Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Highlights of Seville, Spain Sept 14th-17th, 2012

view from our hotel window of the gorgeous piazza de espana in the maria luisa park. built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 

sculpture in our hotel lobby

piazza de espana,  a ceramic tiled bridge over the moat

stunning ceramic balastrides

even the gutters were ceramic

a few meters from our hotel, on our first day exploring, the four travelers were very happy to discover such beauty. The Plaza de espana complex is a hemicycle of buildings around the edge of  a moat. this is one of the many bridges over the moat on the beginnings of a very hot day. 

so many gorgeous banisters 

banyan trees in the park

2 of the 4 kings carrying Christopher Columbus' grave in the amazing Seville cathedral

inside the cathedral with lots of gothic features

there were many, many stunning stained glassed windows with gorgeous colors, these showing the two patron saints of Seville

another view

cathedral at night

another view of cathedral

back at the piazza de espana, enjoying one of the many tiled alcoves with benches, each representing a different province of Spain, this one being Tarragona

i really enjoyed the piazza de espana,  and it was fun to be able to walk through it on our way out and into the hotel every day

cathedral tower

entering the old town of seville from the park where the banyan trees were

inside the royal palace, originally the alcazar (fort) of the Moors, begun in the 10th century. This is the Patio of  the Doncellas

lovely moorish designs in the palace. palace is still used today by the royal family, king juan carlos . they have their apartments on the 3rd floor which one can visit (certain rooms) on a guided tour, well worth it.

gorgeous hall of the ambassadors

gorgeous mudejar  designs everywhere

simple royal palace window

mudejar royal palace. One could have been in egypt

gardens of the royal palace

gardens royal palace

even the hard ceramic bench was comfortable for a weary traveler, in the royal palace garden

 entering one of the many rooms in the royal palace The "Baths of Lady María de Padilla" are rainwater tanks beneath the Patio del Crucero. The tanks are named after María de Padilla, the mistress of Peter the Cruel.

we treated ourselves to a break at the gorgeous Alphonso II  hotel at the edge of the park-  we had toured hard in very hot weather

 Alphonso II hotel-perhaps next time, when we win the lottery

each province of spain had a beautiful tiled bench area in the hemisphere of the piazza de espana. this one doesn't look like much of a ferocious battle between the christians and the moors

all the portraits decorating the upper levels were also ceramic in the piazza de espana

AZ Zait restaurant- sort of a pompeian type of wall fresco

We loved the framed lamps, restaurant was wonderful, would easily return and recommend, was our best meal in Seville

another view of Columbus' grave, with a great fresco of St. Christopher behind it. Grave was very impressive.

Seville, gorgeous everywhere you look

back at hotel for a quick dip before dinner with the lovely piazza de espana in the background

Monday, October 15, 2012

more of lisbon, Sept 2012

what remained of one of the basilicas after the 1755 earthquake and since it occurred on a holy day, Nov 1st, the church unfortunately was full. it is now a museum displaying the artifacts found there.

view of downtown Lisbon

had a great dinner at bistro 100 maneiras after going to hear a Fado performance

fun mosaics on outside of restaurant, there were about 4 different ones

our local streetcar, just steps from the hotel

our morning coffee spot

the Gulbenkian museum is not to be missed, has a lovely collection of many different types of art. here are some turkish ceramics

the turkish  collection was very large

turkish iznik ceramic plate

the collection was arranged  in chronological order and there were a few very pretty Italian paintings

Italian renaissance portrait of a girl by Ghirlandaio, 15th century

the rene lalique collection was an entire room, so impressive and fun

a Lalique peacock brooch

next stop was the museu do azulejos (tile museum)

religious tiles often used as frontpieces on altars

decorative pieces

scenic tiles

The highlight of the museum is a blue and white composition of 1300 tiles of Lisbon's cityscape made in 1738, prior to the Great Earthquake, and reputedly the country's longest tile piece.  provides a great history of what was once there. the signs were very good showing what still remains of these places.  

the lisbon tile was very, very long, 75ft in length and a special room was dedicated to it. this is most of it.
the tile museum itself was in the madre de deus convent, shown here is the cloister completely tiled on the walls. was very striking

manueline doorway of church entrance next to convent

subtle differences

in the museum there are pieces showing how the tiles are made and a history of when tiling began in Portugal

 a pretty tiled nativity triptych

tiled walls

inner courtyard of museum/convent

tiled bathroom signs

another fun-filled, informative day in lisbon with perfect weather