Thursday, February 28, 2019

Spanish Weddings

Curious how similar and yet how different wedding customs can be from place to place. Here in Spain, for instance, I understand that weddings tend to be large, with upwards to 200 people attending. The bride wears here wedding ring on her right finger. There are no bridesmaids or groomsmen. And since there are so many guests, cash gifts help the couple pay for the big event. I'm sure, like everywhere, there are lots of variations on the theme. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol is one of the busiest and best known public squares in Madrid. It also serves as Km 0 of the radial network of Spanish roads.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

No Sweets

Curious about what the sign said, I zoomed in for closer inspection. Rats! Missed the "sweets," whatever they were. I had heard this was a convent that specialized in the baking of sweet breads. I guess this was their sabbath. :-)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Iglesia de San Nicolás de los Servitas

You've actually seen this church before. Remember the bell tower? The Church of San Nicolás (Spanish: Iglesia de San Nicolás) also known as the church of Church of San Nicolas de Bari, or the Church of San Nicolas de los Servitas, is a Catholic parish church in central Madrid, Spain.

The church dates to medieval times, although it has been altered over the centuries. The building was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural in 1978. Its tower was already protected, having been declared a national monument in 1931.

It's currently one of the oldest churches in Madrid. The bell tower was built in 12th century; the rest of the building was rebuilt between the 15th-17th centuries.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Challenge Madrid

As it happened, after I left the Almudena Cathedral, I literally crossed the path (sorry!) of the Challenge Madrid.

It's a classic on the long-distance calendar, and takes place in and around Spain’s beautiful capital city. A swim in the reservoir of Riosequillo, in Buitrago de Lozoya, is followed by a bike course which is an almost continuous descent, single track. Transition and the run are in the center of Madrid. The finish line is the Puerta del Sol.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Almudena Cathedral

"Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena) is a Catholic church in Madrid, Spain. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993. . . .

Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction ceased completely during the Spanish Civil War, and the project was abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Cubas to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real, which stands directly opposite." ~ Wikipedia

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Plaza de Ramales

Plaza de Ramales
Madrid, Spain

"Spain's celebration of the 400th anniversary of Diego Velázquez's birth included major exhibitions of his work at the Prado Museum, as well as a renewed search for his tomb. International media covered the dig, which began April 30, 1999, at the Plaza de Ramales, one block from the Royal Palace, because that is where the medieval Church of San Juan stood until it was wrecked during the last century. In early 2000, The Telegraph announced that the search for Velázquez's body would be abandoned: 'A car park is to be built over what is widely believed to be the site of the tomb of Velázquez, one of Spain's greatest artists, after the authorities abandoned attempts to find his body... thought to have been buried in Madrid at the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista. For 18 months the authorities have [sic] been excavating the site of the church which is buried under a residential area. But now they have bowed to residents' demands for underground parking." ~ Wikipedia

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


I don't think I'll ever forget the dramatic transition in terrain and climate between northern (cloudy & green) and . . .

southern Spain (dry & brown), made clear here as I flew from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Couldn't help but notice this advertisement as I sat enjoying a muffin and a cup of tea at the Santiago de Compostela Airport before catching my flight to Madrid. Italian coffee advertisement in English at an airport in Spain. :-)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cape Finisterre

Cape Finisterre, Spain

One of my favorite places in all the world. "Cape Finisterre (Galician: Cabo Fisterra, Spanish: Cabo Finisterre) is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia, Spain.

In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world. The name Finisterre, like that of Finistère in France, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning 'end of the earth.' It is sometimes said to be the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. However, Cabo da Roca in Portugal is about 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi) further west and thus the westernmost point of continental Europe. Even in Spain Cabo Touriñán is farther west." ~ Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sunday, February 10, 2019

O Ézaro

Stopped here on my way to Finisterre where there is a lovely port as well as a popular waterfall.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


In 1970, Muros, Spain, was designated a Historic-Artistic Monumental Site, on account its original urban layout, still intact, and the architectural and archaeological worth of its heritage. The original architecture in Muros is notable for the sea arcades that are typical of the houses, under which the fishing tackles were fixed and the fish was salted. There are houses like these all over the historic centre. Built with large stone blocks, they have large arcades on the ground floor and continuous balconies on the upper floors.You will also be able to discover two of the most unique squares in town, between the streets Real, Axesta and the Paseo de la Marina: Plaza de Santa Rosa, with its beautiful cross made in 1789 and Pescadería Vieja, where you will find a curious stonework fountain and many taverns. Some of the monumental buildings that stand out are the Town Hall, the Mercado de Abastos market and Don Diego Arch. There are also other places in Muros that are well worth a visit, such as the Shrine of the Virgen del Camino, and the old Collegiate Church of Santa María, which is currently called Church of San Pedro.Also interesting are the prehistoric etchings discovered at various sites in the municipal area. Muros also has 25 kilometres of coastline with broad beaches." ~

Friday, February 8, 2019

San Jaime

If you're ever in Santiago for whatever reason, let me highly recommend the Restaurante San Jaime near the cathedral. I couldn't have had a more fitting conclusion to my Camino than to enjoy both the restaurant's fine food and bonhomie. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019


Santiago de Compostela
Galicia, Spain

As I sat waiting to go to dinner with friends, I enjoyed watching this toddler play at the fountain.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Train Station

Santiago de Compostela Train Station

"The Santiago de Compostela derailment occurred on 24 July 2013, when an Alvia high-speed train travelling from Madrid to Ferrol, in the north-west of Spain, derailed at high speed on a bend about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) outside of the railway station at Santiago de Compostela. Out of 222 people (218 passengers and 4 crew) on board, around 140 were injured and 80 died.

The train's data recorder showed that it was travelling at about twice the posted speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) when it entered a bend in the rail. The crash was recorded on a track-side camera which shows all thirteen train cars derailing and four overturning. On 28 July 2013, the train's driver Francisco José Garzón Amo was charged with 79 counts of homicide by professional recklessness and an undetermined number of counts of causing injury by professional recklessness.

The crash was Spain's worst rail catastrophe in 40 years, since a crash near El Cuervo, Seville, in 1972. The Torre del Bierzo crash in 1944 remains the deadliest." ~ Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Estreno Aire

Santiago de Compostela
Galicia, Spain

After finishing the Camino, I checked into my hotel on the edge of town and decided to stroll back into town to eat at a well regarded restaurant near the cathedral. I enjoyed the walk and the chance to see another side of this age-old city.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Santiago de Compostela

El Camino
Arzúa to Santiago

So I made it to Santiago de Compostela from Sarria in 4 1/2 days, covering a distance of around 75 miles (121km). Santiago is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. More importantly for my purposes, it’s the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and the purported burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James. His remains reputedly still lie a-mouldering within the cathedral (see below), consecrated in 1211.

My pilgrimage may have been over, but I still had a few days left to travel by bus to Finisterre and later by plane from Santiago to Madrid. Reaching Santiago was great, but seeing Finisterre (aka Fisterra) was just plain awesome! I'm looking forward to sharing some of the photos I took there as well as later in Madrid.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Made You Look!

El Camino
Arzúa to Santiago

This cat (er, dog) thought she could ignore me. Well. . . Ha! Made you look anyway! :-)

Friday, February 1, 2019


El Camino
Arzúa to Santiago

I have no idea whether these really are Albariño grapes. They were being grown along an arbor only a few kilometers outside Santiago. But Albarinño is a variety commonly grown in Galicia. Considering how much wine Galicia produces, it shouldn't come as any surprise that I had a glass full (or two) with every evening meal. All of it was wonderful!