Naval Museum, La Spezia, Italy

Day 59, Thursday November 2, 2017

This is the view from the little balcony at the back of our apartment. Take a look at the long stairway covered with grape vines up to the yellow house. Imagine climbing those stairs every day!The view from the balcony in the front of our apartment looking down the hill and…this is looking up the hill.  The town of La Spezia is built on hills and it is the closest bigger town to Cinque Terre. The trains leave frequently for the short trip to the ‘Five lands.’I stayed home today for some much needed rest after our two days of hiking the trails in Cinque Terre. I didn’t accomplish much, photographed my sketches of people on the bus and metro and did our laundry.

I never know how long I will have to draw before a person leaves. I drew the fellow playing the violin standing in front of me on the Milano metro, and had less than a minute before he moved on.Bob went for a long walk today to the Naval Museum by the harbour. He took these great photos of some mast heads. He knows how much I like dragons.More mast heads.They are also known as figureheads.This model of the Santa Maria, the ship that Columbus sailed to North America is about three feet long.

Yesterday’s photos of the netting in the trees shows how olives are harvested. The trees are shaken and the olives drop onto the netting. The strange little machine is how they move the harvest down the mountains and steep hills. It is loaded with olives, and runs on cogs, kind of like a roller coaster for olives!

Cartagena, Spain

Wednesday, November 24, 2015

Cartagena was founded in 223 B.C. and was conquered by the Romans in 209 B.C.  It is just a half hour south of where we are staying.

The Ayuntamiento, or Town Hall of Cartagena is a beautiful marble building on the main street.DSC01301

The Naval Museum nearby was free and an interesting place to visit.  Both of us were impressed with the scale model ships, especially this huge one of an 18th century ship from the Royal Armada.
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This huge anchor was just begging to have its picture taken.DSC01395

The Zulo Sculpture by Victor Ochao is a very powerful memorial to victims of terrorism.  It is over 16 feet tall and weighs over two tons.  Very impressive.DSC01393We sat and had lunch on this bench overlooking the harbour before we continued exploring the city…DSC01411

but not before I took a moment for this photo. FullSizeRender

Part of the afternoon was spent exploring the Museum of the Roman Theatre of Cartagena.  The museum’s entrance is in a building near the Town Hall and is connected by a tunnel to this Roman theatre built in the 1st Century by Emperor Augustus.

Click here to see a video and virtual reality tour of the Theatre and Museum, as well as more information about the archaeological excavation of the theatre.FullSizeRender_2An aerial view shows where the theatre is located in relation to the theatre and gives a good indication of just how large it is.  The tunnel went from the building at the bottom of the picture, under the ruins of the Old Cathedral of Santa María la Vieja  into the theatre.FullSizeRender_4This photo showed what the theatre looked like before excavations were started in 1988.  The arched doorway of the Old Cathedral is visible in the before and after excavation photos. A lot of buildings were built over the seating area of the theatre and all of these were removed as excavations continued.FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_4FullSizeRender_2There are a lot of buildings near the theatre that are under re-construction. It seems that the old façades are being kept but we aren’t sure what will be built behind them.Image-1

Conception Castle is a 12th Century fortress on top of the highest of the five hills in Cartagena. This fortress has been a Roman Temple, a Muslim Citadel , a medieval castle and during the Civil War it held the sirens that warned the city’s population of bombings. We climbed the hill to the Castle and were rewarded with amazing panoramic views of Cartagena,DSC01376 the port…FullSizeRender_3

and the old bull fighting arena. We had parked our car way down there!FullSizeRender_3A young man from the Philippines asked us to take his photo and then he took this one for us, as well as several more of us for himself as a ‘souvenir’. I thought I took lots of pictures but he sure had me beat!  FullSizeRender_5

One of the exhibits inside the fortress were several dioramas with these little animated computer generated figures that walked and interacted with each other.  I found them quite fascinating.FullSizeRender_2

On our way back to the car we pass this building which incorporated a very old building and a very new building.FullSizeRender_2  We saw some interesting graffiti, FullSizeRenderthis statue of of Cristóbal Colón, which is Spanish for Christopher Columbus,FullSizeRender_4and a rather clever sign for a coffee shop.FullSizeRender_3

