• europe,  spain,  travel

    A Royal Day Out

    Full set of photos It was another sunny, sweltering day in the south when I awoke, and I was glad to have pre-purchased my ticket for Real Alcázar so that I wouldn’t have to be queuing in the heat. I headed over to the Alcázar, which apparently is the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use. It’s a striking mudéjar palace and quite unlike any palace I’ve been in. The stone and tile work was ornate and beautiful,…

  • europe,  spain,  travel

    Slow, sunny day in Seville

    Full set of photos My apartment was so well-appointed that it even had a stationery bike in one corner, which made my morning MPC workout all the easier. It also had a handy beam to which I could easily affix my resistance band, so I was all set. Workout complete, I freshened up and headed out for the day’s adventures. I’d thought to try and see the famed Alcazar in the morning, but while waiting in the considerably long line,…

  • europe,  spain,  travel

    God and gastronomy

    Full set of photos My flight out of Barcelona was relatively early (8:30 am), and I had grand intentions of waking up early enough to take public transit to the airport. I did wake up when I’d planned, but then dozed off again (as I’m wont to do), so taxi it is! I think this was my first flight with Ryanair, and it was, thankfully, uneventful. I arrived in Seville and was pleasantly surprised to find that getting into the city…

  • europe,  spain,  travel

    Gaga for Gaudí

    Full set of photos The weather forecast was threatening rain, which was unfortunate given my intentions to see Park Güell today. Nevertheless, I awoke at a relatively respectable hour, pulled on my running shoes and (somewhat amazingly) completed my MPC workout for the day. It was actually quite interesting to go for a run—made one feel a little closer to being a local. It also was just another chance to see an area of the city I hadn’t been in…

  • europe,  spain,  travel

    Eating my way through Barcelona

    Full set of photos Given how little sleep I had gotten, it was perhaps not surprising that I slept in the following morning. Thankfully I had not missed breakfast and enjoyed the fresh and healthy breakfast buffet that had been laid out on the terrace. But it wasn’t long before I was out the door and on my way to see the sights. My first stop was Plaça Reial (Royal Plaza) in the Gothic Quarter, which was a beautiful, palm…

  • europe,  spain,  travel

    Barcelona bound

    Full set of photos I’m not going to lie; one of the biggest joys of my job is the opportunity to travel the world. A language development conference in Bilbao meant visiting a new country for me! My flight with KLM was comfortable and perhaps too entertaining (love when airlines have great movies available), and I didn’t end up getting hardly any sleep as a result. My first order of business in Barcelona was getting a SIM card, which thankfully were available…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Too hot to tölt

    Full set of photos After seeing all the Icelandic horses on my journeys, I’d decided to book myself a horse ride with Íshestar. As a kid, I’d done a few horseback riding summer camps and had always enjoyed it, but it had been ages since I’d ridden. There are a number of horse tour companies, but I decided to go with Íshestar because of their strong animal welfare policy. Wanted to be sure that the horses are well-treated! The tour company’s…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Edge of the world

    Full set of photos The clouds had rolled in by the time we got to the hotel last night, so I was pleasantly surprised to find in the morning that we were surrounded by mountains. After a quick hotel breakfast, we piled into our van and headed  to our first stop, Ytri Tunga, in search of seals. We did spot a few seals bobbing in the sunrise-dappled water, but my attention was largely focused away from the water. For all my desire…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Snaefellsnes Peninsula

    Full set of photos I was eager to start out on the second leg of my tour, where I’d be journeying to the west part of Iceland. So eager apparently that I was in the lobby waiting for the pick-up a full hour earlier than the actual pick-up time (I’d mixed up the pick-up time yet again!). I met my new guide, Saga, a Reykjavik local, and the somewhat sadder van we’d be given. Apparently, they had to rent a van,…

  • europe,  iceland,  travel

    Lava and ice

    Full set of photos We started out before the sun was up (which isn’t terribly early I suppose when sunrise is close to 9:30) and made the relatively short drive to Glacier Guides. The clouds had lifted enough to reveal a gorgeous range of mountains, draped in rugged glaciers, in shades of blue in the morning light. We were fitted for crampons and given a helmet and an ice axe before piling into a large bus to be driven to…