Day 11: Sightseeing in Barcelona
Today was spent getting lost in the Jewish quarter and then a great museum the museum of history Barcelona. It is giant dig site that is open for visitors to walk through ( elevated platform). Its actually in the basement of another very ancient building that was moved there brick by brick in the early 1900’s to make a boulevard.
We also went for a walk to find Casa Batllo a house that was designed by Gaudi.
Day 12: Exploring the Gothic Quarter
Spent the day exploring the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
Day 13: People watching
We had intended to take the 1 1/2 hour train trip to Montserrat but we were all touristed out. We spent the day sitting in cafes and watching the world go by. A great way to feel the vibe of a place.
Day 14: Fly to Madrid and get settled in
Day 15: El Rastro Flea market
A popular market that is held every Sunday and on public holidays. It takes its name from its historical origins of being near the slaughterhouse district and the trail of blood that would be left form the carcasses. There are some touristy stores but the most interesting stalls are those selling antique and vintage items. A number of cafes and food stalls will also keep you well provisioned while you look around.
Day 16: El Retiro Parq
El Retiro Parq. Hard to describe never seen such a manicured park that has purpose. Park goes on and on and on. People doing what people do in parks, relax and row boats sit at cafes and smoke and smoke and well smoke. The Spanish love their Gaspers.
Plaza Mayor was walking distance from our accommodation. A huge plaza there was always something happening- buskers, bars, restaurants, one night when we went for a walk there was a free concert with well-known flamenco performers on a huge stage in the middle of the square.
Day 17: Museum hopping and the Prado Museum
The Prado is Spain’s main national art museum. It has works from as far back as the 12th Century. It is an awe-inspiring collection and best of all you can see it for free. At about 5.30pm an orderly line starts forming outside and ends up winding its way around half a city block. At 6pm the doors are opened and everyone is allowed in until 8pm free of charge. It is all done quickly, quietly and efficiently. We went once to see what the catch was, there was none, and then came back several evenings in a row to look at different galleries after we had spent the day doing other sightseeing. Times for free entry are: Monday to Saturday 6pm-8pm, Sundays and holidays 5pm- 7pm and all day on the 19th of November.
Day 18: Segovia- Day tripping (1hour 30 minutes each way)
Drive today from Madrid to Segovia. Quite a fun drive of about 1 1/2 hours. Probably shouldn’t put the address of the castle as the destination. The GPS had me right to the door up roads and lanes designed for asses. Maybe I’m on the right roads. The castle here is supposedly the model for Walt Disney’s castle.
The amazing thing of Segovia however is the Aqueduct. 14 km long and up to 30 metres tall. No mortar, no bolting, all key stones and good old Roman ingenuity. Men in Sandals gave us this. Probably one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Truly mind blowing.
Day 17 – 19: People watching
Day 20: Drive to Cordoba (4 hours)
The amazing Mezquita Cathedral and Old Roman Bridge. The Mezquita Cathedral, originally Roman then rebuilt as a church by the Visigoths then destroyed by the Muslims and rebuilt using the debris into a mosque and the finally the converted back to a Catholic Cathedral. What is so stunning is the Islamic architecture that has been retained yet obvious Gothic newer influences.
The Roman bridge well, what can you say. Still in use today. Also check out the Juderia- Jewish neighbourhood and Sinagoga.