Spain Adventures Part 2

The Beautiful City Of Valencia

Did you know that Valencia is the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. We didn’t spend much time in Valencia, but the one night we did was quite eventful. Our tour of thirty lost in the metro and city streets in the midst of Valencias annual Falles festival was priceless. The Valencia Falles festival takes place annually and lasts a few days in March. It is a tradition held in commemoration of St. Joseph. This refers to both celebrations those days as well as the monuments/statues and art work created during that time. Each neighborhood spends one year creating a falla which is a construction as below which is ironically eventually burnt.


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Valencia Falles Festival

The night we were at the Valencia falles festival there was the event in which there was the flower offering, each falla casal (neighborhoods group) takes an offering of flowers to the Virgin Mary at the cathedral. A statue of the Virgin Mary are then covered with all the flowers.

It was simple beautiful watching children and adults dress in beautiful traditional outfits with their flowers parading the streets of Valencia.

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There were even children in strollers dressed taking flowers to the Virgin Mary statue. What truly stuck with me the most during this experience was to watch the unity amongst the crowd. The dedication and celebration communities put into this event annually was priceless.

Alhambra Palace In Grenada

The main attraction of Grenada was the palaces of The Alhambra. It is one of the main tourist attractions exhibiting the countries Islamic architecture.

Completed towards the end of Muslim rule of Spain, the Alhambra represents Moorish rule.  What intrigued me the most was the integration of structures and gardens from Jewish, Muslim and Christian influence all in one.

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One of the masterpieces that shows creativity and symbolism was as below The Patio de los Leones- Court of the lions symbolizes strength and power. This is just one piece of art in the midst of hundreds and thousands I witnessed that day. It was a spiritual experience. It was as if I was walking through centuries before watching the transformations and evolution of religion, history and art.

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Off to Seville we go….

Our experience in Seville Spain

Seville was absolutely my favorite city of all. The narrow streets, Plaza de Espana and the third largest cathedral IN THE WORLD (The Seville Cathedral) stole my heart. Before I get into the beauty of the city, let me share with you the Flamenco dancing! What a workout that is! Not that I danced the flamenco ;), but just watching the men and women persistently stomping their feet, I realized how much energy it consumed. The bright dresses, and strumming guitars take you to a place of true Spanish history. With that said, I learned that flamenco started with the gypsies in India and worked its way to Eastern Europe and then to Spain…The energy and persistence in this dance was exceptional! Ole!

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Plaza De Espana Sevilla Interesting Facts:

The magnificence of Plaza De Espana is something I will carry with me forever. This plaza reminded me a lot of Piazza San Marco in Venice. People were taking pictures in every corner. The architecture was flawless and the crowd powerful. But what intrigued me the most was its tranquility.

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An interesting fact of plaza de espana  sevilla that i learned is that a few movies were filmed at this location….Has anyone seen Lawrence of Arabia,  Star Wars trilogy and the Dictator?!

Next fun fact…the Cathedral of Seville is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third largest church in the world!

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In the cathedral you will find Christopher Columbus’s Tomb…Interestingly its unclear where all his remains are. You must ask why?  It was first said that he was placed at Seville but by the will of his son he was transferred to Santo Domingo, but when France took over the entire island his remains were then transferred to Havana, Cuba. When Cuba became independent the remains were then moved back to its original spot in Spain, to the Cathedral of Seville.

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Madrid

Off to Madrid we go. The capital, the largest city of Spain, the third largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin, the city of fashion and the city of Museum Del Prado. What stood out to me the most was the mix of modern and middle age architecture.

Thing To Do In Madrid Spain:

Museo Del Prado was my second favorite museum that I’ve been to after the Louvre in Paris.

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The works of Goya, Velasquez, Greco and many more masterpieces are what occupy the walls of the Museo Del Prado. Of the paintings that I saw that day one stood out to me the most. This painting is called Las Meninas.It is a piece by Diego Velasquez (A well known Spanish artist).

Las Meninas, Kingston Lacy

As you see, the painting shows a large room in three dimension. The main character, the little girl in the middle is the daughter of King Philip IV. Just behind her you see the painter. That is where Velázquez portrays himself. If you notice the mirror in the back you see a reflection of the King and Queen. There are numerous details and thoughts that have been put into this gem. This painting portrays illusion and dimensional art. I can write pages about the background of this master work. It is one of the most studied art pieces out there, but I will leave that to those who are interested to continue to read more about it at their leisure. When asked by Velasquez what the meaning is to this, he said  “the art of painting”.

There you have it, highlights of Spain in a nutshell.

Here is a picture of me standing at the geographical center of Spain at Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

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No matter where you go in the world there is something unique to see, a rare story to hear and facts to learn.

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