Let Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau be the Only Hospital in Your Life


Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Barcelona, Spain.

Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau. Barcelona, Spain.

Who wants to go to a hospital? No one, because the term “hospital” is strongly associated with pain, illness, and death. Nevertheless, today, I will send you to the hospital, more precisely the former hospital, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain. Why am I so cruel? Because it will be the most beautiful hospital you have ever seen in your life.

At this time, our plan in Barcelona was not oversaturated. We wanted to take photographs inside the Sagrada Familia; to visit Gaudi’s other masterpiece, the crypt; and at last to look at his Casa Vicens. We knew that some hospital listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site was located one kilometer away from our apartments, but all except the Gaudi sites were not very important to us.

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Gala Dali’s Pubol: the Castle, the Home, the Grave

By Irina

The throne of Gala Dali in the Castle of Pubol in Catalonia, Spain.

The throne of Gala Dali in the Castle of Pubol in Catalonia

Of course, we would like to visit all the museums of the world associated with the name of the most extravagant of Spaniards, but a more realistic option would be to see Salvador Dali’s museums at least in his native Spain. Several years ago, we visited Figueres, and this time, returning to Catalonia, we thought: why not visit Pubol—the castle presented by Salvador Dali to his wife Gala Dali?

We were a bit confused by the fact that blog posts about visits to the home of Salvador and Gala Dali were extremely controversial in the Internet, but our friends advised unequivocally, “Go by all means!” And here we are in the actual Spanish province, a hundred kilometers from Barcelona, among fields of blooming poppies and a slight smell of manure. Thirty years ago, one of the most notorious couples in Europe lived in this castle.

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How Spanish Toledo Revived European Civilization


Toledo, Spain.

Toledo, Spain.

From 712 to 1085 the Spanish city Toledo—now one of the most visited tourist cities of Spain—belonged to the Moors, who called it Tulaytula. By that time, Europe had slowly forgotten all the achievements of the Greeks and Romans, having deteriorated into some muddy backwater of overall illiteracy and grubbiness, but the Arab world kept rapidly developing. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine that back then science prospered in Bagdad, Cairo, Cordoba, and Toledo, rather than in Rome, London, or Paris.

In 1055, the Russian knyazhna Anna, married to the French king, wrote in horror to her father, Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Kiev, “Dear Father, they wash themselves only once a year here!… The dwellings are gloomy, the churches are ugly, and the mores are terrible… No king here is able to read… Where did you send my sinful soul? To this stinking hole, to France, to this damned city of Paris!…”

By the way, Anna Yaroslavna knew three other languages apart from Russian: Greek, Latin, and French.

Meanwhile the work of translating all writings of the Greek scientists that could be found during trips to Asia Minor was in full swing in the Arab Muslim Caliphate. All the bright minds of the empire assembled in Bagdad. They were well paid only for a single purpose–to keep developing science and art. Moreover, nobody ever demanded proof that the research would result in practical use.

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