Friday, October 12, 2012

Día de la Hispanidad

Today is another Bank Holiday in Spain - Día de la Hispanidad or Columbus Day.

Why?

Firstly, Columbus was not Spanish - he was an Italian born in Genoa.

Secondly, he is credited with discovering America so we can blame him for the proliferation of fast food outlets like McDonalds.

Thirdly, most of the time he did not know where he was - he thought he was in the Orient when, in fact, he was in Central America.

File:Columbus Taking Possession.jpg
Christoper Columbus arrives in America -  L. Prang & Co., Boston

Seriously, though, Christopher Columbus was a famous explorer who, convinced that the World was round when most thought it was flat, persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella to sponsor him on his voyages to the New World. Of course, he did not know it was the New World at the time - he thought that travelling in a westerly direction he would arrive in India. He did not bargain for the small matter that the continental masses of the Americas were in the way!

He set sail on his first voyage on 3 August 1492 in the Santa María. On 12 October he reached San Salvador island in the Bahamas - hence the celebration date. On further trips he discovered Dominica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and the east coast of Central America including Honduras and Panama.


Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451.

He spent several years as a mariner in the Portuguese marine. However, he yearned for more status and wished to accumulate riches for his family. He also believed that China and India could be reached by sailing in a westerly direction. Columbus sought sponsorship for his aims and, after a number of rejections, he finally obtained royal support from Spain - King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to bankroll his first voyage in January 1492.

He made four voyages and we know now that he did not reach India but, instead, discovered America - or part of it! It is widely believed that he was the first European to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and to set foot  on the American continent.

He discovered most of the islands of the Caribbean as well as countries in Central America including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela. He established a base in Hispaniola - an island now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Christopher Columbus died in 1506 at Valladolid but his bones were taken to Hispaniola - to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo that is now in the Dominican Republic.

more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Alhambra Palace, Granada


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Within Andalucía, our neighbouring province is Granada, meaning that we only live about a 90 minute drive from Granada,  one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.  Granada offers great architecture, wonderful views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere.  The city is well worth of a few days of anyone´s time.
What I want to tell you about in this post, is the amazing…
From Robert Bovington:
This is an excellent post about the Alhambra from East of Málaga's Blog


Blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Protected Landscapes in Spain

by Robert Bovington

Spain has a rich scenic diversity. Vast areas of the country remain wild, rugged and sparsely populated and large parts of the country are protected. Within Europe, Spain leads the way in the conservation of its heritage. There are many categories of protection including national parks, natural parks and biosphere reserves. There are two biosphere reserves close to my heart and close to where I live - the Cabo de Gata and the Sierra Nevada. The Cabo de Gata was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997, the Sierra Nevada in 1986. Both meet UNESCO's criteria in that they are ecologically diverse and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the environment.


The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is the collection of all 531 biosphere reserves in 105 countries (2009). Spain has thirty-three which is a proportionately higher number compared with other European countries.

These include the spectacular Ordesa National Park in the Pyrenees, the lowland wilderness of the Doñana National Park in western Andalucía and the snow-capped heights of the Picos de Europa in Cantabria.

The Sierra Nevada also has National Park status but, then, it has quite a lot going for it - it contains the Iberian Peninsula's highest mountains, which are the spectacular backdrop to the magnificent city of Granada.


Sierra Nevada - view from Puerto de Ragua
photo: Robert Bovington

Spain was one of the first countries in Europe to establish national parks when, in 1918, the Montaña de Covadonga National Park was established. Today, this beautiful area is known as the Picos de Europa, situated in the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain. Incidentally, the Picos de Europa has also achieved UNESCO Biosphere status. Currently, there are 15 national parks in Spain.

There are also many hundreds of natural areas that have been afforded protection. National parks are afforded the highest level of protection followed by natural parks. There are also natural monuments, special protection areas, nature reserves, protected landscapes, biotopes, nature enclaves, wildlife reserves, marine reserves, rural parks, natural landscapes of national interest and sites of scientific interest and, of course, biosphere reserves.

Natural parks are pretty special but there are too many to list here. Every autonomous community has a number of protected areas with Catalonia, Andalucía and the Canaries being the most prolific with several hundreds between them.

In Andalucía there are around 150 protected areas including 23 natural parks. Three of my favourites are the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the Sierra de las Nieves. All three are biosphere reserves.

Sierra de Grazalema
photo: Robert Bovington

Sierra de las Nieves
photo: Robert Bovington

Extract from my Pinterest "Spain - natural spaces" pinboard

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Evolving Passion: One Girl’s Relationship with Spanish Food



I have just read an interesting post about Spanish food - click on the following link:-

An Evolving Passion: One Girl’s Relationship with Spanish Food

You might also enjoy reading my post on Spanish food and drink:-

http://bobbovington.blogspot.com.es/2012/03/spanish-food-drink.html

Conejo con ajo 

fabada

































 other blogs by Robert Bovington:


"Photographs of Spain"
"Spanish Impressions"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Queen of Spain eats melon sorbet at Jevington pub

Last year, when I visited the UK in March, I walked across the Sussex Downs with my brother Mike. We stopped for a couple of pints at the 'Eight Bells' in Jevington. 




It transpires that 3 months later another Spanish resident visited that tiny village - Queen Sofia!
I hasten to add that our meal was more down to earth - cheese roll and chips!

click link below for more info...

