A Word a Week Challenge: Arches – Spain and Morocco

Sue’s challenge this week is to post photos of arches which we have admired enough to capture on camera. Here are some of mine.

There are many arches at the Alhambra Palace in Granada.


Here is a very leafy one in the lovely gardens there.

Look at the intricate workmanship surrounding this beautiful arch.


Taking a furtive peep through a doorway in Morocco, this is what I saw.


They really do have the best arches in Spain and Morocco.


The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, has the most stunning arches I’ve ever seen. The red and white double arches consisting of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch, rest on 856 columns, which were crafted from jasper, onyx, marble and granite.


Of course we can’t think of Spanish architecture without mentioning Antonio Gaudi. A giant mirror cleverly reflects this arch on the roof of the Casa Mila in Barcelona.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection of arches for Sue’s theme. To see more bloggers’ pics, just click here.

Architecture…. Hola Spain!

Jake’s Sunday Post theme, architecture, made me think of all the different and varied styles of buildings I’ve seen on my travels. I could of course do a real hotchpotch of  a post, and show you examples from many countries around the world, but I decided to limit my photos to Spain, a country renowned for its art and architectural excellence. Spanish architecture is an exotic mix of early Moorish influences and surreal modernism.

Talking of surrealism, one cannot visit Barcelona without marvelling at the astounding imagination and genius of Antoni Gaudi. Here is the Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, meaning ‘The Quarry’. It caused quite a sensation when it was being built,  because of the bold form of its undulating stone facade and the wrought iron decoration of the balconies and windows,

This is one of the sculptures on the roof of the Casa Mila.

and this huge mirror cleverly reflects another part of the roof.

The design of the beautiful windows of the Casa Batllo, is astonishing. This house was nicknamed ‘The House of Bones’ because the balconies at the lower floors, have bone-like pillars, and those on the upper floors look like pieces of skulls.

Surely his absolute masterpiece though, has to be La Sagrada Familia, ‘la cathédrale des anges’, which was started in 1882, and when we were there in 2004, was still not completed. This is the original old part.

and here is the newer construction. Which do you prefer?

The Royal Palace in Madrid, is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although now it’s only used for State ceremonies.

The palace has 135,000 square metres of floorspace and contains 3418 rooms, making it the largest in Europe. The interior design and decor and was just breathtaking. Just take a look at all those chandeliers!

I could just imagine myself sweeping down this magnificent staircase, not in my jeans and t-shirt, but in a sumptuous, bejeweled ball gown, and with a diamond encrusted coronet on my head. 🙂

Of course, Granada is famous for its absolutely stunning Alhambra Palace. I posted some pics of the gardens yesterday for the green theme..

It was so delightful to walk around this beautiful place.

Some of the detail was really exquisite,

and around every corner, there was something new to admire.

In Cordoba, we visited the Mezquita, the Great Mosque-Cathedral, which was begun in 600 AD, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Islamic architecture. When I walked into this vast hypostyle hall, I was absolutely dumbfounded.

I felt so tiny as I gazed up at those 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

The richly gilded decoration of the cathedral in its centre, defies description, so here’s a photo instead. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some of the architecture I saw on my trip. To see more interpretations of Jake’s theme. just click here.

CBBH Photo Challenge: Windows

Marianne at East of Malaga blog, has a new challenge for October. She has some magnificent windows to show us, and I told her that I already used my best window pics for the “Thursday Windows challenge” last week.

Whilst we were out walking along our beach front today, I looked up at one of the overly tall apartment blocks ‘gracing the skyline’, and blocking out the sun from the beach, and my immediate thought was, “Oh, how I’d hate to have to clean all those windows. I didn’t think, “Wow, what a beautiful building.” This building goes by the lovely name of, “The Pearls,” but to my eye, it doesn’t look very pearl-like.

Isn’t it strange that when I was in Barcelona, and looking up at the windows of  Gaudi’s ‘Casa Mila’, I didn’t even think about cleaning them. I was just so awestruck by the beauty and ingenuity of their design. This apartment block was commissioned by Pedro Milà i Camps, a rich businessman. On the outside, the undulating balconies look like a series of waves, and the building was soon dubbed ‘La Pedrera’, meaning ‘the quarry’, because locals thought the facade resembled cliff-like rocks and caves.

The Casa Batlló has the most unusual windows I’ve ever seen. From the outside, this building looks like it ‘s been made out of skulls (the balconies) and bones, (the supporting pillars). The building was designed by Gaudi, as an upmarket home  for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat. He and his family, lived in the lower two floors, whilst the upper floors were rented out as apartments.

When I look at old churches, cathedrals, and other historical buildings such as Gaudi’s apartment blocks, I can’t help thinking that architects of today have far less creativity and eye for beauty, than had those of a bygone era. What’s your opinion?

For more contributions to the CBBH challenge, just click here.

Now I would like to introduce you to two other blogs which I really enjoy:

Phil Lanoue Photography has a very entertaining blog, containing the most breathtaking photos of wild life in the swamps of Florida.

Ron Mayhew at the fotograffer blog, also has some of the most amazing wildlife photos you could ever wish to see.