Cordoba, A Real Local Feel of Spain


So Cordoba is a really small town, or at least I felt that way when I was there for two days. It’s a local experience and if you want to feel like you live in Spain, I would imagine that this place fits the bill. The charm of the town is in the people, the local shops, the local foods, and the old buildings that have so much history. I stayed in Old Town, so I really don’t know what it is like to travel outside in the other parts of Cordoba, so my view is very biased. I imagine that there are beautiful villas in the countryside with olive & pomegranate trees and even vineyards. I hope to go back to Cordoba with a rental car in the future.

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I stopped at a local  bakery really close to La Mezquita and close to my hotel. As soon as I entered and sat down at the bar stool, everyone stared at me. I purchased a bocadillo with ham for 5 euros. The ham was a little tough, but I was happy to feel like a local for at least 20 minutes. I saw the owners talk to each person as they came in. I just wish I could pick up on some of the conversations. I picked up a few words about the weather, but that was about it. Although I love traveling alone, there are those moments, when you feel alone and Cordoba made me feel that way. Because everyone seemed to know each other in town and especially around the shops close to La Mezquita, I started to wish I had friends or family with me.

I think my loneliness started to set in when I realized that siesta does occur in Cordoba and things don’t open up till 12:30 pm. From what I gathered, shops opened up around 5:00 PM as well. I still till this very day, don’t know the actual times when stores opened up when I was in Cordoba for two days. The siesta made me lazy and I didn’t feel like doing much at all. I was however interested in taking photos wherever I could. I packed my camera bag and wandered and literally got lost in the side alleyways and corridors and cobblestone roads in the mystic old town areas.  I had heard that Cordoba had beautiful patios, so I thought I would go and see what I could find. I found a lot of cool things to photograph in the La Juderia (Jewish Quarters). The buildings were close together practically hugging each other and on each corner there was something mysterious or fun to photograph.

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As I got more into the siesta mode, I just liked the quiet and calm of staying in Old Town. Once La Mezquita closes down, the area that surrounds La Mezquita gets REALLY QUIET. So for some of you that like more night life, I would recommend that you stay around Plaza Del Colon. For those of you that love to shop and people watch, you can do that around Plaza Del Colon as well. I sat down at a cafe and had a cup of coffee, a pastry and then even a tinto de verano. I sat at that cafe for at least 3 hours. I watched people smoke cigarettes, feed little scraps of food to their dogs. I watched little kids kick a soccer ball back and forth. I just sat and journaled and enjoyed EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

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It’s so refreshing to see the relaxed nature of everyone in this town. The easy going flow of this town allowed for me to decompress, to think about my present and my future.

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Walk…..just walk and be. You’ll find all kinds of cool things to experience. I loved walking into small shops that specialized in breads, meats and candies. I remember walking into a cute little candy shop that made marzipan and chocolate. A mom was letting her little child pick out the cute little fruit shaped marzipan candies. The smile on this kid’s face was priceless.

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There are so many other things to say about this town, but go and experience it for yourself!

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Sipping Sangria in Sitges Spain


Say it five times FAST..Sipping Sangria in Sitges Spain! GO………………………………………………

While traveling in Spain, a beach day or two is a MUST! Having a chance to have a little R & R from the walking around, achy feet and exhaustion from not speaking fluent Spanish is a FANTASTIC idea! Sitges, Spain was highly recommended by a few people we met in Barcelona. You can take the RENFE train from Barcelona. Most trains depart from the Passeig De Gracia train stop. It can be about a 45 minute train ride and cost about 4 Euros (about $5).

Sitges is a cute Boutiquish beach town tucked away and hugging the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Sitges is a gay friendly town and hosts a lively gay pride party that runs from July 5th to the 9th. You will see rainbow flags around the town and many gay friendly bars. During the summer Sitges hosts a lot of travelers and sun seekers who want to get away from noisy Barcelona to get their tan on.

Hotels can be moderate to expensive depending on the time that you go. My friend and I decided to stay in Sitges for about 3 days and it was a very good decision. We paid about $120 a night and split the cost, so $60 is not bad for a sudden beach vacation. You can look for pensiones in Sitges which are much more cost efficient for that budget traveler. The pensiones are very modest with minimal amenities. Keep in mind that most of us are traveling to get out and go see things and to do things, so pensiones are the way to go to save those pennies.

So transport yourself to walking around curvy & windy streets. You hear the crashing of waves and people laughing on the beach. A vespa whirs right past you. You walk past local hole in the wall bars where you hear the clinking of glasses filled with bubbling cava and see in depth interesting conversations taking place that may have been going on for hours. There are Rebaja signs everywhere that stimulate the tourists to shop till they drop. In the little shops you will run into lots of white dresses, you will also see skirts and pants displayed in the windows with summer espadrilles and strappy, flashy sandals. It’s easy to get lost into the magical spirit of Sitges.

If you are in the mood to learn something educational while drinking a cocktail in style then go check out Casa Bacardi. Of course this seems like an oxymoron, but Casa Bacardi takes you through their beautiful building to teach you about their special rum proprietor who made it big in the business. They also teach you how to make some cuba libres and mojitos, a skill worth having so that you can entertain your guests!

