Let's start once again?. Spain now there? entered in the heart, after the experience of last year, also for this year our goal will be? the Iberian Peninsula. In 2014, starting from Barcelona we visited, in addition to Barcelona, the cities? of: Montserrat, Zaragoza, Madrid and Valencia, finally, before returning to Barcelona, we stopped for six days in Ametla de Mar, a locality? seaside.
This year, on the other hand, we have gone further. to the south visiting a large part of Andalusia and precisely the cities? of: Granada, Sevilla and Cordoba, as well as returning to Valencia. Furthermore, as an initial stopover we stopped for just one day in Tarragona and finally as a seaside stop we spent seven days in Canet D? En Berenguer in the province of Valencia.
The adventure starts from the port of Civitavecchia on the twenty-nine of July when our ship leaves the port at 22.15, I love to travel slowly, I love to live every moment and contemplate every place I visit, so sailing is also part of the journey for me and observing the land that moves away to then disappear and leave room for an? infinity? of water, excites me. At 18.30 on July 100th we arrive in Barcelona and already? the memories of the previous year begin to flourish again as if it were yesterday, we leave the port, head south and reach Tarragona, located on the coast km from Barcelona, this as I said? a stage? technical? how long having to go to Valencia? it is a must to stop in Tarragona for the night and resume the journey the next day.
The following day, July 24, we decide to visit the Roman Amphitheater and the Cathedral, of course this city? offers much more, but the time available does not? very. We leave the car in the parking lot under the main market of Tarraco (as Tarragona was called in Roman times) and we set off on Rambla Nova, where? positioned a castellers entirely in cast iron that depicts the human castles of Tarragona, groups of a few dozen people forming a castle, a tower towards the sky, placing under the most men? mighty and high up the children, from 24 June to 109 September are held true? own competitions between families from different neighborhoods, (a bit like the Palio di Siena). At the bottom of Rambla Nova c ?? the Balcony of the Mediterranean, so? called as the road ends against a railing, where looking out can you? admire the Mediterranean sea, turning left is the Roman Amphitheater, also overlooking the sea, the oval-shaped building was built in the second century AD part of the stairways were carved directly into the rock, the amphitheater measures 86 for 14.000 meters and has a capacity? of 200 people, gladiator fights were held here in 256 AD, and some public executions were also carried out such as the one that saw Archbishop Fruttuoso and his deacons at the stake in 1184 AD (bad story). We leave the amphitheater and reach the Cathedral of Santa Maria. The construction work began in on the remains of an ancient Christian basilica which, in turn, was built on an Arab mosque of the th century. The church ? It was built in a transitional style from Romanesque to Gothic, has a Latin cross plan with three naves, an octagonal dome rises at the intersection with the transept. The three naves end in as many circular apses. On the main façade there is a beautiful inlaid rose window and the two Romanesque portals from the th century. The door has a statue of the Madonna and Child on the mullioned column. Inside, the fifteenth-century main altarpiece by Pere Johan and the polychrome alabaster sculptures of the Madonna, Santa Tecla and San Paolo are noteworthy. Among the most? beautiful expressions of the Gothic kept in this cathedral there? the Archbishop's Sepulcher located near the main altar, and the fourteenth-century Chapel of Santa Mar? a. In addition to the Cathedral we also visit the diocesan museum where? You can admire the collection of tapestries, woven in Brussels, and the altarpiece by Jaime Huguet.
We leave the Cathedral and with it also Tarragona and continue our journey towards Valencia at 260 Km towards the south, we arrive at our hotel around 18.00 and immediately after the check-in, we go to cool off in the pool (remember that we travel with two girls of 4 and 9 years, they have to be satisfied)
The next morning, August 2014st we start our tour in Valencia, this city? ? been already? our destination last year, we still decided to go back and visit some things left out in 350.000, as well as revisiting the Bioparco and the Citta dell? art and sciences, (the Bioparco, the mega aquarium of the oceanographic and the show of the Dolphins fascinates children, much less myself). We go to the city of? art and science. The complex is located in the old bed of the Turia river and is divided into three thematic areas: Art, Science and Nature, covers a total area of 2 m1996 the construction began in 13.000 thanks to the project of the architects Candela and Calatrava, the latter designed and also designed the nearby bridge, called Ponte di Calatrava even if its real name? Pont de l? Assunt de l? Or, we reach L? Hemisferic, the 2 m900 structure recalls the human eye, we book our show? The mysteries of the universe? and after a quick snack we go inside to enjoy it, the projection takes place on the maxi screen of 2 m24.000, practically the entire spherical ceiling. At the end of the film we move to the science pavilion, a complex of three floors for a total of 2 m110.000 where there are permanent and other temporary exhibitions, a real interactive museum with many experiments in electricity, home automation, kinetic force, force of gravity? etc .. in this complex we really enjoyed ourselves as well as having learned some notions of physics, finally we move to the area that hosts the oceanographic one of the most? Europe's largest aquariums, an open-air park of 2 m40.000. Inside are represented all the different marine habitats of seas and oceans through more? of different species, moreover? there is a dolphinarium where we stop to see the Dolphin show, always for the delight of our children. (I am against) We leave this huge complex at sunset and we just have to reach the hotel.
