Page 10 of MaRs BaRs Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo October 23rd 2015

With its cobblestone streets and medieval walls it is no wonder that the entire city of Toledo is declared a UNESCO world heritage site. For centuries, Christians, Muslims and Jews flourished in this city of three cultures and built an incredible display of churches, monasteries, mosques and fortresses. In addition, Toledo is known for its traditional crafts, including damascene metalwork antique swords and handmade marzipan (sweet almond pastries). With so much to see in Toledo, it feels ironic that our first stop was the bus station. We were thinking about taking day trip to Consuegra, Spain, to see the windmills and the Saffron festival. However, realizing that we would not have much time in Consuegra, we decided to skip the trip. Instead, we headed to Zocodover, the main square. With nothing planned, we decided to take ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Córdoba » A Mezquita October 22nd 2015

We arrived in Cordoba around 12:00 pm after a two hour train ride from Ronda. Cordoba, founded by the Romans, was a port city used to ship olive oil, wine and wheat back to Rome. The Romans built the Roman Bridge but Cordoba’s greatest glory was when it became the capital of the Moorish kingdom of El-Andalus. This was when work began on the Great Mosque or Mezquita. The Mezquita is known for the numerous alternating red and white horseshoe arches inside. When the city was reconquered by the Christians, the new rulers of the city were so awed by its beauty that they left the Mezquita standing, building their cathedral in the midst of its rows of arches and columns and creating the extraordinary church-mosque we see today. After visiting the Mezquita, we walking along ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Ronda October 21st 2015

Today we journey from Barcelona in the north to Ronda in the south. We woke up early in the morning around 4:00am to catch the N17 bus from Barcelona city centre to the airport. Then after our Vueling flight from Barcelona to Malaga, and a bus ride from Malaga to Ronda, we finally reach Ronda at around 12:00pm. After settling into our hotel, Hotel Arunda II, we had lunch which included some delicious Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup. Then it was off to see the Ronda bullring! The Ronda bullring or the Plaza de Toros, is one of the oldest and most revered bullrings in Spain. Although I don’t condone bullfighting, it was interesting to learn about the history of bullfighting and explore a typical bullring. After the bullring, we wandered the many streets and alleyways ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona » Girona October 20th 2015

Today we are off to Girona Spain. Girona, a city found in the northeastern part of Catalonia, Spain is known for its old town medieval architecture and Jewish ghetto. It was also used as a set location for the television show, Game of Thrones, season 6. When we first arrived in Girona, we were told to try the pastry xuixo, at a nearby pastry shop near the bus station. Xuixo, is viennoiserie pastry produced in Girona, Spain. It is a cylindrical pastry filled with crema catalana that is deep fried and covered with crystallized sugar. According to a legend, there was a young acrobat that fell in love with a pastry chef’s daughter. One day, while sneaking into the pastry shop to visit his beloved, the pastry chef appeared and he had to hide in a ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 19th 2015

Today started off with us arriving at Plaza Catalunya, just in time for our day trip to Codorniu Cava Winery and Montserrat. We had little time to spare, so we bought a quick breakfast at a local café. While we were scarfing down our breakfast, we were approached by an older women asking for money. I felt insecure to go through my wallet looking for money. When she asked for my croissant, I decided to give it to her. I do not like seeing people go hungry. We quickly got on the bus and then it was off to Codorniu Winery. Codorniu, specializes in creating Cava, a sparkling wine mainly produced in the Catalan region of Spain. When we reached the winery, we were presented with a 3D video of the history of the winery. Very ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 18th 2015

Our first stop, this morning was Park Guell. Park Guell, located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, is a fair distance from the city center. We booked our tickets to the monument region of the park online to avoid the queue and save a dollar. We had to take the metro to the Vallcarca station and then follow the signs to the park. After walking uphill and taking a set of escalators, we finally reached the park in about an hour after we left the hostal. We just made our tickets window in the nick of time. At 8:30 in the morning, the park was fairly calm. It was nice to walk around the park in peace and quiet, without the large tourist crowds. As it is located on a hill, the park provided wonderful views ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 17th 2015

I am one of those people that likes to plan things well in advance. Therefore, when I heard that it could take over 2 hours to enter the Sagrada Familia, I decided to book entrance tickets online. I booked the Basilica entrance and the Nativity tower at 9:00 am and 9:30 am, respectively. However, when we reached the basilica, there was no queue. Nevertheless, I guess it is better to plan ahead than potentially have to wait for hours to get inside At 9:30am we took the elevator to the top of the Nativity tower and were rewarded with a great view of the city. We saw intricate details of the Nativity façade through the many windows poking out of the tower and also got to see some of the construction that was being done on ... read more
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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 16th 2015

The day has finally arrived! After months of planning, my sister and I are finally going on our first Contiki two week trip to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. But first, we are spending an entire week travelling around Spain by ourselves. Our mission, to discover parts of Spain not included in the tour. Our first destination; Barcelona! Known for the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, great food and nightlife, Barcelona was definitely a destination we could not miss on our visit to Spain. We landed in Barcelona around 5:00 pm on Friday, October 16th. That gave us enough time to check into our Hostal, El Angels, and wander around the famous street, La Rambla and visit La Boqueria market. For the off season, La Rambla and La Boqueria market were surprisingly very crowded. La Boqueria market was ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 30th 2013

Friday, August 30th, 2013- Saturday, August 31st, 2013 On the road again… Today we were on the road again from Iringa back to Dar Saleem airport. We stopped at an arts and crafts store on the way. I bought a lion painting, salad spoons and a jewellery box. Renata bought some jewellery. The whole Tancan 2013 team cleared out the store in one sweep. Then we were back on the road again to Dar Saleem airport. We may have missed our flight if we did not take a secret route to the airport to bypass the rush hour traffic. We were able to make our flight with time to spare. The plane ride home was fairly uneventful. From DarSaleem we headed to Zurich, from Zurich to Newark and from Newark to Buffalo and then the greyhound ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 29th 2013

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 Walking tour and meeting the Maasai…. Today Renata, Viola, Leo, Joanne and I went on a walking tour early in the morning with Eddie and a Maasai through the National Reserve. We saw animals in the distance and learned about the trees and animal footprints. We saw a baobab tree that was used as a hideout for poachers to hunt for animals. The gun the Maasai warrior was carrying was not for animals but for poachers. Poachers will kill humans if they are seen in order to protect themselves. Luckily, we did not see any poachers. Eddie gave us the fruit of the baobab tree to taste. It was overripe and tasted powdery and sour. The Tanzanian people make a drink out of the fruit juices. The baobab fruit is known to ... read more
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