Page 7 of MrsMac Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain May 10th 2017

Geo: 40.4167, -3.70327Our last day of the tour was spent in this bustling city. It is much larger and busier than others we have visited, including Lisbon and Barcelona. We set out in the bus at 9am and were taken on a driving tour of the pace. Our first stop was at the Madrid Bull Ring. During May there are bull fights every day and when we arrived there were queues for tickets. Several statues dedicated to famous toreadors decorated the area. It is an attractive building, beauty which masks the carnage inside.We then drove through the streets to the Plaza D'Espana. The traffic was heavy and we crawled along behind a line that seemed to go on forever, We passed the Prado and the Queen Sofia building, both of course famous art galleries. We stopped ... read more
The Bear is a symbol of Madrid
The Bull Ring
Toreador statue

Europe » Spain May 10th 2017

Geo: 40.9494, -4.11921. Today we set out to drive to Madrid but the distance was short and instead our focus was on other famous cities in Spanish history, Ou first stop was Avila. This is an ancient city and is a complete walled town. It has 98 gates to protect the perimeter. We went through the main tower, St Vincent's and proceeded into the Tourist Information Centre. We were able to access the town through a series of escaltors which led us into the main townWe walked as a group up to the Cathedral. Lucy pointed out some of the attractive old palaces along the way. These were the homes of the nobility and prominent families but most have now been turned into boutique hotels. In the square outside the imposing cathedral we were let loose ... read more
City Walls
Church within the walls
St Vincent tower

Europe » Spain May 7th 2017

Geo: 40.965, -5.66305Our second day in Porto was a completely free day to do with what we wanted. We took advantage of that by sleeping in and not having breakfast until 9am. We finally left the hotel about 11 and were greeted by a bright sunny day. We walked from the hotel to the riverfront and admired the view over the Douro. We were about to take the tram to the old town when the Hop on Hop off bus loomed into view so we opted for that instead.The route took us along the banks of the river and then over the iron bridge and past the Caves along the opposite bank. Where the bus turned there were hundreds of motorbikes, a bikers' convention, obviously. Then we returned over the bridge and up into the main ... read more
Bridge anad markets
river scene
Along the river

Europe » Portugal May 5th 2017

Geo: 41.15, -8.61024The weather had changed when we got up this morning. The sky looked threatening and as we met our guide, Riccardo, It started to rain. We first were driven to a lookout from where we could see the city which is dominated by the University. Last night we had seen groups of students in their black suits and gowns, obviously graduation parties. As we drove back to the city itself we went up to a garden where we were shown stone slabs on which poems were written. Graduating students would write a poem in praise of their learning and pay for it to be erected in this garden, however just as we were looking at them the heavens opened and we all scurried back to the bus. We then drove to the University which ... read more
Poems in the garden
Courtyard of the University
Another view of the courtyard

Europe » Portugal May 4th 2017

Geo: 40.2115, -8.4292Today was a long day with several stops along the way. We set out at 8am and with Sandra as the guide we first drove to the westernmost point in Europe, Cabo de Roca. It was very windy and cold when we stopped so it was a brisk walk to the monument and back again. By the time we arrived at our second site, Sintra it had begun to warm up a bit. Sintra is the summer residence of many Lisbonites and certainly was the home of the Royal families. We walked to the Royal palace and started our visit. This is a beautifully decorated dwelling with elaborately painted ceilings and echoes of the Moorish mosaic decoration. Wonderful ceramic tiles on the walls. There was the swan room and the magpie room both named ... read more
Westernmost point of Europe
Palace of Sintra
View of the kitchen towers of Sintra

Europe » Portugal May 1st 2017

Geo: 38.7167, -9.13333We left Seville at 8 am and drove north-west towards the border with Portugal. We stopped for a break after 90 minutes at a roadside cafe Le Gran Familia. These roadhouses are far better than the ones we have in Australia.Our road took us through agricultural land and, more importantly, many vineyards.Our first major stop was at the town of Evora. This is an UNESCO world Heritage protected site. There has been a town here since Roman times and it has a city wall and typical narrow streets.We all walked together to San Francisco's church. While others explored inside we were drawn to the small handicrafts shops on the other side of the square. these contained many handmade products and lovely artefacts from cork handbags to jewellery to linen and rooster figurines. In one ... read more
Temple of Diana
San Francisco Church
Temple in Evora

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville May 1st 2017

Geo: 37.3833, -5.9965After a good night's sleep we left Rabat at 8am. We were surprised to find it had been raining but the dark clouds did not last for long. Today was our last day in Morocco and we were driving first to Tangier and then to catch the ferry back to Spain. The first part of the drive was along the coast where we could see the Atlantic Ocean.We reached Cape Spartel. Here we walked to the lighthouse and a viewing area to see where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. It had now become a lovely sunny day so the view was very clear. The coast of Spain was clearly visible and we could certainly see the conjunction of the waters. There were many tourist buses here and souvenir sellers on the side of the ... read more
In Tarifa, city wall
The Rock of Gibraltar
The andalusian Government building

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-SalĂ©-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat April 28th 2017

Geo: 33.9905, -6.8704Karim had given us an alternative for today's travel from Marrakesh to Casablanca, that is a trip on a local train. After the 11 hour trip from Fez we were all for not spending all the time on the bus, even if it does have WiFi. So this morning we were all up for breakfast at 5-30am and left the hotel at 6-15.We were driven to the main Railway station and then our driver Mohammed took off to drive to Casablanca with our luggage while we caught the 6-45am train. We were in a first class carriage with six of us in each compartment. The trip took us through fairly barren country side with many cactus plantations and small towns,We arrived in Casablanca about 10-20am.We left the station to find our bus waiting for ... read more
Marrakesh Railway Station
Our train
Along the way

Africa » Morocco April 27th 2017

Geo: 31.7917, -7.09262After a good night's rest we left Fez at 7-30 for a very long day's drive to take us to the magical destination of Marrakesh.Our first stop was at the town of Ifrane. This is like a Swiss village. Most of the buildings were built by the French and it was a summer retreat for the rich residents of Fez. It still is a summer holiday destination. We strolled around the town. In a souvenir shop we found an onyx elephant to add to Fletcher's collection. We then stopped at the statue of a lion which is a symbol for the town. The most fascinating sights here were the stork nests. These were prolific on any high point including chimneys and Communication towers.We saw the tiny heads of young storks peeping above the nests ... read more
Nesting stork
Stork's nest
Sheep slowing us down

Africa » Morocco April 26th 2017

Geo: 34.0331, -5.00028We left Tangier at 8am heading to Fez. We had not seen much of Tangier but we have been promised a city tour when we return on Sunday. We headed out on the road through very arable land and through some small villages. While we had found the city very clean the countryside had much more litter. Our first stop was at the Roman archaeological site, Volubolis. This was once a Roman settlement and has now been partly excavated. Our local guide took over from Khareem and guided us through the ruins. The most striking thing here are the number of beautiful mosaics which have been uncovered. The first house had several of these and some archaeologists were painstakingly drawing them on a grid to ensure they have been recorded carefully. There has been ... read more
Archway leading into Volubolis
Archaeologists recoding the mosaics
Detail of the mosaic

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