A Journey through Spain

A Journey through Spain
A Journey through Spain

Arriving for the first time into Spain’s relatively modern capital, Madrid, our transfer brought us through the tree lined boulevards to our hotel in the diplomatic district. 

When I booked, I initially thought we were too far from the ‘centre’ however I soon realised that we were a delightful 20 minute walk to the Prado and the Thyssen and the district where we were staying offered numerous restaurants and tapas bars where local residents frequent. 

It proved to be a great area to be based for our four nights, my only regret was not having longer.

Skip the line entry tickets saved us a lot of time. 

The Royal Palace is now only used for ceremonial purposes and wandering its grand interiors you glimpse the opulence of the ruling classes and the great wealth brought to Spain with the colonisation of the Americas. 

With exploration came a wealth of exotic foods and spices so our visit to Mercardo San Miguel showcased fabulous tapas and wines – a must visit for foodies!

My favourite museum was the Prado, an outstanding collection of masterpieces from yesteryear, the Thyssen and Sofia Reina galleries were also amazing with collections of 20th century and contemporary works. 

Spain has a long history of support for the arts and attracting the likes of Caravaggio and others to the region drawn in by the rich coffers of state and church profiting from The Golden Age.  

Establishing Madrid as his capital, King Philip established his ruling dynasty away from the Bishops of Toledo. 

Situated 70 kilometres from Madrid this historical capital is now a UNESCO world heritage site and a must see to understand the complex history of this country. 

Perched high above the river, Toledo is like walking through a living museum with ancient buildings and cobblestone streets, be sure to join a guide who will bring the history to light.

Modern Spain has built a network of high speed trains and we travelled south to Cordoba, once a city of some 600,000 people in Roman and Moorish times this was the most important city in Andalusia. 

Wandering the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter and entering the enormous mosque built in the eighth century using Roman columns from the dismantled previous rulers temples. This mosque was converted to a cathedral in the 13thcentury by the returning Christians. 

Travelling further south to Seville, the modern capital of Andalusia, we are in awe of the Royal Alcazar built in Moorish times and withstanding the conversion to the Christian monarchy.

This fabulous building opens into picturesque courtyards and gorgeous gardens offering shade from the hot sun. 

Water features and decorative tiles make this a tranquil oasis in this busy city. The cathedral dominates the skyline. 

Take the time to relax and soak in the history of this vibrant city, a delightful place is the patio at the Alfonso XIII hotel overlooking the main street. 

We also took a fun cooking class – olive oil dominates the local food and is used in very course including with ice cream! Produce is fresh and grown locally in the rich soils of the region. Onwards tomorrow to explore further.

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