Page 2 of kelleygirl Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 5th 2020

OCTOBER 29, 2019 Our Gate 1 tour was over and we needed to check out of our the NH Collection Constanza hotel to get to our new digs by 9am. Before we left for our trip to Spain, I had made reservations for us to stay in a charming 3 bedroom apartment through Bcngotic on 6 Carrer de l’Argenteria, Ciutat Vella (Old City) in historic Barri Gotic. We had a quick breakfast at our hotel, said our goodbyes to Vera and our new friends then grabbed a cab to the other side of the city to check into our apartment. We quickly got our key, settled our bags, then ran to make our 11am tour of the Palau de la Musica (about 10 a minute walk from our apartment). We were panting but grateful we had ... read more
Lluis Millet Hall
Palau de Musica balcony, Lluis Millet Hall
Balcony view of the concert hall

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 4th 2020

OCTOBER 28, 2019 Gate 1 announced that this last day of our tour would be a “free day” so I had booked the Barcelona in a Day tour (in advance) from Viator. Dave and I took a cab to our meeting place from our hotel. Kathleen from our Gate 1 troupe had decided to join us for the day. We met our first Viator guide Oliver who is an art historian, most appropriate for what we were planning to see: the Sagrada Familia. Crowds had already formed at 9am so Oliver scrambled to get our tickets. Oliver began outside the church by explaining the three doors to the church which represent the Nativity (Birth), Passion (Crucifixion), and the Glory (Resurrection). Currently there are only 8 towers completed but when fully built there will be a total ... read more
Intricate skeleton-like structures support the vaulted arches inside the Sagrada Familia
Casa Mila from the street
Casa Mila window

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 2nd 2020

BARCELONA, Oct 27, 2019 We turned our clocks back one hour (Franco decided to change the time one hour forward) and we left Valencia at 8:30AM. I feel more rested, thank you Franco. Vera told us that after the civil war most people had to have two jobs in order to put food on the table. It was not easy to both eat and get to work. As a result, the time change gave them more time to eat later, yet, Vera told us, most people in Spain don’t know about the time difference in Catalonia. She said some of the locals want to change back to Spanish time but others think it culturally unique and special. As we knew from our travels before that Spain has a law that makes it mandatory that drivers of ... read more
Olive orchards viewed from the bus
Las Arenas, Barcelona
Dave enjoys the view on top of Las Arenas

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Valencia November 1st 2020

VALENCIA Oct 26, 2019 By 8am we had boarded the bus and were off to Valencia traveling North East on the Autovia A-92N. Vera announced that there would be two stops on this long journey from Granada through the region of Murcia to Alicante and finally Valencia. Adding beauty and interest to our drive, we passed through the spectacular mountainous region of Granada province with their famous cave houses (you can stay in a cave hotel or eat in a cave restaurant) and Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada. The cave dwellings were quite close to the highway so I was able to get a closer view of awnings, windows and clothes drying on lines, giving life to the unique homes here. It was fall and the poplar trees' yellow autumn leaves against the brilliant blue sky ... read more
Hot air balloons float by as I grabbed this photo from the bus
Lorca, Spain, province of Murcia, taken from the bus
Lorca Castle, Lorca, Spain, province of Murcia, taken from the bus

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada November 1st 2020

GRANADA 10/25/19 Our bus left the hotel in Seville at 9am and we were on our way to Granada. On the bus, Vera passed out dark chocolate covered figs to tease us about the upcoming sweets at our next stop. She told us that bus drivers, by law, must stop at least every 2 hours. Therefore we had frequent bathroom and refreshment breaks. We stopped at an Autogrill in a pleasantly rural farmland region where Vera suggested we purchase lunch to bring with us to eat in Granada. We bought the recommended and locally famous Pionono sweet treat to eat later and a ham and cheese and ovo sandwich for a walking lunch later in Granada. When we arrived in Granada I saw advertisements for the Piononos everywhere. (I soon found out they were way too ... read more
Spain has the best olive oil!
Charming Granada
Bench details along Granada's pedestrian walkway

