Almudena Festival in Madrid

Almudena Festival in Madrid.

The Running of the Sheep

This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience the Fiesta de la Trashumancia de Madrid.  The fiesta brings awareness to the rights of traditional grazing practices in Spain.  This long standing tradition and way of life is threatened by overdevelopment and the fiesta in Madrid brings awareness to the traditions and customs of the people who live off the land in Spain.

My friend and I woke up early to take some photographs throughout the city and around 11:00 a.m. we made our way to La Puerta del Sol to find a good spot to see the sheep running through the city.  We made our way past the barricades that were being set up to ensure spectators weren’t trampled by the running sheep.  I picked out a spot behind a concrete barrier so the sheep could run past me and so I could get some decent photographs of the event.

We had an amazing time seeing all the sheep running through the plaza and seeing the shepherds in traditional dress playing their bagpipes.  Below is a short one minute video and photo gallery of my experience at the fiesta.  I had a wonderful time and I hope this fiesta continues to bring awareness to the shepherdes’ way of life in Spain.  Enjoy!

The video shows the sheep running into La Puerta del Sol from Mayor Street only to to be stopped so people like me can take photos.  The sheep hung around the square for a good 30 minutes before being herded down the street to run through other parts of the city.

Group of shepherds leading the flock of sheep into the square.

Group of shepherds leading the flock of sheep into the square.

IMG_1358

The Sheep

More Sheep

Billy goats gruff?

Billy goats gruff?

IMG_1601

The Shepherds

IMG_1680

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_1730

My friend and I wish we had a pair of these after the sheep ran off. :-)

My friend and I wish we had a pair of these after the sheep ran off. 🙂

 

If you were at the fiesta this past weekend or in the past, please share your experiences below.  Also to learn more about supporting natural grazing, click here for more information Rewilding Europe.

I love Spain!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

©2014 TORO Media, LLC

Behind the Images: A Journey for Perspective

I am extremely pleased with rgVisionmagazine.com article about my journey the past year.  It’s so important to never stop chasing your dreams.  Passion is my engine and it’s fueled by the beautiful and majestic scenery that our world has to offer.  I’m looking forward to a new travel journey in 2015.

Please click the link above or below to read the piece.

http://rgvisionmagazine.com/2014/10/behind-the-images-a-quest-for-perspective/

Enjoy!

©2014 TORO Media, LLC

 

 

A Two Night Stay in Segovia Continued

Please read part one of A Two Night Stay in Segovia prior to reading the post below.

Day Two

Before I begin the second post of Segovia, below is a video I created that should give you a good feel for the beauty of one of Spain’s most stunning cities.

Catedral de Segovia.

Catedral de Segovia.

Segovia Cathedral

After an amazing first day in Segovia we were up early on day two ready to see more of the city.  However, we first made a stop at one of the lovely restaurants in the Plaza Mayor for breakfast.   They didn’t have the american style breakfast my dad was hoping for but it satisfied our needs and it gave us the energy we needed to get through the morning.

My parents enjoying their coffee and breakfast.

My parents enjoying their coffee and breakfast.

Taking photographs or video inside the cathedral is not allowed.  However, my parents and I were impressed with the cathedral and spent a good hour exploring the many beautiful rooms inside the church.  The original church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was first called Santa Maria.  Of special note is that the church was located near the Alcazar or Castle of Segovia.  In 1521 during the Comuneros War, Santa Maria was destroyed.  Charles V proposed a new church that would be dedicated to the ascension of Mary to heaven.(1)  On the 8th of June 1525 construction began on the new church.  Work continued for centuries and finally, the church was consecrated on July 16, 1768 by the acting bishop of Segovia Juan Jose Martinez Escalzo.(2)

Hours of Operation

November – March:  9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

April – October:  9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Entrance to the cathedral is €2.00 and the tower entrance is €5.00.

For more information on the cathedral visit Segovia Cathedral.

One of the many lion statues guarding the gate of the cathedral.

One of the many lion statues guarding the gate of the cathedral.

Fortunately, a few days before our arrival the tower you see in the background of the picture above was open to the public.  The tower had been closed off to visitors for over 400 years.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  Sadly, my parents were unable to climb the 800 plus steps so they went back to their room to rest.

The Tower

View from the second platform of the tower.

View from the second platform of the tower.

After your first few hundred steps up the tower, you are guided into a gorgeous banquet hall that has priceless tapestries hanging on the walls (no pictures are allowed due to the tapestries).  In this room, you will be shown a very well made video about the history of the cathedral and how a few centuries ago, lighting struck the tower and burned it to the ground.  After the fire, the city of Segovia was devastated and sank into a state of depression.  Luckily, funds poured in from around the country and Rome to rebuild the tower.

IMG_9512

IMG_9552

The Alcazar/The Castle

El Alcazar

El Alcazar

Sadly, my parents were in no shape to walk the many halls and stairs of the castle so we took pictures outside the castle and admired the architecture and passion that went into building such an amazing structure.  In 2010 I toured the castle, but my photos are not with me so I will have to create a separate post on the castle in the Spring of 2015 when I return to Spain.  However, I’ve added a view photos below of the alcazar for your viewing pleasure.

