Just off the Mediterranean coast, in the Region of Murcia, is the Spanish city of Cartagena. In addition to its natural seaport, the ancient city of Cartagena was strategically important to both Carthage and Rome due its close proximity to rich silver mines during that period of time. From Carthaginians, to Romans, to Moors, the Mediterranean city of Cartagena has a very long and colorful history. Visitors entering the city today will find remnants of that glorious past in the form of murals, mosaics, and Roman ruins. Perhaps the most fascinating of all is the Roman theatre of Cartagena which was only uncovered in recent years.
The Roman Theatre of Cartagena was built between 5 and 1 B.C., at the times of Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Caesar Augustus. In the 3rd century A.D., a market was built over the theatre and then a cathedral in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 1990s that excavations were begun to restore the site to its former glory.
After touring the ancient amplitheatre, my mind kept racing back to those glory days when I lived that life of a daring and dashing gladiator.
Big John in his glory days!
Big John standing at the massive theatre wall, reminiscing back to his Spartacus years.
Just recently, archeologists discovered completely intact cages that once housed gladiators and various animals.
Scenes of antiquity from the extraordinary history of Cartagena
Rebecca was rather upset when she found out she missed the gladiator show by a few thousand years.
I thought I had found the largest door in the city…
…but then she just had to go and one up me!
The town hall of Cartagena
Armed with my trusty iPhone camera, I was ready to hit the streets!
These buildings in the barrio were mostly false fronts!
Big John tries to flex under the mighty limbs of an old banyan tree.
…and there stands my beautiful Spanish flower!
I’m not quite sure, but I believe this kid is singing to a fish. I think that may be a warning not to drink the water coming from this fountain!
Cartagena has a history of bullfighting that dates back to the 13th Century. Although the city no longer hosts these events, bullfighting can still be found in other regions of Mercia and Spain.
I never knew there was so much beauty in the streets of Spain!
Under a canopy of ancient Roman ruins.
Much of Cartagena is still an active archeological site.
All of these ancient ruins reminded me of our fascinating trip to the city of Rome.
These bronze ladies are sharing spreading good news in the midst of San Sebastian Plaza.
San Sabastian plaza offers visitors an excellent shopping and dining experience.
Much of Cartagena’s beautiful architecture seems to be a clash between the Renaissance and modernist flair.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she had a thing for cops.
The walled remnants of an ancient fortress perched high on a Cartagena hill.
A statue of Hannibal Barca
Hannibal Barca was a general from Ancient Carthage who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. Much of Hannibal’s fame was gained in heavy combat during the Second Punic War.
Rebecca would travel all the way to Cartagena just to eat delicious tapas!
After miles of sightseeing through a city full of fascinating history, Rebecca and I were ready to enjoy one of Cartagena’s greatest treasures – her insanely good Spanish cuisine! Even the ancient Carthaginians knew the importance of throwing a good feast!
I hope our journey through Cartagena inspired you to pack those bags and embark on an adventure all of your own making. Thank you for visiting Big John’s Adventures in Travel and please feel free to explore more of my site.
Posted in Adventurous Places, Europe, Historical Journeys and tagged Cartagena, Spain by Big John with no comments yet.
Lying on the Costa Del Sol (Coast of the Sun), within the Mediterranean, is the beautiful Spanish city of Malaga. This southernmost large European city is the birthplace of many notable persons to include Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. Malaga’s history spans back some 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. With my stunning señora by my side, I set out on foot to explore all of the city’s splendor and ageless beauty.
Big John and Rebecca set out to explore the beautiful Spanish city of Malaga.
In Malaga one can find some of the best beaches in the entire Costa Del Sol.
Big John peers out over the sunny Spanish shore.
Yachts, sailboats, and catamarans line the docks of this famous port city.
The sun-soaked scene impressed on me that I had entered into some sort of subtropical Garden of Eden.
The history of Malaga is all shared by Phoenician, Roman, Arabic and Christian eras.
The Castle of Gibralfaro, pictured in the background, overlooks Málaga city and the Mediterranean Sea.
