deeandrews's visited places
Profile | 33 places in 10 countries
My family's trip to Morocco was full of unexpected and wonderful experiences. My senses were overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this magical country. See all of my photos and discover other unexpected travel experiences at http://travelandtravails.com/traveling-with-kids/morocco-pictures/.
I had forgotten how much I love architecture until I wandered the streets of Barcelona. Gaudi's influence is everywhere from his famous Sagrada Familia church to the sidewalks in the Eixample neighborhood.
Read about my experiences in Barcelona on my website, Travel and Travails, at http://travelandtravails.com/architecture/sagrada-familia-barcelona/. Find ideas, share your experiences, be inspired to find the unexpected.
The one time during our journey to Morocco that I was anxious was when we were literally lost in the Sahara Desert! We had left on camels near sunset from the outpost of M'Hamid and had a wonderful trek as the sun cast shadows and a red glow over the sand dunes.
Read about the entire experience and others at: http://travelandtravails.com/travails/lost-in-the-sahara/
We have just returned from a week in Morocco. I expected many things and was pleasantly surprised to experience something completely different.
My biggest discovery was that the warnings and fears I had were overly apprehensive. I suppose we all fear the unknown to some degree, and I was happy that I conquered my anxiety and experienced this country firsthand.
In actuality, the one time during our journey that I was anxious was when we were literally lost in the Sahara Desert! You can read the whole story if you're interested on my blog, http://travelandtravails.com/travails/lost-in-the-sahara/.
Go to Morocco if you haven't! You'll be unexpectedly surprised!
Sintra was just beautiful. It had all the charm expected of an old European village, lots of hills and wonderful architecture, tropical forests, views of the Atlantic and several spectatular castles on top of the mountains. I loved the winding road to the top of the castle ruins which had spectatular views of the countryside and ocean. Much preferred the old Arab ruins to the Disney-esque castle next door.
We had a great hotel. It would have been one of the best of our three week trip if the beds hadn't been so bad, like sleeping on a convent floor, I imagine. All's well. I would go back again for more!
We have just returned from the annual Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain! It was an amazing, crazy, fun, very out-of-the-ordinary celebration! Huge sculptures, or fallas, are made out of wood and papier-mache and are on display in the streets. Parties and fireworks happen all week long and then the fallas are burnt on the final night! Read all about this fabulous experience at http://travelandtravails.com/festivals/las-fallas-in-valencia/ for more details about Fallas and other great unexpected places to visit.
We went to Madrid for a long weekend. It was not quite as we expected, but traveling and traveling with kids and traveling to cities with kids never is. We thought our itinerary light enough; we travel with our kids enough to know to keep the days simple and the expectations low. We were going to return our leased French car, visit the Prado Museum and take the train home. Of course it didn't quite turn out that way.
Read all about it and our many adventures living in Spain on my blog at:
We went to a wonderful flamenco show in Seville in a tiny theater nestled between Santa Teresa and Maria streets. We had the balcony to ourselves which had a perfect view, and my 4 and 7 year old daughters got to see the performers between acts. One even sat by our youngest and braided her doll's hair! She now wants to be a flamenco dancer someday. I tell her she will have to practice a lot. Twenty minutes later she asked if she has to practice the finger snapping part too?
We walked back to our hotel well past midnight with the cathedral all lit up. Magical.
My last trip to London was full of expected surprises: yummy Thai food in a quaint pub, Shakespeare at The Globe, and a wave from the Queen herself! I've written more about it on my blog, Travel and Travails, http://travelandtravails.com/opinions/top-three-travel-secrets/
My Mom and I were standing at a bus stop in Rome. It was our last afternoon in the eternal city, and we were hoping to squeeze in one final amazing Italian lunch before leaving for the airport.
The bus stop was entertaining as we casually waited against the wall. There was a group of school children waiting, the Italian mothers in their three-inch heeled black boots and Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses, supervising the chaos. The nuns, in their traditional black habits, were more successful with one stern look.
We were caught off guard by the nicely dressed gentleman walking up the sidewalk towards us. He navigated around the children, smiled at us, and said in English, “Two beautiful women out for the beautiful day! Do you have lunch plans?” Only in Rome! We were quite surprised. I think we actually giggled at each other, like the school girls waiting for the bus.
If you're interested in reading more about our lunch with Federico, you can find the whole story on my blog at www.andrewsinspain.wordpress.com.
We had our first glimpse of Javea when we spent our first three days there on our way down the coast from Barcelona to Nerja. We drove into Javea late evening, the sun not quite down, but the light fading, and ventured down country-esque roads looking for the town and our rental apartment. We found l’Arenal which appeared to be a main commercial area, the sandy beach running parallel a block over, and after stopping to ask for directions, wound up into a neighborhood to find the Aparthotel Pinosol. We headed back to the arenal at 10:00pm that night to find dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find the boardwalk alive with families, Spaniards just beginning to have dinner, kids still running through the sand. We had a great dinner at the corner pizzeria, listened to the Spanish of the waiters and other customers and felt like we’d landed in a pretty good place!
Six weeks later, after spending time down south on the Costa de Sol, we knew Javea was the place for us. While it is busy in July and August with tourists visiting its great beaches and many restaurants, Javea supposedly settles back down to a sleepy town of 28,000 locals after that. There are three main areas: el Arenal, the port and old town. One of the things we enjoyed on our first visit, while dining in the port, was the many old ladies out at midnight slowly walking home up the winding streets after dinner out. They had a cane or the arm of a daughter-in-law, and we decided there must be plenty of people who lived and worked in Javea if the old ladies were here.
Read all about our adventures in Javea and Spain on my blog at www.andrewsinspain.wordpress.com.
Casares is beautiful, everything you imagine when you dream about living in a small Spanish village. While only 20 km from Estepona, on the Mediterranean coast, it is worlds away through twisty roads and mountain forests. Our descent into the village was breathtakingly beautiful. The narrow street switch backed down, with doorsteps at each turn. Pots of geraniums flanked the doors, ivy and bougainvillea flowing down the walls. An old man with a cane approached from the bottom. We paused to let him pass, each offering a tentative “Hola, buenos dias.” He responded back, “Buenos dias,” though he pronounceed it as if he had a mouth full of marbles.
We first experienced Casares while scouting out Spanish villages to move to for a year abroad in Spain. Read all about it on my blog: http://andrewsinspain.wordpress.com/2008/06/28/casares/