Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Granada: People-Watching and Eating

Two of my favorite travel activities; people-watching and eating. I'm usually somewhat stealthy about photographing people, using a telephoto lens in the 200-300 mm range. I'm not so shy about photographing food and restaurants. We were tipped off to La Bella y La Bestia (the Beauty and the Beast) as being a tapas bar where you could get an enormous amount of food free with your drink. The tip proved correct as should be evident from the last two photographs. We ordered 2 beers and 2 sangrias and then out came the food! Hamburgers, chips, and olives first, and then bagels with cheese and ham, served with more chips and croquettes. We ordered another drink but told the waiter we were stuffed and please not to bring more food. Amazing place.

Granada: The City

Granada is a beautiful city with covered pedestrian-only winding streets, cafes, great architecture, art in the street and much more. The bottom photograph shows a Chocolate con Churros outdoor cafe featuring one of Spain's signature dishes. 

Granada: The Alhambra

The Alhambra sits on a hill looking over the city of Grenada. I had been here once before in the 1990's but have no specific recollection of the visit as it was an "If This Is Tuesday It Must Be Belgium" tour with high school students and some friends along for the ride. So, it was like seeing it for the first time. It is an impressive series of buildings, but the overall experience is not helped by the crowds of people or the oppressive heat. My most memorable part of the visit was enjoying an ice-cold shandy after we had exhausted all the sights. Pretty sad. It's also difficult to photograph in the middle of the day with tourists everywhere, not that I'm not a tourist myself. The top and bottom photographs were taken the day before the visit from across the valley, a lookout we reached after a sweat-soaked hike.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Granada, Spain

The final stop on our Spain tour was Granada, mostly famous for the Alhambra, the Moorish Royal Palace, When we arrived at the bus station and told our taxi driver the name of our hotel, he gave a low whistle and said in Spanish, "Nice place. Bob Dylan just stayed there last week." We had been following Bob Dylan for two weeks, never catching up with him unfortunately. The Alhambra Palace Hotel sits on a steep hill above the city only a short hop to the Alhambra itself. It is a beautiful place with large rooms and a fantastic lobby. There's a bar that sits on the outside of the hotel overlooking the city below. That's the view in the second photograph from the bottom. The bottom photograph was taken from the Alhambra looking back at the hotel and valley below. The Alhambra, while a very worthwhile visit, wasn't the only attraction in Granada.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Seville, Spain 2015

No particular theme here, just some shots I like. At the top is the lobby of our hotel, the Hotel Palacio de Villapanes. Beautiful rooms and excellent service. It was a joy to come back here in the afternoon after a hot day walking around the city. Below that is a city bus with a Cruz Campo advert for the Radler, a beer-lemonade drink which I tried for the first time in Spain. Perfect for the hot days and nights. Next are two shots taken in the Triana district across the river from central Seville. While waiting to get into the Alcazar, we watched tourists from Asia stand in line to take pictures with a bride and groom there for wedding photographs. They seemed to be from one family and why they wanted pictures with the bride is beyond me, but the happy couple was gracious about it. Second from bottom is the lobby of the Alfonso XIII Hotel, a beautiful and luxurious hotel in central Seville. We often go into fancy hotels to see how the one per cent live. They usually have excellent architectural detail so I like them from that point of view as well. Finally, we read about the EME Catedral Hotel in Rick Steves' guidebook. He said the rooftop bar was worth the expense of one drink, so up we went! Great 15 euro Negroni. That's the cathedral in the background of the very cool lamps that hang in the bar.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Seville: Plaza de Espana

The Plaza de Espana was built for the 1929 World's Fair and is located in the Maria Luisa Park. The Plaza is done in Art Deco and Neo-Mudejar styles. There's a river with a moat and numerous bridges crossing it. It's a favorite location for family portraits, brides, and fashion models, We got there bright and early on a Sunday to beat the crowds and the heat, our only other companions were a bride and a model, both seemingly waiting for the photographer to show up.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Seville: The Alcazar

A visit to Seville is incomplete without a tour of the Alcazar of Seville, the royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings, still in use by the Spanish Royal family on the upper levels. The first photograph is the Courtyard of the Maidens, perhaps the most iconic image of the palace. Too bad there were so many tourists there who wouldn't get out of my picture! The fourth picture is Los Banos de Dona Maria de Padilla, rainwater tanks beneath the Patio del Crucero, named after the mistress of Peter the Cruel. Nice name! The gardens outside the palace are also worth a visit. They supplied the royal family with fruit and vegetables and a steady source of water.