The following day, August 27 we go to the Biopark this zoological garden? located on the northwestern outskirts of the city. The Biopark? designed referring to the modern principles of zoo-immersion, in order to minimize the visual impact of the barriers that divide visitors from animals, often giving the sensation of being directly in front of the latter, almost as if the visitor enters himself in the habitat of the animal, in various cases, it is also found below the surface of the water and you can observe the aquatic animals through the large windows that delimit the enormous tanks. The Biopark? was inaugurated on February 2008, 31 on the same land where the old zoo stood, closed on July 2007, 4.000, currently houses more? of 250 animals of 100.000 different species of the African continent, covers an area of 2 m14, where various African habitats are reproduced: dry savannah, humid savannah, equatorial forest and Madagascar, in large spaces that reproduce the environment in which every species normally lives. Ed? right in this park that January 2013, 1886? born the first awning of Spain (a mammal belonging to the Taxonomic category). We spend the whole morning at the Bioparco, in the afternoon we reach Plaza de la Reina in the old city center, in the beating heart of Valencia, and after a? Frozen stop? we visit the Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Mary as well as? seat of the archdiocese of Valencia and since 1238 also a minor basilica, it was consecrated in 187.000 by the first bishop of Valencia after the? Reconquista? and was built on the ancient Balansiya mosque, which in turn was built on the site of the ancient Visigothic cathedral. We leave the Cathedral and move to Placa della Vergine where we admire and photograph the Fountain of the Rio Turia. As a last stop of the day we visit the Royal Gardens, a splendid setting for numerous events. This garden hosts many varieties? of flowers and plants, in evidence the Roselada, a huge circular space with hundreds of roses of various colors, a pond with a waterfall and lush trees, of course in addition to Begogne, Cactus, Azaleas, Cypresses Palms etc ... the gardens are embellished with various statues, fountains and services such as playgrounds, with its 2 m? the park pi? big city. After the visit to the Royal Gardens we stop in a room shortly after the Torres de Serrano, an ancient gate supported by two lateral bastions that together with the walls delimited the city, after dinner we return to the hotel.
On the morning of August 500 we leave Valencia to reach the mythical city, 1996 km away. of Granada, the distance? remarkable but the roads in Spain are fantastic so the journey does not weigh us down anymore? from time to time. Granada? surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountain range which in 91? been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO to reach the city? we take the state road A-92 and A-1.407N that climbs up to an altitude of 3.482 msl but the peaks pi? highs of the Sierra Nevada complex go far beyond this altitude, in fact Mount Mulhac? n with its meters? the mountain more? high of the whole Iberian peninsula and second in Europe after the Alps.
We arrive in Granada around 17.30 pm and reach the Inglaterra hotel in the historic center, in front of the hotel is the Cathedral and behind it the famous Arabian quarter Albaicin, after a regenerating shower we go out for dinner and enter the narrow streets of the neighborhood Arabic, the cuisine of Granada as in all of Andalusia? very varied, the dishes are rich in vegetables, salad, tomatoes, leeks, cucumbers, corn, onion, carrots, etc? with these vegetables, for example, pipirrana is prepared where the vegetables are cut into cubes and flavored with oil, vinegar and salt, another typical vegetable-based dish? the gazpacho, in this dish for? the vegetables are pureed I recommend it why? fresh and tasty. In particular in Granada, besides vegetables, you can taste the Sacromonte tortilla, a type of omelette made with sweet bread and meat, the name derives from the mountain that overlooks the Albaicin district; or the typical paella with vegetables, meat or fish-based morisco; beans with ham; the? cazuela de habas? (broad beans with ham); las patatas pobre (a dish of potatoes); and the kid with garlic. We take a meat Paella to share and a salad with huevo ?. In addition to two very fresh cervezas.
