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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Portugal - Fatima, Spain - Salamanca, Segovia, Madrid

The next day, we travelled to Fatima, the pilgrimage in the Catholic world. This place attracts a host of believers from far and wide, particularly pilgrimage day. In 1917, three peasant children claimed to have seen the "Virgin of the Rosary", Our Lady of Fátima. When the children asked for her name, she said "I am The Lady of The Rosary". The children experienced the purported Marian apparitions in a pasture called the Cova da Iria. The Fátima Basilica was built to commemorate the events of 1917. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto. According to Lúcia's account, the lady confided to the children three secrets, known as the Three Secrets of Fátima. The first secret was a vision of Hell, the second secret included Mary's instructions on how to save souls from Hell and convert the world to the Catholic faith, and the third secret was a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures. Francisco (1908–1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910–1920), were both victims of the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1919. Lúcia reportedly saw Mary in private visions periodically throughout her life till her death in February 2005.

The path leading to the church, Fátima Basilica.

A pilgrim walking on her knees all the way to the Fátima Basilica on the path (the previous pic).

Believers lighting candles and placing them at this place.

Fátima Basilica.

Inside the Fátima Basilica.

Fátima Basilica.

Fátima Basilica.
Next, we proceeded to Salamanca, Central Spain, another World Heritage city. Salamanca is home to Spain's oldest university.

See the 2 bird nest and the bird perched on top? It's real! It's so huge!
The building's façade is decorated with numerous figures, one of them being the famous ¨frog on a skull¨, which isn't easy to find as there are numerous small figures, but according to local tradition, academic success is guaranteed if found. I couldn't find it even with my mum pointing at it and telling me where it was for like 15mins before I finally saw it. And that day was the day where my final results were out...lol.
The skull head with the frog on top. It's the skull on the left of the pic.

One of the walls of the University of Salamanca.

The next day, we travelled to Segovia. On the way, we stopped to take a pic of the city. There was also this structure of the Cross, which against the sun was beautiful.

The structure which was perched on top of a hill, overlooking the city.

The structure.
Reaching Segovia, we walked to the Aqueduct of Segovia. The Aqueduct of Segovia was built at the end of 1st to early 2nd century BC by the Romans during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula to bring water from the Río Frío (Cold River), which was about 18 km away, to the city, requiring an elevated section in its last 1 kilometer from the Sierra de Guadarrama to the walls of the old town. This elevated section, largely dominating the nearby scene, is supported by an engineering marvel of 166 arches and 120 pillars in two levels. It is made of 20,400 large, rough-hewn granite blocks, joined without mortar or clamps. Its maximum height of 28.1 m (100.53 ft) is found at the plaza of Azoguejo. The aqueduct continues to supply water to the city, albeit now in cast iron pipes laid in the original Roman channel.

The raised section of the Aqueduct of Segovia.

The raised section of the Aqueduct of Segovia.

One of the Churches in Segovia.


Next, we visited the Royal Palace in Madrid. The Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the King of Spain. However, King Juan Carlos and the royal family do not actually reside in this palace, instead choosing the smaller Palacio de la Zarzuela, on the outskirts of Madrid. However, the Palacio Real de Madrid is still used for state occasions. The palace also has the distinction of being the largest royal palace in Western Europe in size, with over a combined area of over 135,000 m² and more than 2,800 rooms. As this Palace is the official residence of the King of Spain, no photos were allowed inside. Only outside.

The outside of the Palacio Real de Madrid.

A busker outside Palacio Real de Madrid.

The outside of the Palacio Real de Madrid.

The outside of the Palacio Real de Madrid.

A busker outside Palacio Real de Madrid.

Finally we went for a city tour.

The Plaza de Cibeles. The fountain of Cibeles has been adopted by the football team Real Madrid, and is often the meeting point for fans, called madridistas, and the football players themselves, when the team wins the Champions League, La Liga or Spanish Copa del Rey.

The Real Madrid Stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

~ { 9:09 PM }
reflections @ 9:09 PM 0 comments