Cathedral

Looking Good Six Hundred Years Old and Counting

This is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, otherwise known as the Cathedral of Seville.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Groundbreaking took place in 1401 and ended in 1506.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It is the largest Gothic and third largest church in the world.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It is the largest cathedral in the world (the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and St. Peter’s Basilica are not the seats of bishops).  Yes there is a difference between a Cathedral and a church with and without a Bishop.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The length of the Cathedral is 443 feet; it is 330 feet wide by 138 feet high.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The interior has the longest nave of any church in Spain at 135 feet.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The choir loft section of the nave. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

Through to the main altar in all its gaudiness.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Through to the main altar in all its gaudiness. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

There are 15 doors that surround the cathedral.  Not all are being used for entry into the cathedral but they make a great photo opportunity.  Many of the doors are only opened during special feast days.

This is the Door of the Prince.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Door of the Prince. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

This is the Door of the Conception whichopens onto the Court of the Oranges and is kept closed except on festival days. It was built in the Gothic style to harmonize with the rest of the building.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Door of the Conception which opens onto the Court of the Oranges and is kept closed except on festival days. It was built in the Gothic style to harmonize with the rest of the building. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

This is the Door of Forgiveness. This entrance actually gives access to the Patio of the Oranges so it is technically not a door into the cathedral.  It has been here since the time of the mosque.  More sculptures were added in the 16th Century.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Door of Forgiveness. This entrance actually gives access to the Patio of the Oranges so it is technically not a door into the cathedral. It has been here since the time of the mosque. More sculptures were added in the 16th Century. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

This is the Door of Palos. No information was given.  The relief depicts the Adoration of the Magi, created by Miquel Florentin in 1520.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This is the Door of Palos. The relief depicts the Adoration of the Magi, created by Miquel Florentin in 1520. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

There are stained glass windows scattered throughout.  I counted well over 30.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Cathedral has its own treasury.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

The crowns are covered in gold and precious gemstones.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The crowns are covered in gold and precious gemstones. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

A gold and gemstone encrusted clerical adornments.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

A gold and gemstone encrusted clerical adornments. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

The cathedral has 80 chapels; less than half of which are available for visiting today.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

The Renaissance Vault.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Renaissance Vault. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

They have their own museum as well.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

 

Detail of one panel in the museum.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Detail of one panel in the museum. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Cathedral is filled with artwork of course.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

No Cathedral would be complete without a pipe organ.  This cathedral had two of them, one on each side of the nave.  They are two independent pipe organs which suggest that both organs might be played at the same time in order to fill the Cathedral with music.  Or one is the backup to the other.  We could not get a solid answer to this query.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The bell tower of Seville is called The Giralda.  It stands 343 feet high and 44 feet long.  The tower was originally a minaret for the mosque that stood on this ground; in 1376 an earthquake destroyed the minaret and it was converted into a bell tower.  It was not until the 16th Century that the belfry was added and on top of all of this in 1568 was placed the statue called “El Giraldillo”, which represents the triumph of the Christian faith.

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

It is believed that Christopher Columbus is buried here.

Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

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* Sigh * – A Place to Call Home

Riding the bus the other day through a residential neighborhood made me sigh.  I was looking inside windows of homes where people were gathered at dining room tables, fires were going in the fireplaces and neighbors were walking on the street.

Periodically I wonder what life would be like again if we had one place to call home; a place where we could go and build a fire, a place to unpack our suitcases and a place to have a garden where we would grow our own vegetables and Mike could have his fuchsia’s again.

We have been traveling and moving around since 2011.  That really isn’t that long a time but in some regards it is a lifetime.  Mike’s second grandson was born while we’ve been away and he’s only seen him once.

I don’t know if this periodic longing for a home is the female nesting syndrome rearing its ugly head. I do know that as the bus stops at our next destination I get an excited tingle and I wonder what great new adventures await and the wistful thoughts of having our own place are gone like the ‘will o the wisps’.

I know the *sigh* will come again as we travel from country to country.  I will know when its time to really call our lifestyle quits when I can’t get the sigh to turn into a new tingle; when I can’t take one more photo; when I can’t even bear the thought of packing one more suitcase.

I don’t think that time is coming soon.   I’m still looking at our schedule and wondering what exciting things I’ll get to see 10 years from now and how many more photos will I take, how many amazing people will we meet along the way, will I do okay with language barriers in new countries, when should we think about replacing warn out clothing…

*Sigh* I guess I’m not ready to settle down…just yet…

Florence Lince

http://www.about.me/florencelince

Barcelona

A Tale of Two Cities

If you travel you most likely know the thrill of going to a new city.   Before you go you do lots of research and you figure out what to see, what to do, and even what types of food you want to try.  I think planning the trip is sometimes as much fun as actually getting to explore a location.

Mike loved the sausage with chili peppers.  This dish is very much a favorite in Barcelona.

