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Table of Content for spain2018:

More pages: September 2018 October 2018




2018/09/24 Spain Day 01: Night Visit to Barcelona's Aquarium
π 2018-09-24 01:01 in Aquariums, Spain2018
During a national holiday in Barcelona, we saw the museums we could and by end of day, everything was pretty much closed, except the Aquarium that was still open until 21:30, so we headed there (nearby was also meant to be a viewing spot for the fireworks that night).

Back to the Aquarium, it was an average city aquarium, not amongst the best we've seen, but not terrible either :)






shark eggs
shark eggs









2018/09/24 Spain Day 01: Barcelona's Cataluna Art Museum
π 2018-09-24 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
The art museum on top of the hill, by the olympic stadium, was quite big. Also good view from up there:



Part of the collection:













a good sample of paintings from Salvador Dali
a good sample of paintings from Salvador Dali



yeah, many religious paintings, felt like too many by the end of the trip
yeah, many religious paintings, felt like too many by the end of the trip




2018/09/24 Spain Day 01-04: 3.5 days in Barcelona
π 2018-09-24 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips
We started our trip in Spain by arriving in Barcelona. Because we arrived a bit earlier than planned before our first day, I had a bit of time to go see the street parades related to the religious holiday celebrations they had for 3 days.

We didn't see all of Barcelona in 3.5 days, but we saw a fair amount:

Day #1

  • Joan Miró Foundation
  • Catalan Art Museum Palace
  • Montjuïc Castle
  • Bullring mall (Las Arenas)
  • CaixaForum
  • Aquarium
  • Day #2

  • Arco de triunfo
  • Santa Caterina Market
  • Palace of catalan music
  • Picasso Museum
  • half day in Figueres
  • la boqueria market
  • Day #3

  • Park Güell
  • House museum
  • La Pedrera/Casa Milà
  • Casa Batlló
  • Barcelona Cathedral
  • Augustus temple
  • Barcelona History Museum (underground ruins from roman times)
  • Barceloneta beaches
  • Cable car from Barceloneta back to Montjuïc
  • Day #4

  • Sagrada Familia Guided Tour with Tower Access
  • Finishing up Barcelona History Museum
  • Gaudi Museum
  • Museu Frederic Mares (longer than expected)
  • And just enough time left for Güell Palace before going to the airport
  • Here are the pictures:

    Day #0

    I luckily ran into the end of a parade related to the religious holiday they had:




    weird pigeons
    weird pigeons


    Day #1

    This was our first real day. We walked on La Rambla to a cable car to the Montjuïc area.

    la rambla is mostly a tourist trap now, but it had some fun stuff :)
    la rambla is mostly a tourist trap now, but it had some fun stuff :)

    funicular up to Montjuïc
    funicular up to Montjuïc

    Once we were up by Montjuïc, we went to check out Joan Miro Museum which was part of our BCN pass (sadly a waste of money as museums were free that day due to the holiday). I'll just say that we were not big fans of Joan Miro:


    any artist who thinks they can get away with this, and call it 'valuable art' is not one I'll take seriously
    any artist who thinks they can get away with this, and call it 'valuable art' is not one I'll take seriously

    don't love this, but at least there is a bit of work
    don't love this, but at least there is a bit of work

    great art indeed
    great art indeed

    I should also take balloons, fill them with paint, throw them on a canvas, and get rich and famous
    I should also take balloons, fill them with paint, throw them on a canvas, and get rich and famous

    this was ok-ish I guess
    this was ok-ish I guess

    the mercury fountain was likely the only cool piece for me
    the mercury fountain was likely the only cool piece for me

    On the way to the art museum, we walked by the former olympic stadium complex:



    And we eventually got to the Art Museum:


    awesome view from up there:
    awesome view from up there:



    the bullring turned mall
    the bullring turned mall

    Sagrada Familia, still being built
    Sagrada Familia, still being built

    Pictures of the Cataluna Art Museum are on their own page.