On August th, after breakfast we reach the Cathedral of the Incarnation, its dome? decorated with stained glass windows of great beauty, inside we admire sculptures and paintings by Alonso Cano, of particular beauty the painting of the Immaculate Conception, beautiful also the bas-reliefs depicting Faith and Justice. The main facade? baroque. The choir stalls are in the Plateresque style. Shall we leave the Cathedral? we use a tourist train to admire the city? The train runs through part of the center of the? Albaicin, goes around the Alhambra and cuts through the woods below. After the tour, backpacking at 13.00 from Calle Cuesta de Gomerez we enter the large complex of the Alhambra, the whole area measures 100.000 m2, before reaching the upper part we stop in the vegetation for a snack, but more? what food do we continually need to quench our thirst, the over 40 degrees are felt even if the climate? very dry, recover ap? of energies we reach the top? of the Alhambra and we begin our visits from the Palacio de Carlo V, this palace was built by Charles V after his wedding with Elizabeth of Portugal in 1526, the imposing structure has a square plan with a circular courtyard inside, we leave the palace and we continue our visit, the Alhambra being a real? own city? ancient (Medina) autonomous from Granada has, inside it all there? which was used for daily life, schools, mosques, shops, etc. of course now much of that? which was ? it has been adapted to tourism, in fact inside there are shops for shopping and two hotels. Step by step we arrive at the palace and its Generalife gardens, they were built during the reign of Muhammad III (1302-1309) and redecorated by Abu I-Walid Isma 'between 1313 and 1324. The complex ? composed of the Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Garden), which contained a long swimming pool surrounded by flower beds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions, and the Jard? n de la Sultana (Garden of the Sultana or Court of the Cypresses). At first the palace was connected to the Alhambra through a covered walkway that crossed the ravine that divided them. The Generalife garden? one of the most? ancient Moorish gardens surviving. The present-day gardens were started in 1931 and completed by Francisco Prieto Moreno in 1951. The paths are paved in a typical Granada style with a mosaic of pebbles: the white ones come from the Darro river and the black ones from the Genil river. Let's retrace our steps and approach the Palacios Nazaries (National Palaces) the complex? formed by two palaces, the Palacio de Comares and the Palacio de los, the entrance to these palaces? regulated by time slot, our entrance? for 18.00, then we get in line and after a few minutes we enter, immediately after the access staircase is the Mexuar room, one of the most? ancient and was used for important audiences, followed by: Patio del Mexuar or Cuarto Dorado, Patio de la Alberca or de los Arrayanes, Sala de la Barca, Sal? n de Comares o de los Embajadores, Sala de los moc ? rabes, Patio de los Leones, all very beautiful, but describing each individual Patio or room would be too long, very beautiful? also the Fuente de los Leones the latest studies done say that the lions of this fountain come from the house of the Jewish vizier Samuel Ben Nagrela, who regaled it? to the Sultan. The lions are from the th century and represent the Twelve tribes? of Israel, two of the lions, have engraved a triangle on the forehead, indicate the tribes? chosen: that of Judas and that of Levi. The verses of the minister and poet Ibn Zamrāk are inscribed on the perimeter of the basin. Finally we visit the Sala de los Abencerrajes and the Sala de los Reyes, this room occupies the entire eastern side of the courtyard,? called so? for the paintings that decorate the vault of the central apartment,? the room pi? large of the Harem, divided into 3 equal rooms and two more? small which, it is assumed, could have served as cupboards, due to their position and lack of lighting. In the central vault, the paintings represent the first 10 rulers of Granada, since the founding of the sultanate, the one with the red beard is assumed to be Muhammad ibn Nasr, known as al-Ḥamar (the Red), founder of the Nasrid dynasty. On the side vaults of the decorations depict knights and ladies, made at the end of the fourteenth century: during his reign, Peter I of Castile asked the Sultan of Granada for help to restore his castle (the Alc? Tsar of Seville), this port? to a real artistic exchange between the two kingdoms. The pictorial decorations are made with a very complex technique, the armor of the vault was an ellipse made of well brushed wood to make the surface porous, over the concave surface was spread some leather wet with glue and water and then nailed with small nails of tin, to avoid oxidation, finally a coat of plaster, reeds and finally 2 cm of toasted glue painted red was spread over the leather. On this prepared surface one drew with an awl.