A statue of a biznaguero stands amidst the Pedro Luis Alonso gardens.
My beautiful Spanish flower rests in the shade of the stone stairway.
This rocky fortress was built in the 14th century to defend the Alcazabra (Arabic for citadel).
Big John and Rebecca take in the magnificent view from the top of Gibralfaro lookout.
The Plaza De Toros La Malagueta has been the premier place to witness a bullfight since 1876.
Malaga is the fastest growing tourist region in all of Spain.
As of late, the city receives well over a million visitors each passing year.
Malaga boasts numerous shopping centers for fashion, art, restaurants, and cinema.
Big John captures the scene with his trusty iPhone.
The renown Cathedral of Malaga began its construction in 1530 A.D.
The breathtaking garden outside the cathedral.
The ornate and Gothic ceiling of the cathedral.
Great works of Spanish art adorned the walls.
Various depictions of Christ’s crucifixion memorialized this place of worship.
There are also two magnificent organs inside the cathedral containing more than 4,000 pipes.
Many of these superb paintings were obvious works from the Rennaisance.
The Panta Rei sculpture in the Plaza del Siglo.
A splendid view of Malaga and its port.
Malaga’s street artists possess an abundance of talent.
Rebecca can barely take her eyes off those hanging ham hocks!
I traveled all the way to Malaga for its green olives and cold beer!
After exploring for quite some time, we set out to find a nice place to eat.
Lucky for us, there were numerous restaurants on every street.
The El Mentidero Tavern, offering an extensive menu of malacitana cuisine, was exactly what we had been looking for!
Their culinary variety ranged from fresh fish caught in the bay to the most typical tapas of the Andalusian cuisine.
From the lifestyles of the rich & famous…. Oh, let the girl dream!
Malaga is a city of fascinating history and beautiful scenes. From its high-rise hotels and resorts to its yellow-sand beaches, this Spanish flower of a city is a place we will not soon forget! Thank you for coming along on our journey and please visit Big John’s Adventures in Travel again soon.
Posted in Adventurous Places, Europe and tagged Malaga, Spain by Big John with no comments yet.
Barcelona is the largest city in the Catalonia region of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million people within its city limits, this is easily the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. When Rebecca and I arrived in late June, the weather was extremely warm and pleasant. Donned in comfortable sneakers, tanktops, and sneakers, we put down some serious miles during our two-day walking tour of these historic streets.
The Columbus monument, built in 1888 for the World Exposition, honors Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas.
This monument was the first landmark we encountered as we left the Barcelona Port and entered into the city. This iconic symbol commemmorates the historical voyages of Christopher Columbus who reported his findings to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona, Spain after his first trip to the newly discovered continent.
Big John arrives in Barcelona
Big John demonstrates how real men aren’t afraid to wear plaid shorts.
My beautiful travel companion props up an elbow on the Barcelona streets.
These magnificent palm trees are a common form of vegetation along Barcelona’s parks and streets.
Big John on Barcelona’s famous La Rambla Street.
La Rambla, is a street in central Barcelona that is popular with tourists and locals alike. This tree-lined pedestrian mall stretches for 1.2 kilometers connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the center with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell.
La Rambla is the mecca for Barcelona tourism.
This famous walking trail is a gold-mine for souvenir seekers. Just about everything can be purchased here, from salt-water taffy to knock-off designer purses.
A Chinese dragon can be seen protruding from the corner of the building, offering testament to Barcelona’s cultural diversity.
It seems when laundering, open-air drying is the norm in most Mediterranean cities.
Street vendors peddle their wares under the backdrop of the Barcelona Cathedral.
The Barcelonal Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a Gothic architectual wonder. Dating back to the 13th century, this ornate cathedral is open to tourists and contains a gift shop within. The roof is most notable for its gargoyles and features a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical.
Scooters and motorbikes seem to be one of the more popular modes of transportation in Barcelona.
If one doesn’t mind the crowds, the areas in and around La Rambla is a shopper’s paradise.
If you would rather ride than walk, the Barcelona City Tour offers a way to see the city from the comfort of a double-decker bus.
