Explore Granada Spain

Granada is a city with quite a rich history. It has been inhabited for the last 2,500 years and for a significant period was under Muslim rule. Much of the city today still retains that Moorish character. Friends of mine who run an Edmonton Chiropractor clinic recently visited Spain and had the chance to really take in the rich history. Thanks to their input and some of my own digging, I’ve put together the top must-see attractions in Granada, Spain.

Alhambra Palace
Granada is the home to the Alhambra Palace, one of the most well known Islamic palaces in the world. If you come to Spain, it is a must-see sight if you are in the southern regions here. It is the number one site in Granada.

Cathedral of Granada
The Cathedral of Granada a very large Cathedral in the center of the downtown area. The cathedral was built in the 16th century and is Spain’s second-largest Cathedral. It is renowned for its bright Renaissance interior. It’s definitely worth coming inside and checking out the magnificent altar and also the very large pipe organ.

South of the cathedral is the Alcaiceria or a series of winding markets that used to be old souk markets but are now a series of winding souvenir shops. The Muslim influence is very clear from walking around the streets of Granada; from the souvenirs that the shops sell to the architecture to even the coca-cola signs.

Tea Houses
While in Granada, you can step into an Arabian tea house and have some Arabian tea or Caribbean coffee. The tea has kind of a minty lemony flavor to it. You really don’t have to look hard for tea houses in Grenada, they are just about everywhere. After a long day of walking around Grenada or the Alhambra, a tea house makes an excellent spot to relax, and each one has its own different vibe. The interesting side dish that they seem to serve with their tea here is crepes.

San Cristobal
For some of the best views and picture-taking of Alhambra, you can take minibus 31 up to the top of the hill to the San Cristobal viewing area which is a neat spot to see Grenada from a high. Bus 31 also stops at Plaza Mirador de San Nicolas which is another great picture taking spot of Alhambra. The Granada city view isn’t quite as nice but the Alhambra view is even nicer. If you stopped at Cristobal, you can also walk about 10 minutes to get here. You will know you are here because well just about half of the tourists in Granada are here with you.

So if you are headed to the south of Spain to see the Alhambra and you are in Granada, make sure to check out the rest of the city.

5 Fun and Quirky Things to do in Havana

Havana is Cuba’s capital and is quite a famous place being a part of most songs and movies exuding passion, sexiness and nightlife; but what does Havana really have that people are fascinated to. Explore the streets of Havana and discover for yourself what it is to love in this city. Include these 5 fun and quirky must-dos on your Cuban itinerary.

In every depiction of Havana, may it be in the movies or posters, it’s almost certain that there will be one or two of these famous colorful vintage cars. So take a classic car tour and spin in the city center on a classic top down convertible. Time stood still in Cuba since 1950’s that was when Americans left so there are quite a few of these vintage but still highly functional vehicles here available for rental or tours.

What is nightlife without cocktails and drinks. The infamous mojitos were invented here and it’s no doubt that cocktails in Havana are nothing but the best. The nightlife here is just one you shouldn’t miss and the mix of the vibrant atmosphere and overflowing cocktails are something that should be on top of your bucket list.

La Habana Vieja is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is rightfully so, because it is the heart of Havana. Colonial buildings lining the streets, Spanish plazas and squares dotting the city, and lovely restaurants and little trinket shops are just a summary of the good things you’ll see if you stroll this old city. You can happily roam the streets that are free of automobiles and check out Plaza Vieja, Plaza de Armas, Catedral de San Cristobal and so much more.

The famous American writer, Ernest Hemingway, was in love with Havana, but who wouldn’t, right? He frequently visits La Bodegutia del Medio and La Floridita for a drink or two (or more) so much so that on the latter, you’ll catch a statue of him at the end of the bar with his namesake.

You shouldn’t miss strolling this 8 km paved coastal road and the best time to do it is during sunset. Walk with the locals and catch one of the best views of the sunset here. The view of the colonial ruins, the sound of the crashing waves, the lovely sunset colors are just a pure bliss in this rather busy nightlife city.

Taranaki, New Zealand Travel Guide

Taranaki is about a 5-hour drive from Auckland and it is named after a volcanic mountain that dominates this region’s skyline. Set against world-class skiing, endless hiking tracks, and pristine surf breaks, creativity and nature are intimately entwined in this region. Art is everywhere in this region from its jaw-dropping landscape to the art trails and bridges.

New Plymouth is Taranaki’s main city, and it is widely known for its contemporary art. Start your adventures at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the adjoining Len Lye Center. Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker and a maverick kinetics sculptor whose work is deeply embedded in this town’s identity. One of his famous works is the 157-foot kinetic sculpture Wind Wand.

The Coastal Walkway is a promenade that links the city center to many of its black sand beaches and beautiful parks. At the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge, art meets nature again. It is an award whining bridge that evokes the enormous wave power and it spans the Waiwhakaiho River.

Mount Taranaki is never far from sight regardless of where you are in New Plymouth. Discover a diversity of marine life or climb to the top of the Paritutu Rock at the Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Reserve. Right in the city’s heart is the Pukekura Park, here light becomes the artist because it reflects off the lake’s.

The Bowl of Brooklands was once a natural amphitheater but it now of the finest concert venues in New Zealand. It is also home to the Poet’s Bridge, the Brooklands Zoo and the famous WOMAD festival. A deep respect for the past and conservation is also evident in the various museums in New Plymouth. One of such is the Pure Ariki. Explore the city ever changing the program of events and the interactive exhibits that delves into the history of the region.

A visit to Taranaki is not complete without visiting Mt. Taranaki. Cape Egmont Lighthouse stands on the westernmost point of the Taranaki coast. This cape has been protecting ships since 1881.

If you love riding and hiking drive north to Lake Mangamahoe. The series of surf break along this coast has led to the formation of the dramatic rock known as Elephant Rock and the Three Sisters. The longer you stay in Taranaki with its epic outdoor adventures, powerful artistic legacy, and spectacular scenery, the more you realize that arts and nature are closely linked, and it is often impossible to know the difference.

San Marino Travel Guide

The Republic of San Marino is about an hour’s drive from the Adriatic Coast and it lies in Central Italy. With an area of about 40 miles, San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe after Monaco and Vatican City. Mount Titano rises dramatically from the republic’s farmlands and rolling hills. In the 3rd century, Saint Marinus the country’s founder sought refuge from religious persecution here. Over the years, they built three towers to ward off those who challenged its freedom and independence. These towers today watch over a country overflowing with beauty, culture, and history.

The capital of this republic is also called San Marino. It lies just beyond the tower’s cliff top. Whether you ride the cable car or you take the winding drive, once you get to the top you will find yourself in another state of mind and another time. This city’s historic center is a world heritage center, and it is easy to see why as you wander its narrow streets.

San Marino is the oldest constitutional republic in the world. Liberty Square is this republic’s heart and soul. The Palazzo Publico is San Marino’s town hall and its own Statue of Liberty. The changing of the guard takes place here every hour in summer, so make sure you time your visit to catch a glimpse. Look for the bust of Abraham Lincoln once you are inside. During the dark days of the American civil war, he saw the values of San Marino as a beacon of hope.

At the Council Hall, the painting of Saint Marinus watches over those guiding the republic into tomorrow. You will see a tribute to this republic’s founder wherever you turn. In San Marino Basilica, you will find the bones of this stonecutter resting beneath the altar. Just like Saint Marinus, many people have sought refuge here, including Garibaldo, the Italian revolutionary hero

San Marino is also a great escape for history and art lovers. Discover many years of firepower in the Museum of Ancient Arms as well as Whimsical exhibits at the Museum of Curiosities. Stand before the artworks of St. Francis Museum before exploring the state museum priceless treasures. San Marino is also a great place for shoppers as it is a tax-free haven. As well as traditional offerings, you will find many luxury brands here.

The true stars of San Marino lie in its towers. One of such is the Guaita Tower which dates back to the 11th century. It is the largest and oldest fortress in this republic. Next to this tower is the bell tower which once warned of an impending attack. Today it unites the citizens of San Marino in times of celebration. Montale is the smallest of the towers and it stands like a lonely sentinel on the farthest peak of Titano.