An Unusual Cemetery in Comillas in Northern Spain

Cemetery of Comillas, Cantabria, Spain

Comillas is one of many small townships we visited as we travelled across northern Spain from La Coruña to Lourdes, France. Located in the autonomous community of Cantabria, Comillas is a charming and beautiful town most noted for its cemetery, old university, palace, monuments, and Gaudi’s summer home. We visited here about 3 years ago, yet the photos […]

Megalithic Sites in Evora Portugal are Older than Stonehenge

Almendres Cromlech is one of the megalithic sites in Evora Portugal

Stonehenge is probably the most famous of the world’s megalithic sites, yet Portugal is home to several megalithic sites that are older, free to visit, less crowded, and still allow visitors to walk through the grounds. We visited two of these sites, both in close proximity to each other, located just outside of Evora, Portugal. [Megalithic […]

Photo Tour: Cruising into Venice Italy

Cruising into Venice Italy on the NCL Spirit 2

Cruising into Venice Italy is one of those magical travel moments. For us, it was several years ago, and we were on the NCL Spirit. We stood at the bow of the cruise ship, and despite the crowds, looking out it was captivating. I shared my photos of Venice from the ship, but for some reason these remained in my […]

Cork Trees in Portugal and a Cork Museum in Spain

Harvested cork waits to be collected outside Evora Portugal

Cork grows on trees. As we drove though the Alentejo region of eastern Portugal, I was surprised to make this discovery. Cork trees lined the road. In the nearby town of Evora, a huge variety of cork products are available for purchase ranging from bags and hats to postcards. This added to the mystery of the […]

Windmills of Mykonos, Greece ~ #AtoZ AmaZing Photos

Windmills of Mykonos, Greece

When I think of windmills, I used to think about the Netherlands. However, it is windmills of Mykonos that captured my heart. I have only been to a few of the Greek Islands, but Mykonos is my favorite: The stark white against the blue sky wasn’t only found on the windmills.  We saw it all […]

España – Our Long Term Home Exchange in Palamós Spain ~ #AtoZ AmaZing Photos

A street in Palamos Spain

It took us only a week from first contact to agree upon a long term home exchange in España (Spain),  swapping our New Zealand home for a 17th century stone house in an old neighborhood in Palamós, in the Catalan region of Spain.  Trading the Hauraki Gulf for the Mediterranean Sea, how could we pass it up? […]

Chapel of Bones in Evora: A Freakish Ossuary in Portugal ~ #AtoZ

A close up of the skulls embedded in the wall of the Chapel of Bones in Evora Portugal. Photo ©Sarah Albom

We have been to some eerie places, no question about it.  The Chapel of Bones in Evora, Portugal tops our freakish list. Entering the macabre world of this ossuary is like crossing into the Twilight Zone. The invitation over the door: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos,” loosely translated: “We bones that are […]

Aqueduct of Segovia Spain – A 2000 Year Old Roman Masterpiece ~ #AtoZ AmaZing Photos

Aqueduct of Segovia Spain is 16,220 meters in length and 28 meters tall

The aqueduct of Segovia is an engineering feat of the Roman Empire, built about 50 A.D. Twenty-eight meters tall and stretching 16,220 meters in length it is awe-inducing – but not simply due to size. It is held together solely by natural forces, with the unmortared granite bricks staying in place based on an innovative balancing technique. A symbol of Segovia, […]

La Mezquita – Cathedral of Córdoba – A Must See in Spain

La Mezquita Cordoba

La Mezquita, also known as the Mosque – Cathedral of Córdoba is one of the most stunning buildings I have ever had the privilege to photograph. Located in southern Spain, in the town of Córdoba, it’s a must-see destination for travelers through the central or southern portion of the country. Its old, built even before the earliest […]

Greek Gods Get Respect – Know the Cultural Rules Before You Go

Greek Gods get respect

Greek Gods get respect – at least that’s what we found out rather quickly at the Agora in Athens. Visualize this:  A lovely day exploring ancient Greece in Athens. We arrive at the Agora and walk through the main building, snapping photos like so many travelers do. We are traveling with teens, but for today, […]

Canals, St. Marks, Bridges, and a Gondola in Venice Italy

Gondolas in Venice Italy

Venice is the final port on our 12 night Mediterranean cruise. We arrived the day before we disembarked, giving us an opportunity to come ashore in the evening, and return to sleep on the ship. Such an interesting city, I wish we had spent significantly more time here. However, we didn’t, so we only had time […]

