Art, Architecture and Stunning Views: My Top 8 List from Spain

After living in Spain for a little over a month now, I’ve been able to see multiple BEAUTIFUL locations within this amazing country. I’ve realized that the United States, unfortunately, doesn’t have nearly as much history as Europe. I feel as if the Spaniards have done as much as possible to keep the heritage and culture of their country alive for as long as possible. Yes, the United States has the Grand Canyon, the White House, and many wonderful museums…but they are a completely different type of beauty compared at all to the places, paintings, and views I’ve seen during my time in Spain. So for this specific post, I decided to share with you all the TOP 8 THINGS I’VE SEEN THUS FAR….I know I will see many other awesome things to add to this list before I leave to go back to the States, but up to this moment…these are my TOP 8:

*Yes, they are in order of preference!

#8. University of Salamanca Facade

Before arriving in Salamanca, I was told many times that I had to see the University of Salamanca Facade and to find the frog for good luck. I had NO idea what those people were talking about. But of course, upon my arrival in Salamanca I was introduced to this incredible structure. Simply put, it is a wall with very intricate detailed items, but it is so beautiful. Well, as previously mentioned, you are supposed to find the frog on this detailed wall to receive good luck. Needless to say, it is a very difficult task, but I have come back to report that YES….I did find the frog and I’m hoping for the good luck in this coming semester! It’s also pretty funny when you walk by and see crowds of people straining their necks looking up at the wall, trying to find the little frog.

Facade of the University of Salamanca
It seems impossible to find the frog in the picture, well it's equally as impossible in person!

#7. Pablo Picasso &  Man Ray in the Reina Sofia – Madrid

During my time in Madrid, I was able to visit all of the art museums that the city has to offer. The Reina Sofia was by far my favorite. Unfortunately, I was only able to see the first two floors, but that was perfectly fine with me because I was able to see multiple works of art that I had previously studied. My two favorites were Guernica by Pablo Picasso and El Violín de Ingres by Man Ray. During high school I studied both of these works of art and it was UNREAL to be able to see them in person. Guernica is MASSIVE, which I wasn’t prepared for, and El Violín de Ingres was as beautiful as I had ever imagined it. The Reina Sofia included a lot of modern works, but also a collection of the classics, which is why I enjoyed wandering around there for several hours!

El Violin
I studied this black and white photograph while I was a junior and senior in high school! It was so awesome to see it up close! I wish I could have taken a picture of Guernica, but it isn't allow :(

#6. The Plaza Mayor – Salamanca

The Plaza Mayor in Madrid is beautiful, but it doesn’t compare to the one is Salamanca. The golden coloring of the facade of the building accented by the black wrought iron balcony railings is perfect whether its during the day or lighted by night. The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca is also the “hot spot” or the place to be at night. Usually, if you’re meeting up with a group of people, everyone will agree on “debjo del reloj” (below the clock).

Plaza Mayor Madrid
I absolutely LOVE walking through the Plaza Mayor every morning to get to class. And as you can see, at night its gorgeous.

#5. View of Toledo

Also, as I previously mentioned in my last blog, Toledo is a sight to be seen. By taking the winding road up the hillside across from Toledo, you will be able to see almost the entire city of Toledo. Many artists have painted this landscape, but of course seeing it with your own eyes makes the experience even more worthwhile.

View of Toledo
It is so beautiful! Toledo should not be overlooked!

#4. Cathedrals in Salamanca

No, I am not being biased towards Salamanca….well maybe a little. The cathedrals in Salamanca are absolutely breathtaking. Each day I walk to school, I cannot help but take a long, hard look at the cathedrals on the skyline. Even from a distance they are so intricately detailed and magnificent.

Salamanca Cathedral
This picture was taken while my ISA group took a visit to the top of the cathedral. The pictures I have of the cathedrals on the skyline, don't do it justice at all!