The following morning, August 250th, after breakfast we say goodbye to the city? of Granada and reach the splendid Sevilla, located 140 km to the west, and only 20.00 km from the border between Spain and Portugal. After two days of forced and continuous visits, we decide for the joy of our girls to stay in the pool for the whole afternoon and to reach the city center around ? for dinner. (Relax day)
On August th, loaded like Bulls, we reach Plaza de Toros to visit the Maestranza bullring better known as La Maestranza, this bullring? the "P? ancient of all spain and can? contain 12.000 people. Does construction begin? in 1760 when a circular track was obtained on the hill of Baratillo to replace the rectangular bullring. The internal façade of the plaza (called Palco del Pr? Ncipe) was completed in 1765, and it consisted of two parts: the gateway through which the victorious toreros exited, and the Palco itself, which was reserved for the Spanish Royal Family . The entire arena took many years to complete, in fact it was only in 1861 that the Maestranza was completed. We visit the entire building that in addition to the track and the stage of the Prince? formed by the infirmary where the wounded Toreros were brought, the stands, the stables, the corridors and even a chapel. Of course now the arena no longer comes. used for bullfights and since 2008 inside? possible to admire the bullfighting museum where all the glories of there are preserved? that f ?, including all the trophies won by Francisco de Goya, the pi? famous toreros of Andalucia. After the Maestranza we reach the splendid and immense Cathedral of Sevilla this Gothic Cathedral? the "P? largest in the world, and the third largest religious building after St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and St. Paul's Cathedral in London. In 1433 do you start? the demolition of the mosque, and immediately after it begins? to build the current Cathedral of Santa Maria della Sede in Sevilla, completed 75 years later, the construction of this cathedral for? In view of various architectural styles involved, in addition to the Gothic period, in 1528, the Renaissance period, the construction of some dependencies such as the sacristies began, and, the towers were enlarged, from 1618 to 1758, the Baroque period, f? the Rectory of the Sanctuary was built and finally in the Neo-Gothic period some works of the Gothic period were repaired. In addition to the splendor of the Cathedral, we admire the Giralda, which despite its autonomy, exercises the function of the tower and bell tower of the cathedral. Since 1987? heritage of humanity. Each side measures 13,61 meters, and? 104,06 meters high. We just have to go up, having reached the top after 34 flights the view of Sevilla? spectacular, in the construction were used the ramps instead? the steps to give the possibility? to the Muezzin (person in charge of the Mosque) to get to the top on their horses. The Giralda was built based on the appearance of the minaret of the Kutubia mosque of Marrakech in Morocco, although the top closure and the bell tower are in line with the European Renaissance. We stop for a moment for a snack, can we recover a bit? of energy and immediately after we head towards L? Alcazar de Sivilla, Alcazar in Arabic means Palace, in fact this was one of the Royal Palaces of Seville. Many of the modern alc? Tsars were erected on the ruins of those of the Muslims of al-Andalus by the hand of Peter I of Castile (also known as Peter the Cruel) starting in 1364. Muslim workers to build their own Arab-style palace. We enter this spectacular building, very beautiful the Patio de las Doncellas in the center there is a large rectangular pool surrounded by gardens, the name refers to the legend according to which the Muslims of al-Andalus demanded from the Spanish Christian kingdoms, as a tribute, 100 virgins every year. Another very characteristic place of the Alcaza are the "Bagni di Donna Mar? A de Padilla" are rainwater collection chambers located under the Patio del Crucero, these pools took their name from Mar? A de Padilla, wife of Peter I the Cruel. Do you think Peter I fell in love? of Mar? a and who killed her husband, Mar? a for? resisted his advances and threw himself? in the face of boiling oil to disfigure himself and block Peter's intentions. She later became a nun and moved? in a convent, in Seville culture it is seen as a symbol of purity.
