I have written about our stay in the Spanish Castle before. The short version is this castle was the birthplace to modern Spain. King Ferdinand II (of Aragon) and Queen Isabella I (of Castille) were married here, setting the stage for the unification of Spain.
It's an amazing place and if you ever find yourself in the middle of Spain, I highly suggest you spend a few nights in the castle of Alcañiz!
FC Barcelona, Gaudí, Picasso and Estrella Damm are the four legs upon which Barcelona was built.
There is no better way to relax than to sit back with an Estrella Damm or Voll Damm in a square in Barcelona. I'd suggest Plaça del Rei or Plaça del Sol — the tourist books and pickpockets can keep the world-famous Plaça Reial.
This photograph was captured with a teeny-tiny Canon IXUS.
Madrid's Plaza de España is home to a tremendous monument dedicated to Miguel de Cervantes. In addition to a tower, it includes a stone statue of Cervantes standing watch over his creations, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
I've written about the beauty and history of Alcañiz in the past so I'll keep this one short. I took this photograph from the terrace of our room in the Castle at Alcañiz just as the sun was starting to get low in the sky. There were several fires in the lands surrounding the Castle. You can see one of them here. The smoke from the fires conspired with the setting sun to turn everything orange. It was a very smoky version twist to putting on rose-colored glasses.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about our stay in the Alcañiz Castle under the Spanish Paradores program. Here's the view from our balcony, looking down the wall of the castle. It was an amazing place and a tremendous travel find. It's probably the least expensive European "hotel" that I have ever stayed in — and it's a castle!
The castle in Alcañiz was once the center of the Spanish kingdom. King Ferdinand II (of Aragon) and Queen Isabella I (of Castille) were married, setting the stage for the unification of Spain. When we visited Alcañiz on a roadtrip from Barcelona to Madrid, we stayed in the castle through Spain's excellence Paradores program. Under the program, Spain turns historic castles, monasteries and other important historic buildings into hotels, ensuring they are properly maintained for future generations. There was only one other couple in the entire castle when we visited and it was the most affordable place we stayed in during the entire trip. If you are planning a trip to Spain, I highly recommend you check out the Paradores.
When you're driving by the saffron fields in the center of Spain, it's hard to believe that one of the most expensive products in the world by weight grows in such a seemingly unwelcoming environment. It's arid and dusty and not much seems to grow there except for rocks and saffron trees. And in certain regions, the trees are absolutely everywhere. Even local petrol stations sell saffron in little containers by the gram for next to nothing.
This shed was the cornerstone of one of the saffron fields and gives you a good feel for the rugged terrain and environment.
This photograph was captured with a tiny Canon IXUS 30.
The interior of Spain really surprised me with it's arid landscapes. And giant windmills. And huge bull cutouts. Much like the Mail Pouch Chew barn advertisements in America, the Osborne bull was a billboard for Osborne Sherry. The sherry dates back to 1772. The bull billboards date back to 1956.
This photograph was captured with a Canon IXUS 30 after our other camera was stolen in Barcelona (I promise I'll tell that story some day).
These doves can be found high atop La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. The sheer vision of Gaudí in his design of La Sagrada Familia is as immense as the structure itself, with small details like these hundreds of feet up in the air.
May this holiday season bring you peace and goodwill to all.