A taste of ‘Espana’

‘Espana’, an amazing place for architecture, food and people.  I was fortunate enough to visit several different provinces of Spain in the recent months.  From Madrid down to Grenada, and back up to Barcelona, each area had their own beauty, hot spots and culture.  Have you ever been to Europe? No? Have you always wanted to take a ‘Holiday’ to Spain? Well, guess what, you are in luck! I will be your personal tour guide and take you on a journey of the entire country.  From Madrid to Barcelona to the beautiful people and the tasty Sangria, once you are done reading this blog and have seen the dazzling pictures, you will feel like you experienced it first-hand!  Did I mention the tasty Sangria?

The tour began in Madrid, the current capital and largest city of Spain. It had a New York style feel to it.  With restaurants everywhere, people walking the streets and transit always passing by, it made you feel welcome and at home.  The hotels had a charming Spanish look and feel and the food was amazing! Here you can find the famous Plaza Mayor, which has played host to bullfights and marketplaces.  Madrid is also the home of The Royal Palace of Madrid, which is the residence of the King of Spain.  Arriving to Madrid just a few short days after our departure was Pope Benedict XVI.

Avid soccer fan, are you?  If you had to place a vote, would it be Real Madrid or Barcelona?

Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Valencia were also visited during our stay.  Each province showed striking views ranging from mountainsides to floral gardens.  Diverse cultures and views have helped shape each as they are today.  Although big in architecture and culture, our travels were limited while in these provinces based on our schedule. Beautiful hotels were plenty, and smaller sections of the city made you fell like you were on the travel channel!  House Hunters International maybe? Most restaurants had outside seating, Spanish waiters/waitresses and alleys filled with people.

Toledo, once the capital of Spain, sits by the River Tajo which displays the beauty and charm of an old world city.  The narrow roads and old world charm plays host to multiple museums and synagogues.  The views of Toledo were breathtaking. Look for the pictures with the old world charm to them.  They will bring you back hundreds of years.

We finished our tour in Barcelona. Barcelona had the most amazing flamenco show!  I believe I may have fallen in love with a stunningly gorgeous flamenco dancer while I was there; I am still waiting for her to return my call.  Maybe she didn’t understand our conversation? Hmmm… Either way, I am still waiting.  We passed by Olympic Stadium, the Barcelona ports and the unfinished masterpiece ‘Sagrada Familia’.  This is an astoundingly gorgeous church which has been under construction for over 100 years!  Based on the pictures, it will be worth the wait.  Lastly, once Megan came back from visiting her family in Barcelona, Carmen, Megan and I ventured off to the Picasso museum.  I can sum it up in one word, marvelous.  Take a look for yourself.

http://www.museupicasso.bcn.es/en/

With over 1,400 museums, the work was stunning and plentiful to say the least!  Although I was not able to recreate most art through the eyes of photography based on legalities and limitations in most museums, I was able to snap a few shots. From Gothic Art to Renaissance Art, paintings and structures were available for viewing everywhere.

I had the pleasure of visiting one of the most beautiful and famous museums in all of Spain, the Museo del Prado. With no pictures of inside the museum available, my description will not do it justice.  I’ve provided a link for further ‘browsing’.

http://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/

There were plenty of cultures throughout Spain.  It seemed as though everywhere we went, there was a different cultural feel.  Old and modern.  Refined and popular. With its artistic expression, no matter which culture you were in, it was completely fascinating.  For all of the coffee lovers out there, Spanish Café’s were everywhere!  Ok, I should admit I was excited to see Starbucks and purchase a good ole’ fashion caramel macchiato. Guilty as charged.  Right Carmen?

Fiesta! Fiesta! Fiesta!  Need I say more?  With thousands of fiestas annually, the majority of them occuring between June and September, they celebrate religion, commemorations, and the cultural reasons behind them vary from top to bottom of the region.  I had the privilege to attend a Spanish fiesta in Madrid during the first two nights of our stay.  We were supposed to “relax” during our first night; however, we somehow ended up dancing in front of the U.S. Embassy in the rain! That’s right, three Americans dancing in the rain in front of the U.S. Embassy in the middle of Madrid.  Not sure what they put in the espresso in Europe, but it gave us plenty of energy.  Did I mention they serve gummy candy with their espressos?  They must have known I was coming!

This trip really put my architectural photography skills to the test.  Over 2,000 pictures in a week and a half, I was sure to have at least a few ‘decent’ ones.

Some of the most amazing views in the entire world are located throughout Spain and I had the pleasure of capturing them.  For those of you who haven’t been, I thought I would share some of them with you, maybe these will jumpstart your visit and for those of you who have had the chance to visit Spain, hopefully this will remind you how picturesque the country is.

Here is a taste of ‘Espana’ through the eyes of ‘Chris Ptaszenski Photography’.

I hope you enjoy!

** A special thanks to Carmen Amaral and Megan Giammalvo for making this vacation interesting, fun and unforgettable!

Come back soon for more pictures of Spain!

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