Jack's travelblog

Procession to Moorish Cathedrals in Southern Spain

Tuesday February 20, 2024

Yesterday I got up early and by collective taxi to the port, Tanger Med, Morocco. Forty-five minutes later we stop along the road and the guys from the port show me a short cut to the terminal. The ferry takes me to the other side and in the distance I see a big rock, Gibraltar. We turn and land in Algeciras, Spain. A tour of the city and then the train to Ronda. The ride goes through the beautiful mountainous landscape and after checking in I go into town. This old town is located on a rock and provides beautiful views of the surrounding area. In the evening I see a procession on the old bridge over the gorge. The next day back into the city, see the bullfighting arena from 1785, Plaza de Toros de Ronda, a bathhouse from Moorish times, Baños Árabes, and pass the necessary churches. Wonderful.

The next stop is Malaga, a mix of modern and historic. Lots of beautiful things, but the highlight is the Catedral de Málaga. Worth seeing from the outside, but very lavishly decorated on the inside. Beautiful wood carvings from the 17th century in the middle part, multiple layers of chairs with saints and other figures from the Bible above them. Two pulpits, many paintings, altars for the various saints and a beautifully elaborate ceiling. Climb 200 stairs to enjoy the view from the roof. The semi-circular seats and the foundation of the Roman Theater are clearly visible. Next door is also the entrance to the Moorish castle Alcazaba de Málaga, from the 11th to 14th centuries. Inside the fortress is Palacio Nazarí, where the Moorish architecture can still be clearly seen. Beautiful, especially after the visit to Morocco.

By bus further into the country. The Jardins del Triunfo in Granada is open and the statue stands beautifully in front of the illuminated fountains. Past the University Building towards the Iglesia de San Ildefonso. I walk across Plaza del Triunfo through Calle Elvira, the street with only kebab places. The shopping street Calle Caldereria Nueva is at odds with this and I imagine myself back in Morocco. The same shops with clothing and souvenirs and the same range of tagines. Then towards the Catedral de Granada. Walk around it and pass by Madrasah of Granada with its beautiful facade. The enormous cathedral looms from Plaza de las Pasiegas and the entrance bodes well. It is evening and the church is open for visitors. So I take a look inside. Again very decorated and worth it. I managed to get a ticket for the Alhambra in Granada. First the beautiful Generalife with the gardens. The palace already shows some Moorish influences and the water feature in the middle of the palace is impressive. More gardens and then towards Palacio Nazarí. They are actually a series of palaces with beautiful Moorish decorations on the walls and ceilings. Water features and beautiful views. So many tourists, but a beautiful palace. Through Jardines del Partal to the palace of Charles V, square and almost clumsy on the outside, round on the inside and a completely different appearance. Finally, to Alcazaba, an old castle. The view of the tower is beautiful, especially in the sun and the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevada in the background.

By high-speed train to Cordoba. We reach just over 100 for the first part, but later we reach a respectable 290 km/h. A short drive through the city, where the sky turns purple at the Puerta del Puente at the foot of the Roman bridge over the river. Have a bite to eat in the old town and the next morning I walk through Plaza de las Tendillas, past the Roman temple. I can enter the cathedral at half past two and can visit the necessary churches and monuments with the same ticket. Iglesia de Santa Marina de Aquas Santas is open to visitors and beautiful. It will be a church tour and I visit Iglesia Conventual de San Agustin, Iglesia de San Rafael, Iglesia de San Lorenzo and Iglesia de San Andrés. On time I reach the cathedral and the courtyard is large and beautiful. Then queue up to get in. Inside, the cathedral is a mixture of a Moorish mosque and a Catholic church. Beautiful, lots of double arches and decorated ceilings everywhere, in the middle a real cathedral and around chapels with statues and paintings. One side also has Moorish decorations around the false gates. Beautiful. There is a lot to see here and it can rival the Alhambra. Slightly different style, but very beautiful. Then past the large water mill and to the castle of the Christian Monarchs. Another nice piece of history, albeit less elaborated. Visit a few more churches and visit the famous square, Plaza de la Corredera, with the red facades all around.

On Saturday I explore Seville, starting with breakfast in the sun at the Hercules square. On the river a view of the Calatrava bridge, Puente del Alamillo. Through the park to Torre de los Perdigones, where a wanderer thinks this is the moment to piss against it. Along the city wall and the necessary churches to Palacio de las Dueñas. This is the Duke’s old palace with beautiful gardens. The bougainvillea is already in bloom and colors the facade purple. Then through the modern Mercado de la Encarnacíon. A modern square with a huge canopy. The vaults make it a special and beautiful building. Hotel Alfonso XIII has a beautiful facade and I continue walking along the river. Admire Palacio de San Telmo and continue to Plaza de España, a square surrounded by a semi-circular building. Very worthwhile. A group dances flamenco here and there are many, many tourists. The next morning past the Antiquarium to the closed cathedral. Then through the city to the park south of Alcazar, where the monument to Christopher Columbus is located. Then take a look at Prado de San Sebastián. There is a whole circus here with signs for the Spanish National Women’s Football Team, apparently there is a fan meeting in this park today. It is still quiet at the moment. On to Plaza de España and Maria Luisa Park. A quick walk around Teatro Lope de Vega and through the park. At the royal palace, Alcazar, I join the enormous queue. Many rooms with paintings, gobelins, tile work and other art. Around the Garden of the Virgins there is a palace section that looks a lot like the Alhambra. Again many Moorish influences. Wonderful. There is also a gobelin with the world map seen from Spain. Many beautiful ceilings and doors. Furthermore, the palace has several gardens, all of which are beautifully designed. It’s good to be the King. A few hours later I have seen it and want to go outside. Then it rains less heavily, I put on the raincoat and go back to my homestay. The journey already ends the next day.