NJMar

NJMar

NJMar

I love to travel and to read other people's blogs of their trips and I've discovered that I enjoy writing about my travels. It helps me to remember what I've seen and done, as much as I enjoy sharing my travels with others. I've traveled internationally to India, Costa Rica, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Israel, London, Rhodes, South Africa, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Italy. (oh, and I spent a day in Zurich waiting for a flight!) In the US I've been up and down the East Coast and California, and places in Washington, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and New Mexico (and probably some more states I can't remember at the moment.)



Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Costa del Sol January 16th 2020

Coming to Nerja on the Costa del Sol was the perfect way to end this trip. The hotel, Paradores de Nerja, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on a cliff, was beautiful with an elevator down to the beach and lots of places to sit to enjoy the view and the sun. And yes, it was sunny for our 2 days here, with a high temperature getting into the low 60s. We arrived in time to sit outside and have a drink before it got dark. Dinner was at a pizza place that was open on Calle Carabeo, near the hotel. It was fun and cheap, but with mediocre pizza. The sun rises in Nerja at 8:27 am, with a glorious sunrise over the Mediteranean. The sky started turning colors at about 8. As you might guess, many ... read more
From Newark State to Costa del Sol...who would have guessed?
It's almost sun rise
SBHS to Nerja...retirement has its advantages

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada January 15th 2020

Granada was our last sightseeing city. We walked the streets of Old Town, spending more time in the shops and less in the cathedrals. This time we explored without a guide, as we had in the other cities. Granada a beautiful city. With the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains and the Alhambra, as its back drop, and the narrow cobblestone streets, the photo ops were endless. We spent time in the Alcaiceria, once a silk market, but now full of souvenir shops; it reminded me a little of the souk in Israel. Taking a break from walking in a Morrocan style tea shop on the Rua de Casas de Cha, was delicious... the tea of course but also the crepes and baklava style pastries. We walked through the Albayzin, with winding narrow streets of the Moorish ... read more
View of the snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountains from Mirador San Nicholas
The Alhambra
The Alhambra

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » C√≥rdoba January 12th 2020

What better way to start the day in Sevile than by having a bowl of cinnamon toast churros with friends? We had to check out the Crunch Cafe before heading to Cordoba for the day. It was delicious and fun. I think a franchise in New Brunswick would be a success! Cordoba was next on the schedule and since I hadn't pre-arranged any tour there, I turned to my good friend Rick Steve's and he didn't disappoint. He suggested a personal guide, Angel, and that's who we spent 3 hours with in Cordoba. At least we did once we figured out the right orange tree and fountain that was our meeting place. Once again there was a Jewish Quarter; only in Cordoba it still has that name. And there is a remnant of a synagogue to ... read more
Breakfast of Champions?
Yes!
The women's section of the synagogue

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville January 11th 2020

I'm falling behind on writing these posts because the days are so full that I'm too tired at night to write. So a quick summary of our day touring Seville, which is fine also cause I didn't love it. We had a half day walking tour set up to see the Royal Alcazar, a place/fortress built in 10th century by Moors and rebuilt by Peter 1 and later others. It's a copy of the Alhambra built by 5000 workers. The thought running through my head was why did anyone need all this? Then we walked through what was oncevthe Jewish Quarter, home to 5000 Jews in the 1300's but is now called Barrio Santa Cruz or Holy Cross ( not so subtle a change) and heard the story of Jews who lived there so the religious ... read more
Checking out the gardens in the Alcazar
The people didn't have access to water to drink, but in the Alcazar water was used to cool the air.
In the Cathedral

Europe » Portugal » Algarve January 10th 2020

It's our last day in Portugal and I'm feeling like I should have planned a few more days here. My first impressions were true and I'd love to explore other parts of the country. But Spain awaits and we packed our bags. Before leaving, we took a boat out of the marina in Lagos to explore the grottos and caves along the shore. It was incredibly beautiful...rock formations and crashing waves. We were the only boat in the area, another advantage of off season travel. It was a motor boat which just fit 9. The pictures don't do it justice but take a look. After docking we walked in to town to go to the slave museum. Lagos is believed to have been the sight of the first slave market in Europe, connected with Prince Henry ... read more
Incredible beauty of nature

