United States Travel
- 2023 Breweries
- 2022 Breweries
- 2021 Breweries
- 2020 Breweries
- 2019 Breweries
- 2018 Breweries
- 2017 Breweries
- 2016 Breweries
- 2015 Breweries
- 2014 Breweries
- 2013 Breweries
- 2012 Breweries
- 2011 Breweries
- 2010 Breweries
- 2009 Breweries
- 2008 Breweries
- 2007 Breweries
- 2006 Breweries
- 2005 Breweries
- 2004 Breweries
- 2003 Breweries
- 2002 Breweries
28 - 30 March 2017
We returned to the car the next morning and drove to Obidos, a medieval mountain top village with extensive defensive walls and fortifications, many tourists, and cherry cordial liquor. The left photo just below shows the main entrance to the town, with a neat balcony greeting overlook. Check out the "flat" tree to the right.
A mead-like drink, left, and the cherry cordial on the right.
On now Lisbon...to the left, another "furnicular" or lift device to avoid the climb to the top of the city (to the backside is an extended platform reaching back to higher elevations) -- we walked the hills. To the right, King José I.
At the bay, downtown Lisbon.
We visited the wine promoting "union"'s tasting room. They have wine dispensing machines which pour out wine tasting sized portions. We were issued a card, had 5 Euro loaded on it, and were able to sample 4 each, different wines from around Portugal. The video below shows how it's done.
Rua Augusta Arch, downtown Lisbon. More nice sidewalk mosaic.
Bachlaau, or salted cod - since the waters off Portugal have been fished out, it is now imported. Still popular and traditional, a national food of Portugal. Puts off a good aroma at this distance.
In 1755, a massive earthquake occurred centered 120 miles out in the Atlantic, Southwest of Portugal, registering around Richter 8.5-9.0, and striking on a Sunday morning, All Saints Day (1 Nov). Many thousands died, including large numbers gathered in churches. Wiki: "As the first earthquake studied scientifically for its effects over a large area, it led to the birth of modern seismology and earthquake engineering." Below is the Church of São Domingos, built in 17th century - the reddish areas were replaced structure post earthquake.
Memorial placement in remembrance of the sad event of Jews massacred on the square in 1506, related to Spain's Inquisition.
"Waving" mosaic. Has a real three-dimensional look to it - optical illusion of raised pavers next to lowered - it's all totally flat though.
Lisbon custard mini pie tart (Pastel de Nata) and a fish patty-like thing with the dried cod. Super-bock and craft beers.
The next day - views of the old streets of Lisbon.
We found an off-the-beaten path lunch place just opening for the day. It was a real cozy little place where we had direct contact with the proprietors preparing the food in the same small room. By the end they were pulling out bottles of this and that to entertain us. The bowl with spoon is octopus salad - very fresh and tasty.
An overlook from the heights - neat tiled guide map - there was a whole lot more city rising behind us.
Street performer - how does he do this? Even our little digital camera has a good enough zoom where we were far enough not to be hassled for a tip - ok, that's a bit underhanded, but we were giving plenty of loose change to the music performers.
What can you eat for 18.70 Euro - roasted chicken and octopus rice. Another cozy place, although bigger than that at lunch, but also having interesting mannered people working it. One guy kept the floor service to about 25-30 diners running smooth, another ran both the bar and grilled food right in the restaurant with a "turbo" range fan (super quiet), and a woman plated all the food and managed the soup stocks, salad prep, and fryer. The service time was about the fastest you can experience anywhere (unusual for these parts).
The next day we took public transportation out to the Tower of Belém - defensive formation guarding the harbor access from the Atlantic.
War memorial honoring recent combatants. Many names on the wall were from colonial fighting, which ended in 1974, when the country decided it was no longer worth maintaining a far flung empire and just walked away.
Metal sculpture commemorating Portugal's crossing of the Atlantic, over to Brazil, in 1922. With stops along the way. Tim liked the intricate detail put into this monument.
Monument to the Discoveries, constructed for the 1940 World Expo. Leading the front is Prince Henry the Navigator, supported by Vasco de Gamma and Magellan.
