Andalucia – Ronda

Ronda, Spain

3 Days

By our trusty car rental and via Antequera

Stayed at Finca Naranja

The gist of it:

The last stop on our road trip was Ronda. We got there via Antequera. Antequera was lovely but there was a Flintstones (?) carnival going on, which was as weird as it sounds. We had a GREAT lunch at Coso San Francisco in case you ever find your self in this lovely white town of Andalucia.

Ronda was beautiful and felt posher than everywhere else that we visited. It’s not a big place and we quickly found our way around the cobblestone streets. A friend of mine, who is a teacher, takes her Spanish class there every year and gave us a great recommendation for dinner – Tragatapas. We also had a tasty lunch at Camelot, which was full of Spanish people.

On the way to the airport we stopped by Montellano, which was a little random, but no one got hit by lightning, so we called it a success.

Pictures:

My camera battery died in Ronda, so a couple of these are from the trusty iPhone.

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The white towns of Andalucia – A view of Antequera

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J on our patio at Finca Naranja

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Me and an orange tree

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Ronda

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Ronda

 

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Andalucia – Granada

Granada, Spain

4 Days

Stayed at the lovely Cortijo del Marques

By our trusty car rental

The gist of it:

Through countless rows of olive trees, we arrived at the Cortijo del Marques, our B&B outside of Grenada. The Cortijo was a beautiful spot and very relaxed. I would have spent every day there, but I am glad J got me to get off my sunbed and into town.

Our first day in Granada, we had one of our best meals of the trip at Iberico & Alhambra. It is a tiny shop with only a few tables that served mostly cured meats and salads. I highly recommend it. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Granada and figuring out how to get to tickets to the Alhambra. I really stressed out about that before arriving but once we were there, getting tickets from the Alhambra official shop in town was very easy.

The Alhambra is incredible. But there is a lot of hype. The tickets, parking lots, signs and manicured hedgerows make it feel a little like Disney Land. That may sound cynical. But J and I were both struck by how that changed our experience of exploring the Alhambra. I am not going to try and describe its beauty or its character. The pictures below will scratch the surface for you. But, suffice to say, the Moors knew how to design a palace.

Photos:

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Blue skies and a fall moon over the Alhambra

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Palacio de Comares

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Patio de Arrayanes

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Looking up in Patio de los Leones

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Jardines del Partal

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J and Granada from the Alhambra

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A lone photographer in the Palacio de Carlos V

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Generalife

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View from the Cortijo

 

Andalucia – The Drive to Granada

This is a weird story. On the drive from Cordoba to Granada, we wanted to stop off at small towns in between. It was a great idea in theory, but in practice, was always going to be a little random.

We saw a castle/church on top of a hill that looked easy to get to, so we decided to check it out. As we pulled off the highway it started to rain. It was not raining hard but as we drove towards the castle we saw some lightning.

We decided to go up anyways, and started our hike up and up towards the castle. When we got to the top, there was a little more thunder and lightning. We decided to hang out in a turret before heading over to the church. From there James, suddenly exclaimed ‘I just saw the turret next to us get hit by lightning‘. So I am like crap. This was really stupid,why are we up here, alone, on top of hill, with an umbrella.

It still isn’t raining that hard, so we wait for 15 minutes or so then decide to run over to the church. J is holding the umbrella and I am holding his arm. When we are about half away between the two structures, there is a flash, J yells and drops the umbrella. In a flurry of rain, yelling and general chaso, we run towards the church.

I didn’t feel anything, but J’s hand that was holding the umbrella is in pain. He says it felt like someone pitching his skin really really hard and he felt a shock up his arm… His right hand is swollen. I didn’t feel anything, but definitely saw a flash. J describes the flash as a spark on/around the umbrella.

SO, it is CRAZY to say to that J was hit by lightning. Right?! But equally, what happened? It was so quick and so scary. And I feel like an idiot for insisting we head up there. I definitely insisted we head up there.

Having done some research, we found that lightning can jump. So we think maybe lightning hit the church then wasn’t diverted to the ground properly and jumped to our umbrella?

I honestly don’t know. But it was terrifying.

That night, when we got to our hotel outside Granada, we were greeted by a full rainbow. It was a day of man versus the elements. And I am still not sure how I feel about it.

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The panorama photo is from J’s iphone. This photo is from my camera.

 

 

Andalucia – Cordoba

Cordoba, Spain

1 Day

Stayed at Hotel Las Casas de la Juderia

The gist of it:

We picked up our rent-a-car on Sunday and drove from Seville to Cordoba. We arrived late and went for a quick wonder and some tapas. Cordoba was very quiet on Sunday and Monday. Also, some of the sites were closed on Monday. I would recommend going at a different time of the week, if you are staying longer, but it was fine for us because we were there primarily for the Mezquita.

I learned about the Mezquita in my AP art history class. There is a lot of focus on sacred space in art history and even in that context, the Mezquita stands out. It clearly made an impression on me because I made the journey to see the real thing! It is incredible. A room designed for meditation and peace. It has the scars of changing hands -most notably the nave trust into the middle. In some ways that adds to its intrigue, like the layers of history within Hagia Sofia. But the hypostyle hall is where the power of the building remains.

Pictures:

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Roman Temple of Cordoba

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The Mezquita

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Me in the Patio de los Naranjos

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Inside the Mezquita – not an easy place to take photos!

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Looking back on Cordoba

 

 

Andalucia – Seville

Seville, Spain

September 2015

9 days away

Me and J

By Ryan Air

Stayed all over the place

The gist of it:

J and I spent forever deciding where to go last autumn but we finally settled on the South of Spain, Andalucia. We rented a car and cruised from Seville to Cordoba to Granada to Ronda and back to Seville. It was a great trip and really inexpensive.