Europe » Portugal » Algarve January 9th 2020

Walking on the beach, looking over tall cliffs onto aqua colored crashing waves, and walking where the early explorers went to school...what more can you ask for in a day? Throw in some fishing boats, a lighthouse or two, and a fortress and that was our day. We started our exploration of the Algarve in Salema, walking on the beach, looking for shells and admiring the colorful cliffs. It felt great to walk barefoot on the sand. Unfortunately it was more overcast than predicted, but I'll take that when it comes with 55-60 degrees. From there we drove to the Fortress of Aljuzar, originally built in the 10th century by Muslims. It was high on a hill, not far from private homes. Only parts of the walls remain but it was a good photo op...truthfully, every ... read more
And the beach itself
Exploring the quiet streets of Salema

Europe » Portugal » Algarve January 8th 2020

We checked out of our Lisbon Hotel at 9 and loaded up the bus to head south to the Algarve. We've got a new driver, also named the Portuguese version of John. He also had a different plan to propose for the trip. His plan made sense so we traveled south along the coast for part of the way, made some stops, and eventually took the highway to Lagos, rather than a longer, slower coastal ride to Sagres. Our first stop was in Azeitaio, a small town with 2 wineries. I bought wine at the Jose Maria da Fonseca and wandered a bit. Next stop was a tile studio Azulejos at Azeitaio. We had a demonstration of how the tiles are made and painted...quite amazing. Next stops...a beautiful point overlooking Troia Beach, and a fish and ... read more
Winery in Azeitaio
One of the beautiful tile pieces in the studio
Trying their hand at painting tiles

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa January 7th 2020

Traveling with 8 friends, I arrived in Lisbon early yesterday. We've already seen and done a lot. First impressions: warm, friendly people, lots of sun and warmer than NJ, delicious custard tarts and ginjin (sour cherry liquor) and if you've seen one castle or palace, you haven't seen them all. On our first day after landing at 8am, we went on a walking tour of Lisbon with Pedro. We wondered through the historic and shopping neighborhoods of Baxia, Chiado, and Bario Alto. On our own we took the train to Belem to see the Jeronimo Monastery and Church. Too bad they were closed. We got to look at the buildings and headed back to the hotel via train and metro. Quite an accomplishment for having just arrived! We had dinner near our hotel. The Lisboa Plaza. ... read more
Pastreria de Nata
On Avenida Liberdad, near our hotel, mosaics on the sidewalks
Santo Domingo Square

South America January 10th 2019

I've been in Lima for 2 days and this is the first chance I've had to start writing about it. How did that happen? Maybe having 8 traveling companions has something to do with it? And lots of plans for these 2 pretour days has kept me too busy during the day and too tired at night? All good reasons! This trip is off to a great start. I'm on this adventure with my usual traveling buddies, Rochelle,Roberta, Cheryl, Carol, and Naomi, and we've added 3 lovely ladies, Wendy, Sandy, and Terry. For these 2 days we've gotten to explore Miraflores and Barranca on our own via paper street map and free walking tours. And taken a half day tour from Viator to go to the south of Lima to Pucasana. What I've seen of Lima ... read more
Devil's Mouth Pucasana
Eating for a change but this time fresh baked bread with olives.
Bread baked in clay ovens at a reststop

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi January 16th 2017

As we head back home, 17+ flying hours, I thought for the sake of my memory, I'd put together what we did the last 2 days. The pace definitely slowed down after the Ganges experience. That same day we spent the afternoon in Sarnath, place where Buddha gave his first sermon 2500 years ago and where there is a stupa on that spot, and excavated ruins from Buddhist temples. This was the center of Buddhist learning under the emperor Ashoke. We went into a Buddhist temple that is currently in use. Kapil talked about the history of Buddhism and some of the beliefs. We also drove around the Varanasi Banaras University, the largest residential university in India. Wherever we drove we saw children flying kites, part of the festival day. There are competitions where they try ... read more
Buddhist prayer flags
Excavations of Buddhist center of learning in Sarnath
The local festival I mentioned in the Ganges post




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