The Jerónimos Monastery, built 1501-1601.
As part of the monastery, the Church of Santa Maria.
Tomb of Vasco da Gama (1428 - 1524). He succeeded in finding a route by sea to India where Columbus failed, sailing around Africa and across the Indian Ocean.
Back to the same dinner place as last night. Tim ate the whole chicken this time, vice ordering just half. And Gerri got her whole fish again.
26 - 28 March 2017
Here we are in Alcobaca Portugal at the Conímbriga ruins a village occupied by Roman troops in 139 BC. Excavations presented floor mosiacs, building foundations, a some partially rebuilt study formations.
The tour began with roughly excavated and hard-to-image building sites, but ended with their "crown jewels" of floor mosaics, and colorful masonry, of what they thought to be the palace of a nobleman's family.
Onward to see Montemor-O-Velho Castle. We really liked this place as it was presented "as is" - no crowds, no touristic come-ons - just drive on up, park for free, walk in for free, roam at will within.
And we needed some vittles before arriving in Nazare. In some forgotten village (at least as we write this, we've forgotten it's name), Gerri found a promising restaurant on Trip Advisor. We walked in, Tim thinks "well this is a dump isn't it, there's even a bathroom stall in the middle of the restaurant (turned out to just be a wash basin)", dirty stained table covers, very local dive looking, Gerri thinks "this is where we will dine like locals and find a gem" -- no surprises here, Gerri is right another time, we had some spectacularly good food. Tim played it safe with chicken, but found it better than any chicken you might find, along with fresh fries, good rice, and tasty salad. Gerri found her favorite grilled fish with the head, done to perfection. Note the olive pits, already eaten, and savory. Tim had to drink most of that wine, as Gerri had to drive. Gerri finished off with a cappuccino. Our bill was presented as 12 Euro - hmmm, can this be right? We didn't hang around that long to check. The kitchen ladies came out towards the end for their afternoon meal before the big crowds arrived (8-10 tables), and Gerri gestured to them how good it was. Tim now refers to them as the "babushkas".
We stopped at Praia do Norte, on the cliffs over hanging Nazare to check out the scene. Internationally famous surfers come here, infrequently, when the wave get humongous - maybe once, twice, or thrice in a good season. The world's largest waves ever ridden happen here - 75 feet a few years back, and since, one pending further analysis maybe at 100 feet. An off shore deepwater canyon abruptly ends just off the cliffs, and the waves, under the right conditions, get large.
Then we ended the evening, after what seemed like a 90 minute quest for food, at a cozy place, and ate grilled octopus, potatoes, and veggies, with more Portuguese wine.
We would stay two nights in Nazare, and in between we drove out to Batalha to see it's Monastery. It's called unfinished, as monies were diverted at the end to fund Portuguese voyages around the globe. They began in 1386 and stopped in 1517.
A bonus we happened upon was a changing of the guards for Portugal's World War I Tomb of the Unknowns. The soldiers, commanded by a woman (out of photo), marched with pronounced strides and stamping feet.
An unfinished part - no roof!
After lunch we came back through Alcobaca to visit the Monastery of Santa Maria (began 1178, finished 1252).
To the left is the monastery's kitchen, with massive chimneys, and water provided via a partial river diversion, directly to the kitchen. To the right are the tombs of King Pedro I and his mistress, Inês de Castro (14th century deaths). She was beheaded by the King's father, as he didn't really like her (and for political reasons). They're arranged, symbolically, so that come judgement day, and they arise from their grave, they will be facing each other and be the first persons they see.
And then back to Nazraré to check out the beach scene. Their big season doesn't really start till towards May, with warmer weather. The wavy sidewalk mosaic was amazing.
The left photo shows some 20th century (new huh) lifeboats. The boat in the foreground was used to rescue a U-boat crew during World War II. The right photo photo shows fish drying racks.
The beach is really large - 20 year-old's fill it up during the summer season, many staying the summer jammed in tiny apartments.
25 March 2017
This city had a neat walking tour through old buildings/narrow passageways. Its big claim to fame was "the University of Coimbra, established 1290, is the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world."
