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Posts tagged ‘Andalusia’

Cádiz

Adventure! We were excited to land here. Sarah and I, along with Rebecka and Dennis, had signed up for an excursion called the Forest Cycling Adventure at this port. We hopped on a bus from the port city of Cádiz that took us to the village of Vejer de la Frontera, a stunning hilltop town. I wish we could have spent more time there, but it was just our starting point on the 10-mile bike ride that took us down to the sea.

It was an unexpected surprise to begin our journey at Vejer de la Frontera because I didn’t know anything about these beautiful villages in the Andalusia region of Spain, where every building is painted stark white, the blue sky above and green hills surrounding making the perfect frame.

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The ride itself was guided by two locals. It wasn’t a challenging ride for my group, as the four of us cycle regularly, but there were others on the tour that weren’t experienced riders so we had to stop and wait on occasion. I don’t think any of us minded too much, though there was the occasional break from the group due to the desire to just GO!

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The view to the sea at the start of our ride

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Rebecka, Sarah, and I during a break

It was a little bit of a stretch to call it a “Forest” Cycling Adventure. I kept wondering where the forest was, but it was a gorgeous ride that took us on back roads with very little traffic. We eventually rode through a small campground surrounded by trees before we made a sweeping descent to the sea.

The wind was blowing something fierce. The plan was to visit a lighthouse, but when we began down the road that led to the beach, sand in our face quickly turned us around. We decided to find a place to have a cold drink before we got back on the bus and headed back to Cádiz.

We didn’t have a lot of time in Cádiz before we had to board the ship, but we made the best of it. We walked the pedestrian streets and found an outdoor cafe where we had a bite and sipped Albariño. (I’m actually not sure if that’s what we were sipping, but it sounded better than white wine and I know that while were in Spain, we sipped Spanish wine often. When you are traveling with a winemaker, you let her order the wine). We then made our way to the massive Catedral de Cádiz, where we climbed to the top of the bell tower to take in and photograph the sweeping views of the city.

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Our boat!

That night, the sun set in Spain and in the morning, it rose in Portugal. Next up, Lisbon.

Málaga

Málaga is the southernmost city in Europe located in the Andalusia region of Spain. It lies on the Costa del Sol of the Mediterranean Sea. Málaga is one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s traceable history goes back 2,800 years. It is the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and my friends and I had the wonderful experience of going to the Picasso museum in the city where life began for this legendary artist. But first we visited Alcazaba, a fortress palace that was built in the span of six years beginning in 1057. It was built after the fall of the Roman Empire when the city was under Islamic rule. It was a fascinating walk through the splendors of this ancient place. It was maze-like with meandering pathways that took you through lush gardens and tiled walkways, stone archways and small rooms, where you couldn’t help but wonder what went on so long, long ago in each and ever corner.

Alcazaba

Keyhole Archway

Sarah and I up high in Alcazaba with the sea behind us

We next took a taxi to Museo Picasso. You are prohibited from taking photos of the exhibits, so we enjoyed the experience for exactly what it was; surreal and in the moment. This famous and beautiful Picasso was there. I stared at it for a very long time.

Picasso | The Three Graces | Paris, 1923

This Jackson Pollock took up an entire wall, and I was very pleased to see his work there as well. (Both photos borrowed from the museum’s website).

Pollock | Mural | 1943, New York

After the museum, it was time for food. With no tour planned on this stop and no one to guide us, we walked through the center of town searching for a place to eat. We sampled Marcona almonds from a street vendor along the way. They were the best I’d ever had. With no time to visit the Málaga Cathedral, we still walked toward it to take in it’s splendor from the outside while we looked for a place to eat. There was no shortage of restaurants to choose from, but we found a place slightly off the beaten path and it was perfect. You could tell it was family owned and there was a large group of lively locals. In fact, we were the only foreigners there and somehow that made the experience more enjoyable, as if we had been let in on a secret. At the end of our meal they delighted us with tiny glasses of complimentary liqueur and a piece of candy.

Málaga Cathedral

Marona almonds and other deliciousness

Just a snippet of our tapas experience

Back on the ship that night, we went a little crazy with dessert in the Grand Dining Room. I know I’ve said the food was excellent on the ship. This photo proves it.

As we departed Málaga, our Cruise Director announced that we would be leaving the Mediterranean Sea that night via the Strait of Gibraltar and making our way into the Atlantic Ocean. And then there was this glorious sunset. Later on, I managed a bad photo of The Rock.

The Rock of Gibraltar

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