Barcelona, Spain: Exploring the Sites

Kirk and I have been here a couple times before, but it has been a stop over on the way to/from somewhere else – either getting on or off a ship or flying on to somewhere else.  In fact, we did both this time: We began this adventure here back on September 19th on our way to Porto, Portugal and we will board a ship from here to head back stateside.  The difference this time is that we are making time for Barcelona.

El  Encants Flea Market is the oldest market in Europe, which began in the 14th Century. Today, you can find anything and everything there, organized in stalls and under a zinc roof.


La Rambla seems to be one of the main arteries of Barcelona, with a large pedestrian area in the middle of traffic down each side and lined with shops and cafes.  It is always bustling with people, pedlars, artists and performers.  It is a great place to grab some tapas and sip Sangria and watch people.

La Sagrada Familia is the Catholic Church designed by Antoni Gaudi.  Construction began 126 years ago and it is still under construction.  It began with private funds and came to a hault several times, through World Wars and lack of funds.  In the 1990s, there was a renewed interest in the work and there was a fee to tour the unfinished Basilica.  Today, 90% of the budget for construction comes from ticket sales, with the other 10% coming from private donors.  Last year, over 2.5 million people paid to tour La Sagrada Familia.

The Torre Agbar is a 38-story bullet shaped skyscraper that opened in June 2005. While we didn’t go take pictures at night, it is lit with more than 4,500 luminous devices.

Font Magica is where we went on a romantic date…with 10,000 other people on Friday night.  The Magic Fountain was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1929.  The fountain uses 2,600 liters of water per second along with lights and music to create a spectacular show.

Arc de Triomf was built for the Universal Exposition in 1888 held in Barcelona as its main gateway. It leads to a a wide promenade connecting it to the Ciutadella Park. Like any open area, it is filled with people and street entertainers along the way.

Ciutadella Park was developed in the mid 1800s and, for a time, was the only green area in Barcelona. It has 70 acres containing the city’s zoo, a lake where you can row boats, museums, fountains,  statues, the Parliament of Catalonia, and the trees and plants are identified with signage throughout the park.

Barcelona, Spain: Our Home in Catalunya

It is time to leave beautiful Como and move on to the last leg of the European tour.  Barcelona, Spain will be our home until we board a ship to head back stateside. Today, we head for the train station for our trip back to Milan and the fly out of the Bergamo airport to Barcelona.  It is a full day of traveling.

At the airport in Barcelona, we purchase a four-day (96 hours) pass for all public transportation and jump on the metro.  We have to make a change from one line to another and come up at the base of the Arc de Triomf, but it is not the entry/exit we have directions to our apartment from. We are trying to figure out where we are on the map and decide to seek direction from a lovely lady in the Farmacia.  She actually walked us outside and set us in the right direction.

When we arrived at out apartment building, Rosa, our host, was waiting on the corner and called out our names.  She recognised us from our profile picture on Airbnb.  She was a blessing!  After a long day of travel, we were just ready to be there.

Rosa showed us up to our apartment and had information regarding the area, etc.  She was so enthusiastic!  We asked her questions about the political situation and how it might affect Barcelona.  She assured us that everything would be normal and “Barcelona will be Barcelona”.

We threw our stuff down and headedout to grab a bite to eat, explore the neighborhood, and get a few supplies for the morning.  We have been in Barcelona before, but there is a lot to explore here.

Como, Italy: Hop On Hop Off Ferry

Kirk and I decided to take a ferry around the lake.  We wanted the ability to get on and off when we wanted to, so we purchased a one-day hop on hop off ticket.


Of course, we began in Como and we made stops in the following towns: Tavernola, Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Argegno, Lenno, Tremezzo, Villa Carlotta, Bellagio, Cadenabbia and Lezzeno.  Some of these we stopped at both coming and going. We took over 500 pictures, so trying to narrow down a sampling to share was quite a task.  I also have to say, pictures don’t do this beautiful place justice.


Villa Balbianello: Where scenes from Casino Royal and Star Wars: Clone Wars were filmed.