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – the famous market of Barcelona
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria, is a large public market in the Ciudad Vieja district of Barcelona and one of the city’s leading tourist attractions.
Spanish ham from Jabugo is diplayed in many of the markets and restaurants throughout the city.
Imagery such as this is what diabetic dreams are made of!
If you came to Barcelona for the candy and nuts, you came to the right place!
Every good popsicle salesperson knows you can’t truly be successful unless your hair color matches the flavor of the week.
Dates, figs, apricots, and other dried fruits can be found in abundant supply inside La Boqueria.
This colorful fruit stand featured some of the largest cherries I had ever seen.
Kindly remove your pinky finger off of the crustacean, ma’am! Can’t you read the sign?
… and this was the precise moment I swore off fish forever.
According to some research, benefits of the medjool dates include improved digestion, nutrient uptake, vision health, osteoporosis, hormone issues, low metabolism, constipation & wound healing. If any of that bears truth, these sweet and chewy treats should practically sell themselves.
When you’ve seen one Spanish ham hock, you’ve undoubtedly seen them all.
The market offers a variety of food choices to appeal to its diverse clientele, for instance, this particular section is very popular amongst zombies and serial killers.
Deciding to forego the sheep brains and big-eyed goat heads, I figured the citrus would prove a much safer bet.
I thought the sight of these palm trees against the Spanish architecture was worthy of a picture.
Looks like this guy is off to the metal scrap yard with his cart full of treasures.
Barcelona’s Port Vell aerial tramway first opened in 1931.
This high-altitude tourist attraction offers excellent views of the city and its port. The tramway starts at Miramar Station, at an altitude of 187 feet , and carries passengers to the top of Torre Sant Sebastià (a 78-meter tall free standing lattice tower)at 282 feet.
I’m not certain of this building’s significance, but I felt that the intricate details of its rooftop were definitely worth admiring.
Two Barcelona officers on a stroll towards the entrance of the Museu de Cera.
The Museu de Cera is a popular museum featuring waxwork figures of historical and cultural significance.
These wax figures near the museum’s entrance aren’t wax at all. When paid to do absolutely nothing but stand around, these statuesque street performers stay committed to the task!
I would hate to see Galileo’s bathwater following a hard day at work!
…so this is what became of Jim Carrey’s acting career.
Open-air dining along the La Rambla pedestrian trail.
The Osterhase street cafe seats its patrons under the shade of orange trees and umbrellas.
Original or crispy, there’s nothing more “Kentucky” than eating Kentucky Fried Chicken in the heart of Catalonia!
Breakin’ in Barcelona!
Barcelona received an estimated 32 million tourists in 2017.
Visitors congregate in front of the Santa Maria del Pi’s grand entrance.
The Santa Maria del Pi is another spectactular 14th-century Gothic church in Barcelona. It is situated on the Plaça del Pi, in the Barri Gòtic district of the city.
The 2 Bis Artesania craft workshop and gift store
During our wanderings, we stumbled upon the 2 Bis Artesania. Located in the city center, this shop boasts being one of the most important craft workshops in town, and the go-to place for anybody looking for unique gifts.
Rebecca stands outside a shop window full of an assortment of whimsical figurines.
Barcelona’s Roman past can still be felt when touring her ancient streets.
Barcelona has a fascinating history. The city was founded by Phoenicians and Carthaginians. The original name of the city was Barcino, likely named after the Carthaginian ruler, Hamilcar Barca, in the 2nd century, BC. The settlement eventually grew to become the largest known Roman village outside of Rome itself. As evident in many of these pictures, both the Gothic period and the time of Modernism have left their traces that still remain intact today.
Much of Barcelona is very pedestrian-friendly and reserved for foot traffic only.
Barcelona is home to Massimo Dutti and other high-end retail stores.
Numerous drinking fountains are situated throughout the city for its thirsty wanderers; they are know to attract extremely attractive women such as the one pictured here.
