The end of Andalusia

I had my first minor glitch today in Granada. It wasn’t anything major or plan altering- mostly just annoying. By going to Córdoba instead of spending that extra day in Seville, and then having the day in Seville so slow/rough, it left very little time for Granada. I thought I had a whole day and a half when in turn I really only had half of a day. Half of a day is NOT enough for Granada by any means. I’m sure Granada is doable in a day, but in no way half a day. 

I woke up early to get to the Alhambra. They only admit a little over 400 people into the massive park at a time, and sell about 300 of the tickets online. This leaves very little wiggle room. I tried to get tickets the day before but they were sold out. They also only admit people into the palace in even less abundance so you have a single specified hour. I couldn’t get an early enough time and ended up having to skip that. Oh well.  It was still absolutely beautiful. In a fluster I ended up getting the audio guide. It wasn’t that great honestly, but I’m glad I got it. I knew absolutely nothing so it clued me in quite a bit about the Moors and the Muslim history of Medina and Alcazaba in Granada that I barely knew existed. There also are barely any signs at all so it may have been for the best. I did the whole park in 3 hours, but I would assume the average was much longer. I started with Generalife and then moved on to the rest. 
   

                                                                                                                               

The man who planted these beautiful roof top flowers came over to me and told me to go look at them, a little out of the main paths view and not as easily noticed. He was so proud of them, it was adorable. 

   

                                             

      

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 To be continued…

 

 

 

 

  

Game of Thrones and Star Wars sets

The day in Seville was a rough day… My friend living there showed me a real Spanish experience the night before (when I got home from Córdoba) and we needed to get an early start on the day… It wasn’t a great equation. 

 

Olivia had off and took me around the city. We were off to the Alcazar! We first passed the Giralda on the way. 

   

         

I was so excited for this. They filmed some of the new season of Game of Thrones here and I’m clearly a big fan. We spent about an hour walking around the grounds, just letting our allergies soak in all the pollen.

   

                      

    

         

We walked down to the river and around the Arenal area seeing the Royal Bullring and men tanning amongst other things.

   

                                           

To top off my nerdy fan girl day we went to Plaza de España… Where part of Star Wars was filmed. I was blown away. 

   

               

                                     

We took a nice scenic route back through the city before I was off to Granada!

  

                   

Gone to visit Ferdinand and Isabella

I woke up and due to scheduling despite my desire to not, it was a day trip travel kind of day. Seville is centrally located in the south of Spain so it was a great location to day trip from. My only complaint was that there were too many places to choose from. I really wanted to see Gibraltar but it was a very long bus ride with little time between to actually be there. I could go to the beach, Cadiz or Malaga. Out of ease (laziness) and lack of brain power to decision make I decided on Córdoba. I previously wanted to go here, nixed it, and now here I am. Córdoba seems to have a lot of mixed reviews as to being worth going to more than other places. And despite my lack of planning for Córdoba from my 33 page PowerPoint (not kidding, I love planning) I set off. I went by an over priced quick train. I also want to add now, I loved my choice and didn’t regret it. This is shown by my hundreds of pictures I’m about to post…

  

I saw that on the way… Like what? Random castles between the orange vineyards. 
I think the city has public wifi, that or I signed off in Spanish to use the wifi probably for the price of my 3 first born children. Either way, it was awesome. From previous GPS I found my way through gardens and continued with the newfound wifi. Gardens is kind of an understatement…. Fountains, shops, and orange trees. 
 

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

I followed along and ended up at the Cruz Roja de Córdoba. 
   

  

  

 

Walking from the train station, Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba and Virgen de Los Faroles came first and was where my path led. It was €8 to get in (adult, no student discount) and completely worth it. As everyone knows, I am not one to pay to go into things but this is not the place to be stingy with those whole eight euros. 
   

  

  

  

  

  

 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    

  

 

  


I walked around back to find the old Roman Bridge and the Calahorra Tower. It was Mereen, straight out of Game of Thrones.  

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

   

  

               

Last but not least, the Alcazar. 

   

                                                                             

After that, I got paella, wandered, and found some art displays before leaving Córdoba. 

   

                                    

I still hate paella, Spanish food does not do good things for my stomach. I also ended up not being let on my train because I “wasn’t early enough”. But, I got on the next one at no extra cost and all was fine. 
 

A teaser

I flew from Amsterdam to Seville, parting with Nick as he flew back to London. I have a friend studying abroad in the city so once I got settled in I met up with her. I only got to see a little of the city that night and on my walk to the train station the next day. I’m SO exited to explore the city, it was a nice teaser that I thought I would share… 

   

  

    

  

  

  

  

  

 

It’s not as easy as the Dutch make it look….               

We got an early train back to Amsterdam from Rotterdam. First thing was first, we rented bikes. I had practically FOMO and severe jealousy of all the Dutch casually flying past all over the city on their bikes. We didn’t have anything specifically planned on our last day but to bike around and see the city. 

 

 

 

We REALLY wanted to see the Anne Frank house or the Van Gogh museum but that’s nearly impossible unless you devote your entire day to waiting in line. This is the house and as you can see the line wraps around forever… And this is on a Monday.  

Vondelpark 

 

 The laziest dog in all of Holland…

 

 

 

 

  

We stumbled upon a cute little market in the De Pijp area. 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

We found a Chinatown in the middle of Amsterdam…. Of course.     

  

  

  

  

  

 

This day was meant to be relaxing and just soak in the city. But let me tell your, it wasn’t. Sitting on a terribly hard rented bike seat all day is not okay. I rarely ride bikes so I’m not accustomed to this at all. Nor am I accustomed to riding bikes through traffic. I don’t know why but so many people insist on driving (even hummers) through the tiny streets. The Dutch look so casual and easy as they glide past. This does not mean it is casual and easy for everyone. Nonetheless, you can still see how beautiful and worth it the city is.

Having Dutch friends is pretty cool. 

It was a little over an hour on the train from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. We have two friends (the nicest Dutch girls ever) who were the inspiration for our journey out. 

Rotterdam isn’t quite Amsterdam, I think we were some of the only tourists in the whole city. Despite it not being a tourist hub, it was still insanely cute and fun. It was neat to see more of the real Holland…. Which I am in love with. 

   

 

Their streets and areas have cool names….

   

  

  

 

Even the bathrooms are cool…

 

They have docks, a city sky line, massive bridges, windmills, and super weird architecture too!

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Holland and all the Dutch are fabulous people. They have this wonderful mix of a “German” work ethic, but an “Amsterdam” kind of fun, while being the most “green” and environmentally conscious country. AND the people are insanely nice, easily the nicest people I’ve dealt with in Europe. They don’t have much of their “own” food but their waffles were better than any I had in Belgium and their crepes were a much better pancake idea than in France. Plus they were a very fashionable country, in a much more functional way than most of Europe. And they bike, boat, or tram everywhere. I’m in love.