A Travellerspoint blog

London & Heading Home

sunny 22 °C

We've been in London now for about a week... and in fact are waiting for the cab to take us to the airport and home. So this will be my last blog for this trip.

This week... a bit of a blur. Friends and family and good times. Shopping and sight-seeing and relaxing and walking.

Saturday - Sarah and I headed to Portobello Road and meandered through the stalls and shops. Steve went to the Imperial War Museum. Saturday night - caught up with people. Wongy, Brendan, Rosie, Aby and Kez. A great night of drinks, food, dancing and chatting.

Sunday - Sarah, Adam, Steve and I nursed our (slight) hangovers in the morning and went to the Secret Cinema in the afternoon. For those who haven't tried it - it's well worth it.

Monday - a trip out of town... hired a car and went to Bath via Stonehenge. Roman Baths at Bath are pretty groovy. Lunch... then Sar and I ditched Steve and went to the Spa for massage and facials and spa stuff... after which I seriously felt like a new woman. Steve headed back to London on the train to meet up with London ANZ colleagues. Sar and I stopped for a pub dinner in Windsor (next to the castle) on the way home.

Tuesday - a quiet day... but went walking in Richmond Park stalking deer with Sarah and Steve, then headed across to Catherine and Neill's place for a couple of nights.

Wednesday (yesterday) we did touristy stuff with Cat.... primarily the Tower of London. Well worth it. Plus lots of food and wine.

Anyway - must go. We will catch up with all the Aussie people soon.

Cheers
Lindsay and Steve.

Posted by LindsayandSteve 01:57 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Last Days of Spain

Trujillo & Madrid

sunny 25 °C

Hiya,

Upon leaving Cordoba a few days ago, we headed north to Trujillo and (thankfully) left the rain behind us in the process.

Trujillo was a cool town. We arrived on the final day of the annual cheese and wine festival (YAY!!). So after checking in, we looked to take advantage of that!! Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure we can't bring cheese home with us, so only tasting was done on that front, but I did pick up a nice Temperanillo Rose for 4 euro!! Dinner that night was at the hotel - very very good.

Next day was sightseeing... Trujillo has a medieval castle, Roman remains, and was the home of Pizarro... who "discovered" Peru for the Spanish (i.e. raped and pillaged all the gold....). Anyway - here are some pics. Oh and forgot to mention the birds. They were everywhere!! Masses of swallows migrating north for summer and storks. Weird, but true. And to prove it, check out the picture below of the bell tower of one of the churches. It had at least 3 storks nests.

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After our second night in Trujillo, we came to Madrid. Heading north by 2.5hrs means the temperature dropped about 5 degrees... down from 30 in Trujillo to about 25... but still sunny.

After checking in, we had to unload everything from the car as it was time to say goodbye to our faithful chariot after almost 5000kms. After some excitement (and stress) getting out to the return place (the GPS kept trying to take us through an unbuilt and barricaded suburb...) we returned the car with no hassles (not even with the scratches due to an incident in a parking garage). Here is a picture of Steve with the car.

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Last night, we saw a great flamenco show. I took some short video clips, but I can't get them from my phone to the computer. Anyway - a different show than in Granada... 2 guitarists, 2 singers, and a guy on a purcussion box, plus two dancers. The male dancer was pretty amazing.

Today - a magical mystery walking tour a la Steve. We decided that since we really only had one full day here, that we would book onto a walking tour. So after breakfast (note the late meal times here... breakfast is about 10am, lunch around 2pm, and dinner anytime after 9pm), we headed to the tourist info centre closest to the hotel. They said that we couldn't book from there, but the main centre was only a couple of blocks away at Plaza Mayor. So off we went... at Steve's brisk pace (leaving no time to window browse and weaving through oncoming pedestrians....). When we got to Plaza Mayor (which was more than a couple of blocks away), the information centre had relocated. So with the new location identified on our map to ground orientation. Off we went again. And we walked. And we walked. With no food or water.... and hard to obtain them given I was trailling along in Steve's wake (as usual). Eventually Steve decided that we should grab a sandwich and eat them in the park (as we had managed to get ourselves to the botanical gardens). It was a lovely spot for lunch and I wished that I'd had my kindle with me, so we could have sat and read for a while. Alas, not to be.... so with more walking, we made our way back to the hotel.

This afternoon, we decided to head in separate directions for a while. I went to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza which has some great art, and a bit of everything. It was a good way to spend a few hours, as lots of things close here between 2pm and 5pm. Then they open again until 9ish. After my art viewing, I did a bit of wandering and shopping. Mostly to purchase a cabin bag to carry all the stuff we seem to have acquired...

Tomorrow we head to London and we're super excited to be catching up with people. =)

Posted by LindsayandSteve 18:18 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Seville & Cordoba

semi-overcast 24 °C

Sorry - No internet at our place in Seville.

