European Trip of May '09

Share your holidays and points of interest during your travels. It could also be a spot you stumbled on your way to work.

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naim
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#61 Post by naim » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:28 am

hayamaguchi wrote: Bro. topoguy is quoting the consumption in US gallons, while bro Naim is quoting the same consumption using Imperial gallons !
...
Thanks for enlightening, Howard. I was/am confused myself. :oops:
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#62 Post by naim » Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:06 am

Sevilla (part2 - FINAL)

Whatever Sevilla is, the only thing that pulls me in is La Giralda, The Minaret of the long-gone Sevilla Mosque.
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Intricate Moorish motif decorates the top half of this 12th century tower.
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The top half again. There were ramps inside the minaret, so that the muezzin could ride his horse up the 98-metre structure to call for prayers. Imagine if on foot and doing it 5 times a day!
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The lower half where it's attached to the Gothic cathedral has plain bricks ...
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... but look at this juxtaposition of two cultures. :)
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Back at Plaza del Triunfo, I try to soak them all in: La Giralda, The Gothic Cathedral of Sevilla and The Alcazar.
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Ornaments atop the cathedral.
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Grand entrance to the Alcazar.
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We leave the Santa Cruz area and head for the Guadalquivir river, which was once a major direct route to the Atlantic Ocean. Here we see the Tower of Gold, also of 13th century Moorish built. Cables were hung from this tower to another one on the other side of the river to impede enemy vessels.
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Along a major street, there's Hotel Alfonso XIII, built for the 1929 Expo.
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Artwork at the old hotel.
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Next to the hotel, the 17th century Palacio de San Telmo.
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Further up the road, Maria Luisa Avenue, next to the famed Maria Luisa Park.
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Adjacent to the Maria Luisa Park, the photogenic Plaza de Espana, also built for Spanish-American Expo 1929.
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It has been a long walk in the hot sun in Sevilla, and it is sheer joy when we find a sunflower field near our hotel at the village of Torre de la Reina.
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An ocean of sunflowers, as far as the eyes could see.
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Dusk, and we finally leave the sunflower farm, which is only accessible via this dirt track. It has been a tiring day.
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> THE END
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#63 Post by naim » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:08 am

Merida (part 1)

Merida, founded 25 BC, is a Unesco World Heritage Site by virtue of having the most extensive Roman ruins in Iberia, and being a sucker for anything World Heritage Site, we opt to do a quick visit. Soon we are on the excellent Autovia A-66 cruising at 120km/h, the max allowed, leaving Sevilla behind.
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The A-66 is not only scenic, but also a pleasure to drive on. We leave the Autonomous Community of Andalucia and enter the Autonomous Community of Extremadura, and Merida is its capital.
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Simple no-brainer message on a serious matter.
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What about KM666 on the A-66?
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Anyway, we have to get off here, unless we intend to go all the way to Madrid, some 320km away.
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Merida has only 60,000 people, but the ancient narrow one-way streets make driving a hassle, just like in the old part of Sevilla yesterday. At a junction, I spot an old bulding with unmistakeable Moor influence.
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We find free parking on the bank of the Guardiana river, and come face to face with a magnificient Roman bridge - Puente Romano. It's the longest surviving Roman bridge, completed during Emperor Trajan in the 1st century.
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This hardy Roman bridge was in use by vehicular traffic till 1992, when it was pedestrianised till now. One of the 4 entrances into the ancient Roman Merida, with a span of 762m, it's a tad too far for me to walk in this hot sun.
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The bridge leads into the Alcazaba, the 8th century castle cum fort, constructed by the Muslim Moors on an earlier Roman site.
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Walking towards the town centre, more wall of the Alcazaba, and a monument for the Romans.
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Nearby, a town map is littered with Roman ruins.
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We stop in front of another old building to get our orientation.
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In front of us is the splendid town square - Plaza de Espana (seems to be a common theme for Spanish towns to have such-named plazas).
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Another angle of the square. It's a hot day, so we can't stay long here.
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I suppose this is the town hall.
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We leave via one of the narrow lanes typical of these old quarters.
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Soon we spot our first Roman ruin, the Arch of Trajan. It's a sort of a triumphal gate leading to the city' forum, the Roman public square or marketplace. Obviously from Emperor Trajan's era.
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> TO BE CONTINUED
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#64 Post by naim » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:12 pm

Bruges, Belgium

A couple of weeks ago, I was loitering in the historical centre of the medieval city of Bruges, a Unesco World Heritage Site, when I heard some rumbling noise. Turned out a bunch of old-bike enthusiasts just dropped by for lunch.

