Portrait of the Day - Week 6
Portrait of the Day
Monday, July 9, 2007
In León we enjoyed a wonderful saxaphone ensemble concert in the courtyard of the Palacio de los Guzmanes, next door to yet another early Gaudí building: Casa de Botines. The tourist office directed us to the town’s camp site, which turned out to be a few parking spots for caravans plus a place for dumping and fresh water. Two Spanish couples camped next to us. “Free camping” was
followed by a long day of driving and exploring. First to Burgos to locate an excellent chocolateria according to Lonely Planet, but it was only opening at 6:30 PM and we could not wait.
Then bypassing the town of Torquemada, we drove on to Valladolid where the High Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada held 100,000 trials of accused heretics, many in the Plaza Mayor. We stood in that square and proclaimed the oneness of God in the words of the Shema.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Then on to Ávila.
Behind us is the medieval city, home to two children of conversos:
She was born 17 years after his death and both of them are buried at El Monasterio de Santo Tomás (named for Thomas Aquinas). Also buried in the church is San Vicente Ferrer who preached anti-Semitic sermons in Toledo causing an anti-Jewish riot which murdered the Jewish population of Toledo.
- Tomás de Torquemada at the end of his life and
- Saint Therésa (the patron saint of Spain) who was born there.
Since no camping exists anywhere near Ávila, we spent the night (of the 9th) in a Parador directly behind the belfry to the far left of the photo. The Cathedral is immediately to the left of Debbie’s shoulder, at the opposite end of the walled portion of the city.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Our campsite in Toledo: “Camping El Greco” is a two kilometer walk from south-west of the town. Not quite sure how to go, we managed to find our way to the picturesque Puente de San Martin, entering town directly past Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes and three blocks away from the Judería and the synagogues. We ran into an Israeli group as it entered the St. Maria la Blanca Synagogue and then explored the Transito Synagogue and its Museo Sefardi on our own. We walked across town to Plaza Zocodover to rest, back to the Cathedral and then returned to an artisan “L. Simon” on the corner of Travesia de la Judería. His Toledan “damescene” gold/silver wire work was noted by James Michener in Iberia. The El Greco museum had been the site of the home of Samuel Levy, royal treasurer of Pedro the Cruel who had financed the building of the Transito synagogue. Across the street from the Transito, we enjoyed the park overlooking the Tajo river… where we took our picture. The sky was blue, under a brilliant sun at midday… which washed out much of the color of the photo.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Leaving Toledo for Madrid, we circled around the town, taking our photo from the spot opposite the previous day’s photo. The roof of the Transito Synagogue appears a tiny bit to the left of the trees above Mark’s head.
Friday, July 13, 2007
We drove the van into town and parked near the main train station. We walked up to the Prado museum to see Velázquez paintings, especially Las Meninas… which is reproduced all over Spain. Also we enjoyed the two Maja paintings by Goya as well as his The Third of May 1808, and so much more. Certainly, not to be forgotten, Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Michener’s comments about the Prado helped focus our attention so that the museum was not overwhelming. After a sack lunch in the park we explored the Museo des Artes Decorativas where we saw a number of mancerinas. We then found a comfortable coffee shop to update the Web site before going to one of the local, small Conservative (Mesorti) congregations, Congregación Bet-El to welcome Shabbat. We took our photo in the Parque Del Buen Retiro.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Once again, we drove into Madrid with the van, but this time to the Museo de América where we were able to park on the street (probably free, but we put money in the meter just to make sure). We then looked for an olive store… but it turned out to be olive oil (and closed) as well as another chocoloate shop (also closed). At the Biblioteca Nacional de España we quickly toured its tiny Museo, the only part that was open. We continued to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art where we explored the regular collection and took a quick peek at the Richard Estes temporary exhibit. The highlight, the Van Gogh exhibit “The Last Landscapes,” features the last 73 paintings produced by Van Gogh in his last 73 days of life. We returned to our WiFi coffee shop of the previous day to catch up on more correspondence. Then off to campsite by way of the Plaza de Colón where we took our photo. Note (though, sadly, not visible in the photo) that the monument by Joaquín Vaquero Turcios here cites the date Columbus set sail from Spain on the first voyage—on August 3, 1492, which corresponds to the 9th of Av, the date of the Expulsion from Spain.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Our last full day in Spain and the end of our “road trip.”
Once more into town to quickly fit in some more sight seeing. First, to explore the “flea market” which turned out to be imports from China and Guatemala (very few Palestinian Kefiot). After lunch in the van we walked to the Museo Nacional Reina Sofía to close some circles… in particular to get a good look at Picasso’s Guernica. We did not have a lot of time available as the museum closes early on Sunday but we enjoyed the terrific collection. The online catalog is well put together. On our way in Mark recognized Rabbi Louis Reiser and his wife Connie, the first time we ran into anyone we know on this entire trip. From there by Metro back to the other side of town to the Royal Palace where we checked out the Royal Pharmacy for cocoa (unfound). This last photo of the Spain trip, taken at the Royal Palace, recalls the first portrait of the trip, also at the Royal Palace, different location.
Portraits of the Day
|| Week 3
|| Week 4
|| Week 5
© Mark Hurvitz