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Category: Europe: Spain and Portugal

Castell Gala-Dalí, Pubol

Salvador Dalí was born in Catalonia and the province boasts three major attractions that celebrate the painter’s life and art. The most famous of them is Dalí Theater and Museum in Figueres – day-trippers from Barcelona make it a very popular and slightly overcrowded destination. We visited it once in…

Besalú

Besalú announced itself as a contender for the title of the most attractive little town the moment I caught the sight of it from across river Fluvià. It definitively has one of the most impressive approaches, highlighted by its famous bridge that dates from 12th century. My photographic skills do…

Chasing World Heritage: #96 (Madriu-Perafita-Claror)

Chasing World Heritage: #95 (Madriu-Perafita-Claror)

There are properties on the World Heritage list that have words “cultural landscape” in their name. These sites are relatively large areas whose history and development was directly influenced by the features of the landscape. The Andorran valley of Madriu-Perafita-Claror is one such site, offering an insight into how people…

Andorra La Vella

Counting the places I have visited is probably my only concession to any appearance of being vain. I have a couple of counts going. One, well documented in this blog, is my opportunistic chase after World Heritage sites. The other is the count of different countries that I set foot…

Chasing World Heritage: #95 (Poblet Monastery)

Chasing World Heritage: #94 (Poblet Monastery)

My well-known affinity for sacred architecture did not translate into significant appreciation of Poblet Monastery. The World Heritage inscription mentions majestic architecture on more than one occasion and uses the word “important” with a variety of emphatic modifiers to describe its place in the history of Catalonia. I saw an…

Chasing World Heritage: #94 (Tarragona)

Chasing World Heritage: #93 (Tarragona)

An attractive city to the south-west of Barcelona, Tarragona’s claim to UNESCO recognition revolves around its Roman past, as evidenced by a significant number of architectural remains. The long history of the city means that the medieval, Renaissance, and modern architecture in the center coexist with remnants of Roman glory.  Here is…

Monells

I have to give unqualified credit to my friend Arthur. He has made Costa Brava his summer home for twenty years. The law of diminishing returns suggests that he should find it harder and harder to come across something not seen before. But in fact, he continues to discover fascinating…

Tour of Pordamsa Porcelain factory

Our good friends who make Costa Brava their summer home have a business relationship with Pordamsa Porcelain. Pordamsa has been making innovative tableware in Catalonia’s Empordà region for 40 years. We toured their factory in the town of La Bisbal d’Empordà, which merits a separate entry in the recap of…

Peratallada

The first installment of the photo recap of our summer trip to Spain arrives in double-quick time. I will try to cover every distinct location that I have taken pictures at in more or less chronological order. Which brings us to Peratallada.             I could…

Pueblos Blancos

Another place that I think should be on UNESCO World Heritage list but isn’t, Pueblos Blancos is an area peppered with little villages all boasting distinctive white-washed look. Although this architecture is not exclusive to this part of Andalusia, the name of the area – “White Villages” – certainly reflects…

Re-counting World Heritage sites: #28 (Toledo)

We visited Toledo twice on day-trips several years apart and definitely left some places unexplored there even after two visits. Recognizing two millennia of history on display in Toledo, the UNESCO inscription mentions over a dozen sights by name, of which we can claim good familiarity with no more than…

My favorite sights of Costa Brava

We have spent a significant amount of time on the Costa Brava over the course of a couple of summers, and know the region quite well. It is also one of the most-photographed locations in our archives, giving me a pretty large selection to choose from for the purposes of…

My favorite sights of Segovia, Spain

Segovia – within an easy day-trip distance from Madrid – is one of those picturesque locations, where every turn around a corner brings you to a great photographic spot. It boasts a few major can’t-miss sights, but it is the often flamboyant house ornamentation on its narrow pedestrian streets that…

My favorite sights of Granada

It’s hard to avoid using Alhambra as a dominating topic when it comes to Granada. The magnificent palace and fortress complex is a must-see destination for any visitor to Granada. Not surprisingly, some of my most favorite sights of Granada are those found within the walls of Alhambra. Starting with…

My favorite sights of Cordoba

Any visit to Cordoba will be first and foremost about the Mezquita, the enormous mosque-cum-cathedral that is one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture in the Western world. Its onyx, marble and granite columns crowned by double arches are a magnificent sight to behold.     The belltower…

My favorite sights of Barcelona

Barcelona is competing with Paris for the title of “the city I know really well despite never having lived there”. But the lion’s share of my exploration of the city of the Basilica of Sagrada Família, one of the defining masterpieces of the Modernist giant Antoní Gaudí, which is finally…

My favorite sights of Madrid

A second entry in a row brings me to a city that I undoubtedly like a lot, but somehow do not have a wide range of pictures of to share. With Madrid, the reason for that shortage is somewhat inexplicable, since we have hundreds of good-quality pictures taken there. But…