Portal into the Past

The 12th-century Romanesque cloisters of the Colegiata de Santa Juliana glow in the late afternoon light. The church, in the town of Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, was declared a National Monument in 1889, more than seven-hundred years after it was built. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Aerial Invasion

Tarifa, at the southern tip of Spain, was named after Tarif ibn Malik, a Berber warrior who in 710 sailed from Africa, seen in the background, to reconnoiter military defenses in preparation for Continue Reading →

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Garlike

Don Quixote warned his faithful companion Sancho Panza against eating garlic because his breath would betray him as a lowly farmer. But Sancho didn’t listen and neither did anybody else. (The Don was, after all, a little off his rocker.) Today, garlic is a foundation of the Mediterranean diet. In Zaragoza’s central market, above, a woman sells different varieties of garlic from across Spain. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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The Train in Spain

By far the most beautiful train station in Barcelona, the Estació de França (also known as Estación de Francia) is, as the name suggests, the terminus for trains connecting Spain with France. (As well as Italy and Switzerland.) Inaugurated by Continue Reading →

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Le Classique

Tiny little men in football’s biggest match: Last night’s Clásico between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabéu. The star of the game was actually a French 19-year-old central defender who will surely one day be a big star. Any football fans out there? Anybody know his name? Sorry, no free tickets to the next Clásico for the winner! Photo ©Mike Randolph

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The End, for a Lot of Things

Cape Finisterre, the westernmost point of land in Galicia, was for centuries thought to be the end of the world, hence its name, which comes from the Latin finis terrae, or end of the earth. (Geographers later discovered that a cape in Portugal is actually the westernmost part of the Iberian peninsula.) Cape Finisterre is also Continue Reading →

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Where in Spain?

The above image was shot in Spain. Do you know where? Be the first person to name that city and win a free 8×10 print of any image in my Spanish portfolio. Leave your guess in the comments section below (one guess per person, please). Photo ©Mike Randolph

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On the Moove

Shiny and clean after a rain shower, cows take a short cut through a village in Cantabria, northern Spain. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Stone Cold

The Medieval town of Aínsa is a gateway to the high Pyrenees mountains in the province of Huesca, Aragón. It’s days like this one, when the cold mountain winds bring a fresh blanket of snow, that make you wonder what it was like to live in a stone house in the mountains before the age of electrical heating. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Scenery on Big Screens

Crossing the mountains that divide León from Asturias, Renfe’s high-speed Alvia train slows to a crawl to negotiate tight turns. Having a bit more time to enjoy the views didn’t seem to upset anyone. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Amapolaaaa…

In May, wild poppies bloom across Spain, dotting fields with blooms so vibrantly red they almost seem to glow. It’s common for poppies to grow in large clusters of plants, but this field of them near Albacete is, by far, the biggest I have ever seen. Photo ©Mike Randolph

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Fiesta Special: 50% Off Jeans

Very few fiestas in Spain take place without vaquillas. (The English translation is heifer–young female cow.) But these are not your average cows. They belong to the same stock as fighting bulls and they are fast, agile, and charge after anything that gets close to them. They’re also extremely strong and they know the game–the vaquillas are not harmed, and they travel from fiesta to fiesta to reprise their roles. The idea is to get close to them without getting caught by them. Their horns are taped to Continue Reading →

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Ancient Mariners

At low tide on a foggy afternoon in Cadiz, a fisherman walks past stranded boats on the beach of La Caleta. Cadiz, the oldest city in Europe, was founded in 1104 B.C. by Phoenician sailors. It sits on the end of a bulbous peninsula of land that juts out into the Atlantic to form one of the best Continue Reading →

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Sentries of Tradition

On a cold November day, sleet that wants to be snow falls on a pasture high in the mountains of Somiedo, Asturias. This wild corner of Spain, still home to wolves and brown bears, has for centuries been used by Continue Reading →

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Medieval, but with Street Lamps

Midnight in Sos del Rey Católico and the streets are deserted. This stone village in northern Aragón was built on a rocky hill in the 10th century as a Christian fortress to repel attacks from Moorish armies. The etymology of the word Sos is unclear. Some say it was the name of the hill on which the village was built, others say it’s of Basque origin and refers to the Celtic tribes that once inhabited this part of northern Spain. Five centuries later, in 1452, Continue Reading →

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