    Once done with the Art Museum, which took a while, it's not small, we walked back to the Montjuïc cable car and took it up there:





    good views from up there too
    good views from up there too

    After seeing the castle, we went back down to the fountains, but were not able to approach them since they were getting ready for the festivities and fireworks of that night, so we walked to the bullring museum which had good views too:







    while the inside looks like a round-ish regular mall
    while the inside looks like a round-ish regular mall

    We then took another cab to go to the Aquarium, have dinner next door and find a reasonable spot to view the fireworks.
    You can see the Aquarium Pictures here




    Day #2

    After a long day #1, came day #2, which started by the Palace of catalan music, a truly beautiful building:









    We then went to Picasso Museum:





    yeah, he did pottery too, oh boy...
    yeah, he did pottery too, oh boy...

    We finished it quickly enough that we had time to stop by a market before catching a train to Figueres (on its own page, mostly to see the Dali Museum:




    Day #3

    For day #3, we had to head out earlier to visit Park Güell, for which I was only able to get tickets at 08:00 that morning, so we head out earlier and got there early enough that they let us in, despite missing our entrance window. From there, we went to Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.

    Gaudi was a one of a kind architect, definitely check out the page I made for his buildings. Got a few nice pictures from the roof:



    We then walked to the cathdral:








    Nice views from the top of the cathedral too:

    no one was able to tell me what this was
    no one was able to tell me what this was


    Next door was Barcelona History Museum, with a nice tour through the roman streets that were found below ground level in the old town:








    I made the call to leave the museum a bit early (we finished it the next day) and grab a cab to Barceloneta to check out the beach, and barely, so barely get a ticket to the cable car that picked up from there back to Montjuic, as they closed the ticket sales 30mn before their published closing time:

    people working out on the beach
    people working out on the beach



    the ride from the beach starts from a high tower
    the ride from the beach starts from a high tower







    Day #4

    For our last (partial) day, I had to keep the best for last (due to ticket availability), and we did a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia, a one of a kind church from Gaudi.
    There are very nice views from the top of the Sagrada Familia's towers of course:




    We then went back to downtown to finish up the history museum, do the gaudi museum, and the quite interesting Museu Frederic Mares on its own page.


    And we finished the (partial) day with the Gaudi Museum and Guel Palace. From there, we had to head out to the airport to fly out to Granada, our next destination.

    2018/09/25 Spain Day 02: Dali Museum in Figueres
    π 2018-09-25 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
    While in Barcelona, Figueres was a 1h fast train ride away, so on our second day, we took a train to Figueres to see the Dali Museum (although there are a few lesser sights there too).

    Dali definitly was an interesting artist, who actually did all kinds of art all the way to jewelry. One thing he said though "I don't need to take drugs, I am drugs" :)











    Next door to the museum, was an easy to miss separate entrance that showecased his jewelry, which was super nice:





    The place was definitely interesting to visit with little rooms in all directions and easily worth 2-3h. Thankfully when we went, it was not too busy, but at times it can take an hour or more to get in.

    2018/09/25 Spain Day 02: Figueres
    π 2018-09-25 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    After a morning in Madrid, we took the train to Figueres for a half day, mostly to see the Dali Museum but it also had nice Castle Ruins (Castell de Sant Ferran). With the fast AVE train, it was less than 1h ride:


    the train station made it clear what the main attraction was :)
    the train station made it clear what the main attraction was :)


    Castell de Sant Ferran is better appreciated from the sky and was worth an hour visit:









    The town also had a more minor toy museum that we saw quickly while waiting for our next hourly train:




    And then it was time to take the train back home to Barcelona:


    See more images for Spain Day 02: Figueres
    2018/09/26 Spain Day 03-04: Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona
    π 2018-09-26 01:01 in Monuments, Spain2018
    Antoni Gaudi was a an instrumental architect in Barcelona. In addition to working a good portion of his life on Sagrada Familia, he worked on many other buildings and monuments in Barcelona.
    We first went to see Park Guel, which is way too hard to get timed entries for. Thankfully I got one too early in the morning and we were allowed to get in a bit after our mandated 08:00 entry time:








    Next was Casa Mila which also had stupid waits, even in end of September, but as good capitalists, they sell skip the line (expensive) online tickets:




    one of the building's arches has a view on the unfinished Sagrada Familia
    one of the building's arches has a view on the unfinished Sagrada Familia

    Gaudi used an interesting engineering principle of suspending structures upside down and using gravity to help see ideal building shapes
    Gaudi used an interesting engineering principle of suspending structures upside down and using gravity to help see ideal building shapes