Mike loved the sausage with chili peppers. This dish is very much a favorite in Barcelona. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Barcelona recently came onto our radar as we transitioned from Croatia to Spain since the city of Barcelona is the favored port of the Grimaldi Line ferry which we used to get from one country to another.  Based on Mike’s research prior to our arriving we planned to spend 5 nights exploring Barcelona.

Prior to our visit we had also met a young film maker from Barcelona who is currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He is living there and filming the activities and attending the referendums’ leading up to the vote for Scottish Independence that will happen later this year.  Barcelona sees this issue for independence in a different light from others in the world; they feel that if Scotland can successfully gain their independence from England, Barcelona, and the rest of the Catalan region should be able to gain theirs from Spain.

There are several buildings here in Barcelona built by Anton Gaudi.  They are all unique and all interesting.

There are several buildings here in Barcelona built by Anton Gaudi. They are all unique and all interesting. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Mike and I have been traveling for over two years now and have stayed in some beautiful countries; cities and places.  None of this however will prepare you for the wealth that is Barcelona.  It is something that you see and feel and acknowledge as you walk the streets or sit in cafes or venture to museums and parks.  Barcelona is also a city torn in two.  Look around and you begin to see the hundreds, if not thousands of flags of the Catalan province being flown on many of the balconies throughout the city.  The number of flags being flown in support of this referendum has increased over time and it is believed that more than half of the population in Barcelona alone supports this movement for an autonomous nation.

The Catalan province, where Barcelona is the capital, has a population base of 7.5 million people.  The main focus of its economy, as in Scotland, is tourism.  Also, as in Scotland, Barcelona adds millions to the budget of the Spanish government by way of taxes and other income streams.  Barcelona is the banking, fashion, and mercantile industry center of Spain. Indeed, Scotland and Barcelona are very similar in their roles; they each financially support the larger country they are a part of.

On many of the balconies around the city one can see the flag of the Catalan province.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

On many of the balconies around the city one can see the flag of the Catalan province. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

What is different however is that the referendum in Scotland does not have the support of the people based on the projected leadership who would take over in Scotland if they succeed in voting for independence.  The people whom we spoke with during our time in Scotland do not trust nor like the man who would be their leader and many people stated that if the vote passes they will leave Scotland and go elsewhere.  This says that the desire for independence in Scotland is not as strong as it is in Barcelona.  If the people truly wanted independence from England it wouldn’t matter who their leader was; leaders can be changed.

The history of Barcelona dates back over 2000 years but one would be hard pressed to see this history or even to find it.  There are almost no buildings, ruins or markers dating back to the Spain of ages past.  After exploring this city for several days I feel justified in saying that if it wasn’t for the architecture and work of Anton Gaudi there wouldn’t be anything to entertain visitors here.  Tourists come here literally by the boat load.  Barcelona’s port welcomed over 2.29 million cruise passengers during the first 10 months of 2013 arriving on over 700 cruise ships.  Which has to beg the question; if the cruise ships stop coming how many of the people who get counted in visiting Barcelona will come here on their own and how tenuous is an economy based on tourism?

The inside of Sagrada Familia is as stunning, if not more so, than the outside.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The inside of Sagrada Familia is as stunning, if not more so, than the outside. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Sightseeing around the city is incredibly expensive.  For example; getting inside Sagrada Familia, arguably Barcelona’s most famous and most visited attraction, costs 14.80 Euros a person.  If you wish to ride the elevators up the towers it costs 19.80 Euros a person.  Want a guided tour the cost is 31 Euros a person.  Now to be fair they are using some of the money to help build the cathedral, so the money is being put to good use.  It was still a chunk of change that needed to come out of our travel budget and I haven’t even spoken about the high costs of food and lodging.  Barcelona is not for the budget conscience backpacker.

Where I’m leading to is this; if the votes for independence fails in Scotland, (and it is expected to fail) will this derail, delay or detour those in Barcelona?  What will independence from Spain actually mean in the long term to any tourist and does the casual tourist care that Barcelona seeks its autonomy from Spain?  And how does an economy whose main base is tourism guarantee that tourists will continue to come and financially support this area?

Park Guell is famous because it is where Anton Gaudi actually lived.  He built the many buildings you will see as you walk in the park here.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Park Guell is famous because it is where Anton Gaudi actually lived. He built the many buildings you will see as you walk in the park here. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

I do not know; what I do know was that five days was too long to spend in Barcelona. We could have seen everything they have to offer in three days.  I also feel that once visited Barcelona is no longer a place I would want to re-visit, no matter who leads it or which government it belongs too; been there, done that.

Florence Lince

http://www.about.me/florencelince

 

The Secrets of Sibenik

Or If These Walls Could Talk

Anyone can get a guide book and a map and walk around a strange city.  The problem with this approach is that you are bound to miss something truly amazing and those guide books are only as good as the person who wrote them and how well they did their research.  Sometimes it is best to hire a guide to learn the secrets of a place that only a local would know.

