Trip from Madrid Spain to Rome Italy - September 1984
9/14/1984 - Arrival in Madrid
Avila Spain is one the best preserved medieval walled cities in Europe. The walls were constructed in the 12th century after the Christians reconquered the area from the Moorish occupation
The pictures were taken on the Roman Bridge which spans more than 1000 ft over the Tormes River. The bridge was originally built in 89 AD but was reconstructed in the 1600s after being damaged by flood waters
We were going to visit Gibraltar by crossing the border at La Linea. At that time, the Spanish Government was pressuring Great Britain on Gibraltar and closed the border to all but native Gibraltarese and Spanish civilians who worked in Gibraltar. As a result, this was as close as we got to Gibraltar
We overnighted in Malaga staying at a parador the Malaga Gibralfaro which was an old stone monastery in earlier times. Paradores are hotels constructed using old edifices such as castles, monasteries, etc., and are operated by the Spanish Government. When we arrived, I made the mistake of drinking water from the tap. Very soon I had a very bad case of Montezuma's Revenge which knocked me down for a day. While there I did some "ham" operating from our room as K6EID/EA7
We drove from Salamanca to Coimbra entering Portugal at the Vilar Formosos border crossing. It was originally the Roman town Aeminium. It was the capital of Portugal in the 12th and 13th centuries
Fatima is home of the Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. The Blessed Virgin made a number of apparitions to three small shepherd children, Francisco Marto, Jacinto Marto, and Lucy dos Santos here in 1917. Sister Lucy is still living in Coimbra
The highlight of Sintra is the old Moorish castle on the heights above the city. The Moors built the Castelo dos Mouros in the 8th or 9th century. The town was retaken by Christians in 1147 and the castle was largely destroyed. It was restored in the 1860s. The complex seen in the first picture from the wall is the former Royal Summer Palace
Beja was a stop on our way back to Spain to visit the castle there. The castle was built during the reign of King Diniz in the 13th century over the remains of a Roman castellum that had been fortified by the Moors during their occupation of the area. It consists of battlemented walls with four square corner towers and a central granite and marble keep (Torre de Menagem).
Ceuta is one of two Spanish enclaves in Morocco which Spain retained after giving up sovereignty over Spanish Morocco. It is opposite Gibraltar. There is a mountain in Morocco just outside Ceuta called Jebel Musa. This mountain and the Rock of Gibraltar (Arabic name Jabal Ţāriq from which the name Gibraltar is derived) were what the ancients called the Pillars of Hercules. We came to visit a "ham radio" friend Juan Jose Rosales (EA9IE) who suggested we visit Ceuta on our trip to Spain. We had a most enjoyable time meeting many fellow "hams" (at that time, Ceuta had the highest percentage of "hams" in their population of anyplace in the world). The first picture with Juan was taken by the old Portuguese Fortress which dates back to the time around the Portuguese capture of the city in the 15th century. The picture by the monument to the Falange Party is outside the Cathedral
Andorra is a small principality in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. The co-rulers are the Spanish Bishop of Urgell and the President of the French Republic. It is a very pretty and busy place. We stayed at the Hotel Tartar in Soldeu and visited many of the towns including the capital Andorra la Vieja. The hotel owner's wife made the best chocolate mousse that we have ever had anywhere. The nights were cold in the hotel as the steam heat is not turned on until 15 October. While there, I operated by "ham" radio both mobile and at the hotel as C30LBP. It snowed on us while operating mobile at rest in the Pass
Arles was a very interesting city with a very long history. It was established by the Greeks as early as the 6th century BC and was called Theline. It was captured by the Celtic Salluvii in 535 BC, who renamed the town Arelate. The Romans took it in 123 BC. The city sided with Julius Caesar against Pompey while its rival Massalia (Marseille) made the mistake of backing Pompey. After Caesar defeated Pompey, Massalia was stripped of its possessions and they were cededto Arelate as a reward. The town was formally established as a colony for veterans of the Roman legion Legio VI Ferrata, which had its base there. The city's full title as a colony was Colonia Iulia Paterna Arelatensium Sextanorum, "the ancestral Julian colony of Arles of the soldiers of the Sixth." The first picture is outside the Roman Arena and the second is the inside of the Roman Theater
We took the opportunity to overnight in Monte Carlo. While there he did visit the Grand Casino but, not being gamblers. we left no monetary losses there!
We had to stop in Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. The tower construction started in 1173 and it took 200 years to complete. The tower was meant to be verical but sub-soil conditions started the inclination during its construction
Our departure city was Rome so we spent a couple of days there touring the ancient Roman monuments
Since Phil's maternal grandparents were Polish, we were anxious to see Pope John Paul II who came from the same area of Poland. The U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican was Bill Wilson was a fellow radio "ham" from Los Angeles. We contacted him and he arranged for us to get VIP seats at the Pope's weekly audience in St. Peter's Square. Unfortunately it rained that day so the outside event was canceled. We then attended Mass in the Basilica that was conducted by His Holiness
This was a real thrill for us. John Paul had been Archbishop of Krakow and my mother's family lived in that archdiocese. A cousin, Helen, who now lives in Ohio was confirmed by him in Poland!
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