Kristen M


Kristen M

Europe » Spain September 28th 2010

Today we drove from Granada to Sevilla, with a stop at Medina Azahara on the way. Medina Azahara is a Muslim city built over 1000 years ago by caliph Abd ar-Rahman III of Córdoba. Rumor has it that he built it for his favorite wife, but scholars reject that idea and say that he built it to draw the center of power out of Córdoba. The city itself only functioned for about 80 years before it was destroyed in a civil war. Only 10% of the city has been unearthed at this time. The archeological site is very well done... they have restored certain pieces of it so that you can see what it would have looked like back in the day. They have an extensive museum, with an interactive computer display that you could read ... read more
Putting together the pieces
City View
The Palace

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada September 27th 2010

Today we were on our way to Granada... the last Moorish strong-hold to fall to the Christians in 1492. It was here that Muslim sultan Boabdil surrendered control of his kingdom to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and the Spanish reconquista was complete after 700 years of war. Our main purpose in coming here was to see the Alhambra, a grand Moorish palace that is Spain's most significant example of Islamic architecture, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excited to be nearing the highlight of our trip, but no longer naive about driving in Spain, I nervously clutched the city map that the hotel had sent us. The clerk had given me explicit instructions to FOLLOW THE MAP and pay no attention to the GPS. Unlike other maps, this one was specifically drawn for ... read more
Granada architecture
Our hotel
The Virgin Mary

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Nerja September 26th 2010

This morning, we left the mountains of Zahara de la Sierra and headed south to the Costa del Sol, or the sun coast. We were headed to Nerja, a tourist destination on the Mediterranean famous for its beaches... but even more famous for its caves. Exiting the highway and heading into town, I studied the driving directions I had printed off Google Maps, still naively hopeful that they might actually get us to the hotel without incident. Driving in Spain, Lesson #2: You know how Colorado Springs has Cheyenne Road and Cheyenne Blvd? Spain does that, too. I had finally learned how to locate street signs, and was overjoyed when I saw the sign for our street, Calle Gomez. The roads were, of course, ridiculously narrow and jammed with cars that were half in the road ... read more
Nerja Views
Nerja Cathedral
Gabriel's on the move...

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Ronda September 25th 2010

Today the plan was to take a scenic drive through the Sierra del Pinar mountains to the town of Grazalema and then continue on to visit Ronda. Our English host actually lives in Ronda, so she gave us some advice on how to park and where to eat, and sent us off with a jaunty wave and a friendly warning, "I hope you're not afraid of heights..." Which I'm not. What I am afraid of is being in a car that's barreling around a blind curve on a road that's not wide enough for two cars. With no shoulder. On the edge of a cliff. (That's the whole "heights" part.) The road was reminiscent of the famous/infamous Road to Hana, only to add to my stress, I wasn't looking forward to testing the theory that you ... read more
Ronda's Bullring
The view from the patio square where we ate lunch
"New Bridge"

Europe » Spain » Andalusia September 24th 2010

Our adventure began in the heart of Andalusia’s pueblos blancos, the white hill towns. White-washed villages dot the countryside, perched atop mountains and nestled in valleys all throughout this region. The one we chose to stay in is called Zahara de la Sierra -- one of the smallest, and designated a National Heritage Site. These villages have history dating back to the Moorish rule of Spain, and Zahara de la Sierra hosts the ruins of a Moorish castle at the top of the highest peak above the village. We stayed at a hotel called Al Lago which overlooks a lake surrounded by jagged hills. The view from their dining patio was gorgeous, but after a glass of wine, we realized it was too chilly to stay outside, so we headed inside for dinner. Mona, one of ... read more
The castle tower
Kevin in the castle window
The view from our hotel

You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted, but to see it you have to toil from month to month through its labyrinths. -- John Wesley Powell I'm not sure I want to toil for months, but in the winter it's actually not that bad. We arrived at the Grand Canyon to find quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground. Kevin wanted to hike down into the Canyon, so we set out on Kaibob Trail which travels down one of the ridges to a great lookout point. We only went a very short distance down into the canyon, but the views were absolutely gorgeous, and different than viewing it from the rim. We saw people navigating the snow ... read more
Kevin and Kristen on Kaibob Trail
Inside the visitor's center

North America » United States » Arizona » Sedona March 9th 2010

When our plane landed in Flagstaff and I stepped outside, I knew I was in trouble. Six inches of snow on the ground, and me in my "breathable" (read - not waterproof) hiking shoes. First stop: Big 5 Sporting Goods. $40 for steel-toed Gortex hiking boots... not a bad deal! As we neared Sedona, the snow turned into rain and I found myself wondering what kind of joke they were playing when they said March was part of the prime season to visit. The entrance road to our cabin was somewhere underneath the flooding creek, so we parked across the street in a mud-pit and trudged over the footbridge with our luggage. The entire first day was pouring down rain. Kevin slept in while I sat in the cabin practicing watercolor. I have to say that ... read more
I love the white trees
Pink Jeep Tour
Sedona in March

North America » United States » Hawaii » Maui October 14th 2009

Finally! The last installment of honeymoon pictures and videos, only one day after our six-month anniversary. So I'm a little slow. These are from the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium. Enjoy!... read more
Doesn't this face look almost human?

North America » United States » Hawaii » Maui October 13th 2009

"Maui became restless and fought the sun With a noose that he laid. And winter won the sun, And summer was won by Maui." --Queen Liliuokalani's family chant Legend has it that the demi-god Maui was small, but a strong and determined god. There had been many complaints that the sun moved too quickly across the sky, making the days very short and the nights long. People suffered from the heat of the sun, yet did not have enough time of light in their day to get all of their work accomplished. Maui was determined to make the sun go slower to satisfy the needs of the people. With guidance from his mother and grandmother, Maui laid in wait for the sun and snared it as the first rays of light came over the mountain. He ... read more
Mountain Views of West Maui
Feast at Lele

North America » United States » Hawaii » Maui October 12th 2009

Today we revisited the volcano Haleakala, this time for a ziplining tour through the lush upcountry. The two guides were your typical fun-loving "if we make them laugh they'll tip us more" types -- the best kind to have! They got us all set up in our harnesses, and after the guys all readjusted their "boys", we set off on a short hike to the first zipline station. The first zipline was a short one, designed to just get our feet wet, so to speak. Watching my fearless husband leap off the platform, I thought to myself, "This looks easy enough." I tiptoed up to the edge of the deck and gingerly stepped off... zipping (sort of slowly) along to the other side where the guide was waiting to break my fall should I not catch ... read more
Kristen and her crooked helmet
The patio at Kula Lodge
Smile for the camera!

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