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Seville October 31st 2020

SEVILLE 10/24/19 After breakfast we gathered to plan our day. Seville is the capital of Andalucia and of the province of Seviila. Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, the city is fabled to have been settled by Hercules. Founded by the Tartessians, Seville was later settled by the Romans. In fact two of Rome's great emperors, Trajan and Hadrian, were born here. Seville was occupied by the Moors from AD 711 until 1248, and many of its most beautiful monuments and architecture come from that period. The fourth-largest city in Spain, Seville is also renowned as the birthplace of flamenco and Don Juan. Mmmm sounds like fun! First stop: Plaza de España. In the early morning sun our assembled group passed through the Puerta de Aragon, an impressive tiled entrance to the Plaza de ... read more
Bride at Plaza de España
Plaza de España
The massive Cathedral of Seville

Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Córdoba » A Mezquita October 30th 2020

CORDOBA 10/23/19 After a pleasant night spent at the Cordoba Center Hotel we had time to organize and repack for the next leg, before leaving for a walking tour of the historic center of Cordoba. This unique city was once capital of Islamic Spain. Referred to as Spain’s historic cultural capital, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We found that Cordoba, like Toledo, is often a study in contrasts: a historic mixture of Moorish, Christian, and Jewish, old and new. A reference to when it was possible for 3 major religions to coexist in harmony. We should take a lesson from this! Our lovely Vera gave us some historical background of the region which I supplemented with my own research. Once capital of the Western world, Cordoba was founded by the ancient Romans ... read more
Guadalquivir River, Cordoba
Kathleen at Monument to Moses Maimónides
Calleja de las Flores

Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo October 28th 2020

TOLEDO, 10/22/19 After our last amazing breakfast in Madrid we were on the bus by 8:30am and headed to the city of Toledo in Castilla-La Mancha, an hour south of Madrid, passing large old homes and almond and olive groves. As we approached the first vista of Toledo, our bus had to jockey into position among the numerous other tourist buses so we might get out and get our first glimpse of ancient Toledo across from the Tajo River. This “first glimpse of Toledo” is the same view of Toledo painted by El Greco, which is why every tour bus was in line to stop here. Its natural moat explains why Toledo, which means top of the hill, was the first capital city of Spain before the capital was moved to Madrid in 1652. Under cloudy ... read more
Puente de San Martin or St Martin's Bridge
Plaza de Zocodover or Plaza Mayor
Mezquita-Iglesia de El Salvador

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 20th 2020

MADRID 10/21/19 We began the day with an amazing self serve breakfast at Catalyna Atacha, what a delicious spread of culinary treats from Spain! I loved the fuet salami, the fresh bread with ovo and tomato salsa as well as the many varieties of hams and cheeses. The delicious Bocadillos, mini sandwiches with peppers and lettuce, were a surprising treat for breakfast and the creamy fresh yogurt with goji berries, nuts, bee pollen and chia topping options was a nice plus. Lots of fruit, fruit juices and delicious coffees were there to compliment it all. If only I could repeat, repeat. Instead I have added many of these options here at home to our daily routine. After breakfast we embarked on our first tour of the day walking toward the Plaza Mayor and through the major ... read more
Restaurante Sobrino de Botin on Calle Cuchilleros, a favorite of Hemingway’s mentioned in A Sun Also Rises
Madrid’s famous coat of arms, a statue of a bear and a strawberry tree in the pavement
Church in Madrid

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 20th 2019

MADRID 10/20/19 After an early morning landing in Madrid we taxied from the airport to the Hotel Catalonia Atocha located within walking distance of the famous Plaza Mayor. Our hotel is located in the historic Literary Quarter where Spain’s great literary giants once lived and roamed the streets. The remains of Miguel Cervantes and Lope de Vega are said to rest in this area. We were met in the hotel lobby by lovely Vera, our Gate 1 guide for the next eleven days. Vera provided us with maps, an overview of the area including shopping tips such as the large open air flea market and places where we might find a nice lunch. Under cool and questionable skies we were off to explore Plaza Mayor and beyond. With a reputed 300 days of sunshine a year, ... read more
Archway to Plaza Mayor
 The iconic statue of King Phillip III
La Casa del Bacalao inside the Mercado San Miguel

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