This photo shows Tim not liking the leaden gray sky, or maybe it was something else.
Some new pastries to try. We shouldn't do these things so often, we're not on 6-day holiday, but when the guidebook says try it, we're committed to do it. It actually was more indulging this time, we made a mistake selecting the right one, and I ended up eating a marmalade and coconut by myself before we asked for the right one: pastel de Tentú Gal (roll of puff pastry stuffed with eggs and cream - bigger one in front).
Church of Santa Cruz (founded 1131) - the altar has a pyramidal centerpiece, something we'd not seen before. A lady greeted everyone coming in, asked where we were from, gave us a 2-minute spiel. We left a few coins (a couple Euro) at her donation box.
A stand alone monastery cloister with nice garden, medieval origins. Cloisters, usually part of a church, where the devout, often monks, go to contemplate and pray.
Left photo - a furnicular, this one is like an outside elevator on an inclined track, a great way to avoid climbing the big hill, which we did anyways to work off the pastries. To the right, an urban garden, well cultivated and maintained.
As we made our way to the University, the guidebook told us to find this fraternity house. They are known for pranks, and "borrowing" articles from around town to decoration their yard. See the chunk of plaster hanging next to the balcony on the right - a model of the city; other less bold items like telephones and computer parts hanging from the balcony. Note the graffiti on the wall: McDonalds + G8 (top 8 economic powers) = Death. These students not unlike our rowdy, while socially conscious, college people.
Climbing, climbing, climbing. See the typical, but amazing, mosaic that's emblematic of Portugal. Each element a little square stone, either a black or lighter one.
Finally the tour of the campus. It's actually an organized, pay to get in, walk-around. We saw another ancient library, but photos not allowed - thousands of ancient books, with shelves 12 foot tall arranged on two levels, master carpentry throughout. Below it were student dungeons for mis-behavers (no longer used) - they said students would only be held there up to 6 days.
On the walking tour of greater city. In that tunnel, part of the original city fortress walls, were holes in the ceiling for dumping hot oil on attackers.
23 - 24 March 2017
Snow! Snow!! I kid you not. Crossing over from the Duoro Valley, we climbed for a bit up higher on the way to the coast to Porto. It was high enough, and with a bit of under average temps to see this white stuff in late March in Portugal. The roads where just wet luckily.
Ah, this is better, now in Porto. And then we saw honest to God, Viking Cruise Line boats. The passengers we saw loading looked like they were spending the last of their children's inheritance on one last fling. We checked the pricing - $4,000 per person, double occupancy, for a 15-day cruise up the Duoro River valley. We'll stick with Carnival Cruise Lines for our future cruises.
In the morning we crossed over this bridge and wandered our way to a Port tasting - quite a tough climb up, down, and around.
Here is another port tasting - shot sized amounts put in chocolate cups. Yeah, yeah, you eat the chocolate at completion. 1 Euro.
A big bridge designed by the Eiffel guy of Eiffel Tower fame. A wider view is in the first photo.
We found a cozy little restaurant near to our apartment, with a waiter/manager who spoke English really well, who treated every customer like a long time friend. The ceiling panes had melted bee's wax on the back-side creating a doppled effect.
More sights in Porto - the train station, and Liberty Square.
We found the market - like Cleveland's Westside Market, but seriously in need of maintenance. It was busy though, with lots of shops. We tried some egg custard pastry, unbelievably good, and guess what, more Port and some wine tasting.
City streets of Porto. Architectural views that would make a great jigsaw puzzle scene.
Crossing Eiffel's bridge. Commuter trains cross the middle. There's a hanging lower deck below just for cars, and walkers as well. Look carefully for the boats moored along the river side - many Port cellars had traditional barrel carrying boats with their logo on the sides - they appeared to be moored there permanently, except for maybe special occasion festival events, we supposed.
Up on the hills past the moored boats were many Port cellars (they called them caves actually), with aging Ports - 5-10-15-20 years. Some of the barrels were upwards of 75 years in use.
