Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday's postcards: Take a holiday in Spain

The forecast is calling for it to be 104° today here in York, Pennsylvania. Just a little to our west, on a storied battlefield, men will be running around foolishly in full uniform, re-enacting part of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Meanwhile, it's a balmy 82° right now in Mallorca, one of the autonomous communities of Spain...

Above: This postcard features Calle de la Almudaina (Almudaina Street) in Palma, the capital of the island of Mallorca. As regular readers know, I'm a big fan of old, human-scale streets and alleys. I have previously featured Fiskargränd in Visby, Sweden; Møntestræde in Odense, Denmark; and a three-for-one post with fabulous old streets in Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands.

Calle de la Almudaina is part of "The Old City" of Palma, which is described by Wikipedia as "a fascinating maze of streets clearly hinting toward an Arab past. With the exception of a few streets and squares which allow traffic and are more populated with tourists most of the time, the walkways of this city quarter are fairly narrow, quiet streets, surrounded by a diverse range of interesting buildings, the architecture of which can easily be compared with those in streets of cities such as Florence."

Some of the other sites in and around the popular tourist destination of Palma (which was founded in 123 B.C.) include the massive Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, Bellver Castle, and the Banys Àrabs (Arab Baths).

Above: This postcard features a general view of Toledo, Spain, where the temperature is in the low 90s today.

Toledo is much more ancient than Mallorca, dating to the seventh century BC. Its unique cuisine history includes lamb roast, alubias con perdiz (beans with partridge), perdiz estofoda (partridge stew), gachas manchegas and marzipan.

The huge structure that you see on the right side of the postcard is the Alcázar of Toledo, a stone fortification that was once used as a Roman palace in the 3rd century. It is now a museum.

According to "The Alcazar of Toledo is situated in Toledo's highest point, making it a perfect place to resist. The Alcazar's history is long and bloody. It changed hands several times, treason, murder and sieges occurred, and it all culminated with its last siege in 1936."

Check out this a neat public-domain photograph of the Alcázar's interior from Wikipedia.

Above: Today's final postcard features an overhead view of Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey on the mountain of Montserrat in Spain.

Here are some interesting things about the monastery and the mountain:
  • The monastery started as the Hermitage of Santa Maria in 1025. In 1811, much of it was destroyed by Napoleonic troops. Rebuilding took time and the "newer" parts of the structure are only slightly more than a century old.
  • Santa Maria de Montserrat is home to the Virgin of Montserrat, one of the black Madonnas of Europe.
  • Youth from Barcelona make overnight hikes to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat.
  • The monastery contains a publishing house that has been in operation since 1499.
The postcard photo was taken from the Funicular de Sant Joan, the steepest funicular railway in Spain. The operating company's English website is here.

From Sant Joan, the island of Mallorca is visible on a clear day.

1 comment:

  1. Its an beautiful country in the world and it is popular among tourist just because these wonderful architectures and friendly people living here. i am a big fan of this country and traveled 5 times their but i always think to visit again because i love this beautiful country a lot...Thanks Superb Article!