“Pic of the Week”, November 10, 2017: Las Teresas Tapas Bar, Sevilla, Spain

05 An Evening walk in Santa Cruz, Seville (109)

While exploring the winding alleys and lanes in Seville’s old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz, one of the people showing us around suggested we stop for a snack at a small tapas bar.  We were all game because it looked like an interesting place.

Founded in 1870, Las Teresas has been run by the same family for almost a century.  Las Teresas is what a typical, traditional tapas bar feels like and I was charmed by it.  There are, of course, a number of Iberian hams (jamón) hanging from the ceiling.  I loved the old feel to the place and how the walls were plastered with memorabilia.  The food we tried was extremely good.  The service was friendly and the clientele …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 13, 2017: Christopher Columbus’ tomb, Seville

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One of the most popular attractions within Seville’s fabulous Cathedral is this unusual tomb, constructed in honor of famous resident, Christopher Columbus.  The great 15th century explorer, widely celebrated for his successes, died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from 1892, with statues of four royal bearers carrying the suspended tomb.

Columbus traveled far in life but likely even further in death. Posthumously his remains have journeyed from Northwestern Spain to Seville, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, the USA and finally back to Seville. With all that travel, one might begin to wonder if this is indeed the remains of Christopher Columbus, but recent DNA tests were pretty convincing that this tomb does hold Columbus remains.

(Click on thumbnails …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 29, 2017: Hot Chocolate and Churros at Chocolateria San Gines

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A very popular snack in Madrid, especially for those nursing a hangover or having developed hunger pangs while waiting for a typical late 11 pm dinner, is the classic combination of hot chocolate with churros (a churro is a Spanish fried dough treat much like a donut).  Arguably the best hot chocolate and churros in Madrid is found at Chocolateria San Gines, just off the Calle Arenal pedestrian zone of Puerta del Sol in Central Madrid. 

Chocolatería San Ginés has been around since 1894, and it looks about the same as it must have on its opening day more than a century ago.   The walls are lined with photos of local celebrities and even a few you might recognize.

You’ll be served cups …

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La Boqueria: Barcelona’s fabulous Food Market

01 La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

One of the finest food markets I’ve ever visited, and supposedly one of the best in the world, is the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, usually just called “La Boqueria It’s one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist spots — so much so that group tours are no longer allowed inside.  You, the independent traveler, are welcome!  The market is just off the popular pedestrian mall, La Rambla, not far from Barcelona’s opera house. A iron gate frames your entrance to the very diverse and fresh selection of food items within.

The first mention of the Boqueria market dates to 1217, when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. From December 1470, a pig market was …

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Escoles de la Sagrada Família (Sagrada Familia School)

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Situated beside and overshadowed by the vast and magnificent La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona is a small schoolhouse built more than a century ago.

The Sagrada Família Schools (Escoles de la Sagrada Família) building was constructed in 1909 by Barcelona’s favorite son, architect Antoni Gaudí.  The school was made for the children of workers building the cathedral, although other children from the neighborhood also attended.  When construction of La Sagrada Familia cathedral began, it was at the outer edge of Barcelona making it hard for the worker’s children to walk to school — hence, Gaudi’s motivation to built the school near that cathedral during its first phases of construction, as you can see from these photos in this …

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The Roman Bridge, Córdoba, Spain

05 Roman Bridge, Cordoba

The Roman bridge is in the historic center of this Andalusian city in southern Spain, very close to the fascinating Mezquita (mosque that has been converted to a cathedral).  The Romans built a bridge across the Guadalquivir river in the 1st century BC, possibly replacing a wooden structure that previously spanned the river.  The Via Augusta, a road which connected Rome to Cádiz, likely passed through here.   The bridge was long admired for its beauty and solid construction.

The bridge has undergone a number of reconstructions and today likely bears only minimal resemblance to the one the Romans built.  After Moorish reconstruction, the bridge we visit today has 16 arcades, one less than original bridge, with a total length of 247 …

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Barcelona’s Santa Catarina Market

13 Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona

Situated in the El Born region of Barcelona, close to the Picasso Museum, Santa Caterina is one of the finest markets in Barcelona.  Built on the ruins of an old monastery, the market opened in 1848.  The market was constructed on the former site of the convent of Santa Caterina (from which it derived its name).  It has served its working class neighborhood for more than 150 years.

Santa Caterina market has recently undergone modernization and extensive renovation, completed in 2005 (while preserving the old walls of the market).  This is most evident in its brightly colored wavy Modernista roof, which consists of 325,000 ceramic pieces in dozens of colors intended to be coordinated with the produce sold under it.  The …

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Palau Güell, Barcelona

Palau Guell, Barcelona 04-2016 (86)

Palau Güell is a mansion designed by Barcelona’s favorite son, the highly imaginative architect, Antoni Gaudí, for tycoon Eusebi Güell.  It was to be the first of their collaborations.  The home was built between 1886 and 1888 and is in the El Raval neighborhood, near the popular pedestrian mall, la Rambla.  It’s part of Barcelona’s “Works of Antoni Gaudi” UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The building was refurbished in 2011 and is fresh and beautiful throughout.

Palau Güell was the first important commission Antoni Gaudí received as a young architect.  Mr. Güell (a wealthy industrialist and patron of the arts) asked Gaudí to build him a unique urban home.  The result is Palau Güell, a great example of Art …

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