Hiking in Las Alpujarras, Spain

We learned a lot about ourselves when we traveled Europe together. In particular, we learned that we like cities but we love trips to the countryside. Since then, we’ve tried to fit hiking or at least some bit of greenspace escape into our trips. In Andalusia, for us, this meant a trip to the Sierra Nevadas. Specifically, we visited Las Alpujarras, and even more specifically, we stayed in Capileira.

It’s a perfect escape. You just have to make it there. If you’re afraid of heights, the drive could be a bit rough for you. That said, the husband handled it by avoiding looking down. We were passed by large buses. Just let your spouse drive cautiously if that’s what they feel they need to do. Then once you arrive, enjoy the view, the terra cotta pots on the white homes, the free nibbles included with your beverage or choice and the easy access to countryside hikes/walks. You’ll even find source water flowing from the town fountains. No, we didn’t find the intricate tapas of Sevilla or the detailed architecture of the Alhambra. Instead, we found tranquility, simplicity and nature. And then we took it all in for two full days. It’s a bit strange how this town has a population larger than both our hometowns but we still felt like it was tiny as can be. All about perspective, I guess.

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

Yes, that’s how I actually sleep. Notice this isn’t a honeymoon suite.

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

I made fun of the husband for looking a bit too Smeigel-like about his precious fruit and sandwich. But I felt like he looked. Food tastes better when hiking. After lunching come the napping, naturally.

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

There was no wi-fi. It was just our food journal for the trip. I swear to you that I disconnected.

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain roof chimney

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

las alpujarras spain

Recommendations

  • Lodging: Mesón-Hostal Poqueira
  • Eating: The Italian restaurant in the plaza. Trust me, you’ll find it.
  • Hiking: Several walking trails leave right from the town of Capileira. Ask at the hotel for recommendations.
  • Life: Go here if you can.

Give me Moor of Granada and the Alhambra

I was a child with goals. My first ever travel dream was to see the Taj Mahal in India. I still haven’t done so, but I will, I promise. The second and third came straight out of Spanish class inspiration. I had to, I mean had to, see the Alhambra and Sagrada Familia. This was my travel architecture trifecta. (Eiffel what?)

spain road

I made it to the Sagrada Familia in April of 2006. I nearly wept. Well, truth be told, I did weep. But that was weeks before when my student travel budget had become so tight that I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to go to Barcelona. I cried to Jordan. Who told me everything would be okay and we could figure something out. And then out of no where, my father e-mailed me to tell me he had deposited my tax refund in my account for me. Oh, mi sagrado padre! I got my Gaudí experiences. The day I saw it ranks in my top ten days of life list.

The road to the Alhambra was a little less melodramatic for me but still figures on that list. We arrived in Granada in the afternoon, found a great Moroccan place for supper (a meal which figures on the husband’s best list) and took a nighttime tour of the inner courts of the Alhambra. There were no issues. No crises. It was calm. And perfect. The next day was spent in the gardens of the Alhambra, which I didn’t realize would be almost as beautiful as the Moorish architecture itself. Granada seems like a city with many nooks and crannies, cozy tea houses and places begging to be photographed or painted. Unfortunately (and as always), our time was limited, so I didn’t get to wander without purpose as I would have liked. Until we meet again, Granada…

grenada spain

grenada spain

grenada spain

grenada spain

This place ^ was adorable and the food wasn’t bad, but part way through the meal our waiter walked out the door without warning and never returned. Hmm….it took a while to get the bill.

grenada spain

grenada spain

grenada spain

grenada spain hummus

Hummus should always be this good.

grenada spain tagine

grenada spain veggie couscous

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra cassie

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra cassie

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra jordan

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra cassie

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

grenada spain alhambra garden tour

Recommended Stops

  • Kasbah Tetería (Tea shop) : Adorable and has great crêpes
  • Restaurante Arrayenes (Seriously good Moroccan food)
  • La Freakin’ Alhambra!

Two Days in Sevilla | A Tapas Crawl and Sightseeing

Sevilla was hot. Really hot. I don’t really speak Celsius, but 42 degrees has got to be hot.

We spent two days in Sevilla. Sure, there were a few key stops on our sightseeing list (Star Wars film site!), but mostly we wanted to take part in our very own tapas crawl. We strolled parks, stopped in a fancy hotel to eat nuts and sip on mojitos and toured the Alcazar and the Cathedral.

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sevilla spain

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sevilla spain

sevilla door

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sevilla spain cassie

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sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

Here’s that Plaza de España/Star Wars movie set I talked about:

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

sevilla spain plaza de espana

plaza de espana sevilla spain

sevilla spain plaza de espana

Hey, look. A geographer with a map.

