CnLsnapping


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Before Vacation #1

Greetings! I wanted to write a “quick” blog post about our shenanigans before we fly away for our first vacation! Woo hoo! We’ve been up to no good, per se, touring the city and getting ready for our trip. We’ve visited the various malls, markets, and restaurants around town. This post will pretty much be about food, as that seems to be all that I blog about anyway. It is exciting finding new restaurants because we don’t know what the food will be like. So far, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by everything. I’m sure you will be too.

We went to the mall and had some Mexican food at Uno Dos Tacos. Casey’s burrito was very fresh and delicious. My tacos were also tasty, just a little small. The portion sizes are smaller than in the US, but that’s better actually since they are more like what normal sizes should be. They give you plastic gloves, which I presume are for eating the tacos since they are juicy and messy. How convenient! (If you can see the small writing next to Pasta Nostra, it says “The offer you can’t refuse!” Love it!) Then we went to a café for a cappuccino and red velvet cake.

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That same day, we went to another mall to find a tailor to take in Casey’s backpacking pants. There was a wooden hut in the middle of the mall which sells smaller carvings of wooden things. Adorable and clever!

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We also found SeoulMart! A small store filled with Korean items. They had quite a few food items, as well as makeup products and dishes, etc. We grabbed a few snacks for the road.

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We started making snack bags for our upcoming trip. Casey likes to combine his snacks in one bag, while I prefer to separate bags into sweet or savory items. This one bag of his caught my eye. Shrimp chips and M&Ms! A winning combination??

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We finally went to eat at Café Nedelka! Like Casey said, it was delicious! Very good flavors at a very reasonable price. A smoothie, grapefruit lemonade, caesar salad, and fetuccini alfredo. Yummy!

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Casey went to play football one evening with his co-workers. His company pays for the field once a week, so the guys meet up and have a good time for free. It’s a great system. The guys are very nice, and he loves getting the exercise while having fun. There are three fields, so it’s a fairly big place. It’s an enclosed area but the sides are open to let in some air. In winter though, they can lower the tarp on the sides of the fence to keep out the cold air.

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We found a very tasty place just down the block. The menu was like a passport. He ordered a cappuccino and I ordered a lemonade of some kind. I certainly had enough to drink. We ordered a lamb burger (the other meat option was horse) and a chicken stir-fry type of thing. Very good flavors! The presentations of everything was quite fancy too. This was one of the more expensive meals we’ve had. It was about $21 dollars. Still not bad! They also like to give you the check in some cute mug or box around here.

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Another day, we went to an American-style restaurant called Mandy’s Diner! We sat outside next to the “river.” There is open water like this around the city. It’s just water drainage from the mountains nearby. It’s actually quite relaxing to hear the sound of the water if you’re walking by it. Anyway, Casey had an iced latte and a nice American breakfast with pancakes and eggs. Their pancakes are perfect! I had a BBQ chicken burger that was decent and a strawberry lemonade that seemed like Kool-Aid. Probably won’t order that again.

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The final meal I’d like to note is our dinner last night at Manga Sushi! They have sushi all over the place here; at restaurants and in the food court at malls. I’ve been saving myself to eat it at a nice restaurant, and we finally had the chance. Their menu was like a magazine in style and thickness. (To Shannon – I kept wanting to say “Skip ahead to chapter 4. It’s the lunch menu.”)

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We had some delicious raspberry mint lemonade, little bao burgers, two dinner sushi rolls, and even a sushi dessert! The berry sauce that came with the dessert was served in a dish made out of a fried wonton skin. Casey took a bite out of it and he looked just like Willy Wonka taking a bite out of the flower teacup! (To Mom – it made me think of you!) They gave us a piece of gum and a toothpick with the check. Nice touch.

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Every restaurant we’ve been to has some sort of lemonade drink. It’s not necessarily the classic lemonade we think of in the US, but it’s usually very good. It seems like sparkling water, some type of sugar syrup, and then some type of fruit. Sometimes there’s a citrus flavor to them but not always. I wonder how they started calling it lemonade in the first place.

Well, I have much more to say about my time here, but I’ll call it good for now and move on to our backpacking trip. We’ve been planning and packing almost every day. We bought our food and portioned it out into specific meals and days. We weigh all the food and figure out exactly how many calories is in each meal or snack. Then we bag it all up and know how much we have to eat for each day.

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We are going to carry some of our food at the beginning of the trail (that’s in bag number one), and then we’re going to send the rest to the little mountain huts along the way to resupply ourselves when we get there. We have all the food portioned out into four different bags. We also have been very particular as to what else we carry along the trail. Casey’s pack weighs less than 8 pounds, and mine is just over 8 pounds. That’s not counting food or water. It’s an interesting lifestyle out there. I’m not sure what to expect since I haven’t been on such a long trip before. It’ll be about 18-19 days. We’ve planned out each of our days pretty carefully mileage-wise, but there is one detour to a mountain that we’ll decide when we get there. We’ll see what the weather is like and then decide if we want to go or not. The pictures below show exactly what is in our backpacks.

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So that’s about it! We had a nice evening tonight for our last night in Almaty. We met two of his coworkers who used to work at Arik Air in Lagos. I knew one of them already, and it was nice to see a familiar face! We ended the night with a decadent dessert (or two) at a place called Whoopie Cakes! A little pricey for the area but very tasty. I got carrot cake and Casey got red velvet cake which really tasted more like strawberry shortcake, and they actually weren’t that sweet. Certainly not as sweet as they look.