Bellagio: “The Pearl of the Lake”




Como, Italy: Viewing Villas and Gazing in Gardens

This post is really a continuation from “Strolling the Streets”, but while Kirk and I enjoy the beauty of Como, we see things differently.  So, I grabbed the camera for a change!  As we stroll along the waterfront heading towards Villa Olmo, I wanted to try to share what I see. These are what Kirk calls “foo foo shots” as he prefers to take pictures with people in them…hence the 4.5 million pictures of me daily. LOL

Our friend, Leenee, encouraged  us to come in the late spring or early dummer when the gardens were in bloom, but the colors of fall are gorgeous contrasting against the pastel and stone villas. We pass some villas that are behind gates, but fully visable and other that are vailed with vines and hedges. I poke my camera through to get a shot.  Many of the villas have boat garages with gated entries leading in from the lake.  Water levels are down and most are not being used currently. Some beautiful mallards use them as their private pool, while the swans flant their regal splendor on the shores of the lake.

Villa Olmo is the most famous and magnificent among the stately homes you can find in the territory of Como. It is an imposing neoclassical building, designed by the architect Simone Cantoni; the marquis Innocenzo Odescalchi commissioned it, at the end of the Eighteenth century. The house was built on the western shore of Lake Como, to serve as the summer residence of the Marquis. Many famous people spent time at Villa Olmo, including Napoleon, and Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Como, Italy: Strolling the Streets

Our friend, Leenee (Carolina Terzi), is from Como – now a resident of California. For the past 20 years or so, she has told us of beautiful Lake Como. She posts pictures on Facebook and shares her experiences and recommendations. So, Kirk and I decided to take a detour from our time in Spain to come check it out for ourselves. Would the years of build up and anticipation end in a let down? NOT!!! We are both glad we came to see for ourselves this beautiful place!

Our apartment is just outside the old walls and historic center.  So we head off for a stroll through the streets to head down to see the lake.  The area leading to the walls is lovely, but once you enter the walls, it is as if you have somehow stepped into history. It is well maintained or restored and filled with beautiful shops and cafes, but you can still sense something special; It is hard to describe. If the walls could talk!

I love the quiet streets that open up to the busy plazas.  There are markets set up here where local artists and merchants are selling goods – much of which is handmade. We continue on to Piazza Duomo to see the Cathedral of Como, which is beautiful.  We check out the menus of the several cafes there before we continue on down to the lake.  The street opens up to Piazza Cavour, where there are more markets set up, and we get our first glimpse of the lake.

We stop at the markets to check it out. These are filled with food items like meats, cheeses, breads, wines, nuts, candies, dried and fresh fruits.  Some things are strange and different, but I will let you see in the pictures.  Now, on to see the lake.

We walk along the waterfront marina, past the ferry terminal and through Amici de Como, a lovely park filled with several varietals of large trees decorated with fall’s colors.  There is a childrens carnival area with rides and families enjoying the day. As we continue on, we hear loud singing and realize there is a soccer match in the stadium there. The match was well underway, so we didn’t go in. (I kind of wish we had. I hate to miss anything fun!) Next to the stadium is the yacht club and a seaplane hanger/airport. It is interesting how they pull the planes in and out of the lake. 


We continue on around the lake past beautiful villas and gardens. (Post continued in Como, Italy: Viewing Villas and Gazing in Gardens). And we notice a fire has started across the lake.  It is windy today, which won’t help and we can see it spread and intensify as we stand here watching.  We pause to say a prayer for all the familes who may be affected and for the safety of all who are responding to put the blaze out.

We reach our destination and the sun is beginning to set. It is time to head back to town. We notice that the smoke is making for spectacular color in the sky and it makes us remember that in everything perceived to be bad, there is a blessing that comes from it.

Como, Italy: Our Home by the Lake

On our day to depart from Milan and move to Como, there was a transportation strike in Milan from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  So, we had breakfast at the hotel, packed up our gear and chilled.  We headed down to Central Station around 2:15 pm to jump on the train to Como at 3:10 pm.  The train is the fullest we have seen, probably due to the strike.  We enjoy train travel here in Europe.

We arrive in Como and grab a cab to our new home.  Serena, our host, greets us at the door of the apartment building.  She shows us around and gives us tips of places to eat, buy groceries, etc.  The apartment is beautiful and well equipped. We unpack and decide to go check out our neighborhood, grab a bite to eat, and grab stuff for breakfast in the morning.