We were in Seville for three days, which felt like the right amount of time. The first night we arrived we went to Alameda de Hercules to find a bar that served Mahou and tinto de verano. There were loads of tables outside and people coming and going. We then headed back towards our hotel for dinner at Bar Las Teresas. Bar Las Teresas had a great atmosphere and fun interior. We thought the food was ok but great value for money. Our favorite tapas spot was Bodega Santa Cruz, which was constantly packed. I also really liked our lunch at Mama Bistro, not a tapas place, which had a unique menu. J was less enthusiastic.

My favorite part of Seville was the Alcazar gardens. There is something magical about walled gardens. The Alcazar also reminded me very much of Dorne… Or I should say Dorne (the made-up land in Game of Thrones) takes inspiration from the Alcazar. The pictures below should give you a feel for it. A lot of green and orange. I couldn’t get enough!

We walked a lot and saw a lot of corners of the city. The Plaza de Espana was impressive. Triana was buzzing. We almost went to a bullfight! But J was not so keen. Maybe next time.

Top Seville Recs:

Bodega Santa Cruz for the tapas and the atmosphere! The Alcazar gardens because I never wanted to leave.

What I Read:

I finished the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante – I cannot recommend highly enough. I also read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Next Time:

The beach! And maybe a bull fight.

Photos from Seville:

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Our first night in Seville

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Puente de Triana

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Outside the Cathedral

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Me and the gardens of the Alcazar

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J’s feet

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Alcazar Gardens (or Dorne?)

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More gardens

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I don’t remember the name of this square!

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Plaza de Espana

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Museo Arqueologico

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Bodega Santa Cruz

 

 

ME Wedding Weekend

Maine!

September 2014

Wedding Weekend for K&C

By trusty Avis

Stayed in a cabin on Biscay pond

The gist of it:

My cousin K and I went to University together and since then have been very close. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding last September and this weekend trip was centered around the wedding festivities. Maine is beautiful all of the time and it was beautiful this weekend. The weather played second fiddle, however, to the bride and groom. There was so much joy at this wedding, I am not going to try and do it justice here. But the pictures should give you an idea!

Pictures:

All of the pictures were taken by me except for the ones from the wedding, which were taken by the photographer.

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We are in Maine for K&C’s wedding!

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

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Maine’s finest lobster roll

"Jamie Mercurio Photography"

Me and my aunt

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The wedding

"Jamie Mercurio Photography" "Jamie Mercurio Photography"Just married

 

NH in September

Southern New Hampshire

1 week away

With J

September 2014

By Avis

Stayed at my parents’ house

The gist of it:

This was mine and J’s third trip to my parents’ house in Southern NH in the late summer/early fall. Unfortunately, it was not as warm this time around, so we spent a lot more time hiking than at the lake. Most of the photos are from our hike up Mount Monadnock. We hiked the white arrow trail, which was fun but much steeper than most of the trails I have hiked up Monadnock. We also took the kayaks out a few times and saw a fledgling bald eagle on Nubanusit. I also got to show J just how many types of squash there are in America.

Pictures:

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Mount Monadnock

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From the top – that’s Boston in the distance

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And once again America begs the question, how much ice cream is too much ice cream?

24 Hours in Boston

Boston

September 2014

Me and J

By British Airways

Stayed at The Langham

What I read:

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton

The gist of it:

J and I flew to the states for a week for some New England time with my family and my cousin’s wedding (!). We decided to spend 24 hours in Boston on the way up to New Hampshire, so J could see the sites and so I could see a few old friends.

I haven’t spent much time in Boston as an adult. It’s a beautiful city, filled with Irish bars as J noted. When we arrived we went to Bostonia for drinks and appetizers. The food was only ok, considering how expensive it was, but the live music was really fun.

The next day we wondered through Boston common down to Newbury street then back to the waterfront and we went to Legal Seafood for lunch. It’s the same as I remember! We then stopped by Cambridge to see Harvard and the bride and groom to be for a coffee before driving to NH.

Pictures:

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The local hawk

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The Puritans did not mess around when it came to gravestones

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Kefalonia (V)

On our last day I was determined to go paddleboarding. I had seen the paddleboards on the rocks at our hotel on the day we arrived but for some reason waited until the last moment to take one out.

I’d only ever been paddleboarding on lakes in New England, but the ocean near our hotel was not particularly rough and it was really easy to navigate.

On our last day, we saw clouds for the first time (!). And although everyone at the hotel was like ‘I am sorry it’s such an awful day,’the clouds did not take away anything in our view.

Top Recommendations:

Our hotel! The Emelisse was a wonderful place to stay and had everything we wanted and needed.

Paddleboarding, just in general. To everyone at all opportunities.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Definitely my favorite of the books I read while I was away, but admittedly not much of beach read.

Pictures

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Paddle boarding from the rocks at the hotel.

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The view from our hotel, even beautiful with clouds.

Kefalonia (IV)

On Thursday, we tried and failed to see Myrtos beach, one of Kefalonia’s sandy beaches that is supposedly one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos!

We drove down to the town of Assos only to find the road to Myrtos was closed. So we ended up visiting Assos, even though we hadn’t planned on it.

Assos is a beautiful town next to a castle on a peninsula that sticks out into the ocean. I am doing a bad job of describing it, but the pictures below should help. The town was quiet and the water was as beautiful and as clear as on our side of Island.

After we finished wandering through Assos we tried again to get to Myrtos (the long way round), but when we got there found the beach was closed due to falling rocks. So we ended up heading to a little stone beach around the corner from To Pefko, where we had a great lunch.

Pictures

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This is as close to Myrtos as we got! It’s right around the corner…

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Assos

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A couple fixer-uppers right in the middle of town!

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Beautiful Assos

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