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.
My camera battery died in Ronda, so a couple of these are from the trusty iPhone.
The white towns of Andalucia – A view of Antequera
J on our patio at Finca Naranja
Me and an orange tree
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.
Roman Temple of Cordoba
Me in the Patio de los Naranjos
Inside the Mezquita – not an easy place to take photos!
Looking back on Cordoba
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.
The beach! And maybe a bull fight.
Photos from Seville:
Our first night in Seville
Puente de Triana
Outside the Cathedral
Me and the gardens of the Alcazar
Alcazar Gardens (or Dorne?)
I don’t remember the name of this square!
Plaza de Espana
Bodega Santa Cruz
Southern New Hampshire
1 week away
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.
From the top – that’s Boston in the distance
J going down
And once again America begs the question, how much ice cream is too much ice cream?
For months before we left J talked about renting a boat. And on Tuesday, we rented a boat to cruise around Kefalonia and over to Ithaca. Although our instructions from the boat owner were minimal, it was surprisingly easy. We had a few stressful moments, mostly parking related, but we got ourselves and the boat back in one piece.
At first we headed down the coast of Kefalonia but then cruised across to Ithaca, where we found ourselves on Polis beach. We put down our anchor, hoped for the best, and jumped off the boat to find lunch. On the beach, there was a sign about the Loizos caves. The caves are now underwater, but they were the site of an ancient temple. I loved finding even the sign because my dad always speaks fondly about happening upon ancient culture in Greece. And there it was!
There was also a beach cafe, where we ordered calamari, chicken souvlaki and greek salad. Everything was great (sorry I have no idea what the name of the cafe was), but we left shortly after lunch to see more of the islands from the water.
After lunch we went back across to Kefalonia and found a quiet inlet with the bluest water. We spent our last hour or so there and only almost ran into an Italian mega-yacht once (ok, maybe twice), but the important thing is that we didn’t.
If Andrew Wyeth ever went to Greece, he would have painted this island.
Polis beach, where we had lunch
On the way home, we had 24 hours in Rome. My parents stayed for another day and W two more, but E, J and I had to get back to London.
We walked through Rome. All over Rome. W is pretty sure he saw almost every corner of Rome on foot. But I only made it to the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona. We also ate very well and I would recommend all of the restaurants and bars we sampled.
For dinner on Saturday night we went to Roscioli and then for drinks we went to a wine bar called Il Vinaietto and a beer bar called Open Baladin. Il Vinaiettio was very relaxed and inexpensive but Open Baladin took itself quite seriously.
The next day we walked through the Forum and down to the Pyramid of Cestius and went to Eatily. I had already been to the Eatily in New York, but Rome’s has a very different energy. It’s kind of like an upscale, Italian food, mega mall – in a good way. We had lunch there and then bought loads of goodies. Then said goodbye to each other and to Italy…
A weird picture of Fiumi Fountain
Open Baladin – those are all bottles of beer
Even gladiators need a rest.
The forum (obligatory).
Ciao Roma (instagram filtered…)
We headed to Assisi on Wednesday and planned to ‘meet at the Basilica’ which was only slightly confusing given the large number of churches in this small hill-top town. In the end though we all found our way to the Basilica di San Francisco d’Assisi. Truly the main event.
The Basilica was easily one of my favorite places that we visited in Italy. My dad didn’t feel like we gave him enough time to see all of the art inside the upper and lower churches and I definitely would have gone back, but mostly to take pictures of the facade. After the Basilica we had a quick lunch then wondered through the town and up to the castle to see the views back over the Basilica and into the valleys below.
Meet you at the Basilica…
Basilica of San Francesco
Silly pictures with J
A view from the castle looking down on the Basilica
I went to Todi on our last day in Umbria only with my bro and J. It was a really lovely little town. But we were mostly there for lunch. Unfortunately, we learned in Italy that you can have a bad meal. Even an expensive bad meal. So, with trip advisors as our guide we went to Todi to Antica Hosteria de la Valle. It was delicious and worth the trip. But the food was very very rich.
The boys and someone’s Nonni #notmynonni
That’s not meat, it’s truffle.
For our first expedition into Umbria we went to Orvieto and then to Civita di Bagnoregio. The Doumo di Orvieto was definitely the highlight of this day trip in my opinion, but taking in Civita di Bagnoregio was also very cool.
When we were in Orvieto we ended up going up the clock tower, which had incredible views, but oddly enough we were looking for a toy museum. It was my brother, with the help of Rick Steves, who led the charge on that one.
On the drive back from Bagnoregio, we got rear-ended which was exciting. After a brief moment of panic and conversation, which involved J speaking English and the other driver speaking Italian, we concluded the car was fine…
The way to Orvieto
Outside the Duomo di Orvieto
M&D, their matching hats, and a view of Orvieto
Civita di Bagnoregio
My little bearded brother.