Tag Archives: viajes

the alcázar & the toledo city tour

I just had to share these fabulous photos of one of my favorite cities in Spain. Enjoy!!

in search of a thousand cafés

Thursday, July 4:  The next place I go on my walking tour is the Alcázar of Toledo, a stone fortification that sits at the highest part of Toledo.

In the third century, it was used as a Roman palace.  Abd ar-Rahman III built an al-qasr (fortress) here in the 10th century; it was later altered by the Christians, according to Lonely Planet Spain.

It was restored under Charles I and Philip II of Spain in the 1540s. In 1521, Hernan Cortes was received by Charles I at the Alcázar, following Cortes’ conquest of the Aztecs. (Wikipedia: Alcazar of Toledo)

The Alcázar was largely destroyed during the siege of Franco’s forces in 1936 but Franco had it rebuilt and turned into a military museum (Lonely Planet Spain).

It’s a bit strange going in this place because it’s just a huge military museum.  It’s easy…

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Filed under Spain, Toledo

My first blogoversary and I’m late!

I had intended to write something for the anniversary of my blog’s first year of life.  Alas, here I am, nearly a month late.  My first post was 2/9/12 and I really had no idea what I was doing.  Here it is in case you’re curious.  A post about Madrid, the first foreign city that I visited.  I lived there as a junior in college.  I had wanted to create a blog for quite a long time.  Then, one day when I had called in sick due to a migraine, I was lying on my couch and I decided to create this blog.  I’ve had so much fun this past year creating posts and meeting so many interesting bloggers from around the world.  I’ve loved every minute of it!  Thank you to all my wonderful followers.  I sure appreciate all the follows, great comments and likes, it is so humbling.

I thought I would highlight some my favorite posts from the last year and a photo or two as well.  While this blog’s name has the word “travel” in it, I have touched on other things as well during the year.  We won’t be travelling to far off places in the next year.  Instead we plan to enjoy more of our local cultural events.  I’ve already started on that and will point out a couple of those posts in my summary to follow.  Without further ado, some of my favorite posts from the past year:

A post about Toledo, from our trip in March 2011:


Two different posts about the city in Spain I hope to retire to, Málaga.  The first from our trip in 2010, the second from our trip in 2011:


A few posts about Madrid, one from our trip in March 2011 another, more of a nostalgia post and one of the Real Jardín Botánico:

Plaza Mayor

Some others of Spain, the Real Alcázar in Sevilla,  a post about our brief visit to Barcelona, and the Alhambra in Granada.

Entrance - Real Alcázar - Sevilla

Entrance – Real Alcázar – Sevilla

Our visit to Córdoba:


Now, back to the U.S. I really enjoyed the National Automobile Museum in Reno last year. I also had great fun putting this post together(here’s John Wayne’s Corvette):


A couple of sunsets posts, one a collection of sunsets over the years at our cabin, the other from one particular evening last summer.  I never tire of photographing sunsets:

11th Crow Wing Lake-Sun reflection and Dad and daughter reflecting on life

11th Crow Wing Lake-Sun reflection and Dad and daughter reflecting on life

We went to southern California last fall and did a “bucket list” item from hubby’s list and spent several days at Disneyland.  It was great fun and putting this post together was also fun(a photo of a photo from our room at the Disneyland hotel-Walt Disney and Sleeping Beauty’s castle):


A few challenges that I especially like.  A challenge called “Urban”.  One of my entries for Jakesprinter’s Sunday post: Autumn.  And one other Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination(from the Fremont Street light show in Las Vegas):


Closer to home are a few more posts that I really like.  These posts represent some of the great things we can take advantage of in the twin cities.  We really love going to the Farmers’ Market in St. Paul as well as the State Fair every summer.  More recently we went to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and enjoyed some beautiful plants and flowers on a cold winter day.  Another fun thing to do during the cold winter months is visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art.




Head of a Woman by Joan Miro

Head of a Woman by Joan Miro

Last but not least is something I wrote for a daily prompt.  When I saw the theme I knew exactly what I would write and it didn’t take me long to put together.  I think I like this post most of all because it’s about my favorite person, the light of my life.

Thanks to the many bloggers who offered advice and helped me along the way and from whom I have learned so much. I couldn’t possibly name you all.  The entire year was such a great and rewarding learning experience.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there and I feel that I’ve only just scratched the surface of all the blogosphere contains.  But already I feel so much more enriched.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  Here’s to another year of blogging!!



