We have left Astotga and walked on to Ponferrada, I will write more about that paŕt of the Camino and our journey little later.
For now I wanted to show you some photos from our visit to Astorga.
First the 15th century Catedral de Santa María de Astorga, with a Baroque façade and a Renaissance retablos completed by a disciple of Michelangelo and Raphael (Gaspar Becerra). While it is not as elaborate or as large as the Burgos Cathedral, nor does it have the magnificent stained glass of the Leon Cathedral but it is one of the oldest cathedrals in Spain. Once inside our eyes are drawn up and there is an amazing sense of height, and it is inspiring in its simplicity as the columns and pillars are designed without ornamentation.
Our next stop was the Plaza Mayor, Tuesday is market day and the plaza along with many of the side streets were filled with market stalls. The vendors each seemed to have their specialty, fruits and veggies, plants, flowers, bread, cheese, food trucks, stalls of cloths, shoes, toys, books, stationary, purses, bags. I did not see any antique or junk dealers, so no old cameras for me, probably a good thing since the backpack is full!
The Cathedral is a magnificent building, with such a rich history, I highly recommend visiting the cathedral if you are in the city, and allow a couple of hours to listen to the audio tour and view all the details.
Everyone loves a sunset, and I never imagined that they could look better as a black and white image, then they do as a colour image, after all we watch or photograph a sunset for the colour, don’t we?! Bill and I walked up to the Piazza Michelangelo specifically to watch the sunset. It was our last night in Florence, it was the first clear evening during the week we were there, so we had one chance to see it. When we arrived on top of the hill, it was crowded. Other tourists who had made the walk, vendors who are selling their wares, and at least one engaged couple getting portraits done, it was a hub of activity.
The Cathedral is actually south-west of the Piazza Michelangelo, so the sunset happens to our left as we are look over Florence, the setting sun was lighting up the side of the Duoma, and colouring the clouds all across the sky, but the colour and drama just didn’t translate well into the digital photo. The lights in the city were starting to come on, the Cathedral was warmly lit by the street lights from below, and the colour in the sky was starting to fade, and I still did not have an image that I was happy with.
Back at our apartment when I started processing images I knew that I would want at least one photo to submit to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness post this week. So I picked a couple of the sunset images, figuring if I wasn’t happy with the colour in the images the light might seem more dramatic if colour was removed. I have to admit I wasn’t optimistic, but quite happy with the results. Hope on over to Leanne’s blog and check out the other submissions for Monochrome Madness.
The Leon Cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain and Europe it is considered to be a Gothic masterpiece, and with 125 stained class windows the viewer is first notices the contrast between the warm dark stone walls and arches and the colourful bright stained glass windows.
We spent yesterday travelling between Leon and Zaragoza a six-hour train ride. It’s always seems the travelling days are the hardest even when someone else is doing all the work!
Re-visiting the Leon Cathedral. We spent a couple of days in Leon in the fall of 2012 when we walked the Camino Francis from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela, and we knew that this was one place in Spain that we wanted to return, and to spend a little more time exploring the city and the historic sites.
It is festival week here in Leon Spain, with plenty going on in the street day and night, and we have been busy enjoying as much as we can!
The Mezuita, Spanish for Mosque, of Cordoba is a building that shows the many religious changes Cordoba and for that matter Spain has undergone over the centuries. The Mezquita is now the Cathedral of Cordoba and officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, but a majority of the art and architecture is the work of Islamic architects, who built the mosque in the 8th century. It is quite amazing to walk around the UNESCO world heritage site, and see the different architectural and religious features standing side-by-side in harmony.
Toledo is filled with narrow streets, and it is seemingly impossible to get a great view of the Cathedral. We are either peaking between buildings as we are here, or looking up at it, as we were in the previous post. So today, I was on a mission to see the Cathedral, and get a memorable image. The image below is from the Alcazar Tower.
We walked out-of-town, crossed the Tagas River on the Alcantara Bridge, a Roman bridge and headed to the Valle Hermitage, high on the hill for a sunset view of Toledo and the Cathedral.
Finally I found the near perfect reflection in the window of the tourist information office. I thought it appropriate the town map was hanging in the window.
We have left Madrid and taken a 30 minute train ride to Toledo Spain. Some of you, who have been following the blog for a while might remember that the plan was to walk the Via la Plata, a medieval camino route from Seville to Santiago de Compostela. We had walked the Camino Francis about 18 months ago, and really enjoyed our time in Spain and walking. The Via la Plata is a different route, much further between towns meaning longer walking stages, fewer travellers or pilgrims on the road, and not as well accommodated. We found we were not really enjoying ourselves. We do understand that the idea behind a camino, and we don’t expect to enjoy everyday, but still, this is our journey and so we have left he Via la Plata route, and are no longer walking north towards Santiago de Compostela. We are taking sometime off the camino path, and we are going to get a little rest, travel by train and visit some of the world heritage sites in Spain. That is what brought us to Toledo, and this great Cathedral, more about it tomorrow.
It’s hard to know where to start in describing Seville Spain, but my mind returns to something my father once said….“ you should be thankful that you have been born into a country like Canada” and I am, as it has allowed me the freedom and income to travel to so may beautiful places around the world…yet if there is such a thing as reincarnation, please let me come back as a Spaniard in the city of Seville. The old town is a place of immense beauty so interwoven, that like a poem about a love between a man and a women, the new and the old mingle together such that harmony is the only word to describe it. History (Seville Cathedral), and the modern (exhibition of Henry Moore Sculptures), stand side by side, each accentuation and complementing the beauty of the other, not competing for the stares of the passers by…but leaving them with something to keep and remember as they live out that day.
Can you tell, we are enjoying our time here in Seville!