Spanish Delights

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Aug 2018 12:01:11


 

By DR PRATIKSHA MAYEE,

G irona is a beautiful region located in the Northeastern part of Catalonia, Spain. It is about 100 km from Barcelona and many day tours operate from there. As you reach Girona the first stop gives you a picturesque view of the colourful yellow and orange houses which adore both the banks of the river Onyar which divided the city into two. It gives a Mediterranean look to the city. Gustav Eiffel who is famous for the construction of the Eiffel Towerin Paris, constructed a bridge called as Pont de les Peixateries Velles across the river Onyar.

Thus is a must visit. You cross the bridge across the river Onyar and you see a marvellous structure. It’s the Sant Feliu church dating back to the 14th century. It has the Gothic style of architecture and has a spire. Close by is the Sant Pere de Galligants which is a church having the Roman style of architecture. High towers, marvellous human sculptures and circular walled structures help you to distinguish it from the Gothic style.

Next is the Girona cathedral which is the main tourist attraction. It is an ancient cathedral which was used as a mosque when the Moors ruled the region and then again rebuilt and converted into a cathedral. It stands tall as an iconic structure of the days gone by.

It is perched on a hill and thus one hasto climb about 86 long stepsto reach the main gate of the cathedral which is beautifully carved. The arches are magnificent and areagreat example of the Gothic architecture. Itshot to fame because of the shooting of an episode of Game of Thrones there. Asareminder one can get a photo clicked on the special throne and take home as a souvenir.

Another interesting site is the Jewish Quarter which is very well preserved since 500 years. This place where the Jews lived had narrow lanes, cobblestoned streets, small arched gateways which areajoy to explore and are still intact. The whole area is surrounded by medieval walls, the pathway is interrupted by towers in between. It’salong walk but one can get spectacular view of the area from the top of these walls. From Girona we went to Costa Brava and on the way stopped at Pals. Pals is a fortress or a small village in itself. It has narrow pebbled streets, souvenir shops, cafes.

The view of the surrounding green area, Olive plantations, Citrus orchards is panoramic. The drive from Pals to Costa Brava is scenic too. There are acres together of Olive and Orange plantations, making Spain one of the biggest exporters of Olive oil in the world. Finally we reached Costa Brava. It is a picturesque sunny beach where tourists from Barcelona and other parts of Europe come to enjoy the sun, sand and the beach.

The water is turquoise and clear. Intermittent rocks on the beach add to its beauty. The coastline is lined by magnificent eateries. One can enjoy local seafood and wine here. It has a Mediterranean look and resembles the coast of Myconos as it has white coloured houses and restaurants that dominate the coastline.

One can also enjoy swimming, diving, snorkeling and sailing here. It’s a paradise for the beach lovers and one can have a wonderful time here. The view of small boats and yachts docked nearby on the other side provide a beautiful backdrop as the sun sets in the evening. So we captured the beauty of the place in our camera and left for Barcelona with an awesome time and memories that would last a lifetime. During our Spain tour we next went to Madrid the capital city and fell in love with the historical structures, art museums, churches and palaces there. After spending two days in Madrid we took a day tour to Granada.

The main attraction was to visit the Alhambra complex which is an ancient walled city ruled by the Arabs. It's spread over about 3km and has many amazing architectural wonders. The first was the Alcazaba which is a tower built to keep a watch on the enemy. The Arabic influence can be seen in the designs and floral mosaics. Arabic symbols have been beautifully incorporated in the geometric wall patterns and thus one of a kind. Next we visited the Palace of Charles V.

The Christian influence can be seen here. The palace has a spectacular circular courtyard with numerous pillars while the exterior of the structure hastypicalsquare walls. It is visually very different from the other Arabic structuresin the Alhambra complex.It now hosts a fine arts museum. From there we went to the Generalife complex which has beautiful well maintained gardens and was the place where the Kings/Sultans spent their leisure time. It has an amazing network of water bodies.

The sound of water flowing through the narrow channels and beautiful fountains keep the place cool and help to maintain greenery of the surrounding gardens. The most beautiful amongst all the structures are the Nasrid Palaces. It has different small rooms serving as the courtyard for conducting meetings.The reflection of the Sultans court in the water looks spectacular. The halls depicted the concept of the universe very beautifully in the form of carvings in the ceiling of the palaces.

Overall the Arabic style can be seen in its best form in the Nasrid Palaces and the surrounding halls of lion, boat etc. Towards the exit there is a garden of roses and also of medicinal plants in Alhambra. As you leave the complex you tend to marvel the concept of the walled city and the way it has remained intact over the years in a European continent. We once again captured the breathtaking view of Granada and bid good bye to Spain.