There isn't anything quite like waking up right after dawn, when the sun gives that gentle golden glow over buildings, the air is crisp and fresh, and all is quiet in the streets.
That is, if you're as jetlagged as I am, still struggling to adjust to the 7 hour difference even though it's been four days since I've landed in Europe. (I'm actually a morning person now, thanks to that summer internship that had me waking up at 5am every morning for the hour commute, and I actually love and prefer being an early bird, but I digress...)
On this morning, we took a short walk from the hostel we stayed at (TOC Hostel Sevilla, review coming later) over to Plaza de España. The first thing you'll notice is how massive it is - 50,000 square meters, the equivalent of five soccer fields! It makes a fun panoramic pic, especially with no one around because it's still early. There is a tower at each end, four bridges, a canal with boats you can rent to row in, and plenty of strolling space. This was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929 (Expo 29), a world's fair that saw people from South America, Portugal, and the US, in the Parque de María Luisa (Maria Luisa Park). Today, it mainly consists of government buildings. An alcove was built for each of the Spanish regions and each of the provinces of Andalusia with colorful tiles. You'll notice the ones I took above were Madrid and Salamanca, two cities that I'll be visiting later on the trip. I was surprised at how well maintained all the bricks and ceramics were after so many years and with such vibrant colors and details from the talented artists of that period. And as a fun fact, some of you, especially Star Wars fans, may recognize this place as a filming location for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
Aside from this plaza were other beauties in the park - botanical gardens, elaborate mansions that are now museums, plazas in honor of other countries, and many doves. As an artist at heart, I am always fascinated with flowers, colors, textures, patterns, and shapes. This place had it all. What fun and how inspiring it was to be here!