On a beautiful winter day recently we did just this walking around the city of Sibenik with Tina Vickov, owner of Sibenik Plus Tourism Agency and Tina Bilus (a licensed guide for Sibenik County) who gave us some of the inside scoop on the city we have been calling home.  What we found out was that even after being here for several months we had more to learn.

The most famous landmark of Sibenik is the Cathedral of St. James (Sr. Jakov) that sits at the top of a staircase and affords a spectacular view of the waterfront.  On a bright and sunny day this view cannot be beat.  One of the greatest lies told about the Cathedral by tour guides who do not really know this city is that the bell tower where you hear the bells chiming from can no longer be seen.  In actuality there never was a bell tower and the bells you hear ringing on the hour are from a CD that plays over a loud speaker.

The patron saint of Sibenik is St. Michael who is one of the three statues at the top of the Cathedral dome.  He stands with St. Philip and St. Nicholas.

The patron saint of Sibenik is St. Michael who is one of the three statues at the top of the Cathedral dome. He stands with St. Philip and St. Nicholas. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

What is true however is that the Cathedral made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage site because of two special factors.  One is in its construction.  There is not one nail, stud or other device holding the structure together.  There is also no plaster or glue or cement used to hold the cathedral together.  The stones used were carved by artisans in Split and then assembled here.  These pieces are interlocking and so tight that you couldn’t slip a piece of paper between the blocks.  It is an amazing architectural achievement considering the Cathedral was built in the early 14th Century.

There are hidden treasures all over the outside of this Cathedral.  You need to spend as much time exploring the outside as the inside.

There are hidden treasures all over the outside of this Cathedral. You need to spend as much time exploring the outside as the inside. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The other unique feature of this church is found on the outside.  There are 75 ‘faces’ along the back arch.  What makes these faces unique is that they are carvings of local citizens of the town of Sibenik from that time period and not royalty or wealthy patrons of the arts.  It was the first example of sculptures of ordinary citizens.  What is also unique is that not one of the statues looks at one another, every one is made so that they are looking sideways or ahead or up but never at the looker or at another face on the wall.  It is an interesting portrait of what the locals looked like back in the 14th Century.

Some of the 'faces' that adorn the outside of the Cathedral.

Some of the ‘faces’ that adorn the outside of the Cathedral. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

In the same square as the Cathedral is a building with three columns.  The middle column is known as the Column of Shame.  It was attached to this column that those that broke the law would be bound so that the entire village could see their shame.  There are no markings or posters to this affect near the square.

The middle one is the Column of Shame

The middle one is the Column of Shame. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The city of Sibenik was under Roman rule for over 400 years.  Wandering the streets you come upon this jut out in the wall of one building with the moniker, Amor De Cani (for the love of dogs) and yes, it is a well filled with water for the dogs that run around the city.  We have never seen it dry.

For The Love of Dogs

For The Love of Dogs © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Other Special Secrets of Sibenik

Always look up. These columns can be found on some of the buildings in Old Town Sibenik.  At the top of the columns sometimes you can find shields engraved.  This column tells you that the family who used to own the building were of nobility.

Always look up. These columns can be found on some of the buildings in Old Town Sibenik. At the top of the columns sometimes you can find shields engraved. This column tells you that the family who used to own the building were of nobility. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

One of Sibenik most famous artists is Ali Guberina.  He has had 39 exhibitions around the world and had been presented to Pope John Paul II after doing a sculpture of the Pope.

One of Sibenik most famous artists is Ali Guberina. He has had 39 exhibitions around the world and had been presented to Pope John Paul II after doing a sculpture of the Pope. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

There are 17 church's within the streets of the Old City of Sibenik. This one was given to the Orthodox Church by Napoleon.  It is only open during the summer for the tourists coming from Russia.

There are 17 church’s within the streets of the Old City of Sibenik. This one was given to the Orthodox Church by Napoleon. It is only open during the summer for the tourists coming from Russia. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This was the first city water pipe in Sibenik. There used to be six of them scattered around the city.  This one still works.

This was the first city water pipe in Sibenik. There used to be six of them scattered around the city. This one still works. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

If you ask a local where "Greasy Street" is located they will know exactly where you are talking.  This street is where all of the butcher shops were located and where street vendors made food.  Today it is lined with clothing stores and cafes.  The stone walkway is really shiny however.

If you ask a local where “Greasy Street” is located they will know exactly where you are talking. This street is where all of the butcher shops were located and where street vendors made food. Today it is lined with clothing stores and cafes. The stone walkway is really shiny however. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

This appetizing little array consists of a bottle of liquor made with Maraska Cherries.  How famous are these local cherries?  This liquor was served on the Titanic.

This appetizing little array consists of a bottle of liquor made with Maraska Cherries. How famous are these local cherries? This liquor was served on the Titanic. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Not everyone has the luxury of time that we have to spend countless hours learning more about a place and walking the same streets over and over again only to discover something new every time we do so.  I get that.  But what good is a secret if you don’t tell anyone that secret!  I know these are no longer secrets now, which means we’ll just keep walking until we find more secrets…to share.

Florence Lince

www.6monthers.com