s Garden — sometimes known as Rosenborg Castle Gardens — was designed in the early 1600s, during the reign of popular Danish King Christian IV. It was created as a private garden for King Christian and adjoins Rosenborg Castle. It’s the oldest Royal Garden in Denmark and is a popular green space in Copenhagen, with about 2.5 million visitors a year most obviously visiting in the summer.
As you might expect, the garden has undergone a number of changes over the years, but its overall design is mostly preserved. Within the park you’ll find a large number of sculptures, including the most famous one of beloved Danish novelist, Hans Christian Andersen.
The oldest sculpture in the garden is ‘The Horse …