Our apartment is just a block outside of Como’s old walls, but we are going to save that for tomorrow.  We walk the neighborhoods in our immediate area and see cute shops and cafes all along the way.  It is 7:00 pm now, so restaurants are opening and shops are closing. We stop in to an inviting cafe for pasta and a salad and Kirk sees the Kabob plate. I think he liked it!

Off to buy groceries.  Now that we have figured out Spanish products, we get to start over again in Italian…lol!  We are becoming International shopping experts!

Milan, Italy: The Duomo

After seeing the outside of the Duomo on the night we arrived, we knew that we had to go back to explore further.  We went to the ticket office and purchased two tickets for $16 euros each, which allow access to the Cathedral and archeological site below, the lift to the terraces, and the museum.  We went in the early afternoon with the goal of being on the terraces at sunset.  The last group up to the roof goes at 6:00 pm, it is closed at 7:00 pm and you can stay one hour.  We decided to start inside the Cathedral and we entered around 3:00 pm.

I guess I should start with the fact the construction of the Duomo took 600 years and is constructed entirely of marble. As soon as we entered inside, we were awestruck by the enormity.  It was almost the feeling of being paralyzed because you can’t move. I stood there with my mouth open.  We have been in some beautiful cathedrals and historical places like Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to name a few, but the Duomo, in my opinion, tops them all. It was a visual overload!

When I can finally move and start to take in the things I am seeing, I am overwhelmed again by the intricate details in everything. The beautiful patterns and colors of the floor, the deep rich wood benches, the giant columns with such detail and the Gothic styling.  The ceilings with their height and arches, and the colorful windows telling story after story. It hits me that artisans were constructing this in the 1,300s!  No power tools, no heavy equipment. My eyes start to fill up and I whisper to Kirk, “It’s so beautiful, it makes me cry.” Just to think of the labor and love that went in to every element just blows the mind!

Down each side, there are alters paying tribute to a Saint or dignitary interned there, each with their own individual sculptures and artwork.  In the center you notice the pipes for the organ and then more and more and I find out there are 16,000!  The enormous canvas paintings hanging like tapestries from above telling the story of helping those who are sick or in need and you can feel the compassion pour out.  

The Cathedral is built in the shape of a cross with the main alter in the middle and two major alters on each side.  At the far end, which would be the top of the cross, and above the three largest stained glass windows, there is a red light shining down on the wall which points to the Holy Nail, one of the nails from the cross of Christ, which is the most precious of relics here. It is ceremoniously brought down once a year during the Right of Nivola in a device, reputedly made by Leonardo da Vinci, that lifts the priest up as if he is floating. It used to be placed into a golden cross and paraded through Milan, but today it does not leave the Duomo.

There is an infant struggling for his life back in Santa Maria.  I stop at the alter of Christ, light a candle and say a prayer for him and his family.  Believing in a God of miracles and having faith in His plan, I pray for miraculous healing that the doctors can’t explain. I know that God hears my prayers wherever I am, but I was “moved” and thus obedient. In fact, anyone reading this post, join in prayer for Ezra and his family.

As we continue to explore, there is an unusual statue of a man. It is not smooth like the others. We find out that it is St. Bartholomew, who was skinned alive and his skin is draped across his shoulders. You can see it is the muscle and tendons under the skin that are carved here.  Gross, but there is something amazing that the artist had to know what that looked like in order to carve it in marble!  We check our time and it is almost 5:30!  Time to get in line for the lift.  Unfortunately, there is a lot we missed, including the entire archaeological area underneath.

We got in line outside for the lift.  They only allow so many on top at one time, and you can only stay for an hour.  We were nervous that we may have cut that too close, but we got up.  I am overwhelmed again!  There are details in the details!  Every statue represents a real person and represents either a saint or a Biblical character, with the exception of the statue of Marco Carelli, who was the Duomo’s greatest benefactor.  Occasionally, we take in the view.  On a clear day, you can see the Alps! The sun is setting and the lights are starting to come on around Milan.  The sky is lavender and pink and the colors reflect off the marble. A whistle blows and wakes me up from my fog of awe – it’s time to work our way back down to earth.  It is 7:00 pm and our plan to see the sun set from the roof of the Duomo…check!

