A Month on the Peninsula
To make a complete tour of Spain, it is advisable to enter by the west of the Pyrenees and leave by the east; for although the railroad has pierced the Pyrenees and greatly increased the facilities for travel between France and the Spanish Peninsula, the long and forbidding range is still an inconvenient barrier. The route from Paris is via Orleans and Bordeaux to:.
|Biarritz. One of the most charming of fashionable French watering places, on the Spanish frontier. The coast is rugged, with a beautiful sandy beach.
|Burgos (eight hours from Biarritz), the birthplace of the Cid, the national champion .of Spain, and celebrated for its magnificent Gothic Cathedral. Pleasant excursion to the Monastery of Miraflores
|Valladolid (three hours from Burgos), favorite residence of the Castilian sovereigns, and the royal headquarters and capital of the once great Spanish empire. Here Gil Blas practised medicine, and here lived Cervantes, the inimitable creator of Don Quixote.
|Salamanca (four hours from Valladolid). The seat of a venerable and celebrated University. The city has a number of interestingbuildings built of a material to which time has imparted a wonderful golden-brown hue, and this has rendered the city picturesque, despite its dreary situation
|Segovia (five hours from Salamanca) is "an unmatched picture of the middle ages," with a Roman aqueduct. Segovia, built on a promontory between two rivers, has been compared to a ship in full sail towards the setting sun. In the prison here died the broken-hearted Marie Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarine, who loved King Louis XIV of France "not wisely, but too well."
|Escorial (three hours from Segovia). This leviathan of architecture, in size and solidity second only to the pyramids, was erected by Philip II, and is at once palace, monastery, church and royal mausoleum. The Pantheon, where only monarchs of Spain are interred, is probably the most gorgeous and imposing temple of death ever erected.
|Madrid (hour and a half from Escorial). A handsome city, its boulevards and gardens, streets and shops, almost rivaling those of Paris in attractiveness. It is the most elevated of all the European capitals. The Royal Palace and the Museo del Prado contain pictures and other priceless work of the most celebrated artists of Europe. The Armory, with effigies of Spanish heroes and heroines, is the finest in the world.
|Toledo (two hours from Madrid). The glory of the old Moorish town of Toledo is the Cathedral, equal in size to half a dozen ordinary ones, and in beauty surpassed by none. Toledo epitomizes the whole history of Spain, for here Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Christians have each in turn held sway, and all have left their footprints.
|Seville (fourteen hours from Madrid). The city of Carmen and Don Juan. The Gothic Cathedral, grafted to the Moorish Giralda Tower, is of such harmony as to rank as one of the world's most graceful structures. The Alcazar, the residence of kings from Caesar down, is a glorious building, a rival of the Alhambra; and Casa de Pilatos is said to resemble the house of Pilate in Jerusalem. Excursions to Huelva, Palos, and La Rabida, whence Columbus set sail for America.
|Cadiz (four hours from Seville), the Biblical Tarshish, is one of the prettiest towns in Spain, and has been likened to an " ivory model set in a frame of emerald." The Botanical Gardens are very interesting.
|Tangiers (six hours and a half by steamer from Cadiz). The chief port of Morocco, where the climate, architecture and mode of life are thoroughly Eastern. A queer little town with steep streets, and mosques with beautifully decorated minarets, from which every now and then the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer.
|Gibraltar (three hours by steamer from Tangiers). The most important of Britain's fortresses between the straits of Dover and the farthest East. The rock was captured by Sir George Rooke in 1704, and since held at all costs against prolonged investments and furious assaults by the armies and navies of the strongest European powers combined.
|Ronda (five hours from Gibraltar) , the most Spanish of Spanish towns, whose famous bridge, spanning the Tajo, is familiar to us since " geography days " at school. Over this bridge the Spanish diligence, with its accessories as pictured, still lumbers as of yore. Ronda possesses a Moorish castle and tower, a Dominican convent and a Nereid grotto.
|Granada and the Alhambra (six hours from Ronda). The last stronghold of the Moors in Europe, from which they were expelled by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. One of the most beautiful views in Spain is that looking over the Plain of Granada, lustering in constant verdure, and walled in by the snowy breasts of the Sierra Nevadas. At the upper end of this plain, "like a pearl set in an emerald, shines the white city of Granada"; while above it, on a rocky plateau not unlike the Acropolis of Athens, rise the reddish walls and towers of the Alham- bra, its wide exterior giving little promise of the graceful and delicate beauty that prevails within: the very summit of perfection of Moorish art, as is the Parthenon of Greek art.
|Cordova (eight hours from Granada), the one-time rival of Bagdad and Damascus, beautifully situated on the Guadalquivir, has little of interest except its great Cathedral, which is one of the most remarkable edifices in Spain.
|Alcazar (eight hours from Cordova). There is nothing specially attractive about this town, but it is a growing railroad center, and is the most convenient place to break the journey.
|Valencia (eight hours from Alcazar) is a charming, bright, busy oriental city, with picturesque streets and parks, and where Gil Blas played a prominent part. The Plaza de Toros has accommodation for 17,000 spectators.
|Barcelona (nine hours from Valencia) . The commercial city of Spain, where they do not disdain to work. The city possesses fine modern buildings, wide streets and charming promenades, of which the Rambla is the most fashionable. Steamers leave this port for the island of Minorca
Carcassonne (eight hours from Barcelona,) the troubadour city of France. The return route to Paris can be made by Toulouse, Agen and Limoges.