Posts Tagged city traveler

Moments in Spain, Andorra, and Portugal in video

Just recently I’ve realized that taking photos sometimes doesn’t suffice anymore, for me.  Most of my memories from the places I’ve traveled to, are captured in still shots – and they don’t always show what I might have seen or felt at the time.  So I invested in a 4k GoPro camera just before going to Europe in springtime this year, and I loved that it was so easy to carry around with me.  Here’s the video diary I made from our trip to Spain, Andorra, and Portugal. Enjoy!

Up and Down the Streets of Porto

Port wine may be famous all over the world, but it isn’t the only thing that makes Porto interesting.  Porto happens to be the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, and the city is one of the oldest European centers, so it comes as no surprise that Unesco has claimed it as a world heritage site since 1996.

What I saw in the streets proved more than enough reason to have the city preserved.  The Airbnb we stayed in, for example, was a beautiful 19th century home, with 15-foot high ceilings and verandas that welcomed a cool breeze in between spring and summer.  All the houses on the street had similar facades, and they intrigued me about the history and what it must have been like to live in this street more than a hundred years ago.

Oh Barcelona

A native man sang in a foreign tongue,
I still ache to know the song that he sung,
Barcelona…

It’s no wonder why a lot of people like the idea of getting lost in Barcelona.  A city thriving with culture, history, and delicious food and merriment, I myself would learn Spanish to stay in the city.

With thousands of years of history’s worth buried beneath its old houses and streets, it’s a mystery what stories are yet to be discovered.  On one afternoon, as we were walking along the historic center of La Rambla, we stopped outside a building that housed an ongoing excavation project.  Believe it or not, ruins of a Roman city that once stood there can still be found, underneath normal looking houses today.

Now that I’ve been to Barcelona, I cannot separate the city with the works of Gaudi, in my head.  Everywhere I look a snippet of Gaudi’s inspiration can be found.  From La Sagrada Familia, to commissioned family houses, to Park Guell, and even to tiles that decorate walls and plates, they all remind me of the artist’s work.  He lived a truly extraordinary life that is a great source of inspiration for artists all over the world.

I don’t even know where to begin with food… every small plate of tapas led to another until our hearts were full and content.  The explosion of flavors in our tongues was just heaven.  And of course we could not resist having paellas almost every other day.  My favorite will always be Paella Negra with squid ink, and it never seems to fail.

Locals do so many things that is almost unheard of in other countries.  Closing shop everyday after lunch for siesta sounded strange to me.  Having dinner at 9 or 10 also sounded too late to me.  But once you’re there, you’ll find it easy to fall into the same pattern as what locals do.  And it’s almost romantic how the culture can charm and enchant you, with sincere serenades from a Spanish guitar. 

Anchored Away in Cancun

Towards the end of last year, my husband and I (I’m still not used to calling him that) decided to go on a relaxing trip to Cancun.  In case you didn’t already know, Cancun is best to visit in the months of December to February, when the country experiences milder temperatures thanks to the cold winds of the North.  This being their peak season, we dreaded flocks of tourists so we decided to avoid that by going just a bit earlier.  And our timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
One of the many reasons we chose Cancun to holiday in is because it’s undeniably close to the United States.  If we can’t go back to the pristine beaches of Asia, where else could we turn to?  From L.A. we took a direct flight to Cancun, which took about 4 hours and under $300 for a return ticket.  Not bad eh?  And then we landed here.     Luckily because we came at the end of November, we didn’t have to face a crowded island and rub shoulders with other tourists.  There was plenty of space and privacy, it almost felt like the resort was all ours.  We stayed at the Marriott Casa Magna Cancun using our SPG points and we think we made the best choice, because we loved the colonial style architecture and the spaciousness of the resort (compared to the JW Marriott next door).  Going to Cancun cannot be complete without visiting one of the seven wonders of the world.  The Chichen Itza, the world renowned historical city which dates back to 600 AD, was an amazing sight to see.  Walking through the grounds felt different, or at least to me I imagined what it must have been like to live there in that era.
And while you’re in the Yucatan Peninsula, I highly recommend dipping yourself in one of the mysterious cenotes.  The cenotes are natural sinkholes that could be deeper than 60 meters or comparably like a 20 to 30 floor building.  It’s so deep that when you look below all you’ll see is an abyss – dark, mysterious, and scary.  Naturally, the water is cold and will make you shiver on your first dip, but feels very refreshing on a warm summer day.  In the photo below you’ll see all of us wearing life jackets because it’s a requirement. The depth of the hole is not to be joked about.  One good thing I took away from this trip was I learned the Mexican way of appreciating life as it is, and to enjoy the art of doing nothing.  Though we explored the city, we put aside a lot of time to just relax by the beach, play in the pool, or enjoy a good meal.  It gave me a relaxed and peaceful feeling which felt like something I hadn’t felt for a long while.  I’m the type of person who can’t stand sitting by the beach all day – although some people really enjoy doing that, I never understood what good came out of it.  So I can almost say it felt like my first time to go on a holiday.

New Year, New Resolutions.

2017. What resolutions do you have in mind? Mine, aside from the continuous struggle to be better in all aspects of life, want to accomplish some personal goals I’d rather not say at the beginning of the year. It’s like a jinx the moment you blurt it out to the world. Everyone knows what you desire, and the special bond between you and your secret is lost.

I’d just come back from Morocco, a first for me, and I have tons of pictures on my roll.  Here’s a few black and whites that I love from exploring souks in Marrakech and Essaouira.