In preparation for our world travels, beginning in June 2022, I am experimenting with an alternate post format that focuses on the visual aspects of our travel.
It is often an image that burrows deep into our psyche, fueling our subconscious wanderlust and recurring day dreams. One day, those day dreams intersect with an opportunity. Some saved up money and some time off, and next thing you know, you have a three leg plane ticket to a tiny island in the Java Sea.
On past trips, I was not taking photos with an eye for publishing them online. If any of my photos turned out stunning, it was likely a tribute to the place’s overwhelming beauty rather than skillful photography.
With that in mind, take this pre-pandemic photo tour of Southern Spain as a test flight for better things to come.
We visited Southern Spain twice: in 2010 and 2020. This post provides a sampling of our favorite photos. The idyllic castle featured in this slide looks to be straight out of a midieval fantasy novel. It is located in the small Catalonian town of Tossa del Mar.
In 2010, we rented a car and took a road trip around the Andalucia region. We started and ended in Sevilla.
After that lovely meal of paella and sangria shown in the previous photo, we took a long drunken nap in this plaza in the Casco Antiguo (historic quarter) of Sevilla.
Our next stop was Arcos de la Frontera, a small villiage perched on top of a sandstone ridge. While the town was nice, the boutique hotel was one of our worst ever stays. But that’s a story for another time.
Arcos is only an hour to the east of Cádiz. Situated on a small spit of land at the “end of the world”, Cádiz is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe.
Those are kites you see in the distance, a common sight in Tarifa. It is very windy. We heard a story that long ago, a person could get away with murder by claiming it resulted from irritation at the relentless wind.
Tarifa is so close to the African continent you can easily see it accross the Strait of Gibraltar on a clear day.
After several days of cities and tourist sites, it was refreshing to take some R & R in rural Spain. It is here that I fell in love with olives—an hors d’oeuvre I previously avoided. They were grown farm fresh and served at meals.
Granada is a historic city where we saw flamenco at a restaurant built in a cave.
The most famous attraction in Granada is The Alhambra, an Islamic palace built in the thirteenth century. Every wall, pillar, and archway is hand carved in dizzyingly intricate detail.
Here begins our second trip to Spain in 2020, covering the Catalonia region.
Pastry shops are a very common site in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. My son ogles the bounty through this corner shop’s display window.
The park is not just trees and benches, but a work of landscape art and architecture designed by Antoni Gaudí. Be forewarned, it is very popular
and gets crowded. We visited in the off-season and there were still plenty of visitors.
A horse and pony farm was a perfect place for the kids to experience the countryside.
Montserrat, a monastary built on the side of a sheer mountain cliff, was one of our favorite day trips. Be prepared for some intense hiking and breathtaking views.
A major storm confined us to museums and other indoor activities for three days. It was quite dramatic, depositing sand and sea foam into the streets and closing down a main access road to our lodging. If you’ve never seen sea foam overtake a street, check out this youtube video
Another great day trip, especially for foodies, is the farmer’s marking in the main plaza every Tuesday and Saturday in Vic.
In the medieval town of Pals, I let my little boys be the tour guides. They skipped through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets with (almost) no cars marvelling at all the old world of old stone, wood, and iron.
We took another day trip to the beach town of Cadaqués in the Northernmost reaches of Catalonia.
Besalú, similar to Pals, is a medieval town paved in stone and open to foot traffic only.
We bought several Spanish fixings from this friendly deli to make our own homemade supper of tapas.