Saturday, August 4, 2018

SEDUCTIVE SEVILLE, SPAIN: AN INTRODUCTION



Welcome to "Seductive Seville, Spain." When I looked up the word seductive I was given the following definitions which included the following: attractive, captivating, charming, enticing, fascinating, inviting, irresistible, provocative, and tempting. I think Seville is all that and more.

A VIDEO FROM SEVILLE, SPAIN  with a little music to get you in the mood.

When I also asked my husband for suggestions describing the Sevillanos, the residents of Seville, and the city of Seville itself, he came up with the following and I couldn't agree more.
  • Handsome and friendly people
  • Vibrant and stylish in a cool chic manner
  • Gregarious and social
  • Timeless and romantic neighborhoods

If this image doesn't say "Seductive Spain" I'm missing something!

Seville is the perfect blend of history, culture, and romance and I loved it all. I was fascinated by the gregarious social lifestyle of the Sevillanos (residents of Seville). And to make it completely wonderful, Seville's cathedrals, castles, and historical remains and monuments are fabulous.


The social life of the residents of Seville is relaxed, fun, and addictive.  All generations are included and they definitely know how to enjoy life to the fullest.


Seville with its vibrant colors is truly wonderful and compliments its out-going lifestyle perfectly.

The gorgeous Andalusian capital of Seville is Spain’s most colorful city. From the many-hued facades of buildings in its old quarters to the colorful celebrations of Spring, Seville is a city defined by bold blues, yellows, reds, and oranges. We were fortunate to visit Seville twice during our recent to trip to Portugal and Spain since it was on our route both leaving and returning to Portugal. How absolutely fortunate was that!


The Gardens of the Alcázar Palace/Castle are gorgeous and perfect for wandering. 

Seville (spelled Sevilla in Spanish) is the capital and largest city of the Andalusia (Andalucía in Spanish) region of Spain which is an area of hills, rivers, and farmlands which boarders Spain's southern coast. The Seville harbor is located approximately 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean making it the only river port in Spain. Seville is also the hottest major metropolitan area in the Western Europe geographical area with temperatures reaching above 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the summers.  I would definitely choose to visit Seville in the Spring!  


The Almeda (Plaza) of Hercules is the social hub of Seville where all generations mix and mingle. The Roman columns are topped with statues of Hercules and Julius Cesar.

Seville was under Moorish rule from the eighth to fifteen centuries, a legacy which is evident in its architecture including the Alcázar Castle in Seville which is one of three UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES found in Seville. The other two are the Seville Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies.


The Seville Cathedral can take your breath away irregardless of the vantage point.  And yes, that is a "flying buttress."

This posting is about the city of Seville, Spain through the eyes of our cameras. The following photographs are some of my favorites and I hope they entice you as much as "Seductive Seville" did us.  I definitely hope to re-visit Seville to experience more of this great city. Until then, I am excited to share some of our favorite photographs of Seville. After all, images are what "Mexico and Beyond: Laura's Photo Journey" is all about!


Children at play at the historical Plaza of Hercules where being gregarious begins early in life.


The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as the Seville Cathedral, is the largest Cathedral in the world. It opened in 1528 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in the Gothic architectural style with interior arches which I think are stunning!


From Cathedrals to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards "serenading" Seductive Seville.  Now that's a fairly large leap!



Since Seville is a city of apartment dwellers and it feels as though the majority of the population eats out and socializes. Sounds great to me.



We were in Seville during the beginning of Semana (Holy week) and it was truly fascinating to witness the traditions on the streets.
Another view of the iconic Cathedral of Seville, Spain. I keep wondering how they built these amazing structions without modern engineering!  












Another of my very favorite photo images during Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations. Isn't he gorgeous! 











The Basilica of Macarena is unbelivable, awesome, and gorgeous. What adjectives have I left out?


I think I might have developed a slight "crush" on the motos of Seville!  Is that possible?


If you notice closely there are even flamenco dresses and accessories for the youngest in Seville, Spain.  


We happened upon a photo shoot in Seville and what an amazing flamenco dress. And she wasn't too bad either!  


Strolling and getting lost in the alleys of Seville was a favorite past time and I loved it! 



This public address statement around town and at the bus stops I think is great.  Translation:  "The length of my skirt does NOT say I have said yes."


The Giralda (bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville) is without a doubt one of my favorite photos taken in Seville among our many.  


Seville is world reknown for its cured parma ham and I have no argument there. Check out the wall "decor" also.  


Thank you joining me in Seville, Spain.  And please don't forget my motto:  Memories are only a click away! 

