Page 4 of Greenwoods Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Estepona January 1st 2008

Today was a quiet today for all, especially for the kids. In the afternoon, Mark and Deb went out for a few hours while the kids relaxed around the Marriott. We started in Benahavis where we walked around the small town which was quiet except restaurants which were open on New Year's Day. Deb liked the hanging poinsettias in the town and of course the Santas hanging outside several of the windows. We decided we'd drive toward Estepona to have a drink outside in the sunshine. We stopped at Laguna Village which is just between the Marriott and Estepona. They have a Mai Tai Bar (Trader's Vic's) which was packed and then a cute beach restaurant with outside sofas and comfy chairs that Deb and I sat down for a drink. It was wonderful sitting in ... read more
Hanging Poinsettias
Benahavis Plaza
Climbing Santas

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Marbella December 31st 2007

A sleepy morning was followed by a croissant breakfast on our balcony. Mark and Deb had a nice walk in the sun on the beach. We then headed out toward Marbella. We stopped and walked around Puerto Banus to see it during the daylight. It was very pretty with the white boats and white houses in the bright sunshine. We drove on to Marbella and after finding a parking garage for the bus, walked around the old town of Marbella. Deb found several nice shops for some small gifts. The Plaza de Naranjos (oranges) was a nice spot to sit down and have a drink. Old town Marbella features many tight streets with shops and small plazas with cafes and shops. A surprising amount were open despite being Christmas Eve. We continued to see the abundance ... read more
Puerto Banus marina
Guys at Puerto Banus

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada December 30th 2007

Today was our day to go to Granada and tour the Alhambra, one of the most famous places in Spain to visit. Granada was the last vestige of the Moorish influence in Spain and from the 11th to early 16th centuries the Moors built a series of fantastic palaces at the Alhambra, some of which survive today. Tickets to visit the Alhambra had been sold out in advance (often the case) so we had to purchase tickets through a private company that included a guide. That turned out to be very worthwhile. The guide we had was very knowledgeable, both in history and religion. He spent a lot of time explaining the design and use of the Alhambra from the Muslim point of view. The tour was a little long (2.5 hrs) for Will and Diana, ... read more
View from fortress of old Moorish barrio
Larger perspective from fortress
Inside courtyard in a palace

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Estepona December 29th 2007

Today was a relaxing day at the timeshare in Estepona. Everyone slept in and we spent the day relaxing in the beautiful sunshine. We were very happy with the resort and its amenities. The kids had a fun day playing basketball and soccer with other kids on the sport court and in the indoor pool. Mark and Deb enjoyed lying in the sun reading. For dinner, we drove to Puerto Banus and had dinner at an Italian restaurant recommended by Nancy, Amore y Fantistico. The pizza and pasta were great. Thanks for the tip Nancy! It was then back to the unit for a quiet night as tomorrow we are off to the Alhambra in Granada!... read more
Play time
Azuelos everywhere!

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville December 28th 2007

We had a long day planned today as we were leaving Sintra for Estepona, Spain but wanted to spend half a day in Sevilla. So, we were on the road before 6am which was fine as everyone slept except Mark and the roads were empty. Mark and Deb had previously been to Sevilla, so we hoped to give the kids a flavor of the town with a half day visit. We were first confronted with parking difficulties. All parking garages we immediately found were full. So, after a tour of downtown Sevilla we parked across the river in an underground lot where we found a suitable spot for the bus. We started our short stay with a visit to the Cathedral which of course was impressive since it is one of the largest in Europe. The ... read more
Plaza in Sevilla
View from the top of Cathedral
Orange Trees in Cathedral Courtyard

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Sintra December 27th 2007

After a late morning, we got to see our beautiful hotel during the daylight. After a brief walk around the grounds (includes a monastery and golf course) we started off to Sintra. We started off with some croissants and hot chocolate at a cafe on the main square. We then toured the Palacio Nacionale which was a residence for Portugal monarchs. There were some beautiful rooms with painted tiled walls and painted or engraved ceilings. Deb then shopped for azuelos (painted tiles) while the boys grabbed more croissants and bread from a pastry shop. While in Sintra, it's hard not to notice the old Moorish Castle looming high above. That was our next stop as we drove the bus up the winding road past numerous old estates (Sintra was old retreat for Lisbon's wealthy). The Moorish ... read more
Hotel Patio
Diana in front of the "bus"
Palacio Nacional

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon December 26th 2007

After a poor night sleep due to jet lag, we woke up early for our 5am van ride to the airport. After arriving at the Lisbon airport, we picked up our 9 passenger van, referred to us all as "the bus." We proceeded to the Belem area where we visited two sites. First, the Jeronimos Monastery whose construction began in 1502 and exemplifies Portuguese art at its best (I copied that description!). Then we went to the Tower of Belem, which was one of two opposing defensive fortresses along the river. From there, we drove into downtown Lisbon to see the old castle there. We took a tram up from near the main square and hiked around the castle grounds. The castle goes back to the Moorish period in the 11th century. The castle afforded great ... read more
Monument and Bridge
Along the riverwalk
Tower of Belem

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London December 25th 2007

After our morning breakfast at the hotel we relaxed for a few hours in our rooms. We had plans to do a Charles Dickens Walk from Trafalgar Square but since it was raining and we had some napping going on, we decided to skip it. With the Tube being closed on Christmas, we had a nice walk from the hotel through St James Park, by Buckingham Palace and on to the Hard Rock Cafe. Luckily, the rain had stopped for the first time today! We had a nice dinner at the Hard Rock with Christmas pop songs played in the background. Steven tried a sip of Dad's beer and decided it was way too bitter. Diana and Will tried a tiny sip of Mom's Pomegrante Martini and promptly made the Mr. Yucky face. After dinner we ... read more
Victoria Memorial
Nighttime at Buckingham Palace
Outside the Hard Rock Cafe

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London December 25th 2007

We all slept in late on Christmas morning when we discovered that Father Christmas had brought some presents for the kids. Diana and Will also received a stocking of treats from the hotel. We had a nice breakfast at the hotel restaurant with a big buffet of hot and cold items. Breakfast was followed by a Treasure Hunt in the hotel which Diana participated in. After tracking several clues, the children found presents and were visited by Father Christmas!... read more
Presents from Father Christmas
Dressed by Christmas breakfast
Hotel Lobby

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London December 24th 2007

Our alarm woke us at 8am after a wonderful night of uninterrupted sleeping. We had worried that we’d wake up early due to time change, but we all slept right through the night. We were happy to see the fog was gone so we made plans to go to the London Eye right away. Afterwards, we hit the Starbucks next to our hotel for breakfast. Deb once again seemed to find a hotel to stay in directly next to a Starbucks. We enjoyed the 30 minute ride on the Eye and the dramatic views we had of London. Deb and Diana went on to Harrod's for some brief shopping while the boys checked out the Star Wars Exhibition. At Harrod's we met Deb's friend Penny and her husband Dave who we had lunch with at a ... read more
View from the London Eye
Inside the Pod
View of a pod

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