One last Port tasting on the left, and then pizza at the ground floor of our apartment - with fresh arugula which we learned is called Rocket Salad. And the Budweiser of Portugal, Super Bock - super nasty if you let it get warm.
View from our apartment. We could watch sea birds and pigeons winging it just past this window at all times.
21 - 22 March 2017
We arrived to Portugal's version of "Napa Valley" to an actual full-up Bed & Breakfast. Port Wine (a fortified wine, higher alcohol content than regular wine, 17-19% versus 12-14%, more or less) is Portugal's claim to wine fame. The right photo is the view out from our room. It's early spring so the vineyard fields are still in winter-mode.
Our lodging hosts gave us an itinerary to follow the next day for touring the valley. We started with a boat tour on traditional boats, now adapted for sight-seeing. The original boats were used to carry barrels of port wine downriver (about 40-60 miles depending on the winery) to the city of Porto on the coast to the west. Quinta is the Portuguese word for winery.
We hoped for blue skies after the overnight rains, and blue skies came through for the boat ride and into some of the afternoon before rains came back. Notice the terracing for the vineyard fields. These reminded us of the terraces in Vietnam for rice.
We had lunch in the same town of the boat ride docks (Pinhão). We were surprised that potatoes were a staple in just about any entree. We never figured out what the green stuff is - some sort of pureed vegetable, and tasty.
We then toured a large winery (Quinta) called Sandeman. We had a British tour guide dressed in the Sandeman styled cloak and hat. After the tour we had a Port tasting in a large room overlooking the river valley.
We finished at a small Quinta, which featured some great tasting Ports as well.
20 - 21 March 2017
Salamanca - the "Cambridge University" town of its era (from 13th Century) - Salamanca University, one of Europe's leading universities for 400 years, its ranking is not as high amongst others in Europe today. The university buildings themselves didn't appear all that special, unless we missed something.
This tower, 15th Century Convent of the Annunciation, was a neat night-time view on the way to our Tapas bars this first evening.
Some photos of our tapas (little plates of bar food). Sardines on bread, olives, chicken fingers to the left. Assorted sandwiches, scallops-fish-pork-cheese/jam, from another tapas bar to the right - all very good.
And then we poked our heads into another pub, as it looked like there were many young people having a good time. Of course Gerri walked right up to a group's table and asked "what are you doing?". They showed her, and provided a sample, of this hard cider with a personal table dispenser. This video shows how it's done. 3 Euro per bottle. The young group were going through several bottles, and we bought them another as well. A very friendly place it was.
More sights at night on the way back to our lodging.
The next day - an interesting cathedral, actually a double cathedral. The old cathedral was left largely intact, built between 12th-14th centuries, and a new cathedral, built 1513-1733, was built around/adjacent/over the old. We visited the central worship area of the new, and then walked through to the preserved worship area of the old. The contrasts of 400 years was very evident, and well preserved/maintained.
The ceiling/columns of the new to the left, and those of the old to the right.
Salamanca's Plaza Major. Built 1729-1755. Oldish and well preserved/conserved. This plaza honors no kings or saints, but instead honors "all the people" depicting writers, artists, heroes, conquistadors.
We came across this graffiti artist's work - we assume it was created just last year with Prince's and David Bowie's passing. Tim joining in with his "air guitar".
Adapted Roman bridge works. Some Roman original structure from over 2,000 years ago, and with new major structure to replace some old into the 18th century. Large floods over the centuries had impacted the bridge.
Onto to Portugal! This is the Eurozone, so the drive through was just like crossing from one U.S. state to another - no border inspections or Visa stamps needed. Also, the great road quality of Spain continued with Portugal. Though, we also noticed less traffic on much of the highways in Portugal - we assumed people here just didn't travel much, with high fuel costs and tollways everywhere.
19 - 20 March 2017
On arrival in El Escorial we found some free parking, but we had a long walk, uphill, for maybe 1 1/2 miles to get to “The Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial”. But much of the walk was through royal hunting grounds with many nice trees.
