Saturday 21 April 2012

Blogging A to Z EXTRA: Spain

Again, the usual short blurbs I write for the A to Z Challenge would not do justice to this fascinating country. 
Moorish architecture in Alhambra, Granada, Spain ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk

We didn't have a solid plan when we took off for Europe two years ago. We had a general route in mind, couple of dates when we had to be somewhere specific and hundreds of Google Maps markers of interesting sights all over the continent.  Some countries we felt were underwhelming and other surprised us.
It's turtles all the way down! I saw more turtles in the Madrid train stations than I ever had seen (or probably will see) in my entire life combined! ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
Spain is so much more awesome than we had been expecting! We thought it would be nice but it had far more to offer than we were previously aware of. And we barely scratched the surface... We only had a few days in each Barcelona, Valencia, Granada and Algeciras. (And a couple of hours in Madrid where we switched trains.)
Barcelona at twilight ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
Barcelona is a beautiful coastal city and was our first stop in Spain. We came in on a bus from Andorra so we got to see some of the in-land country as well. This city has the unfinished cathedral of Antoni Gaudí, the Sagrada Família, and a park designed by him called the Parc Güell. His work reminds me of sand castles or ice cream. It looks creamy and drippy. :P
Park in Barcelona near the train station ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
It also has a busy harbour and beaches. It was a bit too cool for us to enjoy going into the water when we were there. It was fun to walk down to the marina and see schools of fish swimming around the boats.

Fish in the Barcelona harbour ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
Our first reason for going to Valencia was because we love the oranges from there! (Side note: true Curaçao liqueur is made from a mutation of the Valencia orange which only grows on the island of Curaçao. The bright blue colour is fake.) As it turns out, the city has way more cool stuff than just oranges. It is also known for the large urban bat population and claims to housing the actual Holy Grail!

The Holy Grail! ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
We also loved the BioParc (an "immersion zoo" where animals from similar landscapes are enclosed together and 'fences' are made of more natural-looking materials and there is NOTHING between you and the lemurs on "lemur island") and the City of Arts and Sciences aquarium (AKA "L'Oceanogràfic").
Lemur Island ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
City of Arts and Sciences opera house ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
Gargoyle in Valencia ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
The stop in Granada was totally last-minute! We knew we had to get to Algeciras and had a couple of days to spare. The hubby remembered La Alhambra from a board game. The city itself was quite nice but Alhambra was amazing! It has a remarkable history and stunning architecture. (It inspired M.C. Escher.) You should really read up on it and then go visit!

Alhambra! ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk

Details ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk

To be honest, our only reason for stopping in Algeciras was for the ferry to Morocco and bus to Gibraltar. So for that, it was great! I'm sure it has lots of it's own charm but we a bit pressed for time at that point in our travels.

Spanish coast ~ Photo by Bonnie Falk
This was yet another country we would love to explore more if we had the chance. We only saw the South coast, really, and love it all! Still need to visit Bilbao, in Basque country on the North coast, Seville and Madrid. Another time...


  1. That first photo is awe-inspiring. I can only imagine how much more amazing it is in person!

    Completely unrelated: my husband is from the Philippines. He hasn't been back in a little over 10 years, though. Are you moving there for work?

    1. Yes, Alhambra is amazing in person! So glad we went there. :)

      We are moving to Davao City in the Southern Philippines to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. (IT/Finance support work for the Asia area. I'll probably post something more detailed on this in the near future.) It seems like everyone we talk to is related to a Filipino! (I work a bunch, too.) Where is he from? Does he still have family there?

  2. Such an interesting opportunity! He grew up in Manila and moved to Canada in his mid-20s. He still has a lot of extended family in the Philippines, but his parents and siblings are all in Canada now.