Calpe is a small town on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in the Alicante province near Valencia. It’s most remembered for the Penyal d’Ifach, the northern counterpart to the south’s rock of Gibraltar. This photo was taken as I ascended the Penyal d’Ifach, looking down at the resort and ocean below. The rock is also a protected bird sanctuary, and so the prevalence of birds in nesting season made it impossible to get a picture without a bird in the shot (or, alternatively, dive-bombing me and my tripod). Of course, I was too much of a scaredy-cat to ascend the entire rock, but I was quite content with this view of clear blue skies and even bluer waters.
Our first day in Madrid was spent walking to the Palacio Real and its corresponding gardens. Street musicians played in the corridors of the hedges while young couples leaned against each other as they traced their fingers in fountains. The palace itself is the Spanish version of Versailles – minus the crowds. In the photo, you see the Palacio Real and the Palace Gardens, with the spire of the nearby Catedral de la Almudena in the background. We found ourselves falling asleep in the shadow of trees after we sat down to rest our legs, the sounds of Pachelbel on violin singing us into our nap.
The Templo de Debod was originally located in southern Egypt, with construction dating back to the second century. It is now located in the Parque del Oeste, gifted to Spain by Egypt in 1968 when its existence was threatened by the Aswan High Dam and its corresponding reservoir. It was a sign of gratitude for Spain’s efforts in saving and relocating the temples of Abu Simbel. The Temple of Debod is one of the few Egyptian works that can be seen outside of Egypt, and the only thing of its kind of Spain. I am fascinated as the way in which this history was preserved – threatened by demolition in its own country, which is already home to so much of the world’s pre-modern history, and given to another country in order to save it. How can we save all the history in the world? Is UNESCO the only guarantor of a building’s safety? What about the historical buildings and artifacts being lost as civil war wages on in Syria? I come from a city which has preserved so …
Though less visited than its Catalonian counterpart of Barcelona, Madrid, Spain’s magical capital, is still a must-see on every Spanish itinerary. But when I first began planning my trip to Spain this past summer, I was skeptical about how I’d spend my time there.
The sheer number of tourists to Barcelona on a yearly basis is enough to make the crowd-fearing traveller want to visit literally anywhere else in Spain. And while there is certainly much more to Spain than the Catalan capital, Barcelona’s architectural uniqueness, accessible beaches, and cultural vibrancy make it a must-visit European city.
I don’t think I fully appreciated the beautiful city of Sevilla while I was in Spain. The exceptionally high temperatures (39 degrees Celsius) and a mugginess barely cured by passing misters at restaurant patios made sightseeing take a bigger physical toil on me than usual. And when the air conditioning in our hostel broke on the second night (and the two of us were already sharing a room with four other people), Sevilla was beginning to feel unbearable. I was craving the Atlantic breeze of Lisboa, our next destination, and consequently, taking in less of Sevilla’s unique beauty. When I talk about my Spain trip now to friends and coworkers, I find myself talking most about Sevilla, but not the negative aspects like the heat – as mentioned in my post about tapas, some of the best food I ate was in Sevilla. And Plaza España is a beautiful piece of architecture, with all the major towns and cities of Spain receiving their own special, decorated “shrine” of sorts. And how fitting that Plaza España …
We had thought, after an unusually brisk day in Gibraltar, that we would be able to enjoy a pleasant beach afternoon in Tarifa, which was just a short drive away. I checked the forecast on my phone, and while it wasn’t promising immense heat – just 24 Celsius – I thought I’d be in the very least be able to sit on the beach with a book. Upon arrival in Tarifa, the clouds did not look promising. It was only when we stepped outside our rental car and I was nearly blown sideways by the rashest winds I’ve experienced since Iceland, that I knew a beach afternoon was not in the cards. Tarifa is small, so after checking in at our hostel we walked down to the beach. The wind had swept sand over the sidewalks like a blanket. And the closer we got to the beach, the more sand pelted our faces and bare skin like little bullets. Palm trees swayed and fog clouded the not-so-distant mountains of Morocco, and the town was quiet. …
It’s no secret that Spain as a whole is famous for its tapas, but it’s also no secret that not EVERY tapas place is as tasty or well-priced as the next.
Once considered the most dangerous hike in the world, the Caminito del Rey (a.k.a the “King’s Path”) originated as a path for miners in the El Chorro gorge, which is an hour outside of the city of Malaga.
El Chorro, or “the spurt”, lies an hour outside of Malaga, southern Spain. Once a destination for 20th century miners, turned into a haven for adrenaline-seeking hikers. What was once the miner’s footpath, the “Caminito del Rey,” became a decrepit series of railed walkways, leading to several deaths and the trail’s full closure. The boardwalk has been completed renovated as of 2015, so the fainter-hearted hiker like myself is now able to experience the beauty of the gorge.