View of the Alcazar from the Church of Vera Cruz.

View of the Alcazar from the Church of Vera Cruz.

IMG_9719

The Church of Vera Cruz

The Church of Vera Cruz.

The Church of Vera Cruz.

The Church of Vera Cruz is situated just outside the city.  The church was consecrated in 1208 by the Knights Templar.  Some say the church is more of a shrine because it is said to house a fragment of the true cross.

I visited the church previously in 2010 and sat near the cross pictured above for a few hours.  I made a promise to return to Segovia one day and to be much happier than I was at that time in my life.  I am grateful for the many blessing that have been bestowed on me since that day.

IMG_9688

Our two nights in Segovia were magical.  We were able to experience so many wonderful and amazing things that Segovia has to offer.  If you’re ever in Madrid wondering where to go for a day trip, Segovia should be at the top of your list.

Enjoy!

*1-2 were taken from the cathedral’s brochure.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

©2014 TORO Media, LLC

A Two Night Stay in Segovia

Recently, I traveled to Segovia from Madrid with my parents for a two night stay.  Many of my friends told me that two nights in Segovia was too much and that all I needed was a day or even half a day.  I had been to Segovia before and I knew that there was still much more History Hiking that needed to be done in this historic city.

We took the AVE from Madrid and arrived in exactly 30 minutes later.  The AVE is incredible! It’s fast, reliable, and absolutely fun to ride.  We arrived around noon, but my parents were a bit tired from a long taxi ride in madrid and walking the long vias at the train station. However, they were excited to be in Segovia and they couldn’t wait to see the aqueduct, the cathedral, and the castle.  We decided to take things slow and split-up the sites into two full days.  Therefore, Segovia will have two posts for day one and day two.

Day One

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor.

Plaza Mayor.

View from our hotel balcony.

View from our hotel balcony.

The Plaza Mayor is not as large as Madrid’s or Salamanca’s, but it is still a fairly large plaza with plenty to see and experience.  In the middle of the plaza is a gorgeous gazebo that provides shade and a 360 view of the plaza.  We stayed at the Hotel Infanta Isabel which is located on the plaza.  The hotel was fabulous.  My parents enjoyed the stay and said the staff were the friendliest and nicest people they had met on the trip.

Sunrise shot of the Plaza Mayor prior to the rain.

Sunrise shot of the Plaza Mayor prior to the rain.

Restaurant Jose Maria

Restaurante Jose Maria.

Restaurante Jose Maria.

After the siesta, we were starving and ready for local cuisine.  The hotel manager recommended that we eat at Jose Maria which is right off the Plaza Mayor.  We were not disappointed and were very happy to have experienced the amazing food.  The food, staff, and atmosphere were amazing.  Our waiter was superb and he helped my parents order with ease.  We were also introduced to a traditional local dish called Cochinillo, which means little pig.  Below is a video of the restaurant staff serving a dish of Cochinillo.

My amazing parents enjoying the scenery.

My amazing parents enjoying the scenery.

Delicious croquetas de jamon.

Delicious croquetas de jamon.

For more information on the Jose Maria visit their website at Jose Maria.

Plaza San Martin

Plaza San Martin.

Plaza San Martin.

After lunch at Jose Maria, we decided to buy some fruit and candy and relax in our spacious hotel room that had an amazing view of Plaza Mayor.  My dad needed his NFL fix so I purchased a one week NLF pass and we watched a game on my computer.  I had no problem with this because it was actually refreshing to see my first NFL game of  the season and it was very cool watching it with my dad.  After the game we decided to take a walk so we headed to Plaza San Martin.  There are many historical building in the square and it also has several shops, bars, and restaurants.

Statue in front of the entrance to San Martin Church.

Statue in front of the entrance to San Martin Church.

My parents posing in Plaza San Martin.

My parents posing in Plaza San Martin.

The Aqueduct 

The aqueduct of Segovia.

The aqueduct of Segovia.

IMG_9323

Unfortunately, my parents were way too tired to walk to the aqueduct from our hotel so they were going to wait to see it on the day that we left via cab.  I decided to walk through the city to take a few shots at sunset.

The aqueduct dates back to the Roman occupation of Spain and it is located in the popular Plaza del Azoguejo.  It is believed that the structure was built in the 1st of 2nd century A.D.(1)  The aqueduct is considered the most important civil engineering structure in all of Spain.(2)  The amazing structure consists of 25,000 granite blocs put together without mortar, it is 818 meters long, it has 170 arches, and is 29 meters high(3).

Our first day in Segovia was amazing.  We visited the gorgeous Plaza Mayor, ate lunch at the famous Jose Maria Restaurant, we watched some American football, and we also visited the Plaza San Martin for our afternoon walk.  Day two of our stay was just as fun and enriching.  Stay tuned!

Enjoy!

*1-3 taken from the Segovia tourist guide and wikipedia.com.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

©2014 TORO Media, LLC

 

%d bloggers like this: