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A Day in Valencia, Spain

Valencia Spain

Of all the places we visited in Spain, Valencia bore the greatest similarity to an American city – albeit one with a distinct European accent. Its wide, often bustling, avenues lined with an array of modernly functional buildings could easily drop into someplace like San Diego and feel right at home. After nearly a month of continuously touring the Iberian Peninsula, we were understandably happy for this dose of familiarity, regardless how tenuous.

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Tarragona Amphitheater


Tarragona Amphitheatre

A 2nd century Roman amphitheater overlooking the Mediterranean in Tarragona, Spain.

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Playing Tag in Alhambra's Alhambra Palace of Charles V_

Playing tag in Alhambra’s Palace of Charles V

Learning to Drive in the White Hill Towns of Andalusia, Spain

The White City of Arcos de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain

The White City of Arcos de la Frontera.

“Is there a problem with your car?” the increasingly annoyed hotel owner said to me in English. He and I both knew that the problem had nothing to do with my automobile.

To be fair, it wasn’t my fault that he had to wait so long for me to park. I’m not the one who decided to prohibit guests from operating the garage door. I don’t know who came up with the brilliant idea to require a front desk person to walk outside and physically open the gate every time you wanted to enter or exit the car park, but it wasn’t me.

Nor was it my fault that parking spaces were so tight that, once in a spot, we couldn’t open the passenger side door at all and, even then, there was so little room on the other side that I only managed to squeeze out of the car after emptying my pockets. Seriously, I nearly destroyed my phone trying to force my way out the driver’s side door.  

I’m completely blameless in all of that. But deciding to drive a manual transmission car for the first time through the ancient hill-top towns that dot Andalusia, Spain? Yup, that one is on me.

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Once Isn’t Enough at the Alhambra

An Alhambra Palace Building with Flowers

It was the first time this has happened during our travels. So enticed were we by the idea of visiting the Alhambra, a sprawling Moorish complex perched above the town of Granada, that we pre-booked tickets for not just one but two visits.

When we debated where in continental Europe to begin our travels, an image of the Alhambra kept looming in my mind. And so we set out for Spain, beginning in Madrid and then traveling further south, steadily making our way to Granada. With such a weighty decision made because of a single site, it seemed only fitting that we do it justice by visiting twice to see the Alhambra in sunlight and moonlight.

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