Queen of Spain eats melon sorbet at Jevington pub - Local - Sussex Express



The newspaper report is not entirely accurate in that the 'Hungry Monk' is a restaurant and not a pub. 


Other blogs by Robert Bovington:


"Photographs of Spain"
"Spanish Impressions"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Osuna

To break up the long journey to our holiday destination in Portugal, I booked an overnight stay in Osuna.
It is a fine town with many attractive buildings – a result of its long and interesting history. Iberians originally inhabited the town before Julius Caesar conquered it. Later, the Moors occupied it before the Christian forces of Fernando III reconquered it in 1239. Its period of greatest splendour, however, was in the 16th century under the dukedom of Osuna - one of the most powerful dynasties in Andalucía at the time. As a result, the town is endowed with a magnificent array of Baroque palaces and seigniorial houses. 
There are also a number of eye-catching religious buildings in Osuna including imposing 16th-century Colegiata that stands on a hilltop, a short distance from the main square, the Plaza Mayor.

Plaza Mayor

It was in this attractive square that I parked the car and we headed of for refreshments. After a short walk in a haphazard direction, we arrived in Plaza del Salitre, a café there served excellent tapas.



Refreshed, we returned to the Plaza Mayor and thence in the direction of the Colegetia.

Iglesia colegial de Santa María de la Asunción (Colegetia)

We then proceeded up the hill to view the church from a different perspective.

doorway of main facade of the Colegetia
Nearby is the old university, the Baroque convent of La Encarnación and panoramic views of the town from a vantage point at the front of the Colegetia.

University and Colegetia

convent of La Encarnación



During our afternoon and early evening stroll, we didn’t have time to see all the attractions but to see more photos click on the link below:-

https://picasaweb.google.com/118235640981670233395/Osuna


more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Valladolid

Valladolid is the capital of Castile-Leon, that vast region to the northwest of Madrid. At first sight, it appears a large, modern, industrial city but there are many reminders of the glorious era when Valladolid was the home and birthplace of the Castilian Kings. It was in this city that, in 1469, Ferdinand wedded Isabella thereby uniting the kingdoms of Aragón and Castile that led to a united Spain.

Avenida Salamanca
photo: public domain (Dariorueda90)
One of the outcomes of this merger was that Castilian became the official language of all Spain, which is perhaps why it is claimed that the purest form of the language is spoken here in the heart of old Castile. The University has played a big part in the lives of the people of Valladolid from when it was founded in the 13th century until the present day. However, it became one of the most important in the country during the rule of the Catholic Monarchs. The 'Faculty of Law' building of the University is one of the finest in the city. It has a magnificent Baroque façade.

Valladolid San Gregorio 20080815
façade of the College of San Gregorio by Luis Fernández García
(Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0
 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],

via Wikimedia Commons
exhibit in Diocesan Museum
photo: public domain
Many other buildings in the city were created in Isabelline style - named after Queen Isabella, it is a most attractive type of ornamentation though rather elaborate. A superb example of this style is the façade of the College of San Gregorio - a flamboyantly decorative building that houses the National Sculpture Museum. It is one of many museums in the Valladolid and includes the Diocesan Museum, which is housed in the Cathedral.

Valladolid Cathedral is a Renaissance building designed by Juan de Herrera in the 16th century. He was the co-creator of San Lorenzo El Escorial, the massive palace-monastery that served as a royal abode and mausoleum - Juan Bautista was the other architect of that World Heritage monument. The Cathedral may not be as spectacular as El Escorial but it is, nevertheless, a decent piece of religious architecture.

Valladolid Cathedral
photo: public domain

Whilst much of Valladolid is modern, the city has preserved many important buildings especially within its historic quarter. I have mentioned the Cathedral, the University and the museums so let's pay a visit to some of the other sights in the city beginning with the Plaza Mayor. This beautiful square was created in the 16th century and proved to be the model for future plazas in Spain. In the surrounding streets there are many large houses and palaces.

The Palace of the Marqueses de Valverde is most attractive. It was constructed in Florentine style in the 16th-century. The Pimentel Palace is important, historically, because it was the birthplace of King Felipe II. Nowadays, it is the seat of the Provincial Administration. The Palace of Juan de Vivero was built in Gothic-Mudéjar style in the 15th century. It, too, is historically important because Ferdinand and Isabella married there in October 1469. It is currently the headquarters of the Provincial Historic Archives.

Santa María la Antigua
photo: public domain (Floranes)
The Cathedral is not the only important religious building in Valladolid. The old church of Saint Mary is impressive. Its Castilian name is La Iglesia de Santa María la Antigua and it was originally built in the 11th century. Later a beautiful Romanesque tower topped by a slender pyramid shaped spire was added. This was in the 13th century and it is all that remains of the original church - a Gothic building replaced it in the 14th century. Other important temples in the city include the Monastery of las Huelgas Reales, the Church of San Pablo the Gothic Church of Santiago and the Collegiate Church of Santa Cruz.
San Pablo (old painting)
public domain

San Pablo facade
photo: public domain (Mattis) 

Calle de Santiago, Valladolid 1900

the above text is an extract from "Spanish Impressions" ISBN 9781445225432


more blogs by Robert Bovington...
"Photographs of Spain"
"postcards from Spain"
"you couldn't make it up!"
"a grumpy old man in Spain"
"bits and bobs"
"Spanish Expressions"
"Spanish Art"
"Books About Spain"