Friday, November 30, 2007

SPAIN - Toledo


The city is surrounded by El Rio Tajo

So beautiful!
The Cathedral and Alcazar in the background.

View from our hotel window.
The amazing Cathedral of Toledo
This is the street that I lived on as a missionary.

This was the building I lived in, it was built in the 14th century by Arabs.
Toledo is full of little cobblestone streets like this one, and yes they do drive down some of them.

This is MariCarmen and David, members in Toledo who we had dinner with after church. Toledo's train station. The fast train

On Saturday we woke up early again to catch the fast train to Madrid from there we caught another high speed train to Toledo. Toledo is my favorite place, partly because I served there for four months but mostly just because it is so magical. I felt like a lived in a postcard! It was so fun to be back and I was so excited to show Lance my favorite places and the people I loved. I just wish we wouldn't had more time there. But it was nice to attend church in an area where I served and so great to see everyone there. Well, when we got Todedo we first went to the amazing cathredral, it is known as one of the most grand and impressive cathredrals in all of Europe. It is huge! We also went to a few museums, had dinner with a member family the Gomez, and my favorite, got lost in the street maze of the city. Toledo was the capital of Spain until 1561 and is know as the city of three cultures, one of the only cities where Arabs, Christians and Jews lived and worked together in harmony. The entire city has been declared a national monument. Toledo was built on a mountain top and is surrounded by the Tajo River, for safety. When in Toledo you really feel like your going back in time. That night we stayed in what used to be the Renaissance building which was the palace of the Empress Eugenia de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, it was really nice. Our room was beautiful and the best part was the city roof top view. If you ever go to Spain, you must go to Toledo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

SPAIN - Granada


Our little rental car

downtown Granada

Granada's cathedral

view of Granada from the Alhambra

Generalife gardens
The beautiful detail

King Charles the fifth decided to build his palace next to the moors.

Isabela and


The Alhambra in Granada, Spain
The Alhambra at night

On Friday we drove to Granada. We left really early so we could make our tour to the famous "Alhambra" we were lucky to get our tickets since over eight thousand people go through the grounds every day. The Alhambra is known as the 8th wonder of the world. It is the most preserved Moorish palace in the world. Granada was the last Moorish stronghold in Europe, it fell to Christandom in 1492 . The Alhambra was unbelievable! The work on the palace walls is so detailed and beautiful. It is really a unique place, it's hard to describe how impressive it is without going there. The palace garden is called "Generalife" and is so beautiful! It is said to be the closest place to heaven on earth, according to the Koran. The garden was huge, peaceful and tranquil. After visiting the Alhambra we dropped down into the city of Granada and went to the Cathedral and saw the actual tombs of Isabel and Ferdanand. One of the coolest things about Granada is we were able to stand in the exact room where Christopher Columbus recieved his comission from Isabel to journey to the new world (well, that's where he ended up.) It was really cool to be in the very place where history was made.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SPAIN - Ronda

The city walls of Ronda.

The whitewashed city of Ronda

Lance looking like a total tourist :) I love it!

The oldest bullring in the world.

The beautiful breathtaking view!

On Thursday, we rented a car and drove up into the mountains to a quaint little village called Ronda, known for it's giant gorges, city bridges and the oldest bullring in the world (where bullfighing originated.) It is one of the many whitewashed villages scattering the romantic countryside of Southern Spain. Ronda was beautiful and Lance fell in love with it, it was his favorite place of the entire trip. We spent the whole day there, exploring the city and visiting the bullring, the museums and cathredral. We ate dinner at a little cafe on one of the narrow cobblestone streets at dusk, we had another typical Spanish dish: torilla de patata also known as tortilla espanola and pollo asado. The best part of Ronda was the breathtaking view of the gorges - gorgeous. Everything about Ronda was absolutely charming!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SPAIN - Marbella

After a day at the beach we took a taxi to downtown Marbella. We walked in the park, strolled through the popular Plaza de los Naranjos, and ate Paella on the terraza with a guitar playing the background. Later we went to an authentic flamenco show, it was really cool!