Filed under Writing

Our visit to Córdoba, España

Hubby and I took a day trip to Córdoba while we were in Málaga in March 2011. It was raining so we brought along the umbrellas that we purchased for our May 2010 trip, but never did use that time. This trip we did use them but really, not terribly often. I was glad we had them the morning of our trip to Córdoba as a light rain was falling. Because of the rain, we took a taxi from the train station to La Mezquita instead of walking and getting wet. We were dropped off at the gate to the Patio de los Naranjos(below), found the ticket booth and soon we were inside the ancient place(s) of worship.


La Mezquita is a curious place indeed. I had read about the cathedral within the mosque and marveled at how strange it looked.  While discussing our trip with friends in Málaga that evening, I learned that there originally was a Visigothic church on the site before the mezquita was built.  So, it went from a church, to a mosque, to a mosque with another church inside.  Very curious indeed. I was told that upon seeing the cathedral for the first time Charles V said: “You have destroyed something unique to make something commonplace.”

Once you enter the mosque you get a keen sense of how ancient it is.  It smells old which is very hard to describe unless you’ve been in an old building. The famous red and white arches seem to go on forever, they are everywhere you look.


Here is the Mihrab:


A beautiful dome:


Ornate choir loft:


Beautiful ceilings, always remember to look up!!


More beautiful ceilings:


Minaret and Patio de los Naranjos:


La Mezquita from the Roman bridge, in the rain:


Maimonides and me, in the rain – he was a Jewish philosopher and physician who lived in Córdoba 1135-1204:


Don Quijote y Sancho Panza – Taberna Guzmán:


After touring the mezquita, we walked through the old Jewish part of town (La Judería) and found Taberna Guzmán along the way so we stopped for a bit of refreshment and a bite to eat and to get out of the rain.  We had a nice meal of tapas and when we left the rain had stopped so we put away those umbrellas.  Notice the smile cuz he doesn’t have to use his umbrella ;)


I wasn’t so sure it wouldn’t rain again:


We walked through the old town, found Plaza de las Tendillas (below) and all the fun shopping streets around the plaza too.



We went into a couple of shops but we didn’t buy anything.  Afterwards we walked along Paseo de la Victoria and los Jardines de Diego de Rivas, which was very beautiful, on our way back to the train station. What a contrast from the morning. The sun had come out and it was pleasant and now in the 60s. It had turned into a beautiful afternoon.  These are the kinds of rainy days that I can deal with,  ones that start out with light rain and then clear up for the afternoon.  Of course when travelling it’s better if it doesn’t rain at all but we were there at the end of winter after all so good weather isn’t always the norm.  We headed back to Málaga, met with friends for drinks and then wandered around Larios street and its environs before heading back to our hotel for our last night in Málaga.  Even with the little bit of rain in the morning, it was still a great trip.


Filed under Córdoba, Spain

Sunday post – Architecture from Spain

Jakesprinter’s challenge this week is architecture.  I was inspired by adinparadise’s similar post for this week’s challenge and I decided to try and squeeze it into my busy holiday week. My menu is done, shopping list is made, now I can play a little.  Do check out her post as it’s full of great photos of my favorite country.  To see other entries click here.  I have posted some of these before, but it’s fun to rearrange them for another theme.  I do hope you’ll enjoy them.

La mezquita, Córdoba, Spain

Real alcázar entrance, Sevilla, Spain

Patio de las Doncellas, Real Alcázar, Sevilla

Beautiful ceiling in La Alhambra, Granada

One more from Granada:

From Barcelona:

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

A piece of the old Roman wall that surrounded the city – Barcelona

Inside the Barcelona cathedral

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona

Another detail from the Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona

Mudejar architecture from Toledo, Spain

Mudejar architecture inside Malaga’s alcazaba

Plaza Mayor – Madrid

Madrid is full of these beautiful old doors:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief snapshot of Spanish architecture!!


Filed under Challenges, Spain

CBBH Photo Challenge: Blue

I’m finally participating in Marianne’s (of East of Málaga) photo challenge.  I love photo challenges but haven’t been able to get this one done for one reason or another.  But I knew I had a bunch of blue photos for this month’s challenge that I hope you’ll all enjoy.