Source: sitgescb.cat

Source: tripadvisor.co.uk

Source: vi-franc.blogspot.com

We found a fantastic restaurant that roasted chickens in the entrance to entice you to come in. Needless to say, we went into this restaurant. They serve pizzas, appetizers, salads, and most of your traditional spanish homestyle dishes. This place really made us feel welcome. The staff (guys) were very nice to us and their service was impeccable. They recognized us each time we strolled by on our way to a shop or when we were going to the bar or the beach. Go here if you want to feel like you are being served a hot meal that feels like mom made it. Don’t know the name, but you will see the roasting chickens and you will smell the golden crispiness and chicken juices that are sizzling.

Other places that you will definitely see while strolling along is a restaurant called Los Vikingos. This place was great for my friend and I because the environment was open, clean and reasonable. I picked up a long black summer dress and spruced it up with some accessories, my friend did the same. We ordered a large carafe of sangria and went all out. We ordered jamon iberico, pan con tomate, a salad, paella, mussels and topped it off with a dessert and coffee. We ordered a nightcap of sangria and kept on ordering it! I love how they give you a large wooden spoon to stir up the sangria. By the way, free wifi!

We had a chance to experience some seafood on the Passeig Maritim which happens to be a great boardwalk. There are local fish shacks that fry up squid, cod, clams, oysters etc. The fish quality was super fresh, yet our bill added up quite quickly. The beer and the batter succeeded in making our hands greasy and making our bellies full, but also reminded us that it was summer time! The sun was shining as well as some of the men on the beach that had lathered themselves silly with sun tan lotion. We didn’t mind the view 🙂 By the way, most beaches in Spain allow for nudity. We saw mom’s topless talking with their teenage kids and older friends about everyday conversations. Speedos are also quite standard for men. Don’t be shocked or judge, it’s common and you are in their country. Don’t impose your values or standards upon them, just make a mental note that it is “different”. No one was staring at us or judging us like in America. Everyone was at the beach to relax, enjoy and rest and that is what we did! I wasn’t feeling bathing suit worthy at the moment, but no one on the beach gave a damn what I looked like, or if they did, they were experts at making fun of people on the beach without me knowing.

Here are a few more snapshots of Sitges, Spain. Enjoy

Photo Above: Ibericus carries all kinds of packaged ham

Above Photo: It was super cute watching kids & their parents shop for balloons

Above Photo: Catalonians are trendy when it comes to fashion

Above Photo: A shoe shopper’s paradise

Above Photo: I had a great view from my room!

Definitely consider taking a stop in Sitges, Spain. Lots of romantic restaurants, great shopping and things to see and do. Remember that it is 45 minutes away from Barcelona if you want a quick fix for the beach! You can rent parasols and beach chairs and make a whole day of it. You will go back to Barcelona sun kissed, glowing and much more relaxed!

Snapshots of Spain


Spain is a country full of vibrant colors. It’s a photographer’s paradise. Lots of old buildings in a grid pattern that make snapping photos fun! There is a lot to take from whether or not you are into food, architecture, little details, museums, art, people, helado, coffee, shopping and I can keep going. You get the point. Let me let the pictures speak for themselves. VALE!

Of course I was captivated by the bull. This was taken in Sevilla, Spain on a hot night. The colors and lighting remind me of the humidity and summer that makes Sevilla memorable. I had come from Casa De La Memoria where I watched serious Flamenco dancers stomp their hearts out. The dance was so powerful and so intimate that everyone felt like they had a “hot and heavy” moment in Spain. Something about the Sevilla summer that is romantic and sensual.

It’s lunch time in Spain, what to do? MENU DEL DIA! One of the biggest meals of the day. A Menu Del Dia is great because it usually includes an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. Helado topped off with a chocolate sauce is not a bad choice. We all scream for ice cream. You take your time on your meal, sit, talk, relax and “be”. This is what I love about Spain!

Did you know that Salvador Dali made jewelry? One of my friends had told me to make sure that I went down to the jewelry gallery of Dali’s after I toured the museum in Figueres, Spain. The regular Dali museum was a madhouse  where people looked like they were going to kill each other. I know secretly, Dali was somewhere laughing at all of us. It was nice seeing the jewelry where there were less people and it was dark. This eye reminded me of his famous works. The turquoise color and the shining jewelry made this piece visually stunning (no pun intended).

Dali, what more do I say?

While you are pish poshing around Madrid, make sure that you go and check out Mercato de San Miguel. It’s definitely a trendy food market that boasts tapas, sangria, desserts, produce and some other eclectic finger foods. You’ll see people sitting down at bar stools sipping wine, laughing and engaging in great conversation. The only bummer thing for me was not having people with me to enjoy this. I was solo on this part, but still enjoyed snapping photos and eating great food.

Pan por favor. The Spaniards take pride in their carbs and eat it proudly. As a tourist it is important to know that once the bread hits the table, if you do not say “no gracias”, then you will be charged for your bread. I learned that mistake in Granada. The girl was nice to explain this to me and then when I came the next day, I said right away “no gracias”. We both started laughing! However, I am glad that I tried the local bread out. Before I snapped this photo, the bread was inside a waxed paper bag that advertised the local bakery in Granada. I value and appreciate each that each restaurant and local businesses support each other. This truly extends a helping hand out to the local economy. You can see a generous helping here of a aioli type sauce and olive oil.

I saved the best for last. This is a picture of my absolute favorite jamon iberico and pan con tomate y aceite de olivos from Sagarra in Barcelona, Spain. My friend and I went to a local bookstore and asked the local for a great place to have a snack. He recommended Sagarra. I literally went there at least 3 or 4 times for my jamon iberico addiction. I have great memories of people watching here and great conversation with my friend. SPAIN, I LOVE YOU!

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