The Burg Square.
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Two machines are parked in the square, while the rest in the shade at the edge of the square.
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A not-too-old Triumph.
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The Magnificent Men and their Rumbling Machines.
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Harley-Davidson - a WLA model, built for the US Army during WW2.
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It comes with a standard-issue US Army spade too.
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Close-up of the WLA details. Speedo goes to 120mph.
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And then there's a Norton.
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Looks like Model 19 from 1927.
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Norton and Harley together.
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But this New Imperial is the grand-daddy of them all - built 1927 in Birmingham, all 300cc of it. Looks like a bicycle.
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It's amazing how such ancient machines are still humming along nicely, with tender loving care for sure.
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> THE END
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#65 Post by naim » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:32 pm

Merida (part 2 - FINAL)

In Spain, there's this thing called 'siesta' when people take extended lunchtime to rest and to nap, say between 2.00pm and 5.30pm, especially on hot long days. Then businesses reopen till night.
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And they take siesta very seriously in Merida. Only foolhardy, clueless visitors like us would wander the lanes in the hot sun.
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As we turn the corner along the lane, another major Roman ruin greets us - The Temple of Diana.
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There used to be a large square in front of this temple - some say it was built in 1st century BC to worship Emperor Augustus himself, then regarded as divine, not Diana. This is a rendition of what it might have looked like 2,000 years ago.
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A family was still living inside this building till 1972, when the state took over. Observe the intricate columns: Corinthian capital, fluted shaft, attic base. Must have been beautiful when the Romans were here.
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More lane wandering for us, smart locals in their homes siesta-ing.
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Wa-hey, another ruin! A portico of a Roman monument ...
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... adorned with mugshots of god Jupiter and Medusa. More Corinthian columns.
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This is what we think the monument should look like a couple of millennia ago.
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Not to forget, the obligatory headless ancient Roman.
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We wander further, past a shop offering churros for brekky.
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At a souvenir shop, Merida is virtually an ancient Roman town.
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As the sun gets hotter, we arrive at the crown jewel of the ruins - the Amphitheatre, built 8 BC, could hold 15,000 spectators, bla ... bla ... bla, but unfortunately the whole complex is closed for restoration. All I can muster is this lame pic through the gate.
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It has been a long tiring walk in Merida under the hot sun, so it's a relief to be hitting the expressway again.
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Our next stop is another icon of Andalucia, the historical city of Cordoba, 250km southeast of Merida.
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Along the way, extensive solar farms complement the windmills we saw before, as major renewable sources of energy. Spain is taking them very seriously.
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We re-enter the Autonomous Community of Andalucia as the terrain gets hilly.
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Remnants of castles or forts overlooking white villages dot this ancient roadway.
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After a mountain pass, the road descends into a valley where Cordoba lies. It's slightly cooler here compared to lowland Merida or Sevilla.
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We are spending the night in the nearby village of La Carlota, so we skip downtown Cordoba for tomorrow.
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In La Carlota, as the sun sets, we do some grocery shopping, while the resident old folks awake from their siestas for the evening's merry-making. Such is life in an Andalucian village.
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> THE END
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#66 Post by cruiser » Tue Jun 09, 2009 3:46 pm

R U cruising and cooling off with cops and devils game on Spain's highway to heaven??? :mrgreen:

Great pics and :tq: Naim for your fabulous framing on yr trip. It is most encouraging esp. prior to mine in a matter of hours... Andalusia here we come again!!! \:D/


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Re: European Trip of May '09

#67 Post by naim » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:03 pm

cruiser wrote: Great pics and :tq: Naim for your fabulous framing on yr trip. It is most encouraging esp. prior to mine in a matter of hours... Andalusia here we come again!!! \:D/
Thanks and all the best, cruiser. The Spanish expressways (Autovia - free, Autopista - toll) are great to drive, but the country roads are tricky, esp. the high shoulder. If your car falls off the edge sure must get tow truck to pull you out. Btw, ppl speed everywhere! :mrgreen:

You can scrutinise my itinerary here:

http://www.tripit.com/trip/public/id/E6 ... DC37C2C7D4
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Re: European Trip of May '09

#68 Post by naim » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:57 pm

I have uploaded these stories to my website:

http://travel.nuraina.com/spain-andalucia-cartajima/ -----> CARTAJIMA
http://travel.nuraina.com/spain-andalucia-sevilla/ -----> SEVILLA
http://travel.nuraina.com/spain-extremadura-merida/ -----> MERIDA
http://travel.nuraina.com/gibraltar/ -----> GIBRALTAR

Pls visit. Thanks!
Pls visit my travel pictorials at http://naim.my

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Re: European Trip of May '09

#69 Post by cruiser » Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:01 am

naim wrote: Thanks and all the best, cruiser. The Spanish expressways (Autovia - free, Autopista - toll) are great to drive, ppl speed everywhere! :mrgreen:
Yup, I had a cruising time last year along the Algarve too... but the rental diesel "PangJeoh" (aka kenching) car, a Peugeot 308 I had from Faro airport can only clock max 190kph lah... :thumbsdown:

I posted a pic here some time back... :mrgreen:

Will check yr other alternative write-up... :good:

I booked a Golf Diesel but I think I'm getting a C4 Citroen as the VW are all taken up. Yes, I had to make do with a C4 after all as the pic here below shows. It cruised a weebit faster than the Peugeot.


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Re: European Trip of May '09

#70 Post by SOSweet » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:57 am

cruiser wrote:Image
Bro cruiser, tks for the guided tour. :nehneh:
And also tks for the Kang Tou Chi (4D) given at the end of your story. :nehneh:
:tq:
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