Finally just about there, just the final push to the summit. Rick Steves: “This 16th-century palace, 30 miles northwest of Madrid, was built at a time when Catholic Spain felt threatened by Protestant “heretics,” and its construction dominated the Spanish economy for a generation (1562-1584).” Again pictures were not allowed inside - but there were lots of sculptures, paintings, tapestries, furnishings, and an ancient looking library.
Here is one shot of just outside the entrance. Yeah, this is one large expenditure to build just a home for two - okay, a palace for a royal family, and all the other supporting cast (princes, princesses, staff, visitor's quarters).
Our view on arrival to Segovia, and from the free dirt parking lot our AirBnB hosts told us to use. The daily multiple workouts continue, as we had to carry our gear (backpacks) up the hill - see the long staircase coming up from the right. It seems 99% of the places to see and visit here are at the top of big hills or mountains - that's the only way back in the day (Dark/Middles Ages) to protect your people from marauders.
We found our apartment not far from the top, with a balcony view of a small plaza. The windows kept the noise to a minimum though.
Segovia's great cathedral called "Segovia Cathedral" - hee hee. This is said to be "from the final over-ripe style of Gothic called Flamboyant". We did notice the many supporting smaller spires we hadn't seen on earlier churches.
To the westside of town, at the highest point, was the Alcazar - fortified palace. This has some real castle looking features, including a moat, and cliff top sides. In 1862 a fire destroyed much of the interior, so much of the ceilings were rebuilt recreations. Much of the space is now a military museum, with a focus on later time's artillery science.
Cool armored riders on armored horses.
Listening to the audio tour - a wand for 3 Euro that speaks English into your ear - just push the button number for whatever location you find yourself.
A view out the side of the "fort" of a small village in the stream valley below.
Suckling pig, Segovia's claim to culinary fame, three weeks from birth to plate. Tim never got around to trying some "how can veal pig be better than Memphis BBQ", and Gerri probably couldn't stand kissing his lips for a month.
The last significant sight of Segovia, a real 2,000 year old Roman built aqueduct, at the time Segovia was a Roman military base. This 9-mile carrier of water functioned until the late-nineteenth century. The aqueduct is the largest and best Roman structure remaining in Spain.
Doesn't it look unreal - like a painted (or digital) backdrop in a movie.
One last Segovia feature "House of a Thousand Beaks". Moorish inspired design work we thought was amazing.
16 - 19 March 2017
The view outside our apartment we will be in for three days. This place wasn't the snazziest - think old New York tenement with fresh paint. But the location was pretty good. Although we had to park the car 25 minutes away in a basement facility - but it seemed very safe and secure.
At the start of our walking tour in Puerto del Sol (Plaza of the Sun) - many tourists here in Madrid's central square.
The bear eating berries off the Madroño tree - symbol of Madrid since medieval times.
Snacking and drinking on the tour. Napolitana pastry (left photo) and Vermouth on tap.
Plaza Mayor - 17th century creation.
A plaza illustration of action during the Spanish Inquisition - execution of a heretic not conforming with Roman Catholic ways.
A lightly fried callamari sandwich - found in many pubs in Madrid. 5 Euro.
A newer market building (circa 1916) Mercado de San Miguel - lots of higher end wine/liquor, foods, trinkets shops with local affluent yuppies and gawking tourists.
The Moorish door is supposed to be the oldest door in Madrid (1480) on Madrid's oldest building. Somehow someway somone kept track of that.
1571, Town Hall, as the handy I-Pad explains.
Tim and Bronze Dude look down upon Roman foundation ruins.
Almudena Cathedral (1893-1993 build). We passed on going inside - too new. But the early evening lighting conditions made for great photos.
Royal Palace, begun 18th century, with later add-ons. A preview for tomorrow's actual tour.
Here we enjoyed the diet special - churros and liquid chocolate. Madrid's response to the New Orlean's Beignet donuts. Hundreds of tourists are cycled through and fed like little piggies. We thought "hot chocolate" meant our version, but this was thick gooey chocolate, and more decadent than a pint of Ben and Jerrie's X10.