Apartment was great - spacious, with an terrace and best of all - a washing machine!! We have been hand washing for much of the trip... but have well and truly past the point of needing to wash everything. With our luck - it was gorgeous and hot when we arrived in Seville. The next day... it rained. And pretty much rained on and off for the rest of our time there.

Anyway - Seville was interesting. Different from Granada. Dirtier. You spend almost as much time looking down as looking around. That said, every block or so, there's a plaza with orange trees and we had some great food (and some dodgy food) there. Plus the people seemed to be really friendly and helpful.

In terms of sightseeing - the big two drawcards is The Alcazar and The Cathedral and Giralda Tower (co-located). The Alcazar was interesting... but unfortunately, it isn't as impressive as The Alumbra in Granada. Some nice spaces though. And spectacular gardens (although it was raining so didn't get to see too much of them).

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The Cathedral is impressive. The biggest cathedral in the World (and had the Guinness World Record certificate to prove it). It's also worth the hike up the Giralda Tower (37 floors - ramps all the way up) which stands 97m high and gives some impressive views of the city.

Unfortunately, our camera was pretty flat that day, so I don't have pics.

Seville is difficult to find your way around in. Lots of tiny streets... and the maps we had (Lonely Planet and one from The Tourist magazine) were either too small or not detailed enough.... so very difficult to get map to ground orientation correct.

That said, we kind of liked it there.

It was also my first view of flamenco. We went to a bar recommended in the guidebook and at 11pm there was a flamenco show. It was great. Definitely reflected the gypsy culture... a guitarist, a singer, and a dancer. Pretty intense.

Today - we came to Cordoba and I'm sitting in a juice bar which has free wi-fi because our studio doesn't have internet either.

This afternoon we have been to The Mezquita (or The Cordoba Cathedral). It's an amazing space.

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A couple of comical things here.... Signs of the Bull. These are everywhere on tops of hills near the highways, and I finally got Steve to stop so I could take a picture.

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Also - lots of signs warning about cows...

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Right - I think I'm all caught up....

Posted by LindsayandSteve 19:01 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Jerez de La Frontera

Travel and Relaxation

sunny 28 °C

Well I'm a day or so behind on the blog... Sorry all - too busy having a good time :P

We left Granada on Tuesday (it's Thursday morning here now) and drove to Jerez de la Frontera.

On the way, we detoured into Gibraltar, which is basically a pretty impressive rock. Gibraltar is still British (including a currency change from Euros to Pounds), so to get into Gibraltar, you drive through customs and passport checks. We made the guy's day by being Aussie and Kiwi and he was delighted to give me stick about the Ashes... although admitted that the situation was likely to be temporary. ;P

While there isn't much at Gibraltar - here are some pics, including a view across the straight to Africa.

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A little further on our travels we stopped so Steve could climb up some rocks (I swear he's part mountain-goat. I am not.). Here is his photo of Africa. A little closer than Gibraltar.

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Anyway - we made our way to Jerez de la Frontera. It's a groovy hillside town - white walls on all the buildings intermingled with old Roman walls and fortifications. The views across the valley are pretty spectacular too.

Yesterday, after walking around the town in the morning, we headed down to the coast (which is only 30 minutes away). Nice to be by the ocean again. After deciding that it would be our only opportunity to swim in the Atlantic, we looked around for a sheltered beach (it's quite a windy coastline) and after finding one, went for a swim. I would like to point out that most of the beaches here appear to be "clothing optional" which was entertaining. As Steve said "there were a lot of dudes on the dancefloor".

Anyway - I've left the camera in the car, so I'll have to add some pics later.

  • **UPDATE*** PICS AS PROMISED!!!

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Posted by LindsayandSteve 09:05 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Granada

Alumbra & Generalife

all seasons in one day 16 °C

I'm going to dedicate this blog to the Alumbra & Generalife.

We got up early yesterday (6.15am) in order to queue for tickets for Alumbra. There are only 1200 tickets available per day (outside the pre-booked/guided tours). The ticket office opens at 8am. We got there at 7.20am and there was already a sizable queue. We hedged our bets - I queued at the ticket machines (need a credit card with a PIN), Steve queued for the tickets with cash sales. It was a foggy morning - and a nice walk up the hill through the Alumbra Forrest. Anyway - we were lucky and got tickets. YAY.

So we started with Generalife. While it is a palace, the predominant features are the massive gardens. Here are pictures.

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The other part of the Alumbra which is seriously awesome are the Palaces of Nazarine (I think)... sorry I don't have the guide book with me.

Anyway - I hope the pics show up well. The detail of the palaces is amazing... and it's all hand carved in chalk. Seriously beautiful buildings. The best examples of Moorish art left in Europe apparently.

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Anyway - I hope it speaks for itself. One of the best things we've seen in Europe I think.

Posted by LindsayandSteve 21:32 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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