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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Andalucia, Spain

Apr 7, 2019 - Alhambra

April 7 - Alhambra This morning we did Rick Steves walking tour of Granada, as we have Alhambra tickets at 2:00pm. The walk starts just around the corner from our front door at a caravanserai (of Silk Road fame), a protected place for merchants to rest their animals, spend the night, get a bite to eat and spin yarns. This 14th century caravanserai is the only one surviving of Granada’s original 14 (has a water fountain in the center). Across the street is Alcaiceria, originally a Moorish silk market with 200 shops that burned down in 1850....

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Spain and Portugal

Apr 6, 2019 - HOHO and Granada Cathedral

We started our day (with 5 layers) at the TI to get information and a map with printing big enough that we could read. There we found out about Granada's version of a HOHO bus that turned out to be what they call a train and we would call a shuttle bus. The streets in the old city are too narrow for a bus. We bumped around town with open windows for about 90 minutes and got off at Plaza Campo del Principe where the TI had recommended for tapas. We got shanghaied by one aggressive lady so we had hot tea (because we were frozen) and a piece...

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Spain and Portugal

Apr 5, 2019 - Travel to Granada

April 5 - Travel to Granada Yesterday we had arranged with the reception staff to have a taxi pick us up at 10:30am for our 11:15 bus to Granada. There is no direct train from Madrid to Granada so it would require a transfer plus take a little longer than the bus. Having saving our packing until the morning, we packed, had breakfast and were in the lobby by 10:20. The car service (not a taxi) picked us up at 10:30 and the only way to go is the one way street with construction - 15 minutes to go two blocks! We arrived at the bus station (a...

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Spain and Portugal

Nov 7, 2018 - Guadix

We escaped Cordoba's spooky history and headed to Baeza and Ubeda on our way to our next stopover in Guadix. Both small towns were interesting, especially Baeza. The narrow passages and open spaces were brilliant to wander through and provided a feeling of 'being there' in its medieval days. Guadix was very different and is recognised as Europe's capital for cave houses. It is one of Spain's oldest human settlements and going by the lack of care and maintenance we wouldn't argue. Whitewashed homes built into caves were everywhere as were...

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Nov 6, 2018 - Cordoba

From Gibraltar we headed north through the Costa del Sol to Marbella then turned inland to Cordoba for a stopover. We were expecting the Costa del Sol coastline to be much prettier although the water colour was gorgeous. The lack of trees made it a 'hard' landscape which did not appeal to us. The inland drive passed across extremely dry, very rugged areas similar to parts of outback Oz we had ridden our bikes through. The small town of Ronda was a great rest stop. Coffees under the ancient Roman bridge which spans a massive ravine to join...

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Nov 2, 2018 - Cadiz

Rain was the order of the day for the drive to the Spanish border but we did manage to visit Tavira before leaving Portugal. That was another very pretty river town. Rain continued but the excellent road conditions didn't. Not far from the border things deteriorated somewhat as road widths narrowed and at one point led to a low river crossing. It was no real problem but with much more rain it would be. Suddenly we were back on a good motorway and amazed by the abruptness of the changes. Things improved as we crossed into Spain and reached...

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Oct 31, 2018 - The Gypsy Life on Sacromonto Hill

Running through the valley between the hillside Alhambra on one side and the Sacromonto hill on the other, and lined with centuries old buildings, the Carrera del Darro is considered to be Granada’s prettiest street. It’s also the principal route to the Mirador San Nicholas, which provided us with a good view of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Then we walked behind the mirador (Spanish for lookout) and around the former Arabic quarter of Albaicín. Established when the Moors were forced out of Granada by the Catholics in...

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Oct 30, 2018 - tapas in the rain

It rained half the day when we were in Malaga two weeks ago. We eyeballed some spots in town that we would still like to visit, secure in the thought that we would be back today. It's sunny in Malaga 300 days/year. Sadly, it rained again all day today. It alternated between a constant rain and a driving rain. We left for the tapas tour as planned and our guide did his best to make it fun. He looked for spots under roof when he wanted to explain things. We went to a castle on a hill that could have been a beautiful view of the city and our...

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Oct 29, 2018 - Alhambra Fortress -The Arab Empire’s Last Stand

Before we entered the vast Alhambra complex, we opted to continue above it the Carmen de los Martires Gardens, a lovely green space. The “small” mansion (now there’s an oxymoron) on the property had an artsy photography exhibit and provided a few minutes of entertainment, but large=scale collages of small photos are not really our thing....unless of course it’s the photograhy of family and friends. Then, we took advantage of the nice weather to hike up the hill behind the house as high as we could access (815 m) to take in the view. Upon...

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Oct 27, 2018 - Magnificent Malaga

Our lovely family-owned Hotel California with its a rooftop patio view of the sea, short walk to the beach and strolling distance from the busy old was the perfect locale for a week. Like my home town Edmonton, Canada, Malaga has grown at an alarming rate. For example, there was photo of our hotel building circa 1904 in the lobby. We were told that up until around 2000 Hotel California was the edge of the city. To keep up, the city has invested in modernizations such the Malagueta beach walkway and a wide stretch of patios and parks along...

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Oct 25, 2018 - Happy Birrthday Pablo Picasso

Earlier in the week we had walked over to the Museo Picasso Malaga to take advantage of their free admission offer for the final two hours of each Sunday. There was a long line-up but even among the crowd seeing the permanent collection of paintings from every period of Picasso’s life was a treat. Formally trained to paint by his artist father, the earliest pieces on display are typical of the period, such as a portrait of his sister. His early works therefore offer absolutely no hint of the challenges to convention that would surface in...

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Oct 23, 2018 - Mountain Climbing Outside Malaga

Duncan found us a rock climbing guide online and arranged for Luis picked us up at 9am. During the 45-minute drive out of Malaga into the mountains Luis explained that the striking buckled peaks and valleys are the result of Africa pushing north into Europe. Turns out Luis holds an MSc in geology and has worked in that field in the Arctic and several African countries. He is very keen to visit Canada, specifically Squamish. Our drive out skirted the town of Villanueava del Rosario, one of southern Spain’s lovely “white villages.” The...

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