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

On to the cathedral and Giralda Tower…

sevilla spain cathedral

sevilla spain cathedral

sevilla spain cathedral

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain cathedral

sevilla spain

sevilla spain cathedral

Climb the stairs for a lovely view.

sevilla spain view from cathedral

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sevilla spain

 

sevilla spain

Break for food. By the way, when trying to decide which places to hit up for tapas in a city filled with tapas, I recommend asking your servers for their recommendations. If they’re going to send you somewhere else to eat after you eat at their place, they are going to give you honest opinions. And we can only hope that they know a little something about food.

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain tapas jordan

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sevilla spain door

sevilla spain

Did I mention I had an allergic reaction to bug bits during this trip? Grrr…

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sevilla spain

sevilla spain casa de pilatos

sevilla spain door

sevilla spain casa de pilatos

sevilla spain cassie

sevilla spain alcazar

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sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

sevilla spain

(Emilee, if you’re looking for something to paint, I’ll take the photo above!)

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sevilla spain

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain

sevilla spain tapas

sevilla spain tapas bar

Sevilla seems like the kind of city that deserves all the notions of romanticism that we normally attribute to Paris. The architecture was amazing, the food equally so. Only problem we had during our stay was the heat. And if that’s your worst problem, things are pretty good.

Road Tripping in Andalusia | Ronda and Grazalema

After the wedding, we fled from Malaga the next afternoon. We were burning daylight. Rubber, not so much. Our car was adorably fuel efficient. We drove from Malaga through fields of sunflowers to reach Ronda, where we sejoured for a total of 24 hours. We continued onto Sevilla through Grazalema and other picturesque small towns. We followed in the footsteps of Hemingway,  peered over the gorge and ate at the foot of a floodlight castle. Life was good.

andalusia road trip

road trip car

spain road trip

spain road trip

spain road trip

When we reached Ronda, we tucked into a cafe not far from the main plaza.

spain road trip ronda

spain road trip ronda plaza

ronda

spain road trip ronda bullfighting ring

spain road trip ronda

spain road trip ronda hemingway

ronda gorge

ronda gorge valley

ronda gorge valley

ronda valley gorge

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ronda spain

ronda spain

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ronda

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ronda window

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ronda

ronda gorge

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spain road trip salad ronda

ronda plaza evening meal spain

fish spain ronda evening meal

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

ronda spain night

The next morning, I saw a real-life Van Gogh scene.

Road trip Andalusia Spain sunflowers

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Road trip Andalusia Spain

Viven los Novios! | A Wedding in Málaga

Ah, what could be greater than seeing two great people tie the knot? Outside. On a nice day. With people who are super happy about the marriage. Oh, yeah, and it was in Spain.

The wedding was a bit of a social experiment. I think the bride and groom might have been a little nervous about the whole thing. Cultures clashing. In-laws meeting. Patty made honest-to-God PowerPoint slides to ease the culture shock. I don’t know why she’d be nervous that twenty or so monolinguals (well, some of us have rudimentary Spanish skills) from South Dakota are being dropped into the middle of Andalusia. I was just excited to see Brian (the groom’s dad) in a suit.

On the outside anyway, everything went off without a hitch (except, yes, the actual hitching). Jordan and I had a great time at the wedding. I’m pretty sure everyone else who attended would agree that they had as well. I’ve never been the guest at a destination wedding or international wedding before, so while I was really there to see Brian in the suit, I was also curious to see what differences there might be between weddings in Spain and weddings in the States. The dancing was, well, of a different caliber than I’m used to (I can’t fake flamenco steps), but in general the ceremony progressed into the meal and dance like you’d expect from a typical North American wedding.

The wedding location was lovely, a lush little oasis of forest tucked away outside the suburbs of the city.

malaga.wedding

The in-laws to be helped the groom with his corsage…

kyle patty wedding

Props lined the trees…

kyle patty wedding

Women donned their best attire…

kyle patty wedding

Gentlemen, too…

kyle jordan casey

When everyone arrived, the guests took their seats (if they could find one…). The bride entered, on the arm of her charming father…

wedding kp

The vows were said, the anecdotes were told, and the blessings given. And then the bride was pummeled with rice…

wedding kp

I mean, seriously, look at that brutal rice attack!

People took pictures to celebrate the occasion…

wedding kp

wedding kp

And we all found our way to the hors d’oeuvres and the beverages. I felt like a kid in the candy shop, nibbling at whatever passed by. Well, almost, I was off the vegetarian bandwagon and onto the pescatarian one. So, I didn’t find my hands full of the serrano ham that was available. (Edited later: Oh, the regret!) But the rest, yeah, I was on board.