The Obama Gastropub in Barcelona
When I saw the sign outside the establishment, I really had no idea what to expect inside. Was the eatery named after our 45th president our was our 45th president named after the place. As it turned out, the Obama Gastropub is a charming American English centuries-old pub in colonial style decor. The staff was very friendly and helpful, serving up delicious food ranging from homemade burgers to authentic Spanish tapas. As Rebecca and I had worked up quite the thirst, we were well pleased by Obama’s wide range of imported beers.
Although I didn’t vote for the guy, Obama was gracious enough to invite me in for a beer summit.
Two members of Obama’s welcoming staff.
Although our Obama was an American president, this joint offered more of a British flare.
A tour bus picks up an awaiting passenger outside the Barcelona Coliseum.
Although this coliseum appears ancient, it was actually constructed in 1923. The building remains one of the biggest film theatres in the city as well as an iconic example of 1920s monumental architecture.
Rebecca eats a protein bar while naked Romans enjoy a cluster of grapes in the pool behind her.
The Beer’ilnale in Barcelona
Beer’linale opens its doors in 2016. The establishment prides themselves as offering the best craft beers on the market to pair perfectly with excellent Mediterranean cuisine. This taproom features over 180 craft beers, 30 on tap, and over 80 Spanish tapas and dishes.
Yeah, with delicious foods and excellent craft beer, you can see we’re all smiles!
I believe this young lady at the bar might just be flirting with me!
A busy day to be out and about in the streets of Barcelona.
Don’t look behind you, just walk towards the sound of my voice!
One funny quirk about Rebecca is she’s deathly afraid of birds. With the horde of threatening pigeons approaching fast, I need to find this girl her safe space.
The bit of topography observed at the end of this street offers evidence of Barcelona’s hilly terrain.
It appears that the Barcelona police are somehow on to me!
From Comedy Clubs to Cathedrals, Barcelona seems to have a little bit of everything.
This building is one of the many unmistaken works of Antoni Gaudi.
Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was an architect from Reus, Catalonia, Spain. He is the best known as a practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized and distinctive style that is easily recognizable. Most of Gaudi’s creations can be found in the streets of Barcelona.
A talented caricature artist sketches a portrait of her posed subject.
Sorry officer, she’s already found her a lawman!
An example of ancient and beautiful architecture can be seen on the dome of this winged statue, overlooking the famous Passeig de Gracia Street.
More of Gaudi’s handiwork.
Those grimy kids are bathing in that water! Are you sure you want to drink it?
That looks just like my castle at home… only it’s a lot bigger. Alright, you got me! I live in a van down by the river.
Rebecca stands in front of Antoni Gaudi’s most famous creation, the Sagrada Família.
The Basílica de la Sagrada Família is the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world. On March 19, 1882, Antoni Gaudí began work on this highly distinctive place of worship. The celebrated architect worked tirelessly on the temple for 43 years until construction was halted by his untimely death on June 10, 1926. It was three days earlier, on June 7, when Gaudí was tragically struck by a passing tram while crossing the street. Due to his poor dress and haggard appearance, bystanders mistook him for a vagrant and didn’t offer him the immediate medical assistance that might have saved his life. Gaudí is buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. Work remains on Gaudí ‘s basilica to this day and is in its final stage of construction.
The flags of many nations are represented on this narrow Barcelona street.
The Restaurante Miño is well known in Barcelona for freshly served fish and Spanish tapas.
This place evidently serves hanging ham hocks and hard drinks!
When touring Barcelona, we found that the best way to enjoy the city was through our palates. Visitors to this Catalonian capital will find an amazing food culture ranging from reasonably priced daily menus to internationally renowned Michelin-starred eateries.
Whether one is exploring the city’s historical center, or perched high on a terrace with views of the Mediterranean, the tastes of Barcelona are certain to please! While I enjoyed craft beers, Rebecca was more inclined to sip a glass of Spanish red wine. Barcelona is truly an international city with something to satisfy the taste of every visitor.
I hope you enjoyed our photo-journey through the streets of Barcelona and I pray that you’ll visit my site again soon. Please send a comment my way so I know you were here or share some love on social media – Muchas gracias, amigos!
Posted in Adventurous Places, Europe and tagged Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain by Big John with 2 comments.