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Friday, July 30, 2010

Segovia, Spain

 

Map picture

 

 

Spain 138 I arrive in Segovia as the town is coming alive for the evening. Parking away from the center of activity, I walk up a gradual steep hill towards the historic part of town.

 

 

Spain 347 At the top of the street I make a right turn and continue to climb with the city’s medieval wall in the background.

 

 

 

This area was once occupied by the Roman's and a good part of their architecture remains.

 

Spain 352 Through curved and narrow cobble stone streets I am making my way to Alcazar Castle.

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 350 Centenano Procesion De Los Pasos (1907-2007)

 

 

Spain 354 I eventually make my way to a former Roman fortress from during the Medieval period.

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 363 Now Alcazar Castle, the fort has changed its appearance many times over the years.

 

 Spain 145                                                                                                                                       Alcazar was a source of inspiration for Walt Disney.

 

 

 

Over the years, Alcazar has also been used as a royal palace. It is here that Queen Isabel promised Columbus financial backing to discover the Americas.

 

Spain 144 From the entrance bridge the remains of a moat can be seen almost a hundred feet below.

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 140 As I tour Alcazar, the setting sun paints the city behind me a beautiful shade of gold before it disappears for the night.

 

Spain 141 The sunset highlights Segovia’s most prominent landmark the 16th Century Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

Spain 151 I walk towards the cathedral and city square for a close up impressive view.

 

Spain 147 The city square is filled with strollers and diners enjoying  a beautiful night out in this gorgeous city.

 

 

The area is encompassed will all kinds of shops and restaurants.

 

Spain 158 Tonight, I am fortunate to enjoy a cultural program sponsored by Segovia. The show takes place near the remains of the city's medieval wall.

 

 

 Spain 154 Groups from Brazil

 

Spain 163 Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 178 Spain, South Korea and others are in a delightful singing,dancing and acrobatic entertaining competition.

 

 

My eyes are moist as I watch the Irish perform. Had I continued my lessons, the world would never have known the name Michael Flatley.

Why did I let him talk me out of continuing to pursue my dream?

 

Spain 171

I have seen and done tight rope acts myself  but never blind folded as I witness a Korean performer do so. He takes doing a tight rope act to another level.

 

Spain 180 Fancy footwork is nicely choreographed and enjoyable to watch.

With a few margaritas and shots of Jose Cuervo, I might be able to compete.

 

The show continues until about midnight and I have the pleasure to meet some of the performers afterward.

 

Spain 398 Waiting to board their buses, the Brazilians are still in a playful performing mood.

 

 

 

 

Spain 400 I learn a little about their touring company and various shows they perform.

 

 

 

What a fantastic evening in Segovia, definitely worth the visit.

 

Spain 146 Segovia 16th Century Cathedral

 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road To Segovia, Spain

 

Map picture

Leaving Pamplona, I am on A-12 southwest bound towards Logrono.

 

Spain 120 Soon I am bypassing roadside vineyards with distant desert and mountain landscape in the background.

 

 

Signs show various wineries along the route that I assume can be visited and toured.

 

Spain 121 As the odometer spins, the road takes on climbs, descents and steep curves to compliment the changing geography.

 

 

 

 

Spain 123

 

 

Spain 124 Jagged hills and dense green vegetation have me thinking, “Majestad purpura de Montana”.

Purple Mountain Majesty

 

 

 

Spain 125 Next a small town almost hidden in a lush green valley with rolling hills comes into view.

 

 

 

 

Spain 126 A city hall or church steeple that seems to give the town it's unique signature prominently stands out from all the other town buildings.

This portion of the drive is awesome. Occasionally, I have to pull aside to let others that may not feel the same way as I do pass.

 

Spain 128 A roadside stop and I am at “Ermita De La Virgen de los Nogales”. A church from the 1700's.

 

Spain 343 Just across the street from “Ermita De La Virgen de los Nogales” is Hostal Los Nogales.

 

 

 

 

Spain 342 With a restaurant, bar and free Wi-Fi, Hostal Los Nogales present a good opportunity for an afternoon break.

 

 

 

A cold local beer on a hot afternoon and I settle down with my travel companion, Acer. It is time to get caught up on e-mails and review the rest of my Spain itinerary.

 

Spain 341 From the menu board my first choice of Pollo Grisado is sold out for the day so Calamores Tinta will have to do.

 

 

 

Based on my Calimocho experience in Pamplona I have no trouble figuring out “Tinta”. It has to have something to do with wine which makes it an excellent choice.

