As explained by my previous post about Denver’s Craft Breweries and the reason behind our mini-break to the American mid-west, we were in Colorado for a few days at the end of October largely to visit some craft breweries. A desire to see the Flat Irons mountains and to experience the hippie vibes I’d heard about, we decided to hop on a bus for a day trip into Boulder, about 45 minutes from downtown Denver by bus. We began the day walking around the Chautauqua Park and the gorgeous leaf-lined streets filled with beautiful houses, and then made our way to try a few different breweries and tap houses. Again, we couldn’t possibly visit all of them, so here’s where we checked out and my corresponding reviews. Boulder Beer Company When I was looking at Boulder Breweries, none of them really seemed to be near the downtown area – they were all far out in more industrial areas and required a good 20 minute bus plus 12 minute walk to get to. Boulder Beer, which claims to be …
After my partner and I made a spontaneous decision to fly down to Denver on Airmiles for a few days to see Sufjan Stevens in concert, we had to think of how else to spend our time to make the most of a mini-break. We were going on the cheap so we didn’t plan on renting a car, and given it was the end of October, we weren’t sure if the weather would be conducive to any serious mountain hiking. I did a bit of poking around on the Internet, and realized the ultimate thing we could do to spend our time (and money): drink craft beer. My parents travel for wineries all the time, so why not travel for beer?
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 unusual Hraunfosser Falls just outside of Reykholt, Iceland, flow into the Hvítá river, a series of rivulets that flow across 900 metres of a lava field (hraun means “lava”). Attempting to get the whole width of the waterfall was a task only a wide-angle fish eye lens could succeed at. Just a little further down the Hvítá river is another waterfall, Barnafoss, which means the waterfall of the kids. The name comes from a legend wherein two children were playing on the bridge that crossed over the falls, and then fell to their deaths. In light of our guide telling us this story, I held a little tighter to the rails of that bridge as I crossed.
I have always been in awe of the beauty of horses. So upon my first visit to Iceland, I was obviously very keen on riding Icelandic horses, one of the purest equine breeds, across Icelandic lava fields. Icelandic horses are incredibly playful and cute, but they’re also sturdy and strong. Their unique gait, the tolt, is a mix between a trot and a canter, and allows them to smoothly navigate the rough stones of Iceland’s lava fields. Dressed head to toe in my warmest clothing, I rode with one American girl and our Danish guide. We were given one break midway through to explore a lava cave. Though I took an intermediate tour as an experienced rider, interacting with these sweet creatures is an experience I recommend to all going to Iceland.
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.
Somewhere amidst the chunks of moss-covered lava rock is, supposedly, the homes of the huldufolk, or mythical elves. Travellers are advised to never kick lava rocks in case it’s an elf stone and you get cursed. Elves only make themselves visible to the people who they want to see them, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen any elves, but there is a certain quality of mythology present in the formation of these landscapes themselves. On land and from above, the landscape is otherworldly, like it came from a fairy tale or an alien planet. And this place even casts a spell on the visitor, since my thoughts have been filled with nothing but Iceland ever since I returned.
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 …