Seville to Algeciras

Wednesday, November 11

On our way to Algeciras in Southern Spain we stop for a visit to Cadiz. Our faithful iPad GPS has bit of a panic attack as it thinks we are trying to drive into the ocean!  Seems it doesn’t know about this big new bridge yet!imageCadiz juts out into the Bay of Cadiz and is almost entirely surrounded by water.  It also claims to be Europes’s oldest city. Legend says Hercules was its founder but historians credit the Phoenicians with establishing the town in 1100 BC!  Cadiz is also where Christopher Columbus first sailed from to discover America.  We once more find a parking lot almost by accident.  Parking near the old town part of Spanish cities is always difficult because the streets are so narrow that there just isn’t much room for cars.  This abandoned building in the center of town right next to well kept occupied buildings is something we have seen everywhere in Spain.
imageHere is an interesting link to abandoned villages in Spain that are for sale.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576711/Buy-ghost-village-50-000-Thousands-abandoned-Spanish-hamlets-sale-price-London-garage.html

The 2008 economic crash was a major factor in so many buildings being empty and/or abandoned in Spain.

We visit an old fortress that now houses several art studios and exhibit spaces.imageI quite liked this fellow.imageIt was a lovely day and we wanted to enjoy the sunshine so we wandered the streets instead of visiting another cathedral or museum.  This gull kindly posed for me with the Cadiz Cathedral in the background.imageThe fish market is always an interesting place to visit. Being born and raised in Alberta far from the ocean, I have no idea how one cooks, or eats most of the fish we see, but I think more fish is eaten here than beef, chicken or pork.image

We stop for tea at a little Pastelaria and sit with a view of this lovely pink building with this balcony and its pink flowers. I love just watching people as we sit and relax for a bit.image

The streets in the old town are very narrow, and we manage to get a bit lost looking for the Torre Tavira which was the city’s watchtower in the 18th century.  It has been converted into a camera obscura and I wanted to see that.  By the time we found it we realized we as didn’t have time to see it as the next tour was in an hour, and lasted forty five minutes.  We need to be on the road again before then, so reluctantly I leave without getting to see the camera obscura I was so curious about.  If you are curious too, check out the information here.    http://bhamobscura.com/2014/12/inspirational-obscura-torre-de-tavira-torre-tavira/image

We walk out towards the fortress on this long causeway but don’t have time to visit it either. It is time to head back to the car and continue on to Algeciras and our next apartment.

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Thursday, November 12 Algeciras

We have a quiet day today, do some laundry and relax in our new apartment.  We have a penthouse on the seventh floor, with views of the mountains from the balcony on the west side and we can see Gibraltar from the balcony on the East side of the apartment!  It is pretty spectacular.image image

 

Seville Cathedral and La Giralda

Friday November 6

The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, the third largest Church in the world and has the largest, richest alter in the world! The sculpture in the courtyard is the bronze weathervane (giraldillo) portraying Faith that used to be on top of the tower, and from which the tower gets its name.  A replica replaces it on top of the tower.imageJust inside the door is an arial picture of the Cathedral which gives an idea of its immense size, and we are going to visit all of it!
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This link has some great pictures and easy to read information on the Cathedral.  Take a look, I think it is quite interesting (and it saves me lots of writing!)    http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/seville-cathedral

We enter the Cathedral and simply stand in awe.  It is hard to describe the feeling we have being in such a place.  The light is wonderful as there are three rows of stained glass windows, and the sun streams in casting jewels of colour over the immense stone columns. Interestingly I think that black and white photos capture the feeling of being in the Cathedral better than coloured photos.

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The organ here is enormous, perhaps the biggest we have seen and there are two parts to it, across from each other in the choir. These two pictures show the organ from the left and the right, this set up means that the pipes are visible on the front and back of each part of the organ.

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Here is one of the many beautiful stained glass windows.  I believe this one was from 1479.

imageThe Chapter House dome is elliptical and was built in the 1500’s.  It is perhaps the first elliptical dome ever built and I thought it was particularly beautiful.imageI read that the cathedral has 80 chapels, in which 500 masses were said daily in 1896. The altar is quite unbelievable.  It is carved in wood, covered in gold, and is 20 meters tall with 45 carved, polychromed biblical scenes.

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Christopher Columbus has a tomb here although other places also claim to have his remains. DNA testing is being carried out to determine if it is indeed Christopher Columbus who is interred here.

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Next we climb La Giralda, the belltower, which has 35 ramps which are wide enough so that two guards on horseback were able to climb to the top of the tower.  This link has more info on the Tower if you are interested

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/spain/seville-giralda

The views from the belltower make the climb very worthwhile. I have decided I like Belltowers very much.image image imageAfter our visit we make our way back to the tram to take us home.  The ice cream is displayed very attractively, we decide we will have to try some tomorrow.  I found a place that has sorbet, all natural ingredients, and no milk!imageOne last view of the tower.  The top level with the bells is where we stood.image