Spain and Portugal 2019

It was a long trip [25 days], but full with experiencies. I have choosen the best time to travel to one of the hottest parts of Europe. In Andalucia it was even 34°C in October, so one can pack some summer clothes in this part of the year, too. In Porto it was already cold in the middle of October and I had also some unpleasant rainy days there, but the rest was wonderful. I have done this trip by public transportation and sometimes I had to rent a car. This trip was concentrated on historic and contemporary architecture on the Iberian Peninsula.

28.09.2019 – Travelling to Barcelona

The journey starts in the Main Train Station in Zurich [CH]. Via Geneva [CH] and Lyon [F] the train goes to Barcelona [ES] over the beautiful swamp land [photo] of South-France [Narbonne, Séte, Beziére] and at around 17:00 one can see the Pyrenees. Arrive at around 20:00 to Barcelona [ES] and there is time to drink something in a bar.

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29.09.2019 – Barcelona

Walking in Barcelona: Barri Gotic/Gothic Quarter [Santa Caterina market hall by EMBT Architects, Apartment building on the Carrer d’En Roig Street by J. Llinas], Barceloneta [mostly city planning and the apartment building by J. A. Coderch on the Passeig de Juan de Borbó Street], Placa de Catalunya and the La Rambla [Tip: Lunch in the famous La Boqueria market hall], the famous buildings by A. Gaudi on the Passeig de Grácia Street: Casa Battló [photo], Casa Milá [Tip: only a short walk from each other], the new harbour next to the Colombus Memorial, in the night Placa d’Espanya with the Magic Fontain.

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30.09.2019 – Barcelona

Start the day in the famous Parc Güell by A. Gaudi [Tip: early in the morning], Placa d’Espanya and Montjuic [Barcelona Pavilion by Mies v. d. Rohe – photo – and the Juan Miro Fundation by J.L. Sert], the new Barcelona: Forum [Museu Blau by Herzog & de Meuron Architects], famous church of the Sagrada Família by A. Gaudi.

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01.10.2019 – Barcelona

Start with a tram trip to East-End of the city Barcelona: Apartment Walden 7 by R. Bofill [Tip: next to Walden 7 there is the atelier of the architects in an old cement fabric]. Than back to the city: architecture faculty on the Carrer d’Adolf Florensa Street and the Cocheras Flats on the Carrer de Francesc Carbonell Street by J.A. Coderch [photo], two apartment houses on the Carrer de J. S. Bach Street by R. Bofill [Tip: nice quarter of the city], early modern apartment house on the Carrer de Muntaner by J.L. Sert.

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02.10.2019 – Cordóba

It is worth to try the spanish railways [RENFE], because it is awesome. From Barcelona to Cordóba one travels 4.5 hours over Spain [over a partly desert-like landscape and huge olive tree fields]. The town of Cordóba is totaly different from Barcelona: after the pulsating city we find the place, where we can relax. Only to walk on the narrow streets with the typical white houses can be a good choice to relax. [Tip: the Parque Infantil Los Patos next to the old town is cool place even on warm autumn days and a walk in the evening along the Mezquita [photo] and over the old roman brige is amazing.]

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03.10.2019 – Cordóba

On this day we can see the Mezquita [photo], the famous old mosque of Cordóba. Read and listen the also the story of the building. It is a place, which every architect should see in his/her life. And walking, walking, walking in Cordóba: search and find the nice details and corners of the town.

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04.10.2019 – Granada

From Cordóba it is only a 1.5 hours train route to Granada [Tip: from the train window the landscape is amazing]. Walking in Granada and use the public transport, Museum of Andalucia [photo] and the bank building by A. Campo Baeza, Alhambra world heritage complex with gardens and palaces. [Tip: after the visit we can take a walk in the Moorish quarter and from the Mirador San Nicolás we can enjoy the breathtaking view to the Alhambra [on the background the Sierra Nevada] in the sunset.]

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05.10.2019 – Granada, white villages

In the morning in Granada: architecture school by V. L. Cotelo and the Moorish wall projekt by A. J. Torresillas [tip: from there nice view to the whole city]. At noon rent a car at the train station and drive forward to the hilly landscape of the Bueblos Plancos [white villages]. First step is Setenil de las Bodegas with its cave-like houses. In the evening one arrive to Ronda, the most famous white village of Andalucia: bull arena, old bringe over the canyon [tip: at sunset nice photos can be shot – photo], beautiful old house reconstructions, nice view to the valley.

