Site of the 1929 Ibero-American Expo, this grand 50,000 sq meters plaza is a must see for all who visit Seville. It was designed by Seville architect Anibal Gonzalez as the site for the 1929 Ibero-American expo and has a unique palace-plaza structure with four bridges and two towers. It also has a moat like canal surrounding the perimeter that can be traversed by boat. We visited the plaza in the morning briefly and then returned in the evening for a lazy stroll and were wowed as it was lit up and the fountains played. The 49 Spanish provinces are represented by beautiful tiles. Again, we admired the blend of Renaissance and Moorish architecture and walked through the gardens nearby. It was an unforgettable experience. And for those interested in pop culture you can spot the plaza in movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and The Dictator. Loved it!
During our visit to Barcelona, we took the optional trip to Montserrat (meaning serrated)- a multipeak mountain range that is the site of a Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which houses the Virgin of Montserrat. The mountain is located approximately 50 km northwest of Barcelona. We took the tour bus, though it can also be reached via cable or the Montserrat Rack Railway.
A functioning monastery with over 70 monks in residence, it was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries.
We were in absolute awe of the magnificent church facade, the dome, the sculptures, and beautiful biblical scenes. It is the home of one of the oldest boy choirs in Europe (from perhaps the 14th century) consisting of thirty boys who live in the monastery.
Btw, the gelato (tiramisu flavor in particular) is fabulous. It was a short visit, wish I could have stayed longer.
If you are in Spain don’t miss visiting Seville, the capital of Andalusia, a city with many charms. The highlight of this city is a walking tour of the Jewish quarter, a lovely labyrinth of narrow streets bordered by beautifully upkept houses, and charming shops that one can spend hours exploring. A highlight of this tour is a visit to the Casa de Pilatos that is a stunning blend of Mudejar (moorish) and Renaissance architecture unique to Spain. Get transported to another era as you walk through the grounds, beautiful courtyards and gardens. You will never want to leave.
Lost in the streets I’ve known like the back of my hand
Surprising what a few years away can do.
My mind has reset. Everything looks new.
Scars, memories erased
Do I want to go back?
Yes, or maybe no.
I’m not old, I think. Not yet. But I’m getting there. Everyone is getting there. Maybe I’m a little ahead in the line because I’m thinking about it. About getting old.
Am I sad? Not really. Maybe, just a little disappointed. Because I really didn’t have much of a youth. Because I spent most of it preparing for the future– for getting old.
I don’t think I’m old because I’m still a productive member of society. People still seek my opinion and try to take it seriously (I hope). My opinion still counts for something. I’m not just someone to be tolerated. But then what is ‘old’? It is a state of mind. Because there are people who are old in their youth and others who are young when they are old.
I think I’m at the best time of my life. There is still a skip in my step and I’m not preoccupied with the condition of my joints. I still get excited to see new things, experience new places.
I don’t have any regrets. I’ve dealt with them all. In fact, I’ve dealt with them so well I don’t even recall what they were. My desires are limited to traveling, reading, assimilating new ideas, and perhaps guiding others to live a better, more informed life. I’ve reconciled with my ambitions and disappointments.
But a day will come when I won’t matter any more; my opinions will be just that–opinions. So, I’m collecting keepsakes. Little memories– that’ll keep me company and help me pass the time. It could be anything– like the flavor of something delicious– from a long time ago–that perhaps I’d never get the chance to taste again. It could be a bird call; a chance conversation with a stranger; timeless streets through which I walked and walked but wasn’t afraid of getting lost because I had wonderful company. It could be the brilliant blue of the sky, the soothing silence of the forest, the dust on my shoes as I embarked eagerly on a different trail.
I hope that time will be short. I hope I won’t become bitter. I hope when you think of me it’ll be with a smile.
Let us go for a walk, my friend.
In a forest, a park, a street, many streets.
Let us take turns we haven’t before.
Let us sit down on a bench
and talk a little or a lot,
or say nothing at all.
Let us walk for hours,
and wear out our soles.
— Simi K. Rao.