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Spain

Curious what backpackers do in Spain? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Up a bit earlier today for our visit to the Real Alcazar (royal palace). It's the oldest royal palace in the world still in use, and the original parts of the building go back to the Muslim caliphs of the 13th century. After Spain was reconquered by the Catholic monarchs it was converted into palaces for their use, and is still technically in use today, though I don't think they're around that often.

    We'd booked entrance tickets for 10am (opening time), and then a guided audio-tour of the upper apartments at 11:30, so we arrived right on 10. A bit of a line to get in but thankfully not too long. We busied ourselves poking around various areas, and boy was there a lot to see. The architecture is all very impressive, lots of archways and cavernous spaces, along with broad courtyards and perfectly manicured gardens. One particularly impressive area was the Ambassador's Hall, which was used as a throne room and reception room for visiting dignitaries in centuries gone by - very high ceiling with an intricately carved dome.

    Was also quite interesting spotting various bits of the palace that had been used in Game of Thrones - scenes from Dorne were shot here for seasons 4, 5 and 6. It sort of comes full circle, because the Dornish culture from the books is heavily inspired by southern Spain (Moorish influences and so on), and the Water Gardens from the book were apparently inspired by the Alcazar! Interesting that the show completed the circle by heading direct to the source.

    Soon it was time for our tour, so we headed to the entrance of the upper apartments. These were all much later additions, usually around the Renaissance era when an entire extra storey was built onto the palace. The rooms were used by the Spanish royal family as recently as the turn of the millennium, and as I said they're technically "still in use" though I don't think they actually utilise them often. Definitely worth the price of admission to see the fantastic artworks, chandeliers and enormous tapestries hanging around the place though.

    After our audio-tour we headed out into the large gardens, having seen most of the interiors by now. The gardens are heavily Arabic-inspired, with lots of geometry, water features, reflecting pools and so on. Great to look at, explore and take photos. There was even a section towards the back called the English Garden, which looked like a small country wood. A couple of peacocks wandering around as well! Only problem we had was that the weather was cloudy - no chance of rain, just high white cloud that stops your photos from turning out really nicely. Alas. We might have to come back in a few days when the sun's out and take some really good photos.

    Finally wandered out around 2:30pm, feeling content and happy that we'd thoroughly explored one of the main sights of Seville. Time for a late lunch, which we had at the same restaurant we'd eaten at a couple of days earlier. Food not quite as good this time, sadly - paella was tasty, but my pork fillets were quite plain and unseasoned. Not bad, just unexciting. I guess the take-out is "Menu of the Day" is the trap - tapas options are usually better.

    Headed back to the apartment for a rest, where Shandos ending up having a multi-hour siesta. I did some typing, reading and gaming, before we headed out again in the evening for a long walk with Schnitzel. Feeling tired, we ended up staying in for the evening and cooking the spaghetti we'd bought a few days earlier.
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  • Not a whole lot to report today. After a few reasonably full days of sight-seeing, we decided to take it easy for a day and just relax. Spent a bit of the day planning out our next moves, as today's Tuesday and we need to vacate this apartment on Friday for a few days before heading to our house-sit. After researching a few different options, we decided we'll get the train to Cordoba (another classic city about an hour to the north-east), stay there in an apartment for a few days then rent a car for our house-sit and drive down there.

    I wandered over to the Vodafone store as my SIM card had stopped working and I couldn't diagnose the problem. After a 10 minute wait, it turned out the card hadn't been activated properly. I guess it comes preloaded with 10MB of data or something, hence why it worked when I left the shop but stopped working not long after. Oh well, working again at least.

    Bought some delicious pastries on the way back, and also had a brief stickybeak at a protest happening in front of the town hall. Not a whole lot happening, just guys in hi-viz outfits with flags surrounded by police, but it seemed pretty civil thankfully. Not sure what it was about, though I'd guess the guys were unionists of some sort or another.

    Late in the day we went for a walk north to the Metropol Parasol, a strange wooden mushroom-shaped building. I'm a bit hazy as to why it was constructed, and our AirBNB host Pedro didn't recommend it since it was just a tourist gimmick, but we thought we'd check it out anyway. He was kind of right, though there was a nice view of the city from the top! It's apparently the world's largest wooden structure, go figure. And our 3 euro entry came with a free drink, so it was basically a drink for going up to the top which we were happy to do.

    Had dinner on the way back at a burger restaurant called The Good Burger, not sure why it was named in English rather than Spanish! Great burgers and we shared a side of wedges, again very tasty. Entertained ourselves watching the music video channel which played "none of the new stuff, just classics", and was having a "guess the year" competition for each song. We did surprisingly well!
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  • Another relaxed day today. Didn't do anything in the morning beyond a brief walk with Schnitzel, and some home-made pasta for lunch. Nicer weather today so in the afternoon we decided to walk back down to Plaza de Espana, since we'd only briefly checked it out earlier in the week.

