Gibraltar, Tangiers and Seville

Immediately after my Portugal walk my companion and I decamped to the south of Spain for some urban explorations. We took up accommodation in Tarifa on the Atlantic coast about 30k to the west of Gibraltar. Tarifa is like many Spanish towns having a small fairly attractive old town with Moorish influences which is completely surrounded by overbearing featureless concrete apartment blocks.

But Tarifa was merely a base from which to go, firstly, to Tangiers in Morocco. This

is an easily accomplished day trip by fast ferry - 1 hour each way. Morocco was a French 'protectorate' for 44 years until 1956 and the French influence is still very much in evidence. "Bonjour monsieur" is the default street greeting.

French classical/colonial architecture is widespread.

French Colonial Architecture

As is French Moderne...

French Moderne Architecture

French Moderne Architecture

With a little bit of sadly neglected Art Nouveau also to be seen.

Art Nouveau Theatre

The manholes covers also showed good style.

Gibraltar manholes

The following day was a trip to Gibraltar. The only reason you would go there is to see how awful it is. This tiny area of British colony is very crowded and abounds with Ye Olde English Pubs rubbing up against Marks & Spencer, red telephone boxes, old cannons and the like. The pub in which we lunched had faux cobwebs on the ceiling!! For goodness sake!!

Ye Olde English pub with faux cobwebs

Historical areas such as the fortifications (bastions) are barely discoverable under more recent constructions. We didn't join the queue for the hour long wait for the cable-car to the top of the Rock - doubtless the views are fabulous but there are great views to be found the world over. There is a long history of British-Spanish tension over Gibraltar – it seems that the Latinos are not even to be trusted with manhole covers which have to be imported from the Mother country.

As my companion pointed out, the Rock resembles Albany's Dog Rock. Better then to go to Albany than Gibraltar....

Rock of Gibraltar

Dog Rock, Albany

Next we went to Seville for 2 days. Avoiding the usual hop on hop off buses and the long queues for the Giraldo we went instead to the Plaza d'Espana and the surrounding area built for the 1929-30 Ibero-American Exposition. Each attending country built its own pavilion to display its wares and attributes. Following as it did the Paris Exposition of 1925 (which gave birth to art deco) these Seville buildings are great examples of European art deco. The fabulous Colombian pavilion is currently used as the Colombian consulate.

Colombian Pavilion

Poor little Guatemala is falling into disrepair but still looks striking after 90 years - showing the longevity of ceramics!

Guatamala Pavilion

The Mexicans also put on a good display.

Mexico Pavilion

And there were plenty of others. Close scrutiny of the ornamentation of these buildings is rewarding.

The Spanish Plaza itself is a vast semi-circular building designed before WW1 and, with plenty of ceramic work all in the old style, its formal stuffiness contrasts poorly against the later modern contributions from the former colonies.

Spanish Plaza

Plenty of tapas and great coffee throughout the 2 days concluding with an intense drama filled flamenco performance made for a great week overall.

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