You can’t go to Granada and not see the monumental complex of The Alhambra. The dramatic towers hover over the town, strategically built there in 1237 by Muhammad I al-Ahmar. It changed hands many times over the course of history and remains a beautiful blend of Muslim and Christian art and architecture. Get your tickets to visit the grounds early because they sell out fast.
We had the amazing luck to stay in an air bnb with this view!
The free and delicious tapas kept coming (you can read about that tradition in my Tapas and Tinto post :)) and the winding uphill streets kept us hungry for more.
We loved the medieval feel of the historic area and the amazing food found in all the cafes along the river.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Hotel Casablanca in the dreamy resort town of Almunecar. Everyone here seems to be in the Tranquil Zone. The seafood was fresh off the boat, the cocktails were frosty and the Mediterranean sea was cool and refreshing after a stroll down the beach in mid 70 degree sunshine.
Our room was $58 in US dollars, and the restaurant right in front had the most amazing dish of braised oxtails for $18 US.
The bird sanctuary was located right across the street from our hotel and had a large selection of tropical birds as well as lemurs and meerkats. A short path uphill led to beautiful cactus gardens.
Peace and tranquility rule the day here where you can drink a bottle of wine with your menu del dia (menu of the day) and then sleep the afternoon away on the beach.
We’re pleased to discover the wonderful tradition of getting a complimentary plate of tapas when you order a glass of wine in some restaurants in Southern Spain. For example, you can order a copa de vino tinto (a glass of red wine), nibble on the ubiquitous brine and sherry soaked olives in the bowl placed before you and before you can say ‘yum’ the kindly server has brought you a plate with two fried, breaded, goat cheese and bacon stuffed mushrooms. For free. You pay as little as 1.8 Euro ($2.10 US) for another copa and like some kind of Spanish magic now there’s a plate of paella. Another place may serve a plate of linguine with garlic and pork belly, or fried anchovies, or calamari with a side of Spanish coleslaw. Some tapas are hot, some are cold, some are served on a toothpick and others an entire plate full. How delightful is Spain!
Wine is available by the glass usually between 1.8 and 3 Euros. You can buy a bottle for as little as 8 Euros or spend 20 on a nice bottle of Spanish wine.
Another tradition is the menu del dia (menu of the day) where you pick a starter, an entre, dessert and your bottle of wine of choice for around 10 Euros. Lunch is the big meal of the day in Spain, so its no surprise that everyone is taking a siesta mid-day after enjoying one of these amazing value meals.
For breakfast you can order a pile of churros to dip into thick hot chocolate for 3 Euros per person.
You can’t go wrong with a cold glass of sangria to toast the sunset. Salud!
Spain! We arrived sleep deprived after flying from Reno, NV to Denver, CO, on to Frankfurt Germany and finally Malaga Spain. Luckily for us we had an unusually empty flight on Lufthansa for the 9 hour leg so Ian and I (plus all the other ‘chosen ones’) had entire seats to stretch our legs out on. And really I ask you, what is first class? We were served meals, warm cloths to wipe our hands, complimentary wine and beer and got to lay down flat to sleep. Economy in Lufthansa makes all humans equal again.
Centro Historico, Malaga Spain
Malaga enchanted us with it’s late night lifestyle, reminiscent of Italy. The restaurants are just opening at 7 PM and we stayed out eating plentiful tapas and drinking until 11. And left plenty of people still sitting there having another! Our big lesson today was Castilian Spanish is not the same as Mexican Spanish. Fortunately the only odd thing we ended up ordering due to lack of translation was goat, which turned out to be pretty tasty!
The breakdown of what I’m bringing with me to travel for 6 months around the world. Personally this is one of my favorite posts to read in travel blogs where I can gleen from other’s research the best gear and most efficient ways to pack. My clothes starting from the top and going left to right:
Long Underwear top and bottom
5 pairs of undies (I don’t love doing laundry)
3 pairs of socks (2 are crew, one is no-show)
Travel Pants (Prana Halle waterproof, quick drying and super comfortable)
2 sun dresses
Jean shorts (yes impractical but they look good on me)
Zip up sweater/jacket
2 long sleeve shirts (one is dressy, to wear with travel pants for nicer evenings out)
Light Down Jacket (crushable to a wee bitty size)
Now the fun part! Keep in mind that my stalwart companion is also bringing an assortment of stuff, and what’s not pictured is: Pepto Bismol, Band-Aids, deoderant (yes we share), the “real” camera, and my phone (because that’s how I’m taking this photo). Also realized I will be bringing my glasses with me ‘just in case’. Starting from the top going left to right:
Cross body day bag (to foil the bag snatchers)
Hat (crushable and has a bill for sun shade)
Travel towel by PackTowel
Kindle and charger (My Precious)
Shoes (Merrell is my personal fave, Keen is Ian’s)
Buff (ya know, for survival)
Point it book and pen (pics of everything you can think of, very handy when you don’t speak the local language)
Ian and I have bought our travel gear and downloaded our lonely planet guide books. We’ve got lots of flights scheduled, a couple hotels booked, and some highlights to see and taste written down. Two small back packs (carry on only) and our wee bitty tablets will be our only belongings. Here’s a list of where we KNOW we are going, with time at the end to fill in some more countries!