I am delayed in posting because I was absolutely fascinated with so many elements, I had to learn more.  I also had to sort through the hundreds of pictures we took.  I got it down to just under 100.  Sorry, but I am going to take you on my tour.  You can look at them or not.  I also sited some of my findings from either notes or the Duomo app. If you are in to history or architecture, these are the things I found interesting:

History of the Duomo:

The beginning of the Duomo of Milan (1386-1387)

Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo made plans for a new Cathedral, to be built on the site of Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente.

 The Visconti era (1387-1447)

Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, set up the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (“VFD”) charging it with supervising the work of design, building and conservation of the Cathedral and decided to use Candoglia marble to construct the whole monument. Architects, sculptors and workers from Central Europe arrived in Milan, attracted by the magnificence of the project. Between 1387 -1988, there have been 77 named architects of VFD.

The Sforza era (1450-1520)

The building of the nave and aisles reached the third from last bay, and the elegant first minor spire sculpted by Amadeo (Gugliotto dell’Amadeo) was built and the most beautiful stained glass windows were installed. The three large windows, designed by  Nicolò di Bonaventura, in Flamboyant Gothic style, depict The Apocalypse (center), Old Testament (left), and New Testament (right), are considered the highest in the world. 

The Borromeo era (1560-1650)

Under the archbishops Carlo and Federico Borromeo the style of the Duomo was influenced by the Catholic Reformation, and examples of this influence are the ‘Quadroni’ or large paintings of San Carlo and the wooden choir. Under the main stained glass windows was placed the ciborium, with temple holding the Holy Sacrament.  This whole area, including the High Alter, were to emphasize the significance of the Eucharist (Communion).

 17th-18th Centuries (1650-1800)

The crossing was completed with the main spire and the Madonnina statue crowning it. The Madonnina is the symbol of the city and patroness of the Milanese people, the huge statue is composed of embossed and gilded copper plates, supported by a framework which is now in stainless steel. It is the highest point of the cathedral at 108.5 meters. The landmark and symbol of the city for every visitor, the Madonnina has represented Milanese art and civic pride since Milan’s Five Days uprising in 1848, when Luigi Torelli and Scipione Bagaggi raised the Italian flag on the statue of the Virgin Mary. The sight of the flag, together with the incessant pealing of the main bell after two days of silence, brought joy to the whole city and aroused the pride of the fighters on the barricades, leading them to victory. The flag is still flown today during 12 various holidays. It was covered in green cloth during WWII to prevent it from being a marker for fighter pilots.

19th Century (1800-1900)
In this period the facade and the ornamental elements were completed (completed in 1935). The historiated stained glass windows date from this period, but were made using enamel painted glass. From the 20th century to the present day (1900 to date). This has been the period of major restoration work, in which the first archaeological excavations were made in the Cathedral Square.

Other Interesting Facts of the Doumo:

The cathedral has a cruciform plan in the form of a Latin cross that covers nearly 12,000 square meters. 40,000 people can fit comfortably within. It is the second largest cathedral in Italy behind Saint Peters Basilica in Rome and third largest in the world.

It is constructed of five naves, a central and two lateral on each side, resting on 40 columns of 24.50 meters each. The height of the nave is about 45 meters, the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church (less than the 48 meters of Beauvais Cathedral, which was never completed). In total, there are 52 stone columns inside – one for every week of the year.  If fact everything in this cathedral has symbolic values.  The columns are surmounted by capitals supporting the large cross vaults, which are all that remains of the original Gothic style.

A small red light bulb in the dome above the apse marks the spot where one of the nails reputedly from the Crucifixion of Christ has been placed. The Holy Nail is retrieved and exposed to the public every year, during a celebration known as the Rite of the Nivola.

There are five bronze doors with the largest being the Central Door (or Mary’s Door) completed in 1906 by sculptor Lodovico Pogliaghi. The Mingazzi door is considered the final element to complete the façade in 1965. Each of the five doors have 17th century low reliefs carved from designs of Cerano dedicated to the women of the Old Testament. 

The interior of the cathedral includes numerous monuments and artworks. The most famous statue of all the Cathedral, the Saint Bartholomew Flayed (1562), by Marco d’Agrate, the saint shows his flayed skin thrown over his shoulders like a stole. Also of note, the Presentation of the Virgin (Mary at the temple) by sculptor Agostino Busti entitled, “Bambaia”.

In the floor, there is a sundial made in 1783 by astronomers of Brea.