Our main goal on the morning of August th? Plaza de Espana, first however, having the car with us, we visit some attractions on the outskirts of the city, we start from the Pavilion of the Navigaciones, located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, this pavilion is part of the Universal Exposition of 92, inside are exhibited several models of boats, from the pi? ancient to the pi? modern, there are also some beautiful interrative games, such as a simulator to steer a ship, in addition to the museum we climb the 65 meter high Belvedere Tower and enjoy the visit to Sevilla. We leave the Expo 92 area and reach the Museum of Modern Art, (which disappointed us) at the end of the visit we move to the east side of the city? and we visit the Aquarium of Sevilla which unlike us? what did we expect? really cute (also s? I would leave the fish free) ?? .. we reach the Parque de Maria Luisa where we stop for refreshment, these gardens are the ideal place to find shelter from the Andalusian sun, among other things they are practically the continuation of Plaza de Espana our next destination, this green area was in fact part of the private gardens of the Palacio de San Telmo, in 1893 the Duchess Maria Luisa of Montpensier, gave him? to the city. In 1929, on the occasion of the Free American Exhibition, they underwent considerable changes and, for this event, the exhibition buildings, Plaza de Espa? A and Plaza de Am? Rica, were built by Anibal Gonzalez, which constituted one of the main attractions of the exhibition. Let's get out of the vegetation and here is the majesty in front of us? of the Plaza de Espana, one of the most architectural spaces spectacular of the city? and of Neo-Moorish Architecture, the total surface? of 50.000 m2 of which 19.000 m2 built. The semicircular square, has a diameter of 170 meters, and wants to represent the embrace of Spain and its ancient colonies; looks towards the Guadalquivir River and symbolizes the way forward for America. The square ? decorated in exposed brick, marble and ceramics, which give a Renaissance and Baroque touch to its towers. It was naturally the most? expensive exhibition and the only element extraneous to the original project? the central fountain, fountain at the center of criticism why? according to many it broke the feeling of emptiness of the square. The longest canal? half a kilometer across the square? crossed by four bridges representing the four ancient kingdoms of Spain. Leaning against the walls are a series of benches and ceramic ornaments that form spaces that allude to the forty-eight Spanish provinces and are placed in alphabetical order; on them are represented maps, mosaics depicting historical events and the coats of arms of each provincial capital. At the end of the exhibition, the square was destined to be part of the University? of Seville, but after a while pass? under the property? of the military government becoming the seat of the Capitaneria Generale of Seville. Years later he hosted the Central Government delegation in Andalusia, and at the same time the Military Museum of Seville. After an intense day of visits we can say that we are satisfied and have satisfied our thirst for culture, now we just have to delight our palate, and the cuisine of the Sevillian area is so refined, light and rich in fresh products from the land and sea. for us. The recipes are simple and genuine, very often embellished with a wise use of spices, a habit left by Muslims during their eight centuries of domination of Andalusia, cumin, coriander, garlic, parsley, fennel are present in many traditional dishes, but by now we are used to it as spices are king in Granada too.
Are we almost halfway there? of our adventure in Andalucia, the next August 140th we leave Sevilla and returning to the East we reach the spectacular city kilometers away. of Cordoba, we stay in a hotel a few kilometers from the center in a delightful residential area surrounded by greenery, even our hotel? surrounded by greenery with a fabulous swimming pool, lawn and tall palm trees, so we just have to relax. In the late afternoon with our car we reach the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba for a patrolling tour, the intent was to return to the hotel for dinner but once immersed in the historic center of Cordoba we immediately change our mind, those restaurants created in the patios of ancient houses Arabs, painted in white, ocher, turquoise and purple do not leave us anymore? leave, so we stay for dinner.
