Antoni Gaudi has his stamp on Barcelona. An architect and with a penchant for what is now referred to as Catalan Modernism. His attention to detail and in his designs extended to use of wrought iron, ceramics, glass and more. One of his popular contributions is Park Güell, located on Carmel Hill. It was built during the years of 1900 – 1914. Its beginnings as a housing development failed and the area was then turned into a park in 1926. In 1984 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (classified as part of the works of Antoni Gaudi). Today people flock to see its buildings, statues, pillars and more. I do know that I will visit this place should I make my way to Barcelona. The curves, vibrant mosaics and bold structures are reminiscent of candies and fairy tales. I expect I will be taken with the wonder of the design.
Feel like a having a beach getaway? It would be lovely to relax on a sun-soaked strip of sand with drink in hand while hearing the waves lap against the shore. There certainly is an abundance of beaches to choose from in the world. Some places are synonymous with beach life: Miami, Rio, Thailand’s islands, Goa, most Caribbean Islands, Cancun – the list goes on and on. As much as I love a holiday filled with history, architecture and good beer a fine beach holiday can be inviting. Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, has sent me an invite that I hope to RSVP to soon.
The Canary Islands consist of seven islands that lie approximately 100 km/62 miles west of the southern coast of Morocco with Tenerife being 300 km/186 mi from the coast. Not only is Tenerife the biggest Canary Island, it is also has the largest population. As a tourist destination it is one of Spain’s main ones. Aside from the 67 km/41.6 miles of beach, Tenerife also claims natural beauty in a variety of forms. The varying contrasts on this small volcanically formed island is remarkable. Tiede Volcano is the world’s third tallest at 3718 m/12,198 feet. The land around it (in Tiede National Park) is a thriving pine forest. Moving about the island you will encounter the rock cliffs of Acantilados de Los Gigantes (Cliffs of the Giants) and then desert-like regions to flourishing semi-tropical oases.
In addition to the spectacular nature of this isle there are plenty of fun activities for all. Hiking, biking, beaches, SCUBA diving, golf, water parks, arts, music and sailing are all on the agenda. The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a lively and colourful festival that is held every February in the island’s capital, Santa Cruz. Second only to Rio’s infamous Carnival, it is hoping to gain status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So what do you say? Think maybe Tenerife may worth checking out?
The Camino de Santiago de Campostela – “The Way of St James”. A long name for a long pilgrimage. Referred to simply as “The Camino” this age old pilgrimage begins at the Pyrenees Mountains in southwestern France and winds its way across the landscape of northern Spain on it’s most popular route. Twisting its way through green fields, bustling city streets and rocky outcrops it terminates at the cathedral of Santiago de Campostela, clear across the country in Galicia, Spain. Although there are many routes along The Camino, the most familiar route takes pilgrims roughly a month to traverse the trail. Dotting the way are “refugios” or refuges for weary pilgrims to lay their heads.
When I first learned of The Camino I was instantly intrigued. Why would one want to do such a trek? Could I do such a trek? There are oodles of reasons that thousands upon thousands make this journey. Some for religious reasons, others to see if they can do it and even more to find themselves on the way. My reason? Simply to see if I can do it….and bragging rights: “I walked across the north of Spain…oh yeah.” Well not entirely but would be cool to make that proclamation. So in several years, once my RTW trip has been completed my next adventurous goal is The Way of St James. The question is – are you coming with me?
Photo credit: Ron Albers (Flickr)