    It was originally built for a World's Fair-type exposition in 1929, and the facade of the building has a mural+map+heraldry done in mosaic tiles for every single province in Spain. We wandered around the giant courtyard and admired the artistry, discovering along the way some of the provinces we'd never heard about before. Nice to look at, though it was quite warm in the sun.

    Afterwards we wandered into the Jewish quarter and found a tiny little bar down an alleyway, shaded by orange trees and whitewashed houses. Sat here and had a couple of local wines as we watched people clatter over the cobblestones - lovely environment!

    Back to the apartment for another rest before heading out around 7pm. Dinner at one of the restaurants we'd been to earlier in the week with fantastic tapas, one of the best rated in Seville apparently! This time I had oxtail meatballs with cauliflower and carrot cream, while Shandos had the pork cheeks in red wine sauce that I'd had earlier. The city was quite noisy at the moment, as a lot of English football fans were in town for a game - Leicester City were playing Sevilla FC in the Champions League knockout stages (the game ended 2-1 to Sevilla).

    After dinner we wandered down another maze of narrow streets to the Flamenco Museum, the only one of its kind in the world! We had tickets for a flamenco show at 8:45 which had been recommended to us by our AirBnB host as one of the most authentic in the city. Happy to report that the performance was brilliant!

    Despite my impression of flamenco being focused on female dancers, the male lead stole the show with a ridiculously energetic performance, though the lady was also quite good. Fantastic guitar work as well, though I wasn't hugely fussed about the singer. The vocal style is very different from what we're used to in western culture, and it's also in Spanish which doesn't help - my rudimentary Spanish can't keep up until she sings "te amor" 10 times in a row! Still very talented though, and we stumbled out into the chilly night both impressed and buzzed from the performance.

    Long walk back to the apartment, broken up slightly by the purchase of a delicious gelato - tarte queso (cheesecake) and Mars for me, dulce de leche for Shandos.
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  • No great rush today, our train to Cordoba was at 12:50 so we planned to leave the apartment around 11:45. Had our leftover pizza for breakfast and then spent a couple of hours packing up and getting ready. Schnitzel got quite restless and barky as he realised we were leaving, and I think he was getting a bit stressed we might leave him behind. Silly dog!

    Out the door just on time, after saying a fond farewell! It's been a great spot to stay, right in the heart of everything and with plenty of food & beverage options around. Not to mention good walking and relief options for Schnitzel. Walked down the block and grabbed a cab to the station - only 7 euros this time (half the price) because we started outside the heavily-taxed old town zone. Spent some time waiting at the station and eating a quick McDonalds lunch before boarding the train.

    The train itself was pretty empty, not more than a third full I wouldn't have thought. Schnitzel was very well behaved in his new carrier bag, despite it being much smaller than his old crate. This one is at least small and light enough that I can have it on my lap with no dramas, which makes him more comfortable I think.

    Couldn't see much out of the train as we zipped along at 220km/h, since our seat didn't line up with a window! At least it was only a short trip, and we arrived in Cordoba just 40 minutes later. 5 minute taxi ride to our apartment in the centre of town, and found it with no troubles, though the housekeeper was still in the process of finishing cleaning and tidying. We went out for a quick wander and came back 20 minutes later, after bumping into another dachshund! The man spoke a bit of English and said that he'd been travelling the world with his dog as well, very cute!

    Our apartment here is a top-floor terrace on the main shopping street, again an old building but renovated. It's nice, though the owner apparently has a cat which was driving Schnitzel crazy as he hunted around for it with no luck. It's also a "smoker-friendly" apartment, and though you're only supposed to smoke out on the terrace, the living room which opens out to the terrace also stinks of cigarettes which is a bit of a shame. The other rooms are mostly OK though.

    We spent a couple of hours relaxing and letting Schnitzel settle in, before deciding to head out for a walk around 4pm. We were staying in the main shopping district, about 10 minutes walk from the main tourist area which is the old town and also known as the Jewish Quarter. The entire town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, since it's quite well preserved and has been for centuries.

    The main attraction here is a building called La Mezquita, which was a Visigoth Christian temple from 400-800 AD, knocked down for a mosque which lasted until the Reconquista in the 14th century, and now converted into a cathedral. Unfortunately due to the late hour we couldn't go inside (and no dogs permitted of course), so we just wandered around and marvelled at the walls with their Islamic flourishes and impressive buttresses.

    Further wandering found us down at the river, the same one that flows all the way from Seville. This is the site of an old Roman-era bridge which has been heavily restored, though the original stones are still standing in parts of it. The ancient road from Rome to the Atlantic port of Cadiz ran directly through here, and near Cordoba was one of the earliest Roman settlements in Spain.

    Wandered across the bridge and back, checking out the view of the city before going back and losing ourselves in the alleyways and narrow streets of the old town again. Growing dark we looked for some food, but in true Spanish style most of the non-tourist places didn't open their kitchens until 8:30pm! After a bit of frustration we ended up dropping Schnitzel off back at the apartment, sitting around for a little while then heading out at 8:30.

