Sunday Special – Puente Nuevo Bridge, Ronda, Spain


One of the things I like about Instagram is that you see so many interesting places in the world by simply exploring. Because I like and post travel photos that is what pops up frequently in my feed and under “explore”. That is how I found out about this amazing looking bridge in the Andalusia region of Spain.

Not far from the city of Malaga lies the town of Ronda to the west. A small town of 35,000 residents it boasts history from the neolithic area,  the Romans, the Berbers, and is even the location for a portion of Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. This historic location is where this incredible bridge was built. The Puente Nuevo Bridge was constructed over 34 years beginning in 1759 CE. It is the newest and highest of three bridges in Ronda that stretch over a 120 m gorge running through the town. The Puente Nuevo Bridge, along with the Puente Romano and Puente Viejo bridge, connect the town and are points of interest in and of themselves. 

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The incredible Puente Nueva Bridge connecting the city of Ronda, Spain – photo credit: Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium, The Puente Nuevo in Ronda (7077354065)CC BY 2.0

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Puente Nueva Bridge in Ronda, Spain – photo credit: Bert from Netherlands, Puente Nuevo de RondaCC BY 2.0

 

 

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Sunday Special – Oxford, UK


One of the regrets I had when I was on my big trip was that I never made it Oxford, England. I spent a week in the London area and it is only 92 km / 57 miles away with frequent train service. I easily could have spent a day there (or more). Well, another reason to go back to the UK, one of my favourite countries to visit. 

Dating back to the time of the Saxons (around the 8th century, CE) Oxford grew as an important military center. Over the centuries it was not a dull place – invasions, religious growth, epidemics, martyrs, civil war, industrial growth, and of course the founding the well-known educational institution of Oxford University and it’s 38 colleges within the city centre.

Today Oxford seems to shine as city with old-world charm with its array of beautiful architecture. Noteworthy buildings include Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Carfax Tower, Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre, University Church, and much more. Other areas of interest include Hertford Bridge (a.k.a. Bridge of Sighs), the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens, and the oldest covered market in England: Oxford Covered Market.  Add museums, cafes, theatre, bars, and nightlife it seems it will certainly keep you busy. Oh and don’t forget that Oxford was the location for various scenes from the Harry Potter movies. 

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The Great Hall at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, England. This hall was replicated in a studio for use in the Harry Potter films. – Photo credit: VictorperramonChrist Church HallCC BY-SA 3.0

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Hertford Bridge in Oxford, England – Photo credit: Varun Shiv Kapur from Berkeley, United States, Hertford BridgeCC BY 2.0

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Aerial panorama of Oxford, England – Photo credit: Chensiyuan1 oxford aerial panorama 2016CC BY-SA 4.0

My Top 5 Man-Made Sights


Last month I posted about My Top 5 Cities to Wander. This month my Top 5 is about man-made places or things. These places or works of art hold a special place in my memories, my heart, and bring a smile to my lips.

  1. Michelangelo’s Slave and Bound Slave, Louvre Museum (Paris) – I have never been more captivated by art than these two unfinished statues. They are complete by being incomplete. I do not know how Michelangelo did it but there is feeling, emotion in those statues. I have seen them three times and still my heart stops each time. 
  2. Eiffel Tower, Paris – Anyone who knows me, knows I love this building. It was among the first iconic buildings I had seen when I first visited Europe and has been imprinted on my heart ever since.  I have been to the top twice, once on my birthday where I drank sweet sweet champagne with my sister and friends.  If I had never seen Michelangelo’s Slaves this building would be number one.
  3. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur – The circular and geometric designs of its spires and the walkway them give them a unique look.  I learned of them shortly after they were built I had wanted to view them for myself ever since.  They did not disappoint. I think they are most beautiful lit up at night against the backdrop of the dark sky and city lights
  4. Taj Mahal, India – I had wanted to see the Taj Mahal since I was a child. For a short span of years I thought I may never see and tried to downplay its importance, that it could not be that spectacular.  Silliness really. Yet I did make it to Agra. A hot, humid and crowded experience that was all shed to the side when I finally saw the splendour of this magnificent building. It stands majestically and rightly so.
  5. Pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar – There are so many things I could put for number five. Yet the pagodas throughout Bagan are the first I think of. The entire area astounds me with the sheer amount of pagodas to be found. I loved wandering through the back roads on my scooter and viewing the beauty and importance of these buildings  to the people. 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

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Michelangelo’s talent is breathtaking

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Gustave Eiffel’s treasure to Paris.

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Those brightly shining Petronas Twin Towers.

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The Taj Mahal, a labour of love.

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One of the numerous pagodas in Bagan

Sunday Special – Blue Mosque, Istanbul


Istanbul is an amazing city in my opinion. In fact, only Paris surpasses it as my favourite. I spent a mere four days there in 2015 however it has imprinted upon me a lasting impression of beauty and history.  Although there are numerous mosques in this city of nearly 15 million the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or the “Blue Mosque” as it is commonly referred to by tourists, is the most well-known and recognized. Taking eight years to build (1609 – 1616 C.E.) by order of Sultan Ahmed I, it has five large domes and six minarets along with several smaller domes. Within its walls are thousands upon thousands of blue Iznik tiles which why it is referred to as ‘The Blue Mosque’. To this day it continues to serve as a mosque, allowing Muslims to come to prayer five times per day. At these times the mosque is closed to tourists and non-Muslims.  As this is a popular attraction do expect queues during visiting times. I recall long lines yet they moved quickly.  I was glad to know that I could take non-flash photos in this stunning example of Ottoman architecture. It really was fascinating to see. I look forward to when I return to the Blue Mosque and Istanbul with my sister at some point in the future.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

Within the mosque’s courtyard

The beautiful interior