SEDUCTIVE SEVILLE PHOTO ALBUM

I loved Seville, Spain, it's lifestyle, culture, and people.  Until next time, the following
link will magically take you to my extra large photograph album from Seville which includes detailed captions. Until next time, enjoy your travels and wanderings wherever they may take you!  Laura  







Saturday, July 7, 2018

PUERTO VALLARTA: THE SCULPTURES OF THE MALECON




One of the most popular pastimes in Puerto Vallarta for both locals and visitors alike is walking the  Malecón. After twenty three years of living in Mexico and Beyond my husband and I still gravitate to this beautiful ocean front pedestrian walkway. After all, Puerto Vallarta is where our "nomadic" life began and it is also where we have chosen to settle. This posting is consequently about Puerto Vallarta's Malecón and its fantastic sculptures.





Before we go any further I would like to explain exactly what a Malecón is since it might not be a term commonly known. So here goes: Malecón is a word used in Spanish-speaking countries, and especially in nations of Latin America, for a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront. Well known Malecóns include the Malecón in Havana in Cuba, the Malecón in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Malecón Center in the Dominican Republic, and the malecóns in Mazatlán, Campeche, and Veracruz, Mexico. Now we can get back to business in Puerto Vallarta!  





The Malecón in Puerto Vallarta is a 12-block esplanade or boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.  Since it was re-designed approximately eight years ago the Malecón has become the focal point of Puerto Vallarta's downtown area which encourages tourists and locals to mingle. The Malecon is again the social heart of the Puerto Vallarta "village."




When the Malecon was redesigned a total of three-hundred Foxtail Palms were introduced and planted in a marine shaped inspired planter to generate shade. Additionally, a romantic atmosphere was created through the "The Moonlight effect" of lighting and it became a place where locals and tourists can mingle under the local vegetation with a view on the ocean, both day and night. This lighting strategy also avoids the disturbance of the local ecosystem including the sea turtles hatching on the beach.




The redesigned Puerto Vallarta Malecon has also maintained its local character by embracing the traditional river stone paving technique with a design inspired by local Huichol culture. This design is referred to as the "Mosaico Vallarta" and was inspired by a masterpiece commissioned to the prominent Huichol artist, Fidenzio Benitez, in which the artist narrates the "Origin of Vallarta: A Place where Motherland and Ocean Meets."



When the Puerto Vallarta Malecon was remodeled in 2011 it became a pedestrian only esplanade.  It is here you'll find a string of beautiful sculptures in bronze and stone. Most are from both local and national artists, but some are from international artists as well. In addition to the fabulous bronze sculptures there are also some incredible sand and rock sculptures. Something to appeal to everyone!

I have yet to learn how these amazing sand sculptures stayed "glued" together.  So I asked Google...


If you want to learn the tricks of sand sculpting check out the following link:
SAND-SCULPTING TIPS

Along the Malecon are a collection of fabulous bronze sculptures including the following which are some of my favorite:


The Millennia Statue by Mathis Lidice 2001 

The piece was created to celebrate the new millennium and is full of symbolism and meaning.
The Millennia statue by Mathis Lidice is a spiraling sculpture that represents the passage of time, starting off with the origin of life and ending in the hope for the future: peace. On the spiral sculpture, you'll find animal evolution, Charlemagne wielding a sword, Netzahualcoyotl and a woman stretching up to the future. Millennia was inaugurated in its present location on October 31st, 2001 (Happy Halloween!).  A stunning work with a message.



Origin and Destination by Pedro Tello 2011

This group of sculptures entitled "Origin and Destination" represents the beginnings of humanity, music, time and knowledge. The boat represents mankind's quest for new horizons. In the second sculpture, a chimera, symbolizes humanity's unity with reptiles, birds and marine animals, with musical notes that represent the harmony existing between them. The final sculpture is an obelisk, representing humanity's spirituality. The obelisk contains an hours glass filled with sand, a symbol of the transience of the present.  This definitely deserves a big bravo!



Nostalgia by Ramiz Barquet 1984

Next along our walk is "Nostalagia by Mexican artist Ramiz Barquet who created a loving couple sitting side by side on a white granite bench, looking dreamily towards the sea, mountains, town and life with immense joy and love that lasted through time and finally became a reality. This sculpture is also one of the first that was placed on the Malecon in 1984. Definitely an oldie, but goodie.




The Subtle Rock Eater Jonás Gutiérrez 2006

On the Malecon you will find an interesting and strange sculpture named the Subtle Rock Eater by Guadalajara artist Jonás Gutiérrez. It is eight feet high sculpted in bronze and obsidian which shows us a friendly and funny man.  Jonás' works mostly inhabit an alternate reality, more dreamlike than down-to-earth, more scary or disturbing than your average sculpture. One thing is certain, they are never dull, but unique with a personal style which stands out.



