Page 4 of Mediterranean Dreams Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges August 31st 2016

We just spent 3 wonderful days in Bruges and are now on the train to Brussels. I had previously been to Bruges when I was 20 when I was spending 3 months in Amsterdam with my cousin Biab and her husband Douwe. Bruges really helped us settle our homesickness for Spain! Cobblestoned streets, large historical buildings and our hotel room was HUGE and modern, smack bam in the middle of town just behind the Belfort (bell tower). After an orientation walk, we freshen up and went to dinner at this funky place with huge red cocks (roosters!) and thongs (flip flops) on the wall. I tried Flemish stew which was nice. We then met up with yet another free walking tour, this one Bruges by night. Which actually is a bit of a fallacy in summer ... read more
Beer wall
Swans just swanning around
Belgian waffles

Europe » Belgium » East Flanders » Gent August 29th 2016

We are currently on the train from Ghent, Belgium to Brugges which will be a short half hour trip. The last 2 days in Ghent have been alright – a big adjustment from the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle we had become accustomed to! After about 7 hours of travel (train, train, bus, plane) we arrived in Brussels. It was pleasant to see small dogs in the airport! Then we discovered there is a dog show in Brussels this weekend! We took a train to Ghent which was our home for the next 2 nights. It certainly is……different. The buildings and old city itself is certainly Northern European – dark brick buildings and tall imposing dark cathedrals/churches. The biggest difference you can see are the people around you. Northern Europeans can be……larger than their Mediterranean counterparts. However, ... read more
Ghent by night
Graffiti street
Ghent harbour by night

Europe » Spain » Andalusia August 26th 2016

After a series of trains and automobiles we are finally on a plane to Belgium! We checked out of Hotel Maimonides in Córdoba 7am to catch our 7.50 train to Madrid. I name the hotel be because although the great proximity to the Mezquita (directly opposite) it was not comparable to the other hotels we have stayed at (for starters the air conditioning didn’t work properly and with 45 degree days we needed it!) The girl at the desk, whom also checked us in spoke English however insisted in giving us directions to the non-existent taxi in Spanish. I hate to be one of those tourists who complain, and we do try to converse in our limited Spanish, but we thought it was a bit ridiculous since we knew she spoke English. Anyways after walking out ... read more
Happy birthday Bill xoxo
The streets of Córdoba
The Roman bridge

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada August 23rd 2016

We’re on the bus after a marathon of a walk to get to Granada train station (lots of construction going on so we had to walk miles out of the way and around to get to the train station). So be because of that we are busing it to Antequerra to hop on a AVE train to Cordoba. Let’s recap the last 3 days in Granada. Ah, Granada. The jewel in the crown that is Andalucía or Al-Andalus. We arrived to a really nice new hotel and immediately went to get our Granada card from the tourist office. The Alhambra, palace of the Moors, is notoriously known for selling out well in advance (only 6600 tickets a day) and as we knew from our last trip, the only way to avoid lining up at 6am to ... read more
The Generalife, Alhambra

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Málaga August 20th 2016

Our last 2 days in Málaga was marked by the Feria de Málaga – a weeklong festival held every August to celebrate the city’s Reconquista from the Moors in 1487. Our accommodation was in the thick of it and we had to maneuver our way around the partying crowd who had gathered to watch bands play on the balconies. Actually it was a very good location with an inner Arab inspired courtyard which shut off the noisy crowds outside. We spent much if the day walking around getting a feel for the place and the locals partying on the streets with impromptu Sevillianas style Flamenco dancing. We tried the local Cartojal wine which everyone was drinking. We later found out it was sherry hence the sweetness. However it was nice to sit in our courtyard away ... read more
Views from the Alcazbar
Celebrating la Feria Málagan style!
Even the buildings are decked out

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville August 18th 2016

Today we say Adios to Sevilla and in a short while will say ‘Hola’ to Malaga! Our last 2 days in Seville were amazing!! The evening we arrived was pretty much a write off as jet lag caught up to us and we had a short snooze which took us into the Spanish dinner hour (usually around 10pm). A short distance from our hotel is Espacio Metropol Parasol – a giant sculpture encasing the square full of shops and restaurants where we had our first tapas dinner. The next day after we had some breakfast we decided to take one of the free city tours. An excellent way to get to know the city, the free tour in Sevilla took 3 hours and as part of being a free tour the company upsells on their other ... read more
The Golden Tower
Real Alcázar
View of Sevilla

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid August 15th 2016

We’re finally here in Spain!! After 2 loong flights from Australia (14 hours Brisbane to Dubai and 7 hours Dubai to Madrid) we finally made it. After navigating our way out of the very large Madrid airport and getting on the correct train to central Madrid we got to our hotel at 11.30pm. Mind you we were go go go since 2am Brisbane time so to say we were tired is a massive understatement! Today on our first full day we went to meet up with my friend from home Monika who is also visiting Spain. After buying our onward train tickets for this afternoon’s train ride to Sevilla, we made our way to Plaza Mayor to meet Monika for lunch. It was really great to meet a friend so early on our trip. Monika is ... read more
Me and Bill at Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

Asia » Japan » Tokyo October 24th 2015

After a wonderful long weekend in Mito, we were off again to our last destination - Tokyo! We got up early to say goodbye to Yotsuha and Mika who had to go to school and work. Mika's parents took us to the station. A short train ride later, we were in Tokyo! Our hotel was in Akasaka, a really trendy district - smaller streets, dotted with restaurants and shops and really vibrant at night. We walked around while waiting to be checked it and got to know the area and has lunch. Later that evening, we went to Roppongi, which is known as the entertainment district of Tokyo. It was certainly more impressive than Brisbane and any Australian city for that matter, however we preferred the intimate and vibrant feel of Akasaka. We went to ... read more
View from Tokyo Sky View
Wall art, Asakusa

Asia » Japan » Ibaraki » Mito October 20th 2015

And we are off to Mito city in Ibraraki prefecture to meet my friend Mika and the wonderfully hospitable Masaki family. I've been the best of friends with Mika since she stayed with my family for 8 months on student exchange in year 12. Since then she and her family and friends ave been to Australia numerous times and I have visited her once in 2005 for 2 weeks. So after 10 years we we are back in Mito! We were greeted at the train station by Mika, her parents and her gorgeous 7 year old son Yotsuha. He has grown so much since I last saw him! We was keen to show off his big boy muscles and drag Bill's big bag to the car! At home we were quick to discover his love of ... read more
Yoshida Shrine Autumn festival,  Mito
Nat-chan and Mika-chan!
Me and my Thai friend  Jhum

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto October 17th 2015

Kyoto - the ancient capital, abundant with traditional Japanese culture, gardens and temples. Upon arrival, we quickly discovered Kyoto was like many towns and cities we've visited in the Middle East - there is the 'new' city and the 'old' city. After checking in to our downtown hotel, we went for a stroll to the old quarter, Gion. At the very end of long street was Yakasa shrine - a large shinto shrine set amongst a backdrop of lush trees and gardens. It is said construction started on this in 656 and it became the object of Imperial patronage in the early Heinan period. Later we walked through the tiny backstreets of Gion to the Gion corner, a small theatre tucked away in the backstreets to see a (touristy) traditional performance of Japanese arts starting with ... read more
Kyoto, a photographers dream
Kyogen, ancient comic play
Me as a Maiko, Gion quarter

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