One of the drink options was tinto verano (pictured below with the lovely models my relatives), which is red wine mixed with a lemon or lime seltzer of some kind. Not bad, Spain, not bad.

wedding kp

wedding kp serrano ham

wedding kp gazpacho spain

wedding kp food

wedding kp

The husband does look nice in a suit, huh? And he’s seems pretty comfortable with gazpacho in hand.

wedding kp salmon rolls

wedding kp donna

Here was my favorite treat of the cocktail hour.

wedding kp octopus on puree

wedding kp serrano ham

wedding kp cheese on a stick

This couple did a lot of tour guiding for the weekend. Always with a smile. We could tell why Patty’s family enjoys having them around as company.

wedding kp

All good things must come to an end, including delicious trays of hors d’oeuvres. Marriages, too, but only with death. Got that, newlyweds?

After the trays were emptied and the bellies tickled, we headed to find our mesa. Wouldn’t you know, most of us anglophones got grouped together. Logical, right? Truly, but it was a little hilarious when we had to combine years of rusty high school Spanish to ask our server for a fork or go to another table to ask for explanations on what we were yelling after forcing the young couple into public displays of affection.

wedding kp spain

wedding kp

The meal was delicious. Well, I trust that the pork was too. I photographed it, but couldn’t manage to eat any. The meal was also long. I hadn’t been in the habit of eating meals in courses, so from appetizer to main to dessert to coffee seemed like a real treat, but long at the same time. But that was good. Time doesn’t always have to fly when you’re having fun, does it?

wedding kp favors

wedding kp smores favors

wedding kp food

wedding kp food

wedding kp sweets table

wedding kp cake

wedding kp dessert

wedding kp coffee

There was even an extra round of smaller desserts/wafers to go along with it. Night was settling in at this point, and I just couldn’t be bothered with ISO issues. As the night continued, my shot quality decreased. Truly, a lighting issue–cross my heart and hope to die take better shots at the next wedding I attend. (It was tempting to make a joke here about taking fewer shots at the next wedding, but I swear, Mom, shot taking was super limited unless you count the chicken soup).

wedding kp desserts

Out came les moustaches and cigars for the men. Women were each given flip-flops in case they wanted to ditch the high heels they’d borrowed from a co-worker. Oh wait, maybe that was just me packing co-workers’ high heels across the Atlantic. I find ways to afford plane tickets, but not my own shoes. I digress…back to this wedding!

wedding kp

wedding kp jordan cigar

Hey, by the way, we really enjoyed hanging out with Casey, our mutual friend from college (university if you’re outside States). Casey was our original matchmaker. There would be no “Jordan and Cassie” without Casey.

wedding kp jordan casey

wedding kp jordan casey

After the cigar ruckus but before the dance began, we used the time for a few framed shots. I couldn’t resist the urge.

wedding kp jordan cassie

The New American Gothic

wedding kp jordan cassie

The dance lasted long into the night. I can’t even tell you how long. We left shortly after the chicken soup dance break. I think we made it back to our hotel around 3:30 of the a.m. Craziness.

Patty, Kyle, thanks for letting us join you for the wedding. It was an honor. And really run, too.

wedding kp jordan cassie

Moseying and Eating around Malaga

Four years ago, when I was but a young lady on the most culturally sophisticated study abroad program (I subsisted on “chips and cheese,” pints of snakebite, and Lion chocolate bars) in the UK, I heard many students mention Malaga as a great party city on the beach. Sandy beaches with many parties simply didn’t appeal to me. Four years later, I have learned how incredibly short Malaga had been sold. It’s true that there are great beaches and many a party to be had, but the city was much more charming than I’d given it credit for.

There was wine to be had at El Pimpi, architecture to soak in and paella to eat. My favorite part of the trip was actually our churro and chocolate breakfast. We went to the restaurant, sat down and asked for a menu. The server said, “You’re getting churros. Everyone gets churros. Now, how many do you want?” Oh, I wanted more, but used my better judgment. The green and flowers weren’t too shabby either.

Does it look like what you were expecting? (Scroll to the bottom for our list of stops)

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malaga spain

malaga spain

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malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

Real men carry their wives’ bags on vacation.

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain paella

malaga spain cathedral

malaga spain paeilla

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

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malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain door

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain bullfighting museum

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain bullfighting ring

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain queso

malaga spain queso cheese

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malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain escargot

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

malaga spain

Food and Drink

  • El Pimpi for wine sipping and tapas
  • Cafe Aranda for Churros and Chocolate
  • Vegetarian El Calafate
  • Some random local place that was delicious and I never even learned the name of! (Sorry, Internet world)
  • A Paella place (which I actually don’t recommend, but still photographed!)

Cultural Stops

  • Picasso’s birthplace
  • Alcazaba de Malaga
  • Bullfighting Ring and Museum (bonus if the family of your family knows an old bullfighter to give a tour!)

General Sightseeing

  • Plaza de la Constitucion
  • The Port (Puerto de Malaga)
  • The Beach! (Playa de Malaga)
  • Malaga Park

So much more that a party on the beach. Just don’t get stuck at the beach.