Spain

Spain

Pine trees gripped onto the orange boulder-strewn sides as we curled up the mountain. The sea, once a hazy ribbon, became a memory hidden behind the peaks. As we snaked around the valleys into the Serranía Ronda the trees thinned to be replaced by shrubs amongst which could be seen the odd sheep grazing. The rocks took on a greyer hue as we neared the town of Ronda in the Andalucían province of Málaga, with areas of flat land dressed with weathered rocks. Life became more evident with a few small hotels and restaurants grouped at crossroads as we approached…
It had been over a decade since I last visited Marbella and my memory of the town was hazy to say the least. I could have saved myself the bus fare and let it remain a soft-focused snap from my mental travel album. Only the day before, the biggest fire in Andalucía for twenty years had been extinguished after it had spread throughout the campo (countryside) from Fuengirola to Marbella and inland to Ojén, Monda and Coín. The hillsides to the north of the dual carriageway were blackened from the ravages of the fire whilst in stark contrast the firebreaks…
I love Málaga, but it is sadly under-rated. Its name is synonymous with the airport destination for drunken Brits who scatter themselves - generally westwards - along the Costa del Sol. But it shouldn't be. Málaga is one of the oldest cities in the world; its culture and history date back to the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC. It is an elegant, vibrant and interesting city. Málaga has been the home and birthplace of many famous people including Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. It is home to art galleries - Picasso Museum, Carmen Thyssen Museum, CAC - museums and…
According to Catholicism, Santiago de Compostela is the place where the remains of the Apostle Saint James are buried. According to legend, the burial place was found by a shepherd in the 9th Century and since then Santiago became, together with Rome and Jerusalem, a popular destination for pilgrims. The building of the Cathedral, where the remains were eventually re-buried, began in 1075 but was not wholly completed until 1211. Nowadays, people make the pilgrimage to Santiago for different reasons. There are those that do it out of faith, and why not say it, maybe a bit of self-interest, since…
When Antoni Gaudí received his degree in architecture, the director of the college said: "Today, we have given a degree in architecture to a madman or a genius, only time will tell". That was in 1878 and the buildings of Gaudí are not only still standing, but have become a worldwide symbol for Barcelona. There is a wide choice of places to stay in the city but I tend to choose somewhere around Passeig de Gracia, which is within walking distance of a lot of the places you may wish to visit. Look at the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel and Claris…
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