My fourth trip to Europe was to Spain, Morocco, and Portugal.  We started on March 5th in Malaga, a resort town on the Mediterranean with nothing of interest to see.  The next day more than made up for that, when we went via ferry and bus to the Moroccan city of Tetouan.  Although there is nothing particularly historical there, either, the character of the city (or at least the part we saw) is completely different from anything else I've seen.  Most of what we saw was the old city, which was filled with narrow, winding streets intended to make an invasion very difficult.  They were also quite smelly.  On top of that, we went during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha ("Festival of Sacrifice"), which commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God.  As part of the festival, those who can afford to do so sacrifice an animal (mostly sheep there).  It seemed that many families were able to afford such a sacrifice, and several of the streets were literally running with blood while we were there.  Talk about culture shock.  In many places grills had been set up and were filled with roasting sheep heads (whether to be eaten or just being burned as offerings I can't remember).  At one point we visited a tannery, which was quite busy dealing with all the fresh sheepskins and smelled even worse than the alleys did.  Fortunately, we went there before lunch.  After lunch we went to a carpet store, where many of us bought carpets (the bigger ones were shipped back home).  On the way back to the ferry to Spain we passed many people beating sheepskins on the rocks along the shore.

On March 7th we went to the Alhambra in Granada, which was the last Islamic stronghold in Spain.  The carvings on the walls there are quite impressive.  After that we went to Seville, where our next hotel was.  Oddly, the bathroom had a balcony in it.   The next day we went on a tour of Seville, seeing the Plaza de Espana (built for the 1923 Spanish-American Expo, the old palace in Seville (Los Reales Alcazares), and the cathedral, which is the third biggest in the world after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Mark's in London.  It also has the latest of Columbus' many graves around the world.  The cathedral's belltower (originally a minaret) has ramps inside instead of stairs.  Later on some of us went on a boat  ride up and down part of the river that flows through Seville.

We went to the ruins of Italica on March 9th.  This was a Roman town founded by Scipio Africanus in 206 BC after he defeated the Carthaginian army at the Battle of Ilipa.  It later became notable for being the birthplace of Emperor Trajan.  Not much survives today except for foundations and the ampitheater.  There are a number of well-preserved mosaic floors, though.

March 10th we went to Cordoba.  There wasn't much to see there except for an ancient Roman bridge that's still in use today and a cathedral converted from a mosque.  Much more interesting was riding the AVE (Alta Velocidad Espanol - "Spanish High Speed") high-speed train from there to Madrid.  This was on the original AVE line from Madrid to Seville, using what were basically TGV-Atlantique trainsets.  The AVE system has since been expanded considerably, with routes from Madrid to Barcelona, Toledo, Malaga, and Valladolid, and more under construction or in planning.  The newer lines use different types of trainsets, one unique to Spain and the other based off the German ICE-3.  Top speed is the usual 300 km/h.  My photos of the AVE are on this page.

Our hotel in Madrid was right across the street from Atocha Station, which the AVE stops at.  Our room was less than satisfactory, as the balcony doors had so many coats of paint on them they couldn't be closed.  On the 11th we visited the royal palace in Madrid, which is no longer used by the royal family due to its size (1000+ rooms).  Then we went to the Prado art museum.  I spent the afternoon railfanning at Atocha Station.

The next day we went to Toledo.  The major thing we visited there was a sword-making shop.  Then we went back to Madrid for a bit of free time before boarding a sleeper train to Lisbon.  That train turned out to be a slightly older-model Talgo train.  Talgo's take the form of an articulated trainset, with the cars being quite short and sharing a single-axle truck in between them.  We supposedly had first-class accomodations, but with four people plus luggage crammed into each compartment it seemed more like cattle-class.  The ride was also quite rough, whether from the track or the train design or both I couldn't say.

We arrived in Lisbon the next morning (the 13th).  We spent most of the day going around Lisbon.  The local transit agency, Carris, still operates a number of trolley lines in the city.  The line along the waterfront uses modern articulated LRVs, but most of the lines use ancient 4-wheel trolley cars.  Some are painted in the standard Carris scheme, but most are wrapped in advertisements.  Sadly, as we went around the city I noticed lots of abandoned streetcar tracks, suggesting the network was much bigger once, although it's impossible to say when the abandonments occurred.  There are also a few subway lines and funiculars in the city.  My photos of Lisbon's trolleys are here.  The next day we saw more of Lisbon, and also visited the royal palace in Queluz and the town of Sintra.