The Good Fortune Unicorn by Aníbal Riebeling 2011

On January the 16th 2011 one of the newest sculptures on the Malecon was inaugurated entitled "The Good Fortune Unicorn" by the Guadalajara artist Aníbal Riebeling. The sculpture is approximately ten feet tall and four feet long and is sculpted in a stylized and wavy form, maybe to better fuse with the surrounding sea? The sculpture was inspired by the ancient legend that unicorns are good luck charms and bring good fortune to those that possess one.



Triton and Mermaid by Carlos Espino (1990)

 Triton and Mermaid by Carlos Espino concentrates on the human form and classical Greek  mythology which can clearly be appreciated in this piece. It depicts Triton, a merman, and son of Poseidon, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea and mermaid.

A little local dispute: "The name of the sculpture is and should always have been Triton and Mermaid, and for some unknown reason, despite authorship and intellectual property rights (plus a total lack of knowledge in Greek and Roman mythology), local authorities changed the name to "Neptune and the Nereid" when inaugurating this statue on the Malecon. We respectfully disagree and will keep on calling the sculpture as the artist established it." Bravo!



The Roundabout of the Sea by Alejandro Colunga 1996

The Roundabout of the Sea was created by Alejandro Colunga, a self-taught painter and sculptor from Guadalajara. You'll also find his statues, with the same concept, around Guadalajara and Zapopan. Eight monumental high-backed bronze chairs offering exaggerated human anatomy, surrealism, fantasy and nautical imagery. An "interactive sculpture," strange and surreal chairs full of weirdness and magic await visitors on the Malecon to have a seat and relax if you don't find them somewhat creepy!





Searching for Reason by Sergio Bustamante 2000

Searching for Reason by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante is a very distinctive statue with pillow headed figures and a ladder which they are climbing in search of answers while striving farther and above the normal limits of humanity. People like to climb up this statue and have their photograph taken which is fine just as long as they don't fall off during the photo shoot. On the other hand, I definitely prefer being rooted to the ground!  Without doubt, this is one of the most impressive sculptures on the Malecon.




The Boy on the Little Seahorse by Rafael Zamarripa 1976

Rafael Zamarripa's famous "The Boy on the Little Seahorse"  statue on the Malecón has become a symbol of Puerto Vallarta which is now in a new location with better space and stairs to sit around it. It is approximately 10 feet high and is a  replica of the statue that was placed initially on a group of rocks called "Las Pilitas" at the end of Los Muertos Beach.  When it was knocked over by the waves and strong winds in 1976 the artist replaced it with a new version which is now located near the old Lighthouse on the Malecon.



The Friendship Dancing Dolphins Fountain 1987

 Behind the arches on the Malecon you'll find this popular sculpture which was created by James “Bud” Bottoms together with Octavio Gonzalez Gutierrez in 1987.  Puerto Vallarta and Santa Barbara, California have been sister cities since 1972 and Santa Barbara's sculptor James Bottoms designed this fountain with three leaping dolphins inspired by a Chumash Indian legend.



Vallarta Dancers by Jim Demetro, 2006

Adding to the statues and sculptures in Puerto Vallarta, one that catches the eye is Jim Demetro's dancing figures, the movement, the size and the colors all make it very special. It is also one, if not the, most photographed sculpture in town.  Jim Demetro was first inspired to create this impressive sculpture in the year 2000 when he witnessed the Xiutla dance troupe performing the "Jarabe Tapatío" (Mexican Hat Dance) on the Malecon.




Ándale Bernardo" by Jim Demetro (2014)

The newest of the sculptures in Puerto Vallarta is a new creation by Jim Demetro, a sculpture that mixes the old traditions of the miners and the Mexican spirit of the town. "Ándale Bernardo!" (Come on Bernardo!) is the culmination of more than 2 years of work by the artist which is now part of Lázaro Cárdenas Park located just off the Malecon.

The sculpture depicts two boys, one with a carrot, another pushing a stubborn burro (donkey), and a "helping" dog. The sculpture is intended to be interactive so tourists and locals will be able to climb on the back and get their photo taken. What's a trip to Vallarta without a photo riding on a burro!

