American in Spain


May 24, 2009
Guernica's New Oak Tree

On Sunday, May 17, my parents, inlaws, wife, daughter, and I made a quick stop by Guernica on the way back home to see a bit of the town and its famous oak tree. My father had recently read a historical novel about the town, titled Guernica, and wanted to see it for himself. It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed walking around the park and museum/legislative building where the tree stands. Picaso's Guernica Mural in Guernica

Picasso's painting, Guernica (on a tiled wall in town) deftly captures the horrors of war. It's really difficult to look at. In the foreground is my father doing his best to fit in with the painting.

Tree of Security

I knew we were getting close to the tree when I saw this "Security Tree".

Guernica Church Panorama Wide

A stitched wide-angle panorama of the church in Guernica.

Guernica Church Panorama

This is the result of 23 10-megapixel JPEGs stitched together into one huge panorama. Worth viewing slightly larger. Or full size if you've got what it takes.

Guernica Church Door

The church door. The dozen figurines (apostles) along the top seem to get less and less human as they reach the top of the gothic arch.

Tall Tree Panorama

This is not yet The Tree, but it sure was a beautiful tree, and it was no doubt around during the 1937 bombing. That's my father standing at the base.

Tall Tree Trunk

Looking up from where my father was standing.

Walk in the Park

I adore walking down wooded paths like this. Marga and Betsy are in the front, followed by Juan and Nora, and Marce and Paul bring up the rear.

Park Bridge

Park bridge takes you to a grassy place.

Original Tree of Guernica

There she is! The remains of the original tree.

Paul using his camera

My almost-sixty-year-old father works his digital camera.

Guernica Flag

The Guernica flag contains – you guessed it! – a tree.

Original Tree of Guernica

My father, grandmother, and mother pose by the original Tree of Guernica.

Original Tree of Guernica

It's a little dead now.

Guernica Assembly Hall Panorama

The Guernica Assembly Hall, where the legislators still meet, was beautifully decorated. Worth seeing a little larger.

Guernica Assembly Hall

In case the shape of the place wasn't clear from that panorama. The chandelier was gorgeous.

Guernica Assembly Hall

There all the legislative butts sit.

Guernica Assembly Hall Chandelier

In a flash (ha!) of photographic brilliance, I positioned myself beneath the chandelier and shot upwards. Worth seeing larger.

Guernica's New Oak Tree

Aha! The living Tree of Guernica! It is the grandchild of the original tree. Basque political leaders are still sworn in under this tree.

Guernica's New Oak Tree Courtyard

A very Parthenonic courtyard behind the tree.

It was about this time that my father grabbed me and said, "Hey, come in here! You gotta see this!" I was already content and in awe of all the architecture and natural beauty of the place, but I was not prepared for the room I was about to enter. The ceiling was covered with gorgeous stained glass that radiated the suns warmth through its dazzling array of colors.

Guernica Stained Glass

It was difficult to capture in one shot. It depicts a huge tree and the miners, farmers, and fishermen of the Basque Country coming to meet underneath it. Definitely worth seeing large.

Guernica Stained Glass Panorama

As sort of an experiment, I took a dozen photos of each part of the stained glass, stitched them together in Photoshop, and then tried my first "perspective correction". All the shots were shot at the angle of the previous photo. I'm fairly happy with the perspective correction I achieved as a first attempt.

Guernica Stained Glass Border

Around the edge were little vignettes of each town hall in Viscaya, the autonomous region (like a county) of the Basque Country where Guernica is located.

Guernica Double Chair

Cool double chairs.

19th Century Guitar

A 19th century guitar.

Guernica Meeting Room

This photo of my mother, grandmother, and father gives a sense of the size of this room.

Floor Engraving

Where's Robert Langdon when you need him?

Adorable Nora

During some down time in the touristing, my mother was commenting about how perfect and beautiful Nora is (you'd think that'd get old, but it doesn't) and asked me to take this photo.

Cool Tree with Steeple

Back outside in the sunshine.

Long-tailed Springer Drinking at Fountain

An English Springer Spaniel drinks from a public fountain.

Hedge Clock

This hedge told me it was 13:30.

Awesome Facade

The facade of this building caught my eye.

After a quick drink in a bar, we headed back to Colindres for a late lunch. I was very pleased to have seen Guernica, and I can't wait to read the book.