The mortal remains of several saints, priests, dignataries, and benefactors are interned here.  Marco Carelli, a rich Milanese merchant, donated his entire estate and is the largest benefactors to the Duomo.  He is interned in an arc and his likeness adorns one of the many spires.

The organ has 16,000 pipes and 120 stops, which makes it the largest in Italy and the second largest in Europe after the organ of Passau in Germany.

The terraces cover 8,000 square meters, wholly paved with candoglia marble.

There are more statues on this building than any other in the world, 3159 in total. 2245 of these are on the exterior together with 96 gargoyles and 135 spires. The statues represent Saints and Biblical characters. It is said that if the statues were placed on top of each other, they would reach a height of about 5,300 meters (3.3 miles). There are 746 Corbels (little heads or grotesques) decorating the high wainscot.

There are 250 marble stairs to the top of the cathedral.  Until recently, only dignitaries were privileged to ascend to the terraces. Today, you can pay extra to take a lift up to the first level of terraces, but you still need to climb 50 stairs to the roofline.

The Duomo is built atop the ancient Roman city and you can see the archeological site below the cathedral. There are the excavated ruins of a 4th century baptismal and the Cathedral of St. Thecula, which was destroyed by Atila the Hun and rebuilt (5th through 12th century).

If you plan to visit, download the Duomo app ahead of time which allows you to document your visit, in addition to being your personal guide throughout. You can purchase a complete ticket allowing access to the Cathedral, archeological site, lift up to the terrace and entrance to the museum.  Plan for a full day, or multiple days for thorough exploration (The one ticket can be used in three different parts: Cathedral with archeological, Terraces, and Museum).

Milan, Italy: Late for Supper

Once upon a time, when we first started planning our adventure, one of the things on the bucket list was to see Lake Como.  A friend and prior co-worker of Kirk’s was from there and always made it sound wonderful.  She posts pictures and they looked like someplace I want to see.  Since we need to go via Milan, we decide to stay there a couple days.

Kirk decides he really wants to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” which is a very popular tourist attraction in Milan. After doing some extensive research, we discover that you MUST PURCHASE TICKETS AHEAD. We go through Viator to purchase, but there are limited times available, even this far out. Since we have already purchased our plane tickets, we can see it will be close, but they have an opening at 2:30 pm on they day we arrive.  Our flight is due to land at the Malpensa Airport at 12:30 pm.

Our host, Carmen, arranges for a cab to pick us up in the morning to take us to the airport. Let me just say, the train station in Malaga is much more pleasant than the airport. We flew with Easyjet and it was a good flight and we landed a few minutes ahead of schedule.  Now, to find the train station.  It is a long walk to the station, but we go into the ticket office and purchase two one way tickets from Malpensa to the Central Station, which departs at 1:07 pm and it takes approximately 55 minutes.  The train is comfortable and it is a nice trip and we arrive at the Central Station after 2:00 pm.  We realize we are not going to make the 2:30 pm tour, but Kirk wants to try.

Kirk has downloaded offline maps, but they don’t work 100% of the time. We head the wrong direction, but only for a couple blocks.  Even though this is a minor setback, we reach the Marconi Hotel and it is after 2:30 pm.  We head to our room and unpack.  After we unpack, Kirk decides he wants to go the the Santa Maria delle Grazie to see if there is a way to get in.  From all the blogs, feeds and comments I have read, NO ONE has posted that they were late and got in.  In fact, there are many who were late and and were refused entry.  The instructions clearly state you must be in the que 20 minutes prior to your tour time.

We head back down to Central Station to pick up our Milano Card and Metro Pass that came with the purchase of our Last Supper Tickets.  I stop at the front desk to ask their opinion and they felt it was worth a try, which was encouraging.  The signage at Central Station is very confusing, but we finally find the Tourism Office and pick up our stuff and head to the metro. When we finally arrive at the ticket office for the Last Supper, it is 8:00 pm.  We walk in expecting nothing but disappointment. A lovely young lady greets us and I begin our request for mercy AND mercy was granted! Praise Jesus! She told us there was a tour starting in five minutes and handed us our tickets.