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06.10.2019 – white villages, Cádiz

Drive forward from Ronda to Zahara de la Sierra. The lake near the village has an interesting green-blue colour. [Tip: from the castle one can enjoy the nice view to the lake.] The next stop is Arcos de la Frontera on the top of a hill: easy only walking and find some pretty corners. [Tip: if one has time, than Grazalema can be also an interesting village to see.] Last stop of the day is Cádiz, the harbour city on the Atlantic. [Tip: also known as one of the oldest cities of Europe.] Cádiz has an interesting planned city strukture and a strong ocean coast. Visit the project “Between cathedrals” by A. Campo Baeza [althougth its in bad condition, it is interesting – photo] and the great cathedral of Cádiz.

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07.10.2019 – Seville

In the morning in Cádiz take a look at the school building by A. Campo Baeza and after that the Andalucia’s capital is waiting for us. Seville is a pulsating and elegant city with lot of monuments like the biggest cathedral of the world, the Moorish palace [Alcazar – photo] and the Plaza de Espagna [tip: it is also worth to see in the evening].

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08.10.2019 – Seville

There are not so many contemporary buildings in the city of Seville [tip: the EXPO 92′-Site is pretty depressing, so one can skip it], so enjoy the food and the city on the whole day. Comtemporary: the “Mushroom”-project by J. H. Mayer [photo] can bee interesting [tip: go to the top of the building].

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09.10.2019 – Mérida

In West-Spain the public transportation is slower than in the rest of the country. By bus one can reach Mérida in 2.5 hours. The capital of the region of Extremadura is much smaller than Seville, but it is full with roman [and some Moorish] ruins. Diana’s temple [photo] and the new modern building around it, the roman aqueduct, the roman bridge, the roman theatre and the amphitheatre are all worth to see them.

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10.10.2019 – Mérida und Évora

In the morning one must visit the famous museum of the ancient roman art by R. Moneo [photo]. After a lunch go forward by bus to Évora in Portugal. [Attention: there is 1 hour difference between the two countries.] Take a short walk in between the white houses and get to know a little bit Portugal.

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11.10.2019 – Évora and travelling to Lisbon

Vsiti A. Siza’s Qinta da Malagueira settlement and after that lake a look at the apartment building by G. Byrne on the R. de Chartres Street. If one have time, than visit the monuments of the town: the cathedral [tip: go up to the roof], the roman temple, the university, the houses built under the roman aqueduct, the church Igreja de São João Evangelista with the typical blue tiles and the creepy chapel of bones [photo]. Late in the afternoon go forward to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon by train. It is only 1.5 hours.

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12.10.2019 – Lisbon

Walk in Lisbon on the whole day. Start the day on the EXPO-site: Oriente train station of S. Calatrava, Portuguese pavilion [photo] by A. Siza, Technical Museum by J. L. Carrilho da Graca. Than go to middle of the city: Chiado. The metro station Chiado, the Braganca estate and the Carmo Terrace are designed by A. Siza. After the old town go to totally different place: LX Factory is cool gastro-site, where you can eat something in an industrial athmosphere. [Tip: the are a lot of people here and the bistros offer mainly brunch-food.] If you travel further after a brunch, you can visit one of biggest monasteries of Portugal: Mosteiros dos Jeronímos [tip: it is general a good idea to visit there old Portuguese gothic monasteries] and not so far from the monastery you reach the icon of the city: Torre de Belém on the riverbank of the Tejo river. After a break you can go with the tram 28 for a trip throuth the main touristic sites of Lisbon [Tip: there are always a lot of people there, so you can take on at one of the end stations of the tram 28.]

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13.10.2019 – Cascais, Lisbon

In the morning go by train to Cascais. The train goes partly along the ocean coast. In Cascais there are some contemporary building, like the Lighting Tower Museum by Aires Mateus brothers [tip: the best view to the museum is from the little bay with big stones in front of the building], the Paula Rego Museum by Souto de Moura [photo], the Hotel in the old Fortress by G. Byrne. [Tip: Cascais is very touristic, so there are a lot of restaurant, it is worth to eat some sea food there.] In the afternoon go for a walk back to Lisbon and the oldest quarter of the city is waiting for you: in the Alfama you can go for a walk and enjoy the nice views from the main panoramic points like Miradouro Santa Luzia. [Tip: take a brake at the restaurant Chapito a Mesa – from the terrace you can enjoy the view to river Tejo and the meals are traditional Portuguese. The restaurant has not a typical entrance: you have to go through a shop to reach the courtyard.]