For those who would like to learn about or visit the most famous Malecóns in Mexico go to the following link and check out the following top eight Malecóns in the country which include: 
  • Malecón de Mazatlán
  • Malecón de PuertoVallarta
  • Malecón de La Paz
  • Malecón de Veracruz
  • Malecón de Manzanillo
  • Malecon of Puerto Peñasco
  • Malecón de Campeche
  • Malecón de Cozumel

The following link will also take you to my large blog photograph album with more photographs of the sculptures of Puerto Vallarta including the rock and sand sculptures.  

I have certainly enjoyed sharing the Malecon of Puerto Vallarta and its wonderful collection of sculptures with you.  In the process I have also learned a lot about these sculptures which is one of the benefits of blogging.  I find that researching on the Internet is not only useful, but also so very, very educational, interesting, and fun. Until next time, wishing you well and safe travels wherever they may take you!


Rocking out with Michael Jackson on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta. May you be resting in peace.


PS I am trying a new AI (Artificial Intelligence) creation by Google and want to see if the following link works.  Open with full screen for viewing.  What do you think?     


                         








Sunday, July 1, 2018

INTRODUCTION TO PORTUGAL AND SPAIN




My husband and I decided it was time to get out of our “comfort zone” in México and spread our wings.  We agreed that Portugal and the Andalucia region of southern Spain was definitely “out and beyond” the realm of my blog  MEXICO AND BEYOND:  LAURA'S PHOTO JOURNEY and it was time for a new adventure.

We chose to visit Portugal and the neighboring Andalucia region of its neighbor, Spain. From what we had learned on the internet both countries have amazing cultures, history, and friendly people. And happily our trip proved our research was right on.

This is an introduction blog posting to the three special cities we visited in each country which included Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra in Portugal and Seville, Granada, and Cordoba in Spain.

I have decided to share each city as an individual blog post.  Consequently, I have included in this introduction some of our favorite photographs of each city to wet your appetite for more.



The Giralda is the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral in Seville (Sevilla), Spain.

The Castle of the Moors is a hilltop medieval castle located in Sintra, Portugal.


The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See in Sevilla, Spain with all of the stunning gold.  


The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba was built as a mosque which later became a Catholic Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain.


  A photo opportunity not to be missed at the Palacio de Viana in Cordoba, Spain.


   Another view of the giralda bell tower in Seville (Sevilla), Spain.               



     Can you believe this hand painted tile work on the streets of Lisbon, Portugal!  


The Maria Pia Bridge is a railway bridge built in 1877 and attributed to Gustav Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame. It is situated over the river Porto in Porto, Portugal.


The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex originally built in the late 800's and rebuilt in the 13th century located in Granada, Spain.  And despite the chill, it was spectacular! 


A view of the colorful residential apartments (including hanging laundry, satellite dishes, and construction cranes) above the river in Porto, Portugal. Old world charm with new world practicalities.


The stunning Gare do Oriente, the Lisbon Oriente Train Station, is worth a visit even if you are not going anywhere from Lisbon, Portugal.


The Quinta da Regaleira is a romantic palace and chapel which I found simply lovely in Sintra, Portugal. 


Located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain (not California!) Granada is known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation especially the Alhambra of Granada, Spain.


This was our challenging street which was a real workout each day while staying in Sintra, Portugal.

In the process of organizing and editing the more than 1,400 photographs which we took (yikes!) I am also creating additional photograph albums for additional blog postings based on themes such as Flamenco Dancing in Spain and the Azulejos (ceramic tiles) of Portugal and Spain.



Flamenco dance wear and accessories in Seville, Spain. The best places to see flamenco dancing in the Andalucia region of Spain are Seville, Cordoba, and Granada.


Religious ceramic tile work as seen on the buildings in Cordoba, Spain.


Religious ceramic tiles as seen on buildings and near churches in Granada, Spain.

From the lovely religious tile work which is found on almost every corner in Spain to the practical advertising ceramic tiles seen below in Spain and Portugal there is something to be enjoyed by every traveler. I wouldn't hesitate to return to Portugal and the Andalucia region of Spain to discover more.


Ceramic tiles advertise the commercial establishments found on the streets of Seville, Spain.


Doesn't this beautiful ceramic tile creation in Portugal make you want to step in and check out this establishment.

In closing, the following fantastic ceramic tile creations were seen at the National Palace in Lisbon.  Aren't they wonderful!





Until I publish the first blog posting from this adventure, I hope you have enjoyed these "teaser" photographs.  Thank you for joining me and I look forward to sharing the magic of Portugal and the Andalucia region of Spain in the near future. As always, I sincerely appreciate hearing from my readers and followers. Until then, wishing you well and safe travels.  Laura



  Getting lost in the alleys of Seville (Sevilla), Spain is my idea of fun.


And a friendly reminder: Memories are only a click away!