On August 1315th we return to the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba, we pass the walls through the Puerta de Almodovar and walk along Calle de los Judos, we are headed towards the Cathedral of Cordoba, the famous Mezquita but first we visit the Synagogue which is located right on this calle (via ), built in ? one of the three synagogues still existing in Spain, (the other two are in Toledo). Until 1492, the date of the expulsion decree of the Jews, Spain was the center of Jewish life in Europe. The Cordoba Synagogue was built in Moorish style by Isaq Moheb to serve the needs of the local community. Jewish. Inside we notice an inscription showing the dates of construction beginning September 20, 1314 and the end of works on 1? September 1315, practically less than a year. The building in addition to the prayer hall? composed of other rooms that probably housed the ritual baths and a Talmudic school. After the Synagogue we visit the Bullfighting Museum where since 1952 all the glories of the local bullfight are kept. We continue our pleasant walk through the streets of this wonderful neighborhood and without realizing it we find ourselves on Calle Cardenal Herrero, in front of us the majesty? of the Torre del Alminar or the Minaret which now serves as the bell tower of the Cathedral. The great Mosque of Cordoba, today the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,? one of the main expressions of Arab-Islamic art and Gothic and Renaissance architecture of Andalusia, together with the Alhambra in Granada, the Aljafer? a of Zaragoza and the Giralda of Seville are the most? prestigious testimony of the Islamic presence in Spain from the eighth to the thirteenth century. Unfortunately for us the visit? in fact, postponed today Sunday 11.30 August, the Cathedral observes a break between 15.00 and , however nothing of ch? we continue our walk towards the Guadalquivir river and arrive at Plaza de Triunfo where? located in the Arco de Triunfo also known as the Puerta del Puente in the immediate vicinity there is also the monument dedicated to San Rafael, one of the many testimonies of this saint in the city. of Cordoba, legend has it that in 1600 when the plague devastated? the city? the archangel Raphael and? in a dream to Father Andres de Roelas being gravely ill, and in one of the many apparitions detected him? who would save the city? from the plague. It is 13.30 pm, we stop nearby to eat something and at 15.00 pm we go to the Mezquita, buy our two adult tickets at 16.00 euros (children under 10 do not pay) and enter. The building stands on the site where the ancient Visigothic church of San Vincenzo stood, not far from the Guadalquivir river. When the Muslims occupied Cordoba in 756 the church was initially subdivided and used by both Muslims and Christians at the same time. Subsequently the emir ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I had the Christian church demolished and undertook the construction of the great mosque, over the centuries it was enlarged three times by his successors: 833 - 848ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II; 926 - 966 al-Ḥakam II; 929 - 958 ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, ending up covering 23.000 m? and become the most? great mosque of the Muslim world of that time, second only after the construction of that of Samara? in Iraq. Today it has the shape of a large quadrilateral of about 180 m in length by 130 m in width, with 19 naves and 856 columns surmounted by capitals in different styles, on the columns there are double arches in brick and stone white superimposed on each other with an intermediate space that allow for a very high ceiling and give the building an impression of lightness. The miḥrā, a semicircular-shaped structure and place of prayer that in a mosque always indicates the exact direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca should, in this case, face south-east, instead it points south, to save it from accusation of a cos? full-bodied error according to legend ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, nostalgic for the city? of Damascus from which he had been expelled by the Abbasids, had purposely wanted to orient the mihrab of the mosque of Cordoba in the same direction as that of the mosque of Damascus. The initial building, begun in 785, included a courtyard the Patio de los Naranjos, surrounded by a wall on which the prayer room, rectangular in shape, opened in all its glory, consisting of 11 naves, each having 12 arcades, arranged in front of the courtyard, the naves were separated by elegant marble columns. Next to the surrounding wall, on the opposite side of the prayer hall, is the minaret, Hishām I had several internal renovations carried out: the galleries for the women who came to pray and a basin for ablutions. The length of the arches was subsequently doubled by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II in 848 and lengthened one last time by al-Ḥakam II in 961. In both cases the lengthening of the naves took place on the side opposite the main entrance and for this reason the miḥrāb, also located on that side, had to be rebuilt each time. The current one, assembled with the help of Byzantine artists,? a huge monolithic dome in superbly decorated white marble. In 987 Almanzor wanted to further increase the surface of the hall, but the proximity to the Guadalquivir river prevented it? the continuation of the lengthening of the 11 spans in the same direction, 8 additional arches were therefore added on the east side of the building, almost doubling its extension and the mihrāb was placed in a central position. At that time the mosque even had 1293 columns. In 1236 Cordoba was reconquered by the Christians of Ferdinand III of Castile, and the mosque was converted into a cathedral. The opening between the courtyard and the prayer hall was bricked up, keeping only one entrance door, the Puerta de las Palmas. In addition, some rows of columns were knocked down to leave space for the Royal Chapel. In the th century, the clergy of Cordoba decided to endow the city? of a building much more? sumptuous and fashionable of the time. The project consisted in the demolition of an important part of the center of the building, breaking the perspective of the forest of columns, and the insertion in its place of a Christian cathedral. The project was initially opposed and the subject of strong controversy and only after the intercession of Emperor Charles V was construction started. The result ? an architectural marvel that blends Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles with magnificent decorations, even if the construction has made it lose its continuity. of the marble columns also lowering the number from 1293 to the current 856. It seems that later Charles V also said:? Have you built something that you can? see everywhere, destroying something that was unique in the world ?. In 2010, the Spanish mint dedicated a commemorative 2 euro coin to the great mosque of Cordoba.