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14.10.2019 – Around Lisbon

Rent a car in the morning and discover the green and hilly landscape between the Atlantic and Lisbon. Azenhas do Mar is small town on a cliff [tip: recommended only if the weather is good and not so windy.] Visit the westernmost point of the Continent: Cabo da Roca with the lighting tower and the beautiful flora and fauna around it [photo]. Perhaps the most visited site of Portugal is Sintra, and the town is very touristic [Tip: one needs enough time for the visit of the town and the castle.] Back to Lisbon take a brake at the rococo Palace of Queluz, it is the Versailles of Portugal. At the end of the day go up to one of the coolest viewpoints of Lisbon [Tip: Miradouro da Senhora do Monte.]

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15.10.2019 – Between Lisbon and Coimbra

Rent a car in Lisbon and drive in the North to lovely village of Obidos. [Tip: even it very small, in Obidos one can find a lot of nice corner and details.] Drive further to Alcobaca, a town famous from its monastery [Tip: the square in from of the monastery is designed by G. Byrne.] Than come an other monastery, which is the best example for the Portuguese gothic architecture: Batalha [photo]. At the end of the day one can reach Coimbra and there is time to visit the new university quarter. [Tip: the college is designed by the Aires Mateus brothers]. The riverbank revitalization is also interesting with a pavilion by E. Souto de Moura.

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16.10.2019 – Coimbra and travelling to Porto

In the morning walk in Coimbra: old university and its library [photo] and the museum building by G. Byrne. After a lunch go further by train to Porto. [Tip: in the spring- and autumn time Porto can be very rainy and windy, so one has to have some rain jackets and shoes.] In the afternoon take a walk in the old town of Porto: San Bento train station, Sé [cathedral – with an extension by F. Tavora].

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17.10.2019 – Matosinhos, Porto

Go by the metro and tram from Porto to Matosinhos. The town with the big industrial harbour on the Atlantic coast has a special feeling in the morning in October: the weather is cool and there are fog, the waves of the ocean are great. There are to architecture highlights in the town: the beach and the restaurant by A. Siza. After this harbour town go back to Porto and visit the architecture school [photo] by A. Siza and not so far from the university there is a magnificent market hall the Mercado Bom Sucesso [ARS Arquitectos], where you can eat something. Than go further and visit the Casa da Musica by Rem Koolhaas and the social estate by A. Siza. Than go to the old town of Porto. The brige by G. Eiffel is great. [Tip: if you travel in Porto in October and you see a little bit sunshine on the sky, than you have to take advantage of it – unfortunatelly I saw the sun in Porto almost never.]

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18.10.2019 – Around Porto

At least one day you have to look around in the Douro valley, to East of Porto. Thanks for the warm and wet climate the landscape is amazing green. Rent a car in Porto and drive to Godomar, where you can see the sport centre building by A. Siza. Than go further to Marco de Canaveses, where anothor Siza-building is waiting for you: the church and the parsonage in the middle of the small town. I had no luck in Guimaraes, because it was raining, but what I could see it was beautiful: green all around. [Tip: if you have oppotunity, than sleep one night in the famous hotel Pousada Santa Marinha by F. Tavora, because only hotel guests can see the building.] Drive further to the religious capital of Portugal, Braga and there are many sacral places, which you can all find in the travel guide books, but there are also some contemporary places, which are worth to visit: Caranda cultural market [E. Souto da Moura], Galeria Mario Sequeira [photo] [J.C. Araujo], Mosteiro de Sao Martinho de Tibaes [F. Marques].  [Tip: the football stadion by E. Souto de Moura is not open for visitors and from the outside it is not visible.] In the end of the day I have visited Matosinhos again in sunset – I can recommend it.

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19.10.2019 – Porto

Start the day in the Fabrica da Nata and eat some Pastel de Nata and drink a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate. Than go to the Museum Serralves by A. Siza. The building is beautiful and the temporary exhibitions are always interesting. Porto’s UNESCO-site is also worth to visit: Claustros do Mosterio da Serra do Pilar. In the afternoon enjoy the old town.

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20.10.2019 – Travelling back to home and Salamanca

In the morning you can go from Porto [P] to Salamaca [ES] by bus [6.5h]. In Salamanca you have enough time to get to know the city: the main square, the river bank, the old university. The contemporary architecture in the old town are also interesting: how old and new can live together.

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21.10.2019 – Travelling back to home and Girona

In the morning you can go from Salamaca to Girona by train and you have to change the train in Madrid. In Girona you can take a walk in the centre of the town.

22.10.2019 – Travelling back to Zurich

A long train journey is waiting for you from Girona [ES] to Zürich [CH] and you have to change the train in Lyon [F] and in Geneva [CH].

And here is the map:

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