Perhaps no other legendary figure rouses the Spanish consciousness quite like the man known as El Cid. Widely considered a national hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was born in 1043 as a member of the minor nobility, in a small town six miles north of Burgos. Raised and educated in the court of Ferdinand I, “Emperor of all Spain”, he rose to prominence as commander and royal standard-bearer for the king’s oldest son and heir, Sancho II. Read more
Posts from the ‘Spain’ Category
“Then we crossed a wide plain, and there was a big river off on the right shining in the sun from between the line of trees, and away off you could see the plateau of Pamplona rising out of the plain, and the walls of the city, and the great brown cathedral, and the broken skyline of the other churches. In the back of the plateau were the mountains, and every way you looked there were other mountains, and ahead the road stretched out white across the plain going toward Pamplona.”
– The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway Read more
“Adiós! Adiós!” The little boy’s mother waved and laughed as he remained powerless, legs dangling, in the arms of a waiter. Just moments before, the bearded giant had swiftly picked him up, starting down the slope with a mischievous grin. “I’ll take him away!” he chuckled, “I’ll take him away!” Read more
From the plaza it appeared like a fortress, towering high above our heads in solid stone, an imposing presence bristling with spires and sturdy buttresses. The late afternoon sun illuminated the church’s west front as I pushed open the heavy wooden door to a cool, refreshing silence – a far cry from the sounds of the Spanish summer. Read more
When night falls and the day-trippers return to Madrid, Segovia takes on a quiet magic befitting its dramatic location. My mother and I are here for several nights, and from our room on the top floor of a small hotel, we can see the sky turning darker shades of violet. Read more
It’s been more than a year since I left Spain, but every now and again certain details resurface, catching me at quiet moments and leaving me with a pervasive sense of longing. Among them I recall the sound of Salamanca’s cathedral bells, the intense, woody smell emanating from a jamón shop, and the taste and vivid crimson of a tinto de verano. Read more
It emerges from the arid, dusty landscape like a desert mirage, a medley of tan-coloured buildings and soaring spires amidst an iridescent ribbon of green. We are on the approaches to Zaragoza, a historic city that sits roughly halfway between Bilbao and Barcelona. Read more
If I were ever asked to name a favourite country from my travels, it would have to be Spain.
In no other place did I find such a perfect fit in the prevailing rhythm of life. Nine months of passionate living taught me to understand its people, its national love of food, and last but not least, its architecture. Read more
Stepping out of the train at Estació del Nord, I could instantly feel my shoulders relax. In the relative darkness we gazed up at the wrought iron roof, pierced by a long skylight running down its centre. Around us the muffled footsteps lacked all the signs of a preoccupied, obsessive urgency. This city, I knew, was going to be different. Read more
Barcelona taught me the importance of managing my expectations.
At architecture school, it was both the Holy Grail and the magic word. So you want to build something extraordinary? Look at Barcelona. Struggling to find inspiration? Again, Barcelona. Over those four years it came to represent the ideal – a pinnacle of unspeakable beauty and the best in urban design. Read more