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An island getaway where ancient art and beguiling landscapes come together for about $30 per night at this monastic complex.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The Baroque monastic complex is a vast and austere structure built during the 17th and 18th centuries. The church and monastery contain precious works of art that can be seen in the museum. The collection includes Mallorcan paintings and medieval manuscripts.

The Baroque monastic complex was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. For more information, see page 87 in LODGING IN SPAIN'S MONASTERIES.

Nearby is the area of La Marina, a district studded with old windmills. The shore of La Marina consists of very high cliffs that drop precipitously to the sea. Heading south to Cabo Blanco, a coast road passes near Capocorb Vell, a talayotic village of massive, Bronze Age megaliths.

Each of the Balearic Islands has maintained an enduring sense of identity and strong links to the past. Gothic cathedrals, fishing villages, Stone Age ruins and scenic drives are found throughout the islands. A popular artists’ retreat, Deia

is an atmospheric place of stone houses and trees crowded together beneath a dramatic backdrop of mountains. The Deia Coastal Path and Route of the Olive Trees offer excellent hiking and walking opportunities.

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Romanesque Architecture and Plainchant combine in this majestic setting where rooms are about $25/full board.

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Erected over the ruins of a Visigothic abbey destroyed by the Moors, the tranquil setting and spiritual aura of the monastery has roused a myriad of poets to sing its praises. The Romanesque cloisters are among the most beautiful in Spain. The double cloister was edified between the 11th and 12th century. Each of the columns is a work of art, an unusual mixture of Arab and French Romanesque. In this museum of Romanesque beauty, the superb bas-relief panels are particularly outstanding. Emotional motifs abound throughout the panels, a singular feature of Romanesque art.

Since 1880, the Abbey has housed a community of French monks. They introduced a style of singing called plainsong or plainchant, an ancient and austere unharmonized melody in free rhythm. Throughout the day, services are sung in plainchant. Less strictly systemized than Gregorian Chant, the origins can be traced to early Christian times and are derived from Greek and Jewish music.

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Crashing seas and snow-capped peaks epitomize the beauty of the monastery’s setting where rooms will only set you back $16.00 per person

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Beaches of Castro Urdiales.

The monastery is quartered in a picturesque town of Cantabria and a part of Green Spain. Bathed in a golden light, the region is characterized by crashing seas and the snow-capped peaks of the Picos de Europa. The landscape in between includes Neolithic cave paintings, medieval towns, cobbled streets and stone farmhouses and is only thirty minutes from Bilbao and Santander.

A memorable car trip stretches along the rocky coast to Castro Urdiales, a fishing village and popular resort built around a natural harbor. Distinguished by enormous buttresses and pinnacles, the fortress-like Iglesia de Santa Maria stands high above the port. The partially ruined castle was built by the Knights Templar and safeguards a lighthouse. The town is one of the oldest settlements on the Cantabrian coast and is delineated by handsome glass-fronted houses lining an elegant promenade.

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