    Down the street was his Casa Batllo, another expensive visit with more expensive skip the line tickets I was able to get:






    Another of his buildings was Guel Palace, which we saw just before leaving Barcelona:





    another nice roof
    another nice roof


    And for good measure, the city also had a Gaudi museum:






    2018/09/27 Spain Day 04: Barcelona's Sagrada Familia
    π 2018-09-27 01:01 in Monuments, Spain2018
    Gaudi is known for many buildings in Barcelona, but of course Sagrada Familia is the most well known. While he worked on it until he died (sadly he was run over by a tram), the construction got halted during the war and Spain's dark times, but it's being worked on again, ideally it will be finished within 10 years.
    Getting tickets at the times I wanted (first thing in the morning) was challenging, so I booked a slightly more expensive guided tour which included entrance and wasn't bad at all.





    poor thing :)
    poor thing :)

    The inside was beautiful and colorful in ways that the other cathedrals we've seen, were not:









    We did the tower tour, which had decent views, but it was still work in progress (top is still being built):



    the stairs were truly bad ass
    the stairs were truly bad ass

    The museum attached to the cathedral gave lots of details on the history and the build, as well as Gaudi's life:

    Gaudi used nature for many of his designs
    Gaudi used nature for many of his designs

    Guudi also used a gravity upside down model
    Guudi also used a gravity upside down model


    Definitely one of a kind, worth the visit.

    2018/09/27 Spain Day 04: Barcelona's Frederic Mares Museum
    π 2018-09-27 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
    In Barcelona's old town, one of the many museums was Museu Frederic Mares. It was an impressive collection of lots of things across many rooms. It was worth multiple hours, even if we had to go a little bit quicker:










    2018/09/28 Spain Day 05-06: Granada
    π 2018-09-28 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips





















































    Granada still has city walls:









    Downtown Granada is also worth walking through:






















    The next morning, we drove by the Monasterio de San Jerónimo for a quick visit and then did a quick visit to La Ronda:





    See more images for Spain Day 05-06: Granada
    2018/09/29 Spain Day 06-07: Ronda
    π 2018-09-29 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips
    On the way back to the south coast from Granada, Ronda was a nice stop on the way

    It's a nice city on top of a hill, separated by a bridge, with ruins, a Bull fighting ring and bull raising farm:





    We had enough time for the bull fighting ring and museum, and dinner:











    The next day, we went to visit the 2 halves of town:







    the arab baths are all the way down, where the water is
    the arab baths are all the way down, where the water is










    We then thought we'd do a quick stop at Mondragon Palace, but it was a much bigger museum than planned. We ended up spending multiple hours there:











    We then checked a wine "museum" which was also about selling wine:





    Another small museum on the way out:








    traversing the bridge back to new town
    traversing the bridge back to new town


    On the way out, we drove by Pileta Cave, a privately owned with caveman engravings. As usual, no pictures allowed, even without flash:








    After that, we had a drive to La Línea de la Concepción. We tried to stop by Castillo del Águila on the way, which was a huge mistake. You can't really drive to it and we got stuck in an old town where driving out was "challenging"

    didn't look like much
    didn't look like much

    reasonable scenery
    reasonable scenery

    driving out, OMG!!!
    driving out, OMG!!!

    finally making it to the Mediterranean coast
    finally making it to the Mediterranean coast

    See more images for Spain Day 06-07: Ronda
    2018/10/01 Spain Day 08: Gibraltar
    π 2018-10-01 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    We arrived the previous evening in time for sunset:





    The next morning, great breakfast, and we then walked to the Gilbraltar border across the border:





    Once the border was crossed, we took the bus to the botanical garden and wildlife park under the cable car:

    the bus drives across the airport runway
    the bus drives across the airport runway








    Speaking of runway, it's probably the only major international airport with a stoplight to allow people and cars to cross the runway in between plane landings. Spooky...






    cars released right after the plane landing
    cars released right after the plane landing

    fun to walk it and see the runway like this
    fun to walk it and see the runway like this

    We then took the cable car up:


    great views from the top
    great views from the top







    Gibraltar has many monkeys running around:








    There are several military installations you can visit, including: O'Hara's Battery






    lots of tunnels
    lots of tunnels



    We then did a lot of walking down to the different attractions:






    Next was the suspension bridge, world war II tunnels and city under siege:



    the british dug out a lot of tunnels, impressive
    the british dug out a lot of tunnels, impressive






    great view of the airport (and where the enemies would attack from)
    great view of the airport (and where the enemies would attack from)








    long walk down and back up
    long walk down and back up

    We then walked down to walk around town:


    much lower taxes, so people buy cigarettes and alcohol and take them back across the border
    much lower taxes, so people buy cigarettes and alcohol and take them back across the border

    view of the windows in the rock
    view of the windows in the rock

    See more images for Spain Day 08: Gibraltar
    2018/10/02 Spain Day 09: Tarifa to Tangier
    π 2018-10-02 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    sunrise over Tarifa from our patio
    sunrise over Tarifa from our patio



    we then took one of the fast 1H ferries to Tangier
    we then took one of the fast 1H ferries to Tangier

    Our private guide met us at the ferry and took us around:



    We then went for a camel ride by the sea:




    Next we went to Hercules Caves:








    From there we went back to the old town (Kasba) and its markets:




    lots of cats
    lots of cats




    our knowledgeable and multilingual guide
    our knowledgeable and multilingual guide












    nice views:




    Then, we took the ferry back to Tarifa and walked around the old city a bit:



    sadly the city walls were closed
    sadly the city walls were closed


    See more images for Spain Day 09: Tarifa to Tangier
    2018/10/03 Spain Day 10: Sevilla
    π 2018-10-03 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips
    After tarifa, we drove to Sevilla, wher ewe spent 1.5 days


    we started with the Alcazar at opening time for our timed tour. Very nice palace:

























    Next, we took a cab to the Archeological Museum:





    After the museum it was then a beautiful walk in the park and towards Plaza de Espana:











    From there, I had a quick look at the Military Museum before it closed:









    The Catedral de Sevilla and El Divino Salvador were next:
















    From there, we went to the flamenco museum. Never really loved flamenco, but it was fun to see a bit of it:





    we watched enough to get a feel, but without being stuck for the whole performance
    we watched enough to get a feel, but without being stuck for the whole performance

    Still had more time to walk through town (long days):






    So we went to the local bullring, which was less interesting than the one at Ronda:





    Next was a cab to the north of town to the Basílica de la Macarena, they host a Shrine of the Virgin that get paraded through town at the right time of the year:




    feels like the ku klux klan was there :)
    feels like the ku klux klan was there :)


    shrine
    shrine

    A few views:





    The next morning, we took a cab to the Conjunto Arqueológico de Itálica, some half preserved roman ruins, which incidently I recognized in an episode of gmae fo thrones later:

    I had the cab drive us by the bridge
    I had the cab drive us by the bridge









    Later on game of thrones, I recognized it:



    After the visit we took another cab to the station for a train to cordoba and a day visit

    See more images for Spain Day 10: Sevilla
    2018/10/04 Spain Day 11: Cordoba
    π 2018-10-04 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Cordoba was a good stop between Seville and Madrid, we went to Cordoba for its Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, but it has more:










    This is what the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba looks like



    the mosque was modified and a church built in its middle, quite weird
    the mosque was modified and a church built in its middle, quite weird

    nice walled garden outside
    nice walled garden outside


    pretty light patterns from the windows
    pretty light patterns from the windows




    a chapel in the middle, kind of awkward
    a chapel in the middle, kind of awkward


    Next was the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs:





    We then had a look at Casa de Sefarad to learn about jewish heritage (which was also mostly wiped):






    Last but not least was the archeological museum:




    And it was eventually time to take a train to Madrid, our last area to visit for the trip:


    See more images for Spain Day 11: Cordoba
    2018/10/05 Madrid Archeological Museum
    π 2018-10-05 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
    Madrid is full of museums, but a very nice one is the Archological Museum that we had to go twice to due to runinng out of time the first day. We had to pay again, but it was cheap enough that it didn't matter. It was well worth 5-6H on its own:























    A nice section on money






    See more images for Madrid Archeological Museum
    2018/10/05 Spain Day 12-15-16-20: Madrid
    π 2018-10-05 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Madrid was the last city went to for our trip, but we used it as a base to hit a lot of nearby, or not so nearby cities (Segovia & La Granja, Toledo, Aranjuez, El Escorial Valley of the Fallen Avila, Salamanca, and Zaragoza).