    First stopped at a bar across the road where a small beer and mini baguette with jamon was 1.80 euro, so we doubled-up on that! Further along was a small bodega which had been operating continuously since 1932. We ordered up on tapas, getting a plate of prawns, a plate of jamon, and a plate of potato & aioli plus two glasses of local wine for 10.50. All dishes were great!

    Very noisy evening as it was a Friday night, and ahead of a long weekend at that (it's Andalusia Day on Tuesday, where the region celebrates being granted autonomy from Spain). I'm not entirely sure how the political system works, but as far as I can tell "Spain" is basically just a collection of autonomous provincial governments, and the central "Spanish" government doesn't actually have much direct power over each state. Looking forward to exploring the rest of the city over the next two days!
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  • Am heutigen Dienstag ging es mal wieder über Stock 🌴und Stein 🌾, abseits der Wege durchs Cap de Pera. An der einen und anderen Stelle hielt ich mich länger auf, um die wunderschönen Ausblicke 🏝 zu genießen und meine Seele baumeln zu lassen. Nach dem Kap ging es noch an den Strand Cala Agulla um die Sonne ☀️ zu genießen. Es war ein herrlicher Tag mit strahlend blauen Himmel und Temperaturen bis 16 Grad, was für mich hieß endlich die kurze Hose aus dem Winterschlag zu hören. Am Ende des Tages kamen so trotz vieler Pausen 20 Kilometer zusammen. Meinen Kumpel Uli habe ich denn auch wieder auf das eine und andere Gespräch getroffen.Read more

  • Diesen Park hatte ich im November schon entdeckt. Heute bin ich zum aufwärmen hin gejoggt 🏃🏾, habe mein Workout 🥊 durchgezogen und bin wieder zurück ins Hotel gelaufen. Ich wünsche euch einen schönen Tag. ☀️

  • Eine Stunde Aufstieg bis zum Jaumell (der Turm, ihr wisst schon). Das war heute morgen nur mit einer LED bestückt, relativ schnell, trotz totaler Finsternis. Das Gute daran, ich bin hier zur frühen Stunde der einzige Tourist.

  • Einmal musste ich doch ins Meer 🌊 Nachdem ich heute morgen um 5 Uhr raus war um den Sonnenaufgang am Turm Jaumell zu filmen, ging ich noch ein gutes Stück weiter, zu diesem verlassenden Strand. Mit dem Sonnenaufgang wurde es nämlich nichts, da es heute viel zu bedeckt ist.

  • In 2 Stunden heißt es wieder Abschied nehmen.
    Die Tage hier auf der Insel waren sehr schön und ich konnte mich mal auf mich und meine Seele konzentrieren. Einfach mal nichts tun und in den Tag hineinleben, das braucht glaube ich jeder Mensch ab und an mal.

    Ich sehe dich im Juni wieder.

    Adiós mi Mallorca.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Spain, Spanien, Spanish State, ስፔን, 스페인, ܐܣܦܢܝܐ, สเปน, スペイン, 에스파냐, ສະເປນ, እስፓንያ, ସ୍ପେନ୍, អេស្ប៉ាញ, ประเทศสเปน, An Spáinn, An Spàinn, Caxtillan, Esipaɲi, Esipanye, Espaañ, Espagne, Èspagne, Espaina, Espainia, España, Espangne, Espanha, Espania, Espanja, Espánjja, Espanya, Espânye, Espay, Estado Español, Hesperia, Hisipaniya, Hispaania, Hispania, Hispanio, Hispanujo, Hiszpania, Isbeyn, Ispagna, i-Spain, Ispaña, Ispanija, İspaniya, İspanya, Ispuanii, la Madre Patria, La pell de brau, La piel de toro, Nsipani, Orílẹ́ède Sipani, Pain, Paniora, Pāniora, Regne d'Espanya, Reino de España, sangue, Sbaen, Sepania, Sepanyol, Sepeni, Sipeini, Sipen, Sipeyini, Spagn, Spagna, Spagne, Spain, Španělsko, Spania, Spánia, Spania nutome, Španielsko, Španija, Spānija, Španiska, Spanja, Spanje, Spanjë, Španjolska, Spánn, Spanya, Spanyän, Spanyol, Spanyolország, Spayn, Spen, Spēna, Spéonland, Spēonland, Spuenien, Szpańskô, Tây Ban Nha, Uhispania, Yn Spaainey, أسبانيا, إسبانيا, اسبانيا, اسپانیا, اسپین, ہسپانیہ, سپین, هسپانیه, ئیسپانیا, ئىسپانىيە, ספרד, שפאניע, Ισπανία, Гішпанія, Испани, Испания, Испониё, Іспанія, Шпанија, སི་པན།, སིཔཱེན, སིཔཱེན་, Իսպանիա, ესპანეთი, स्पेन, સ્પેઇન, સ્પેન, స్పేన్, ಸ್ಪೈನ್, ஸ்பெயின், സ്പെയിന്‍, স্পেন, စပိန်, ස්පාඤ්ඤය, 西班牙