Cathedral in Sevilla

Before starting, I must say that I know very little about Cathedrals or Catholisism, so please excuse my ignorance. This is the first Cathedral I have ever been inside. It was over the top ornate and extravagant...but also very beautiful. I would probably be just as excited about a walk in the mountains, but this was different.
We were told by the tourguide that this is the largest gothic cathedral ever built.

Every single detail was ornate.
The Courtyard of Oranges which is filled with orange trees.
The bell tower or La Giralda. It was originally part of the mosque, but later the top portion was added to form the bell tower.

We did walk to the top of the tower. We asked if we could bring the stroller, the attendant said, "Sure, there's a ramp." I am just the little niave American, surely a ramp doesn't mean a ramp all the way to the top. I thought a ramp to the elevator. Nope, there was a ramp all the way up, well 34 ramps of bumpy brick to be exact. But it was well worth the view once we got up there. Oh, and I didn't push, so I really shouldn't complain.
The view of the Cathedral atop the bell tower.

That is a very big door.

Again, this is a very big baptismal.


Sevilla or Seville (in American)

Seville was gorgeous. The architecture was absolutely inspiring.

This is one of the entrances to the Jewish quarter of Seville. It is also the site of the massacre of the Jews in 1391.
In the back-ground, the long building is the Tobacco Factory that was the setting for the opera Carmen. Today it is a University.

Looking at a picture of this man it is probably easier to tell that he is not a statue. When walking past him, it was very hard to tell. In fact, after seeing many other statues that are posed similarly, I told my Mom to go sit down by him so I could take a picture, but as she walked over, my Dad realized that he was not a statue. That probably would have been a little embarrassing. There was a statue very similar to him in the Madrid Airport that I though was actually a real man...I guess I am just gullible.
For my sister, Meagan, the coffee master. Sevilla was the only place we saw a Starbucks.
This is the Alfonso Hotel and for around $700 a night you too can stay here. According to the website: The Hotel Alfonso XIII was commissioned by the king of Spain in 1928 to be Europe’s most luxurious hotel. Well at least the most expensive.
The Plaza de Espana, which was created for the 1929 World's Fair, and later used in Star Wars II as a bus station. This was amazing, really. It was a huge semi-circle building that had a small canal running around the inside, with beautiful bridges over the canal.
Around the inside, were about 30 of these tile work seating areas. Each depicting a scene from a different city or province in Spain. Some, like Malaga's, were worn.

Ronda

Ronda was the most breathtaking of all the places we visited. Mostly because the drop below you takes your breath away (with fear). It was also the place where the most English was used, strangely enough. It is about two hours Northwest of Malaga and a big UK tourist destination.

The new bridge is in the background of this shot, something like 200 years old.
Another shot of the new bridge that spans the gorge that the city rests on either side of.



The valley below was absolutely gorgeous.


Another old city gate.
Some of the beautiful public patios overlooking the gorge.

This is the old Roman bridge. Quite a walk to get to the other side of the gorge, the new bridge was a great idea.
A pretty little corner of Ronda.

Blue Like Jazz and Addiction to Self

I know, my posts have been sporadic and a little grim. But, you can't help what God is teaching you, so without apology, I want to quote some of the book I just finished...Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.

I hear addicts talk about the shakes and panic attacks and the highs and lows of resisting their habit, and to some degree I understand them because I have had habits of my own, but no drug is so powerful as the drug of self. No rut in the mind is so deep as the one that says I am the world, the world belongs to me, all people are characters in my play. There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction.

This has been such a difficult time in my life coming to grips with my deep fascination with self...he talks for half a chapter about how everyone has the audacity to keep interrupting his play, and think that they can just barge in whenever they like. It is a horrible way to think, but I do this all the time...my time is mine, why do others think they can decide what I am going to do with my time. Why does Hannah not know that spilling her juice all over the floor interrupts my life? It sounds stupid when I say it like that, but how many times do I get upset when I get interrupted or my plans get changed unexpectedly.

Miller finishes the chapter with a story about a man named Bill that he met who demonstrated selflessness consistently. Someone who served even when no thanks was offered, and never seemed frustrated about it. Here is the end of their conversation together:

I asked him how he kept such a good attitude all of the time with so many people abusing his kindness. Bill set down his coffee and looked me in the eye. "Don," he said. "If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus."

El Palo

El Palo is just east of Malaga, along the coast. We were in search of this specific restaurant.

I believe the restaurant was called El Tineria. But since my Spanish is so bad, that doesn't mean a thing to me, so my spelling is most likely off. The appeal of this particular restaurant was its method of serving. You had to claim food as it came by. You couldn't just order what you wanted, you had to wait for them to bring plates of different types of food through the isles (mostly fried seafood). If you want the food, you have to shout for it. I am not sure what the fascination with this type of restaurant is, but tourists flock to it, and so we went.





Downtown Malaga, from El Palo.

Madrid

Our second day was spent in Madrid. It was much more upscale. The amount of shopping reminded me of Dallas. The architecture was completely amazing, and old! But it was also distinctly Spanish, in that everything was leisurely.
This was probably my favorite building in Madrid, it was gorgeous.
There is a huge park in the middle of Madrid, which I, of course, can't remember the name of. It reminded me of Forest Park in St. Louis. There were playgrounds throughout, an old zoo (which wasn't in use anymore), some beautiful buildings, and gardens.
I made my parents demonstrate the unusual teeter-totter.
The Spanish tile was everywhere, go figure.

Several puppet shows were set up, as well as a magician and a mime. The kids were enthralled. I might have been too, had I understood what was being said.


A gorgeous rose garden in the middle of the park.
The trees were all slanted different directions on one side of the park, it was so strange.

The contrast in buildings was striking. A 50s apartment complex right next ancient architecture.
The Royal Palace.


These kind of monu-ments were not sparse, Monarchs are good for something.

Segovia and the Roman Aqueduct

My Mom and I standing in front of the Roman Aqueduct that runs through the middle of Segovia.
"Roman" meaning it is about 2000 years old!
This castle was the model for Cinderella's Castle at Disney World. It is mostly restored (19th Century), as it burned at some point.
This is one of the original city gates.
A cool piece of archi-tecture.

One of the many outdoor cafes. I am still shocked that you can get the equivalent of a cap-puccino for a euro! Especially when everything else is so expensive!


We went inside to warm up for lunch, and the whole place was completely tiles and marble, so Annie took full advantage of that and laughed so hard at her own echo. I am sure no one else was nearly excited to hear her voice.

One of the many cathedrals we saw that day.


This door knocker was a little metal hand, not that unusual for Spain, as it turns out.

A quaint little country view from the top of the city wall.

This is the view from the wall on the other side of the old city. I was standing at the top end of the aqueduct looking down on the new portion of Segovia.