Spain's national art museum, Prado Museum - considered one of the most comprehensive and best collections of paintings by European masters - El Greco, Goya, Raphael, Bosch, Ruebens and others. We arrived 40 minutes early so we didn't end up in a 300 foot waiting line to buy tickets. We wandered the galleries for 3 hours with our rented audio tour, and dodged groups of school kids being bored to death by their tour guides and other groups of various nationalities being told who knows what. Even for a couple of engineers like us, there were several recognizable masterpieces and many other such works.
Nearby was Spain's national Navy museum. Dozens of meticulously created ship models, and artifacts (canons, swords, navigational tools, maps (to the right is one of the oldest maps - circa 1500, showing the New World - the green land, with the Old World lightly highlighted on the right hand side)), and paintings.
Sangria pitcher and tapas lunch. More Vermouth with a free tapas.
Time for the tour of the Royal Palace shown earlier. A long winding tour through royal splendor. Pictures not allowed inside for most of it. The 144-guest dining table with full setting was amazing.
And we also stumbled upon an exhibit of M.C. Escher, Dutch, graphic artist extraordinaire. 12 Euro.
Plaza Mayor, again.
Sangria on draft, mussels on the half shell.
On departure from Madrid, we toured what seemed like an endless weekly market, on the way to the parking garage. Lots of things to look at, but we bought nothing knowing that we didn't want to carry extra stuff for another 3 months in our backpacks. In abundance was U.S. themed merchandise.
We stowed our bags in the car, and toured one last art museum in Madrid, which featured a Picasso masterpiece, "Guernica", 1937, shown here in the last photo. Regarded by art critics as one of the most moving anti-war paintings in art history.
Just below, very curious, self-portrait in the year of his death, by auto accident, a premonition creation??
15 - 16 March 2017
Although it was just a short stop off the road between Màlaga and Toledo, Cosuegra has to be one of my favorite places that we visited so far. How cool to be standing next to the windmills that inspired Cervantes while writing Don Quixote. Well, to be fair, these windmills were built post-Cervantes, but it was windmills like these that he wrote about.
When visiting these windmills, i can tell you for sure, this is a great place for windmills....so windy!
Am I tilting at windmills - you be the judge.
We finally got to Toledo, checked into our apartment and went for an evening stroll. Look who we came across...Cervantes!
After a few beers and a few tapas we called it a night.
The next morning we started our day visiting Sinagoga del Tránsito that was built in 1361. Notice that the interior decor looks more like Muslim than Jewish as many of the workers were Moors. The city of Toledo was actually one of the last strongholds where Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived together peacefully until the Inquisition.
Walking around this old Jewish neighborhood there are many signs of its past history:
Toledo was the birthplace of El Greco, a great artist of the Spanish Renaissance. Here we leave the El Greco Museum - photos not generally allowed in art museums, as they want you to pay for images. This right photo below shows where we paid 8 Euro each to see one large painting by El Greco, displayed in a church, and his most famous masterpiece "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz".
And then we stumbled across a tasting pub for a local brewery - we absolutely couldn't pass this up. Compared well with our homeland craft beer.
And now "Mazapan" - an artistic confection made from sugar or honey, and almond meal - a rich and sweet candy - eaten 1 or 2 at a time, and not more. Tim's holding a 6 Euro sampling (about $6 U.S.) and the "strawberry" at 2 Euro.
A neat Moorish doorway. We always like the inset doors, usually twinned, at the lower part.
This clothing store, just outside our apartment unit, was built with glass flooring to expose the Roman ruins re-discovered during modern construction. It's typical that new construction if often layered upon the previous, often very old structure. This was likely backfilled with rocks, soil, "toss-ins", and excavated by archaeologists prior to new construction.
And now time to visit Toledo Cathedral. The guidebook explained: "The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, in the opinion of some authorities, to be the magnum opus of the Gothic style in Spain. It was begun in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in the 15th century when, in 1493, the vaults of the central nave were finished during the time of the Catholic Monarchs (namely Ferdinand and Isabella).
