Shamrock's Journey After driving the Silk road in 2017 from Bangkok to London in our 1969 MG GT and exploring the UK and Europe over a few years, we are ready to bring Shamrock back to Australia via a more Northerly Silk Road route.
From Segovia we journeyed onto Avila, its narrow alleyways and
longest continuous stone wall in Europe. Many protruding balconies and no cars.
After a short drive we arrived to a huge city lined with avenues
of trees and wide walking paths. And lots of bustling traffic, mainly one way. After
wondering around the Santa Ana Plaza we found our apartment in one of the
prettiest surrounded by an buildings array of painted tile work depicting
scenes of major Spanish towns.
What a location in the middle of one way streets and plazas. And
traffic! At siesta time people are either eating or resting out of the sun.
Exciting things happening another protest. This time all the way around the plaza
whistles shouting banner
waving. So many food places offering so much.
We did the whole art thing in Madrid. The Prado with the full assault
of Masters. Fra Angelico with his vibrant colours illuminated with gold
radiated from the composition bought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful.
Namely the Annunciation and the Virgin of the Pomegranate. Next fav is Hieronymus
Bosch Garden of Earthly Delight repositioned so you can view the triptych more
fully. And the table of the Seven Deadly
Sins. Either Bosch was tripping of something most probably Ergot poisoning from
infected wheat, which bought on hallucinations to most of the population. Vibrant
colours and spectacular detail. Other artists we viewed were Titan, Durer, Velazquez,
Goya, Raphael, Memling, Brueghal, El Greco, and Caravaggio to name a few.
Prado is a must see as is the collection of Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza
the art ranges from The C13 to C20. An eclectic mass of works.
Walked all over Madrid viewing the Cathedral and parks. Location in Santa Ana Plaza perfect.
We stayed in Madrid for a few days before moving onto Cordoba. More one way streets and alleys. Cordoba the home of the Mesquita, a perfect example of the marriage or utilization by various conquering cultures and religions to use buildings and materials from their predecessors, adapting them to their own style. The red and white arches of the Moors, surrounding the central altarpiece of the Catholic church emphasis the contrast in their cultures. Outside in the orange filled courtyard are fountains where the Moors washed before entering. The Minaret has been added to several times over the centuries. Another enticing aspect of Cordoba was the wafts of caramelizing sugar, almonds and pinenuts.
After viewing the magnificent architecture of the Guggenheim we set
off for Logrono, taking the scenic route off the highway we cruised past
towering red and ochre sheer cliffs rising from the heavily wooded forests
below. Perfect for abseiling! The terracotta roofs and stone houses stud the
landscape creating a perfect Spanish scene. More mountains and the weather is
slightly humid, as yet no sign of autumn here. As we drive on solar and wind
farms dot the rolling hills and the land becomes flatter, resembling the
classic plains in Spain.
Logrono is developing a reputation as a gourmet destination in
Calle Laurel. Everyone stands around
small bar tables drinking and eating pintxos and tapas. Each café has its own
speciality. Along with 2 stunning cathedrals – St James the Great and Cathedral
de Santiago. Inside and out they are elaborate and full of gold and religious
paintings. Visiting these churches at night you can see they are the centre of
community life with people gathering inside and out after mass even though it
is after 8.00pm.
In the Rioja we visit 2 magnificent wineries. The architecture of
these buildings is breathtaking. Costing more than 85 million Euros! Marques de
Risel was designed by Frank Gehry the Gugg guy. Ribbons of aluminium sweep
around the building, reflecting pinks, purples and copper tones shining from
the sun, We had a delicious coffee on the balcony. This is a very stylish hotel
indeed as well as a winery. The other was Ysios winery with a wave like
roofline reflecting the rugged stoney mountains behind it. The building is
further reflected in shallow pools of water which run the length of the
building. We were too early for a wine tasting.
Onto Soria through more rugged outcrops and wooded forests, jagged scree slope scar the woods. In Soria we were greeted by a festival for the Virgin to celebrate the Autumn harvest, people we out in the thousands, all ages eating and drinking obviously no work today. The evening sees a procession of an illuminated statue of the Virgin carried solemnly through the streets accompanied by a band and people following. I think everyone in Soria was there. Lunch was out in the open under trees with tablecloths and cloth napkins delicious food and rioja wine.
Pictures will come later when I get this G*D damn awful wordpress to work!
Monday dawned sunny and warm and we headed down to the Guggenheim
Museum, even though it is closed we wanted to relish the slick titanium skin,
contrasted against the smooth pale limestone blocks. Everything glistened in
the bright morning sun, reflections of the curved surfaces bounced off the
water surrounding the metal walls and the metallic sculptures in the forecourts
around the Guggenheim. Did you know that every surface in the building is
curved and there are no straight lines thus emphasising the organic flowing
lines of this magnificent Frank Gehry masterpiece
Tomorrow we’ll visit this amazing museum along with our Silk Road
companions Pat and David who we are travelling with around Spain and Portugal
in our trusty MGs.
Hop on and off buses have always been a favourite and quick way
of acquainting ourselves with a city. We cruised around the narrow streets
enjoying the views from the top deck. We were diverted by police a few times
into the back streets because of a rally of thousands of people marching along
the main thoroughfare of the city. Red, white and Green flags and banners
waving, fire crackers exploding, releasing clouds of smoke. How
We hopped off a The Mercado de la Ribera one of the largest fresh food markets in Europe and we arrived just in time for some Pintxos which we enjoyed with a beer and Sangria. So many delicious sweet and savoury munchies to choose from – what a treat!