They only allow a limited number of people in at a time to see the paintings. You que in a glass room roughly eight feet by eight feet with the other 18 people.  You can see another room with 20 people ahead of you. Their door opens into another room and they disappear.  Our door opens into that room and we wait 15 minutes. The door opens and we enter the rectory of the church where we see “The Last Supper” painted on the wall and it is larger than I imagined. We also see that at sometime in history, the room was painted with a whitewash, covering some beautiful fresco work, which is now being restored. Leonard’s painting is filled with emotion in his interpretation of the appostiles’ reactions when Jesus reveals that he will be betrayed.

At the opposite end of the room is another beautiful painting of the same time (1495) by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano entitled “The Crucifixtion.” The church itself is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 1463.

After that, we jumped on a trolley and got lost, which is a great time to look for a place to eat.  We had some delicious pizza and an IPA beer and then jumped on the metro.  Since we had to change lines at the Duomo stop anyway, we decided to pop up and take a look. OMG! We popped up at the base of the Duomo and it was amazing! It has to be the most beautiful building we’ve ever seen! Behind us is the Piazza del Duomo filled with people and on the other side is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (1865) filled with high end shops like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Vercace. It is late now, so we will make our way back to this area tomorrow!


Malaga, Spain: Waterfront and Malagueta Beach

Since I have to try to stay out of the sun and Kirk loves the beach, the compromise is we head to tbe water in the evening.  We check out the Roman amphitheatre and cut through a beautiful park to stay in the cool of the shade.  Crossing over, we realize we are at the Malaga Cruise Terminal.  We also see a line of booths lining both sides of the walkway.  For the months of September and October, they have this marketplace. 

We wandered through this gammit of booths that went on for 200 yards. I did pause a couple of times to look at some cute baby things for my new granddaughter, due any day now.  I also saw some cute things for my girls… but when you spent the better part of a year getting rid of stuff, and you’re living out of a backpack, you learn to shop mentally. 

As we turned down towards the lighthouse, we noticed the fish jumping. We kind of wished we had a pole. A pretty good size Mediterranean Ferry cruised in to the port. The sun was setting, so we headed on to the beach.  Malagueta Beach looked like it would be a pretty happening place during the day, with cabanas, chairs, etc. for rent and the beach offering a selection of food and beverage venders all along the way.

On our way back home, we passed by the bull ring where they held a big event just a week ago.  It is late now, so we jump in a cab and head home. Tomorrow is moving day, so we have laundry and packing to do.  Milan, here we come!

Malaga, Spain: Exploring the Historic Center

Our apartment in Malaga is wonderful and relaxing.  It is raining for the first couple of days which allow us to rest and do some adulting stuff.  It is also located in a residential area close to, but not in the tourist type attractions, so we stick to our hood for a couple of days.  I felt totally comfortable going to the markets alone, even in the dark.  In the morning, I would go get fresh bread, fruit, and vegetables for whatever I felt compelled to cook for lunch and dinner. I made friends with the butcher, “dos pechuga de pollo filetes, por favor” – never sure about my attempts, but I got two boneless breasts of chicken fileted just the way I wanted! “Perfecto! Muchos gracias!” Kirk and I actually felt like we got to play house on this adventure.

The rain stopped and it was time to explore the hood.  Also, now that it is not raining, we can utilize our beautiful terrace.  We are right next door to the the Santuario de Santa Maria la Victoria, which is a stop on the hop on hop off bus.  From our terrace looking up from above the church, on the top of the mountain, you can see the Castillo de Gibralfaro, dating back to the 10th Century. We are just up the street from the Alcazaba, which means citadel in Arabic and the Centro Historico, filled with passages opening up in to plazas filled with statues, fountains, cafes and colorful people.

We wound around through the Historic Center and across the river (dry, for the most part), crossing one bridge and then back across another.  Malaga also has a great cathedral, but it was closed to tourists for a couple days in celebration of something I didn’t catch what it was, but the exterior is beautiful and we have toured a gazillion cathedrals, so we’re good.  You can see the Arab/Turkish influences are still alive alive in this area.  This area has been Roman and Moorish before it became Spanish ruled, which is evident in the architecture, food, and culture of the Andelusian area.

On the way back home, we popped in to see the inside of the church next door.  Our host, Carmen, is getting married there in a few weeks and she encouraged us to take a look.  It was beautiful, but it is a very active church and school children were being dropped off by their parents. I took a few moments to imagine Carmen walking down the aisle and then we went home for dinner…chicken with fresh broccoli, bread and a side of pesto pasta.