Our Spanish Parador Extravaganza, May,2017

This is the view of the mountain top Parador. Our room was near the back, overlooking the swimming pool and defense walls both surrounding and protecting. This 10th century castle was strategically located in the upper part of town, like a typical fortress.

The next step, for me, was seeing the bedroom!

tortosa-swimming-pool

Exceptional! On the 4th floor with a big balcony overlooking  the pool, mountains and valley.

Having flown in to Barcelona at 8:30am, we arrived at Tortosa in time for breakfast and after, a body- stretching walk around the fortress.

This is a Moorish burial site preserved from when they owned the castle in the 11/12th century. Notice the bony hand in the front left corner, third metal bar cuts it right in half… and nobody had an answer for it.

Just down the hill from this site, one can see how the city has grown around and up to the fortress its self…and not just for protection….these large, beautiful structures need many talented hands.

This is the front facing court yard. I had to take a narrow picture to reveal the centuries old defense system of bows and arrows and slots in the walls where they could be used!

A picture from our balcony looking over the pool (presently being cleaned….and, of course, it opened the day we left). Look carefully to the top of the mountains on the right. See the fuzzy white candles…from the ancient to the modern…they are windmills supplying energy to the surrounding towns.

Parador de Tortosa Interior Glass

We sat in this alcove eating our dinner that first night. Above was one of the four Catalan Gothic windows preserving the Moorish elements in the castle walls. The interior denotes the passing of time with the Christian regal character prevailing.

Sancta Maria

 

The next day we were up and, “walking” the town- which meant going up and going down- a lot…

The cathedral of Santa Maria of Tortosa is located in the space in which the Roman forum was traditionally placed.

In 1347 the building work of the Gothic catherdral started and it went on until the middle of the 18th century. It was built attached to the cloister, which dates from the 13th century. We started the tour in the ribbed underground vaults. Interestingly enough, we found out that the organization wasn’t allowed to charge us to visit the cathedral so they did charge us a nominal fee to go through the dungeon basement first. The cathedral was overwhelming, started in the 12th century and pretty much finished in the 13th. We hunted for a Jewish Synagogue in the old town and did happen upon a very old and frail looking building that may have been one, but now is just basically falling down.

220px-Jewish_Quarter_Gerona

 

 

 

We had to end up in the town of Girona in order to find a small section of a remaining wall and archway of a synagogue….. I had to remember that in 1492 both the Moors and the Jews were thrown out of Spain. And consequently much of the  culture was destroyed. Sad.

Parador de TortosaThis was a fantastic trip and the enlightenment of visiting another world was wonderful! But it’s nighttime now and it’s off to bed… and thank God that we do have an elevator. Sweet Tortosa.

 

 

 

 

About carolinebotwin

Caroline Botwin and her husband Mike are retired educators who have always had a yen for travelling: he with a PH.D and teaching Architectural Engineering plus California wine education, and she having taught high school English, speech and drama. Both wanted to learn first hand about other cultures. While Mike predominately studied buildings and structures and met with winemakers, Caroline hunted for ancient sites and peoples. And kept journals of all their travels. Kevin Klimczak, extraordinaire, is the website designer and editor of the blogs.
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