The next 1931th of August we return to the Arab quarter, cross the Roman Bridge located beyond the Puerte del Puente and reach the Torre de la Calahorra, a fortress of Islamic origin conceived as an entrance and protection of the bridge itself. The tower, which stands on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river, was modified on the orders of Henry II of Trast? Mara to defend itself from his brother Pedro I of Castile by adding a third tower to the two existing towers. In 1987 the tower was declared Conjunto hist? Rico-art? Stico and was subsequently sold to the Institute for dialogue between cultures which since 8 has installed an audiovisual museum that presents a cultural review on the heyday of Cordoba, when it was the capital of al-Andalus and the meeting point of Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures. We buy our tickets and begin the visit, at the entrance we are also given headphones that are used to listen to the explanation of what? which can be seen in each of the 1400 rooms of the museum divided over two floors, finally we go up to the terrace to enjoy the view over the city. We leave the Torre de la Calahorra and skirt the Rio Guadalquivir crossing it from the puente de Miraflores (modern and driveway bridge) and climb up Calle San Fernando until we reach Plaza de Don Gome and the Palacio de Viana, first pausing to admire the Roman Temple, (at least what's left) found on this calle. The palace of the 12s? it was maintained as such by the last Marquise de Viana who lived there, the Marquise Sophie Lancaster, the building is built around magnificent courtyards and a garden. The building, now used as a museum, houses numerous collections of all kinds, such as paintings, plates, tiles, carpets and firearms. We leave Palacio de Viana and retrace our steps, the ideal would be to spend this last evening in the heart of Cordoba but our little princesses ask us to be lenient and express the desire to spend a few hours in the pool, we just have to satisfy them, then we recover the car and go back to the hotel where we relax. We have dinner at the hotel (which is not bad anyway) and then we reach our room.
On the 550th of August we also greet this splendid city. ? we set off to reach Canet D? en Berenguer at 30 kilometers away, direction North-West, Canet is only kilometers from Valencia, we reach the AGH Hotel where we will stay for seven days, hoping for sea, sun and relaxation. I honestly did not know this place? what yes? found really exceptional.
Canet D? En Berenguer has absolutely nothing historical, the city? Antica is located less than a kilometer from the coast and has an area of only 4 km2 and just 6.300 inhabitants, but moving along the coast there are many modern homes, villas, and accommodation facilities that welcome thousands of tourists in the summer, the beach has a length of 1,2 Km,? completely free but very well kept, there are fountains, showers, bar kiosks, etc. plus a piece of Playa? fully equipped for the disabled. We just have to have fun, sure that between the Playa, the swimming pool, the gardens, the hotel restaurant and the evening shows that are organized both by the hotel but also by the municipality in the central square of the town the days pass quickly
In the afternoon of the fourth day (August 14) we decide to visit the nearby city? of Sagunto and in particular the Roman Theater and the Castillo? Il Castello ?. The city? ? divided in two: the old part maintains the configuration of a medieval village, surrounded by walls and characterized by sinuous and narrow streets; and the new area, where the main route at the time of the? Reconquest? ? become the main artery around which it? the recent urbanization has developed that has gradually incorporated the suburbs of the past. We immerse ourselves in the narrow streets of the Juder? Al? Ancient Jewish quarter, through an arch in Calle del Castillo, easy to get lost in the narrow and winding streets while you are enchanted to look at the whitewashed houses, we leave the Jewish quarter and reach the Roman Theater , its construction dates back to the first century, semi-circular in shape? partly obtained in the mountain and many of the steps were obtained by digging into the ground, the theater? been recognized as a national monument already? in 1896, after centuries of neglect, the architects Giorgio Grassi and Manuel Portaceli, with the patronage of the Valencia Department of Culture, carried out a restoration and consolidation project for the monument. to make it suitable for public cultural events. Immediately after the Theater, just behind it, immense and mighty is the Castillo, the fortress was equipped with a drawbridge at the main entrance that allowed to overcome a deep moat, the walls are witness to the Greek presence and the Carthaginian siege and wind for about one kilometer, they have seen the succession of Romans, Barbarians, Arabs and Christians. The historic place is divided into seven areas. The Plaza de Almenara, which the Arabs called Saluquia, contains remains of buildings from the Roman era: the forum, cisterns, temples, columns. The Plaza de la Conejera was once the Arab fortress. The Plaza de la Ciudadela was once called Plaza de Hercules for a tower of the same name; and the Plaza del Dos de Mayo, the Plaza de San Fernando and the Plaza de los Estudiantes. The Castillos? It was proclaimed a national monument in 1931. After the visit we return to our hotel.
