Friday, April 14, 2006


Easter holidays and the road tour of South of Spain

After the Mallorca trip, the long waited Easter holidays are here. Srijana and I, four Indians and four Japanese started the holidays with a road trip to the south of Spain. We went to Zaragoza, Cordoba, Sevilla and finally Granada. It was a long trip but a beautiful one.

In Zaragoza, we visited the most popular church called El Pilar. It was a beautiful and a very huge church. Myself, Srijana, organizer Aalok, sentimental Anil, and passionate Srini
outside El Pilar in Zaragoza

After visiting El Pilar and having an "okay" lunch, we drove towards Madrid and stayed in a hotel in a place called Pinto outside of Madrid. The plan was not to visit Madrid. Madrid was just on the way. After having a quick dinner and some drinks, we went back to the hotel. Pinto was a small town and seemed beautiful but we didn't do much sightseeing there.

The next city in our itinerary was Cordoba. The drive to Cordoba was awesome. The landscape was beautiful. It felt like the landscape was actually designed by someone and the lush green fields were mowed everyday by the local people. At times I felt like I was driving between the rocky hills called "Bhalu Pahad" in Shyangja, Nepal. On the way we stopped at a rest area surrounded by small hills planted with olive trees.
We also encountered a businessman who had brought horses with him. He apparently organizes some horse shows. Having noticed some Japanese with us, he was quick to recognize the marketing opportunity and gave us a DVD that had the details of the horse shows he organizes. He said he could do that in Japan if opportunity existed and gave us his business cards. I wondered he must have taken Marketing classes in a MBA school like ours. :) Sato from Japan, Nori from Japan, Myself and Srijana with the horse of the horse-show organizer

We reached Cordoba in the afternoon and parked near the famous "Mezquita". Mezquita means "mosque" in English. It was actually both a mosque and a church. According to, previously, Cordoba was ruled by the Muslims and later on conquered by Christians. The Muslims built the beautiful mosque and the Christians, mesmerized by the beauty of the mosque, built the church in between the archs and columns. So it is both a mosque and church now. When we visited "mezquita", we realized how beautiful it was. We also saw a procession of Easter when we were about to leave Cordoba. It was amazing to see how much work they have put for the chariot.

After another beautiful drive, we reached Sevilla. Because we got wrong direction from the online map site, we got lost for more than an hour. Finally, after asking some people on the street on how to get to the place where our hotel was, we reached our hotel. Thats when I realized we should buy a local map of every city we are visiting. That way, even if we are lost, we can quickly find our way though without having to rely on people on the streets. Sevilla seemed like a party city. There were a lot of youngsters who all seemed like they were heading towards dance clubs.

One of our lead organized Junko (from Japan) had suggested us to go to a Flamenco show called "Los Gallos". It was supposedly the very best in Sevilla, or perhaps Spain, for authentic Flamenco dance shows. Some of us reached the show late as we had to park our cars and find our way through the small streets in Plaza de Santa Cruz. For those of you who have been to Kathmandu, it reminded me of streets of Ason. The Flamenco dance show was indeed amazing. Just with a guitar and the sounds from the foot steps, it was incredible on what they could do. The 2 hours of the show felt like few minutes.

Flamenco dance show at Los Gallos in Sevilla

Next morning, we visited a famous cathedral called "Giralda" in Sevilla. We went to the top of a tower (felt like climbing Dharhara in Kathmandu) and got a good view of the city. Like with the earlier mosque we visited in Cordoba, the cathedral was both a mosque and a church with similar story. Until I came home and researched on the church, I didn't realize that it was indeed the largest church in the world.

In the afternoon, we left for a picturesque town called Olvera. The way to Olvera was the best drive so far. We were going through these small towns which all looked white and hence called white villages. When we were about to reach Olvera, we were mesmerized by how beautiful it looked.

The housed in the village were all painted white except for the roofs.
In the evening, we reached Granada. It was already late by the time we reached there, we had some quick food like "doner kabab", as most of the restaurants were already closed. Next day, Srijana and I went to see the famous Alhambra palace. We only saw it from outside as we had to buy tickets early in the morning. We were not brave enough to get up early and stand in the line to buy tickets. Supposedly, it is the most visited monument of Spain.

From Granada we could see the beautiful snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains. They looked very close to Granada, yet it must have been very cold there for the snow not to melt in the mountains. In the afternoon, we left for Granada for a long 14 hours drive back to Barcelona. It was a pleasant, short and memorable road trip. Thank you Aalok and Junko for organizing it.

wow!!! sounds like a page out of a travel book....truly beautiful places.
awesome pics man, can't wait to be there in person! :-)
reading your travelogue makes me think twice about planning a next Vacation to Spain. What do you think ?

mesmerizingly beautiful!! It seems Spain has lot to offer in tourism...
Anonymous, Ashwyn and Varun,
Yes, no doubt that it is indeed very beautiful.

There couldn't be a better idea than this. If you come while we are here in Spain, we can also be your guides. So you should plan soon.

I am trying to add yours and Siru's blog on my blog. Which email are you using these days?

I wonder if the Mexcican Spanish word Mezquite comes from Mezquita?
I hope not as Mesquite barbecue is my favorite flavor of potato chip, and I would feel disrespectful eating a Mosque Barbecue flavored anything.
I can now write in your blog. I followed the link you sent me to do that.
I am still using the email account.

loved your story, my great grandmother came from Granada( on a ship) to live in Australia- that is my heritage....I would love to travel there one day.
the photos were wonderful!!!
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