This is a photo of the Mississippi River taken from the Ford Parkway bridge in St. Paul.  We parked the truck on the St. Paul side of the river and rode across this bridge on our bikes to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis.  It was a fun day! On the way we stopped to rest on the bridge and I snapped this photo:

The St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park which isn’t really blue but it sure appears that way in this photo:

A balloon flower from my garden:

A window in the Església de Santa Maria del Mar church in Barcelona:

Cool blue flower sculpture in the Jardín Botánico in Madrid:

Blue coat of arms tiles in the pathway of the gardens of Sevilla’s real alcázar:

The memorial to the victims of the attack at the Atocha train station was very moving. It’s a large room with blue walls. The memorial is above you, messages from around the world and in many different languages to the people of Madrid following their horrendous tragedy on March 11, 2004. These messages are inscribed on glass and circle above you:

This blue sign in Málaga really made us feel welcome:

Approaching Toledo on foot from the train station.  The sky was a brilliant blue that day:

All kinds of blue from our window at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA:

This last photo is another from our recent trip to California.  The sky at Venice Beach was also a brilliant blue:

The last part of the challenge is to pick two blogs for people to peruse.  I’d like to highlight one of my favorite blogs that’s in Spanish for those of you that know the language.  This blogger writes about all sorts of things in Madrid: restaurants, fashion, things to do. I love her perspective and she’s given me all kinds of ideas of new places to go the next time I’m in Madrid:

Te veo en Madrid

Another one from Spain is Making Time to Live! One of the bloggers is none other than Ben from Notes in Spanish.  He and his wife are online Spanish language teachers and I’ve learned so much from their blog and videos. Ben and his friend created this blog to help rekindle creativity in their lives. I’ve really enjoyed their new blog!


Filed under Challenges

Sunday Post: People

I usually don’t take that many photos with people in them, except of course the ones I take of my family.  I have lots of those but not so many of other people.  While looking through my photos for this challenge I came upon a few that have stories attached to them that I think are fun.

The first one that came to mind is one I took of some of the students on field trips the day we were in Toledo two years ago. So here’s a scene with that great mudejar architecture and student type people on the street with us:


More mudejar architecture but this time it’s in Sevilla.  Here are some people outside of the cathedral:


Here’s a group of people, lots of tourists in the cathedral section of the mezquita and their tour guide.  Choir loft, Córdoba, Spain:


Everywhere we went in Spain there were lots of people.  Not the least of which was the Alhambra in Granada.  We are entering the Nasrid Palace with all these people:


People strolling and shopping in Córdoba Spain:


People purchasing olives at the Atarazanas market, Málaga, Spain:


We loved this place in Málaga, Spain.  People taking coffee and churros y chocolate at Casa Aranda:


People on Calle Larios including street musicians in Málaga, Spain:


And here’s a favorite moment of that trip two years ago that started in Sevilla and ended in Málaga. After eating alfresco amongst orange trees my daughter and I went off to check out a few of the shops in the square and left my husband with his cognac and cigar.  When we returned there were four more people at the table.  What happened was that they wanted to eat outside but there were no more tables so they asked nicely if we were done and my husband invited them to sit while he waited for us to return.  They were on holiday from Amsterdam for two weeks in southern Spain.  So we wished them happy travels and an enjoyable meal and we were on our way.

A couple of days later we were again eating outside in Málaga and a gentleman was tapping my husband’s arm and then we realized it was one of the gentlemen that we gave our table to in Sevilla.  So I asked if I could take their picture.  Here are our friends from Amsterdam who also make good dining choices:


And now for a few photos closer to home.  The first one is an orchestra concert, festival style I think.  It’s several schools’ orchestras combined together in a gym in a middle school. Just look at all the people in this one:


And then some from our state fair where there’s always lots of people.  I did purposely take this shot just to show the street full of people:


There’s always lots of people in the art building at the fair.  Here are some viewing the piece of art that I voted for:


This was a fun challenge!!  For more great entries check Jakesprinter’s post here or click on the dragon icon below.


Filed under Challenges

I just had to share this of one of my favorite cities in Spain. All the pics are fabulous but I especially like the one of the Alcántara bridge. Enjoy!!

Tay in Europe

It’s official: I love Spain. The food, the culture, the people, it’s all fantastic! Unlike Paris, where I felt out-of-place and intrusive, here in Madrid I feel like a welcomed guest. You smile at people, and they smile back!
Madrid is lively and sometimes chaotic, so a few hostel friends and my dear friend Pablo (from Madrid) took a day trip to Toledo: the old capital of Spain in the 6th century. It’s described as a medieval city, and yes, it is exactly what you imagine an old European city would look like.

Te streets are tiny: some so tiny no car will fit down them, let alone be able to navigate the winding paths and sharp corners.
Toledo is a mere 25 minute trip on a high-speed train from Madrid, and only a 21 euro return ticket: well worth it! We walked 15 minutes from the station, up…

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Filed under Spain, Toledo, Travel