The morning following the fifteenth of August, the weather is not? of the best to stay on the beach so we decide to reach Valencia and more? exactly the Natural Park of Albufera, The name "Albufera" has Arab origins and means "the little sea", currently has an extension of just over 21.000 hectares and? separated from the sea by a small sandy coastal strip and a pine forest, it was named a "natural park" in 1986. The Albufera of Valencia? a shallow lagoon (average of about one meter) located in the Mediterranean coast south of the city, has a great eco-environmental interest and? wintering place for many species of birds. Its waters have always been used for the livelihood of fishermen and neighboring populations, as well as being essential for irrigating the rice fields that are nearby. The Albufera? also defined as the cradle of paella, in fact it is said that the origin of the famous Valencian dish originates from these areas, in addition to Paella you can taste the typical dishes of Valencian cuisine such as, "l? arroz a banda", "all i pebre "sauce that accompanies the dish of eels caught in the same lake, and much more. Fishing in the lake was legally recognized only in 1250, when a group of Valencian inhabitants (from the area that is currently called "Barrio de Ruzafa") settled? in the area, which nowadays corresponds to the village "El Palmar", to be able to fish comfortably. It is said that the concession of fishing in this area by the empire had a condition, which was to pay a fifth of the catch. In 1865 the lake and the coast passed to be owned? of the State, after about six centuries of ownership? of the Royal family; between 1911 and 1927 the property? of this natural space of great ecological, environmental and landscape value, pass? to the city? of Valencia. For lunch we stay in the town of El Palmar, where a large number of restaurants are concentrated and as tradition dictates, we order a mega Paella Valenciana. (exquisite? ita). We go back to Canet, and considering the weather? decidedly improved we spend the afternoon in the pool, after dinner the hotel, given the recurrence of August has organized a different evening show than usual with guests from outside the structure, dancers, magicians etc? (great evening)
The following days, sixteen, seventeen and eighteen August we spend them in total relaxation between the Playa and the Pool, the last day the melancholy presses,
on 330th August we start putting away our stuff, could we stay at the hotel until the afternoon? leave after lunch, but considering the distance to cover to reach the port of Barcelona (about 14.00 Km.) we decide to leave the hotel immediately after breakfast, even though we know very well that a little more is enough. three hours to cover this distance, we leave anyway. Shortly before 177 we arrive in Barcelona, and we realize that the real reason for such a departure? anticipated was to return to some places that we liked so much in the trip of the previous year. We reach Placa Catalunya, leave our car in the parking lot below the square and walk on the famous Rambla where we enjoy Tapas and sip two excellent cervezas, after a snack we visit the Cathedral and finally we return to the port and reach Montjuic, a promontory of 1927 above sea level. south of the city, just above the harbor. The name derives from the medieval Catalan Mont dels Jueus which means "mountain of the Jews", probably due to the presence of a Jewish cemetery on the side of the hill. On the promontory you can? admire the Olympic stadium built in 1992, the Castell de Montju? c, built in the most? high of the mountain at the end of the th century, the Palau Sant Jordi, built for the Olympics and used for sporting events and concerts. Montju? C? also reachable via a cableway and a funicular, we reach it with our car, but despite this? we only have time for a panoramic photo of the city? ? return to the Grimaldi terminal to prepare boarding tickets and leave.
What can I say, 22 days have passed since the day of departure when our ship had its bow facing Spain, flown away as if they were minutes. We leave with suitcases full of things to wash but with a soul full of fabulous things to take with you, all the places we have visited have left an indelible memory in us, from modernity? of the City? of the sciences of Valencia to the ancient Cathedral of Sevilla, from the imposing Castle of Sagunto to the small Synagogue of Cordoba, but above all the memory of all the people we met in this fabulous adventure, travelers like us or staff in accommodation, bars, restaurants, hotels etc. Thanks also to all those who will read this travel diary and above all thanks to the good Lord for having accompanied us in all the over 3000 km traveled. THANKS.