    Getting around was a mix of walking, subway and taxis, but they also had other options:

    you can start from the center
    you can start from the center





    Madrid had lots to see too, so after arriving from Cordoba the night before, we went to visit the west side of the city starting with the royal palace and the Cathedral de Amuldena. It was yet another place were pictures were forbidden, which means I ended up with fewer pictures:





















    Next, we went towards the navy museum, which sadly was mostly closed for renovation. The paying part of the expo was conveniently open though:





    We then went to a building nearby that had terrace views:





    And then we walked to the archeological museum and had a good vidist (which ended up having to be done in 2 days as it was much bigger than planned). See the page on Madrid archeological museum


    The next morning, we started with the Prado Museum which was another museum without photos (again!), so I have fewer:













    you can't take pictures, but you can make your own slow copy :)
    you can't take pictures, but you can make your own slow copy :)

    After Prado, we went to see the excellent Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (on its own page, which thankfully allowed pictures.



    Then we finished Prado (we had to juggle with opening hours) and finished the long day with Reina Sofia (Modern art, not that great outside of Picasso's Guernica, which they have plenty of people to stop you from taking pictures):







    don't ask
    don't ask


    And that was it for a very long day. After our mostly wasted trip to Aranjuez, we went to Google for late lunch, and got a few pictures from the buildings:



    We also went to see Sorolla Museum nearby:





    We also had a few nice dinners, including milk fed piglets :)


    Jennifer was quite happy :)
    Jennifer was quite happy :)

    It was good enough that we went back for more another night:


    another satisfied customer
    another satisfied customer


    Some evening/night pictures from various days:





    The last day, I started with the Air Museum outside of town (on its own page):


    Next, I went to the Basilica of San Francisco:






    From there, I had a quick look at Museum Cerralbo:








    We then went to Caixa Forum for its interesting architecture:




    And last, but not least, was a good walk through the botanical gardens:








    Then, it was time to leave and catch a flight home

    See more images for Spain Day 12-15-16-20: Madrid
    2018/10/06 Spain Day 13: Segovia - La Granja
    π 2018-10-06 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    After arriving in Madrid, we used it as a base to go visit a bunch of neighboring towns as day trips by train. Our first one was Segovia and La Granja:

    with a fast train, we got there in around 1H
    with a fast train, we got there in around 1H

    Segovia is known for its Roman Aqueduct
    Segovia is known for its Roman Aqueduct





    we followed the aqueduct to its destination where you could get water
    we followed the aqueduct to its destination where you could get water

    Quaint spanish towns have good food :)



    We went through the Catedral de Segovia and its viewing tower:












    Nice views around town:











    The town also had a jewish quarter and some more museums:










    After being done with Segovia, we took a cab to La Granja for its Royal Glass Factory:















    After about 1H in the museum (which was worth a bit more), we had to leave to go to the Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso:



















    I hope they're not about to have sex, this looks questionable
    I hope they're not about to have sex, this looks questionable


    very big gardens
    very big gardens

    sadly, they sucked and turned off all fountains for the season despite it being Oct 6th
    sadly, they sucked and turned off all fountains for the season despite it being Oct 6th


    and that was that, very nice palace and gardens. After getting kicked out of the gardens, we had just enough time to get a taxi back to the train station.

    See more images for Spain Day 13: Segovia - La Granja
    2018/10/07 Spain Day 14: Toledo
    π 2018-10-07 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Todelo was the next city we went to by train as a day trip from Madrid:







    We then went to Museo del Greco:






    Toledo has other jewish museums and buildings:







    Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes:









    More walking through town:


    Museo de los Concilios y la Cultura Visigoda








    Santuario Sagrados Corazones:



    nice views from the top
    nice views from the top

    Alcázar de Toledo/military museum
    Alcázar de Toledo/military museum




    More random things:






    We then went to visit the Alcázar de Toledo:



















    The Alcázar has a nice church inside:





















    After a long day in Toledo, time to go home:


    See more images for Spain Day 14: Toledo
    2018/10/08 Madrid Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
    π 2018-10-08 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
    Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a very nice small-ish but very complete museum on all kinds paintings over the years. As a nice gesture, it was one of the few museums that actually still allowed pictures. Thanks to them for that:























    See more images for Madrid Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
    2018/10/09 Spain Day 16: Aranjuez
    π 2018-10-09 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Per recommendation from Arturo, we tried to go see the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Sadly, when we arrived, it was closed without notice, so we only got to see the gardens. Sigh, mostly wasted time (2H going there and back, and 2H onsite...)