We climbed the tower to the top. Tim thought it was a bit "frighty" as it was claustrophobic spiral stairs at various points and wide open catwalks at other areas. At the top, the big bell was very reminiscent of our Liberty Bell, in which it cracked and the crack grew as it was donged. Even before that, the guidebook explained how they scratched their heads on how to hoist it to the top, until a Navy man signed on with his knowledge and organized a team to make the hoist. The crack at some time later was smoothed out to prevent the bell from completely disintegrating.
This dome (the bright area) was amazing - with sculpture detail attached at the base and seemingly hovering over the viewer below.
Tim standing at the doorway of our Air BnB apartment. And the balcony above with the plants was ours (for 2 days). A very modern dwelling inside of old (18th century?) structure.
The courtyard inside the outside doorway (nearly every residential enclave has similar courtyards).
13 - 14 March 2017
After dropping Hanna off at the bus station, we headed to Córdova (2 hours / 100 km away). We checked into our apartment, and went out for dinner and an evening stroll:
The next morning we woke early. The Mezquita, Córdova's premier attraction, is free to visit between 8:30 and 9:30 AM. When we got there it seemed that other poeple had the same information that we did and were waiting for the place to open at 8:30 AM.
Once inside you really understand why this place is highlighted as a place to visit in Spain. The Mezquita was a 10th century Mosque that was converted into a cathedral in 16th century.
Unlike other mosques that were destroyed and then a cathedral was rebuilt on the same spot, this mosque was left standing and a cathedral was built inside of it. This picture below is of the first cathedral built inside the mosque in 1236. Notice the gothic arches add but the original mosque columns are still standing around it:
The arches look like they go on forever.
The Catholics even left the Mihrab untouched. This is the equivalent of the high alter:
In 1523 a new cathedral was built right in the center of the Mezquita. According to the tour book, “Though it would have been quicker and less expensive for the Christian builders to destroy the mosque entirely, they respected its beauty and built their church into it instead.”
Wow. That place was pretty incredible. We were pretty much pushed out at 9:30 AM which was OK since we had pretty much seen it all. We now have the rest of the day to walk around. Here are some highlights of what we saw during our walk:
Oh, I should mention that another highlight of Códova is the patios in many of the housing. The people of Córdova are very proud of their patios and many houses allow the public to come in and view theirs. Annually they hold a patio competition to determine the best of the best. Here is one patio that traditionally does very well in the competition:
We saw a tapas bar that looked interesting, so we stopped in. We ordered the octopus and the bartender suggested we order the salmorejo, a traditional cold soup made of tomato, olive oli, and bread. It was all pretty good:
We continued on with our walk and found these roman ruins in front of the current city hall. I am a bit suspicious of the authenticity of the columns, but I do believe that ruins were found here and they reconstructed the building.
What town square is complete without a man on a horse:
We finished the walking tour and decided to go back to the apartment. It was Monday and most everything in town is closed today, so we took a siesta before going out for dinner During our siesta I started catching up on this blog and Tim...I don't know what Tim did...surfed the web and watch Spanish TV.
The next morning we did the walking tour of the Jewish Quarter. Check out this really cool statue celebrating the patios of Córdova:
In the Jewish Quarter we came across this statue of Moses Maimonides. The Wikipedia article on him call him "a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages." The tour book said that people rub the statues foot in hopes that Maimonides' genius and wisdom will rub off on them...so, why not give it a shot:
This Synagogue was built in 1236. It may be small, but it has some incredible details in it:
Across from the synagogue was the Casa de Sefarad, a jewish home transformed into a museum telling the history of the Sephardic Jews of Spain. While walking around the museum I noticed a Purim display that had dreidels in it. I told the workers who neither were jewish, that I think the dreidels belong with the Hanukkah display. They both immediately got on Wikipedia to research as we left the museum.
This street is called Calle de los Juldios, Street of the Jews:
Even though we checked out of the apartment, our Airbnb hosts gave us till 1:00 PM to move our car from the parking garage, so after the walk we quickly returned to the car and returned the key to where we stayed the last 2 nights. Here it is:
After leaving Córdova we are headed to Toledo for a 2 night stay. Until then...