All in Travelopes
MIJAS, SPAIN. Coming from Bajondillo beach in Torremolinos, we travelled for 30 minutes up to the town of Mijas. Mijas took us by surprise. First because we did not know that the town is situated up in the mountains and close with the clouds; second, because we were not aware that we will be seeing a piece of Santorini (or what I imagine Santorini to be as I have not been to Santorini yet) in Spain.
COSTA DEL SOL, SPAIN. Seeing the sun and having its rays reach my skin which is already craving for some heat perked up my spirit! Since it is winter, it is a given that gloomy days outnumbers the sunny ones. To tell you the truth, I barely felt the sun while I was in Madrid, Toledo and Granada! With that, I was not expecting to see and feel the sun when we drove to the south of Spain. But Costa del Sol is something. And I think the place would not have been named like that for no reason. Costa del Sol is the break that I have been wanting to see for many days now and well, it did not disappoint.
GRANADA, SPAIN. Often enough, I find myself at loss for words when visiting a place. These are those instances when I just find myself revelling in the beauty that is ahead of me rather than typing incessantly in my phone to form sentences and paragraphs that I will later on use in my blog posts. During my visit in the Alhambra, I was struck by that desire to just enjoy and let it be. I found no notes or whatsoever in my phone. This time around, I will not type any phrases and sentences to go with the pictures. They are on their own and I will just let them do the talking.
GRANADA, SPAIN. Traversing the narrow streets of Granada on the way to the Holy Mountains took us to the Gypsy caves. The gypsies are from India and the largest community of gypsies in Europe is now in Spain. When our travel director told us that we will watch the gypsies dance Flamenco in a cave, what I had in mind were those large and dimly lit, or most of the time dark, hollow spaces in the ground. When we arrived, I was surprised to see brightly lit rock-like structures painted in white and carved to look like normal houses filled with life and music.
TOLEDO, SPAIN. If you have only a day to spare in Spain, spend it in Toledo. It took us 45 minutes by coach to arrive in the capital of Castille La Mancha and to the most important city in the country. Appreciating Toledo from a distance, we saw the infamous Tajoe River that surrounds the walled city of Toledo and the St. Martin's bridge which connects the city to the outside world. We drove through the Cicadas which features houses with views of the Old Town. The price of the houses here usually starts at 1 million Euros and it is understandable why is that so as the view from these houses is magnificent.
SEGOVIA, SPAIN. A 1-hour drive in Madrid took us in Castilla and into one of the most charming cities I had been to on this trip so far. Segovia has a lot of story to tell and it starts with its aqueduct. The city built an amazing waterway system to transport their water from other parts of Spain. It runs for about 15 kilometres and snakes through some parts of the city where they finally filter it before distribution. Sometimes, the lengths of the aqueduct can be found underground, like what a canal would be; and sometimes it can be found up high, supported by columns made in stacked stones.
MADRID, SPAIN. There are two facts that I have observed while visiting Madrid. Madrileños are not morning persons and Christmas in Madrid is very well-anticipated. We were able to prove that when we went to the area of Puerta del Sol one of those nights prior Christmas and was shocked with the number of people roaming the commercial streets of Madrid during the latter part of the day as compared to when we visited these same streets the morning earlier. This part of Madrid was already alive when we arrived. There were shoppers doing their last-minute shopping, sellers, spectators and buskers entertaining those very same spectators on the streets.
DOHA, QATAR. It is perfect timing that our visit in Doha coincides with the country's National Day (December 18). Qatar National Day is annually celebrated to commemorate their unification and independence. After finishing our dinner buffet in the Grand Regal Hotel, we immediately went out and walked to the only destination we had in mind that night: the Corniche. A promise of a grand fireworks display is waiting for us there and the promise is so good to pass up on since we are lovers of fireworks ourselves.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES. Qatar Airways has always been in the list of the world's top airlines. That is why to book in it would entail individuals to experience some nice perks that are non-existent in the other airlines that do not belong in the top bunch. And yes, these perks even apply to Economy class fanatics like me!
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. While countries on the other side of the globe was experiencing summer last August, Australia was experiencing otherwise. The continent is always on the other end of the spectrum which makes it effortlessly unique.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Putting our bags inside the inspection perimeter and stepping out of it to fall in line with three others on the side, we watched the trained dog snake through the spaces between the bags and sniff for scents that only dogs of this type can pick up from a crowd.
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA. I woke up in our room in Austria Trend Hotel Salzburg at around 6 in the morning. It has been my usual routine to go to the restaurant first to have my breakfast before going back to our room to take a bath and dress up but knowing that this would be the last leg of our Imperial Europe tour, I chose to do otherwise. Located at the 15th level of the hotel was the Panorama Restaurant. We had our dinner there the previous night but since it was already dark outside, I was not able to see the restaurant then in its full glory.
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA. Salzburg as is was already amazing but to see sights there with my own eyes which I had only seen in movies was even more amazing that it took the experience we had in the city to a more special place in my heart. The Sound of Music had been a part of my childhood. I was first introduced to it by my mom. I think I was only about Grade 2 or 3 when I first watched it but it did not stick with me then. I was so young to understand the plot or at the least understand the stars past their slangs.