    We took a morning local train:



    It was a 10mn walk from the train station, and we only got to see the gardens, which thankfully were still ok:













    See more images for Spain Day 16: Aranjuez
    2018/10/10 Spain Day 17 part 3: Avila
    π 2018-10-10 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Our last excursion from Madrid for the day was Avila. We took a train from El Escorial and arrived mid afternoon. A bit late, but just enough time to visit:


    we asked our cab from the train station to take us to a viewpoint
    we asked our cab from the train station to take us to a viewpoint



    Avila has the best city walls in Spain
    Avila has the best city walls in Spain

    By the city entrance, we have San Vicente de Ávila:









    We then got a tour in a Tuck-tuck:





    Next, we went to visit the main Cathedral:
















    We then went to walk the beautiful city walls:







    We then had a very rushed visit of Convent of Santa Teresa de Jesus and then caught a bus back to the train station for a train home:



    See more images for Spain Day 17 part 3: Avila
    2018/10/10 Spain Day 17 part 1: El Escorial
    π 2018-10-10 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Our next excursion from Madrid was El Escorial - Valley of the Fallen - Avila. We started with Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial:


    good thing the entire train didn't crash
    good thing the entire train didn't crash

    Quick cab ride from train station, sadly yet another place that doesn't allow pictures. This was getting old by then:


























    The outside was nice too:




    Next, we took a cab to Valley of the Fallen.

    See more images for Spain Day 17 part 1: El Escorial
    2018/10/10 Spain Day 17 part 2: Valley of the Fallen
    π 2018-10-10 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    After El Escorial, we took a cab to Valley of the Fallen that waited for us there as there is no usable transport.

    It's a Francoist regime monument, Catholic basilica and a monumental memorial which is very controversial as it's equivalent to being a monument to hitler.

    It's yet yet yet another place that doesn't allow pictures.







    Francisco Franco
    Francisco Franco






    we then hurried back to our cab to catch a train to Avila, our 3rd location for the day.

    2018/10/11 Salamanca Automotive Museum
    π 2018-10-11 01:01 in Cars, Spain2018
    Salamanca, just 2H from Madrid, had a surprisingly good car museum which we went to visit during our [visit of the city|perso/spain2018/post_2018-10-11_Spain-Day-18_-Salamanca.html].










    car converted to coal during the war
    car converted to coal during the war

















    See more images for Salamanca Automotive Museum
    2018/10/11 Spain Day 18: Salamanca
    π 2018-10-11 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Salamanca was the farthest yet. Only a single fast train per day at non ideal times, leading for a shorter day in Salamanca. Jennifer used the time to rest in train:


    We started with a surprising good car museum worth 2H (follow the link for more):


    After the car musuem, we stopped by Casa Lis, a nice art deco museum, and yet another "no pictures" place:






    Next was the great Leronimus Cathedral:







    oh my, I hope it's not load bearing
    oh my, I hope it's not load bearing
















    La Clerecía, University of Salamanca, Museo de San Esteban and Convent,























    Nice Views:



    Walk through town:



    yum
    yum




    The visit was not super long due to the 2H train ride each way, and only one direct fast train per day, so we had to head back not too late.

    See more images for Spain Day 18: Salamanca
    2018/10/12 Zaragoza Origami Museum
    π 2018-10-12 01:01 in Museums, Spain2018
    This was an unusual find in Zaragoza during our day visit. Off the beaten path but very worth the visit, very fancy pieces:
















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    2018/10/12 Spain Day 19: Zaragoza
    π 2018-10-12 01:01 in Spain2018, Trips

    Zaragoza was the farthest city we saw from Madrid as a day trip. 2H fast (expensive) train:



    We randomly picked a day that was a huge Christian festival, festival of Pilar. It was fun but also a huge mess, millions of people everywhere:









    Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar was beautiful, but it was a total mess with all the crowds:





    it's big, but it was packed
    it's big, but it was packed














    We took the elevator to the top, decent views:












    Lots of Roman ruins and museums:

    they had a nice amphitheatre
    they had a nice amphitheatre






    lead pipes, yum
    lead pipes, yum


    Sadly, some things were closed due to the massive festival, which was clusterf a times, not counting all the things that were closed from 14:00 to 16:00 for siesta:



    we were forced to stop for a 15:00 lunch
    we were forced to stop for a 15:00 lunch


    Thankfully a few things were still open:












    One of the open things was the very cool Origami Museum (click for its own page):


    Eventually we went to the other part of town to visit, we went to Aljafería Palace:










    And then it was finally time to take a late 300kph train back to Madrid:


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    2018/10/13 Spain 2018 Wrapup
    π 2018-10-13 00:00 in Spain2018, Trips
    Spain is definitely amongst the top countries in Europe to go visit. While I might still rank it behind Italy and France, it's a tough call between it and Germany, and I would put it in front of the UK (not counting London which is well worth seeing a week on its own).
    It had lots of nice things to see, even if most were church related as Spain is indeed still a very religious (catholic) country. This doesn't count the few mosques that are left (most have been well destroyed and got a church built on top for good measure).

    Late september/early oct seemed like a good time to go, not terribly busy or hot, although the main cities were still busy for sure: Séville very busy while Cordoba not at all for instance. Getting tickets for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was essential still while some other attractions would have had manageable enough waits, even if it was fine to skip them anyway where possible with advance tickets. Weather was still quite varied between sweating in Barcelona and quite cool in Madrid (down to 13C one day).
    And yet, despite the temps that were more than ok, some cities still had stupid and pointless siesta hours that closed most everything from 14:00 to 16:30, really fucking up sightseeing (Hello Zaragoza, get a clue if you want more tourists, especially as a day trip from madrid with quite expensive fast train tickets). On the plus side, this is mostly going away in many cities, or wasn't relevant in October which wasn't considered summer anymore.

    History wise, it would take me a while to go through it all, and I wouldn't do a good job anyway, but long story short the muslims invaded part of Spain and stayed a few hundred years until Christian crusades took them all out and destroyed all their mosques except for a select few (and the one in cordoba got an unsightly church built in a very middle, seemingly as a "fuck you"). The Jews also picked the wrong religion apparently and were invited to convert (eh, they only had to accept Jesus, and a few extra books), or were cordially invited to leave. A few remained underground and kept their faith while pretending to be christian and eating pork in front of witnesses.

    I can't stay I really support bull fighting, but it was interesting to learn about the history and culture around it, as well as seeing the bull rings, and even a bull raising farm.

    Food was good overall. My sampling palate enjoyed the tapas that most restaurants offered, sangria as well, and the many different ways you can eat pig :) (including milk fed pigglets).

    The trip, thanks to Rick Steves suggestions (and I'll say that Rick Steves book seem frozen in time and lack really needed updates, as well as in the case of Spain providing a very questionable suggested routing, so we had to work hard to make our own that made more sense, thanks Arturo for the help there), we did go to see UK's Gibraltar which is worth the trip (and unlike what the book said, will happily use your euros if you don't have british pounds), and the day trip from Tarifa to Tangier, while not strictly necessary, was educational, especially with our private guide.
    Not unlike France, most of the south is hard to visit with a car, but once you get to Madrid, public transport works fine. Going through smaller towns like Ronda was worth the car, though.

    So, that was that for Spain, nice trip, most everything went according to plan. Here is the route:

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    2018/10/13 Madrid's Museo del Aire
    π 2018-10-13 01:01 in Flying, Spain2018
    Just outside of Madrid, Museo del Aire is actually a pretty good air museum. It is free (but accepts donations), so it does not have a lot of funds, and some of the signs were damaged by weather and waiting replacement. Nonetheless, what they had is worth the trip if you're interested in planes. Minus side is the opening hours that are quite limited: only 10:00 to 14:00.

    Half the collection is outdoors and the other half inside hangars:

















    Multiple hangars with more aircraft:


















    Nice collection of engines:







    The last (or actually first) hangar had world war 1 planes:





    I also have to give them credit for recognizing the French inventor, Clement Ader, who made the first heavier than air flying machine (using a heavy steam engine), 6 years before the wright brothers. Sadly that machine didn't work well but it still flew:


    The museum was definitely worth at least 2H if you care about flying things :)

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