 

Spain 130 Served with fresh bread, the calamari takes on a nice flavor in the wine sauce.

Another order of bread is required to prevent any wine from being left behind. A relaxing lunch and it is an hour or two before I am back on the road again.

 

Spain 132 Leaving Hostal Los Nogales, more mountainous terrain as I navigate around a huge lake.

 

 

 

Spain 134 Now on N111 traveling through La Rioja region of Spain, I enter Tunel de Piqueras a very cool mountain tunnel.

 

 

 

 

Spain 136 My driving scenery is transformed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 137 Kilometers and small towns whiz by and then the road traverses wide open farm lands.

My surroundings become familiar again on N110.

 

I circumnavigate Soria and don’t get too excited when I see signs again for El Burgo de Osma. I now know America’s Most Wanted is not there.

Chasing the sun west, I continue on to Segovia.

 

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pamplona, After The BS Is Done

 

Spain 007 With my bull running adventure over, I head back to The VW Executive Inn And Suites for an early morning nap.

 

 

Soon I am regretting having a room with an east view of the city. The morning sun is relentless in beating down on my windshield.

 

Spain 009 Without the AC running, I must concede defeat and abandon my morning nap.

It’s time for a trip to the WC located in a nearby park.

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving the WC refreshed, I start a self-guided day tour of Pamplona.

 Spain 328 I begin at Parroquia De San Miguel built in 1940.

 

Spain 333 Mass at Parroquia De San Miguel

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 078It is amazing to see practically an entire city in a festive mood. Even babies and infants are proudly dressed in traditional San Fermin red and white attire.

 

While researching this trip, I read that the city goes to sleep after being up most of the night and watching the running of the bulls.

 

Spain 077 I am happy to report that for the most part this is not the case in 2010.

 

 

 

 

Spain 081 I do spot a few laying around but this is the exception. The city is as alive in the day as it had been the night before. Only some of the characters have changed.

 

Spain 083It seems like at least one of them would prefer to sit around all day.

 

 

 

 

Spain 336 I am enjoying this 24 hours a day festive mood so much I am thinking about taking up unicycling and joining the local circus.

 

 

 

Spain 082 Free lessons from a local and with a great juggling act,  maybe my plan can work.

 

 

 

 

 

Revisiting the bull running staging area, it has taken on a new life. The barriers and massive early morning crowds are gone but the party has been moved to the streets.

 

Spain 087 With no fear of being trampled until 8:00am tomorrow morning, let’s drink, dance and party until the break of dawn.

All in favor, say “aye”!

 

 

Spain 088 The area is now so popular for locals and visitors, I think I even spot the NBA 2010 Championship MVP Kobe Bryant  in the crowd.

 

 

 Spain 089 Near the daily release point of the bulls, symbols clash while horns,drums and trumpets fills the already happy air with festive notes. 

 

Spain 091 This sends some crowd members spinning.

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 092 And leaves others  “udderly” smiling.

 

 

 

In appreciation of the entertainment, members of the audience place cold beers and drinks on the ground in front of the band.

  Spain 102 Wow, and you thought I had a big head!

 

Spain 096 This is my reaction as I along with others are entertained by “Bobble Heads” waiting for a parade to start.

 

 

 

Spain 095 One little fan is not so happy about the parade delay and she is demanding her Little Fans Of Bobble Head Parade Bill Of Rights.

 

 

Spain 106 Going down one street, I am singled out in front of a crowd by an alien creature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A two euro donation to the Illegal Alien Foundation and I am promised not to be probed anytime soon.

 

Spain 109 Not trusting this illegal alien, I ask for identification and take a Headless Man as my witness.

 

 

Entering another square,  a small procession with huge dancing costumes and a five to six piece marching band is in progress.

 

Spain 111 This becomes common around the city and quite entertaining.

 

In the distance I hear a baby crying and with others I go to investigate. The sound is coming from what seems like an abandoned stroller left near the edge of a building along with a large suitcase.

Spain 113 We are concerned that some parent may have had too many drinks of  “Calimochos”.

Nervously approaching  the stroller, we are  surprised to be confronted with the baby face of a man!

 

 

 

 

Spain 114 Interestingly, a euro or two momentarily keeps this baby from crying.

 

 

 

Then he goes right back to fussing and sticking his tongue out at innocent passerby's.

Spain 118 What a fun loving little big brat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain 119I make a brief stop at The Governor’s Residence for an unofficial visit. I express my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful time during my short time in Pamplona.

 

Spain 518 My diplomatic duties done, I pick up stakes and The VW Executive Inn And Suites is on the road again.