#3. Palacio Real (Royal Palace) – Madrid

I mentioned in my previous post that I was able to see the Palacio Real twice. Each time visiting this building, I learned something new about the royal families that once lived there. The up-keep of the royal palace is to perfection. It looks like the next royal family could move back in tomorrow if they wanted to. I would have to say that my favorite room in the royal palace was the state dining room, which contained an extremely large dining table accompanied by over 100 chairs. I could only imagine throwing a party that big.

Palacio Real
I wish I could have taken picture inside, but it isn't allowed. But the outside is just as breathtaking as in the inside!

#2. Aqueduct – Segovia

I have seen the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia on multiple Spanish text book covers during my younger schooling. Once again….pictures don’t do this structure justice. It was pretty awesome to learn about the construction of the aqueduct in my Spanish Art History class I’m taking in Salamanca, and then to actually see the MASSIVE historical figure. The original purpose for the aqueduct being built was to transport clean, fresh water from the Guadarrama Mountain Range into the Roman city. The aqueduct runs for 9.3 miles before arriving into the city. While standing next to this structure, all I could think about is how long it must have taken the romans to build it and how difficult raising each of the individual stones must have been. Oh, and fun fact…the only thing keeping the aqueduct together…is perfect equilibrium. No concrete or cement present. Truly magnificent.

Segovia Aqueduct
I cannot get over how beautiful the aqueduct was in person! This is a picture of the niche that contains Virgen de la Fuencisla, the Patroness of Segovia.
Segovia Aqueduct
The height of the aqueduct is unbelievable. Standing next to it makes you feel so small!

AND THE ONE YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR….MY FAVORITE SITE I’VE SEEN THUS FAR….DRUM ROLL PLEASE….

#1. Plaza de España – Seville

The pictures taken of the Plaza de España do not do this building or general area any justice…whatsoever. I can’t even describe the feeling that overcame me when I was finally able to see the whole area. The building is stunningly decorated and each province of Spain is represented by a tile alcove on the half-circle structure. The Plaza de España even has a small moat within its grounds where you can rent a row boat. This beautiful structure is tucked away in the Parque de María Luisa, but is by far my favorite site I’ve seen thus far in Spain. I will NEVER forget the Plaza de España in Seville.

Plaza de Espana
In this picture you can see the row boats that are available for rent and a majority of the actual building.

When I started writing this post, I was planning on doing the TOP 10 things I had seen thus far, but when I got to the fourth page of typing, I decided it needed to be reduced! As you can see, I have truly fallen in love with almost every aspect of Spain in such a short amount of time. If I have found so many things thus far that I’ve enjoyed in only a month, I can only imagine what else is to come!

Gianna Weller
Salamanca, Spain
Spring 2012

Author: Gianna Weller

My name is Gianna Weller and Im from Fort Myers, Florida. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Florida, GO GATORS. I am a Telecommunications major and double minoring in Spanish and Education. I am a people person that loves spending time with my family, friends, and my Sigma Kappa sorority sisters. I grew up in the South Jersey, where I always at the beach every opportunity I had. When I was younger I had many opportunities to travel the world with my family, which I am so thankful for to this day. I always knew that I would eventually study abroad in Spain, and the day has finally come. Studying in Spain will motivate me to learn the language the best way: immersion. I am so excited for the studying abroad experience, and all of the memories that are to come.

6 thoughts

  1. Wonderful, it makes me want to go to Spain again! Have you gone to La Alhambra yet? That is my #1 for art and architecture… maybe in the world!

  2. HI GIANNA : Everything is just so amazing & beautiful ., Uncle Frankie was in Spain a few times . He just loved it there ., he said the people there were so nice & friendly . I’m glad & happy that your really having a good time & enjoying yourself . Enjoy The rest of your trip & adventure . Looking forward in keeping in touch with you & letting me know more about your trip & time in Spain . LUV ! ALWAYS MARY XOXO.,

  3. Hey G! Nice work – thanks for sharing! I’d really like to visit Spain after reading your blob and seeing your pictures. Maybe your true caling in life is art history? Keep having fun and learning – this is the best way to do it.
    Love you sis, Lynn

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