Running on the Track at the Original Olympic Village in Athens

Olympic Stadium in Athens

Sometimes we get to do really cool things and today was one of those days . . . we raced on the track in the original Olympic village in Athens, Greece. It wasn’t an official race, just our family, but just being in the original Olympic village was amazing.  We had a super busy day in Athens, taking in […]

Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and Other Sights in Athens Greece

Acropolis in Athens Greece

We are in Athens Greece, just for the day as it is another port off the cruise ship. We knew right from the beginning that one day isn’t enough time to see this historical city. I have been to Athens before, but it’s all new to the rest of the family. To maximize our time, […]

Mykonos Greece – Windmills, Waves, and Whitewashed Walls

Greek islands

The contrast of the stark whitewashed buildings against a deep blue sky and turquoise sea caught my attention as we sailed into the port of Mykonos. This Greek island is a sharp contrast from the capital city of Athens. Mykonos offers a peaceful, relaxing bit of Greece. It was one of nine ports as we cruised the Mediterranean […]

Pompeii and Naples – Why You Need to Visit Both Cities

Pompeii italy

Naples is our final cruise port on Italy’s Mediterranean coast line. Like in Pisa/Florence and Rome, one day is not enough. We opted for Pompeii and Naples, but that meant giving up the Amalfi Coast. In truth, I have waited a long time to visit Pompeii.  Thirty years ago when I was touring Europe, we […]

Photo Tour: Vatican City – The World’s Smallest Country

St Peters Basilica in Vatican City

When we crossed from Italy into Vatican City, we entered our 20th country since we left New Zealand in March. Today was probably our busiest travel day, as our cruise itinerary allocated only one day to see Rome, which we had to split with Vatican City. We hired Max Leotta who turned out to be a fantastic […]

Photo Tour: How to See the Highlights of Rome in a Day

Photos of Rome

Today we attempted the impossible, to see the highlights of Rome in a day, including a visit to the Vatican. We knew it couldn’t all be done, but we had no option as Rome was a port stop on our Mediterranian Cruise on the NCL Sun. The secret to our success was two fold. First we did […]

Florence In a Day: Uffizi, Duomo, and Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence Italy

This afternoon we were in Florence, Italy.  Like every other port we stopped in, we tried to cram the maximum into one day and this one was loaded as it started out climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  One thing we did have to decide in advance is which art museum to visit. There is […]

Pisa Italy: Climbing the Leaning Tower and Visiting the Cathedral

Miracle Square

With one day in port to split between Pisa and Florence, we needed to be focused. Top on the girls list was climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I did it 20 years ago when I first visited Pisa. Then it was easy. We just bought our tickets, got in the queue, and then climbed the […]

More Fun in the Spanish Sun – Snorkeling and Diving in Palamós

underwater

More fun in the sun, a continuation from yesterday’s watersport photos adding snorkeling and SCUBA diving in Palamos to the mix of fun. The girls earned their open water certificates last year in Fiji.  Sarah wants to tell you about their diving in Palamós: Today Melissa and I went diving a little bit outside of the […]

A Week of Watersports in Costa Brava, Spain

boating 2

Time for some summer watersports fun!  Palamós, the town we are living in through our home exchange is a coastal community in Costa Brava Spain.  We decided to take a week of summer watersports. We rented a paddle boat in Palamós.  It was different than ones we had seen before as it had a slide, […]

Palamós Dancing in the Streets: Dance of Sardanas and Country

dance of sardanas1

One of the many great things about being in Palamós in the summer is the night life.  The town center is just as crowded at night as they are during the day, only the activity shifts from beach to the streets. There seems to be different activities each night, several of which revolve around dancing […]

Daily Fish Auction in Palamós for Restauranteurs and Tourists

Spain - Palamos Fish Market and Auction - 02

The fish market in Palamós is fast moving and fascinating, and the attached fish market. Each day the fishing boats leave port and return with their catch. Those bidding include the retail fish markets and local fish restaurants. Sarah explained the process: Today we went to see the fish auction in Palamós. How it works […]

A Free City Tour in San Sebastian, Culture Capital of Europe 2016

San Sebastian Spain

The rain stopped just as we were approaching San Sebastian, the cultural capital of Europe (at least that is what they are claiming it will be in 2016). We had decided in the morning to skip this beach town as the weather was so poor, but it was clearing and we were passing through.  Imagine […]

The Guggenheim is the Highlight of Bilbao Spain

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

I instantly fell in love with most of the cities, towns and villages we have visited in Spain. Each seems to have it’s own charm, it’s own heart-beat. Generally I know as soon as we arrive, it is another special place. That didn’t happen when we arrive in Bilbao.  No particular reason.  After two nights […]