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On the walk home, we met this adorable, friendly cat! I wanted to pet it sooo badly! It sat on my shoes for a little while til I had to nudge it off. Too cute! It was a perfect way to end the evening. IMG_20170731_200727DSC_0164DSC_0166DSC_0167DSC_0168DSC_0170DSC_0172

I’ll blog as soon as we get back! I’ll have lots of pictures from our trip!

Ciao for now!


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The Beginning in Almaty, Kazakhstan

About 32 hours later, I made it! My journey was long, smooth, rather uneventful, mostly comfortable, a bit tiring, and thankfully over. After a rough start (my first flight was canceled so I had to quickly change to an earlier flight in order for everything to not be messed up), I hopped on the plane and began my trip: Sacramento – Los Angeles – Houston – Istanbul – Almaty.

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The flight to Los Angeles was short and simple. I read on my Kindle. I had a short layover at LAX, so I got some lunch from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (and kicked myself for not bringing my gift card!). The flight to Houston was longer but easy too, and I knitted the whole time. Once I arrived in Houston, I went straight to the international terminal to check it out. I had a 2.5 hour layover here, so I walked around the terminal, which didn’t take long. It was either a very small terminal or I missed a whole section. Where I was it was virtually empty. Then I sat and relaxed for a little while before boarding.

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It’s odd to me that international terminals in the US tend to feel like you’re in a foreign country already. I don’t know why. They seem to have their own vibe that differs a lot from domestic terminals. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way. But the bathroom was very nice with Dyson faucets. Once boarding was called, everyone rushed up and stood in line. There were actually separate boarding groups, but you can’t tell here.

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I flew with Turkish Airlines for the first time, and it was quite nice! The cabin lights changed colors at the beginning and end of the flight. They gave everyone a pillow, a blanket, headphones, and an amenity kit with slippers, socks, eye mask, ear plugs, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

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The food was great too! They gave each of us a menu for dinner, which I thought was a lovely touch. I chose the grilled chicken and it was quite tasty, albeit a little hard to cut on the plane, even though they gave us real silverware instead of plastic utensils (another nice touch). Casey would have liked the smoked salmon and artichoke salad. I tried the moutabel and tabbouleh but didn’t care for the flavor personally. The panna cotta for dessert was especially good and creamy. I chose the homemade lemonade as a drink and that was better than Minute Maid lemonade. Breakfast was a mushroom omelette with potatoes and fresh fruit. I skipped the assorted cheese. All-in-all, I was very impressed with the food! And overall, the only downside I could tell was that the seats weren’t very padded so they weren’t the most comfortable, but otherwise I’d gladly fly with Turkish again.

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On this long flight, I couldn’t get too comfortable in the seats, but I slept as much as I could. When I couldn’t sleep, I read and then watched the movie “Avatar” (finally) on the in-flight media. Then 12 hours later, we arrived in Istanbul! We got off the big plane and boarded a bus to take us to the Ataturk airport.

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The terminal I was in was quite old and small, but I walked around and ended up in a huge area with expensive clothing shops and more food options. I found this souvenir shop called Old Bazaar and perused for a little while. I had a 4 hour layover here, so I paid to enter a lounge and was able to take a shower. It was refreshing and help push me on for the last 9 hours or so of the trip.

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When it was time to fly to Almaty, we boarded another bus and headed out to the plane. Everyone was in a hurry to board and crowded into this small enclosure. To my surprise, we got another meal on this flight! It was a 5 hour flight, but I just didn’t expect a meal I guess. I chose the pasta, which was simple and tasty. It came with Greek yogurt mixed with herbs as a side and raspberry Greek yogurt for dessert. I wasn’t too tired after dinner, so I watched the movie “Hidden Figures” (which was good!) and then tried to sleep.

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After awhile, I finally arrived in Almaty!!!!!! I looked back for one last look at the plane, then went through customs and baggage claim. My bags came quickly enough, and Casey was waiting for me just outside the door. Yayyy!!!! It was so good to see him again! It had been over a month and a half since he left the US, so it was about time to be reunited. We left the airport and I took a quick picture of one side of the building that I could see. And that was that! Off we went to our new apartment!

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Saturday

I arrived on Saturday morning around 5 AM local time. Once we got to the apartment, we ate some muesli for breakfast, relaxed a bit, then went out to a café for a snack. We ordered a waffle with caramel syrup and it was delicious. Beautiful presentation too.

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After a stop in their very ornate bathroom, we left to walk around the neighborhood. I took pictures of various things that caught my eye as we passed by.

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A restaurant called Hot Dog Club – “American Hot Dogs since 2017,” apparently.

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There are trees and parks everywhere. Just from what I’ve seen so far, the city looks very old and very new in certain places. Some buildings look old and you can tell they’ve been there for a while. But then they also have very new, modern buildings, so you can tell that they are improving the city, which is also what I’ve read online.

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We walked by a neat street with a few restaurants like Café Nedelka, Mandy’s Diner, and Pita Green. Casey’s been to Café Nedelka a few times and really likes it. He’ll take me there soon. So far, he loves the food here and has had good experiences everywhere.

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We spotted a bus advertising Qazaq Air, Casey’s new airline! Then we arrived at our destination, Dostyk Plaza. It’s a huge, beautiful mall. Anyone would be happy shopping here. I’ve noticed that malls in Europe, and now Asia, are much nicer than the malls in the US. They remind me of the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas actually; only the size might vary.

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Have you ever seen so many immersion blenders or meat grinders in your life?! No! You haven’t! This was amazing.

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I don’t know if Kazakhstan Cola is different. They also had rows of honey. Every kind of honey you could imagine. Refined, unrefined, flavored, etc. Very cool.

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We saw some pretty mosaic murals on our way to dinner. He took me to a burger joint with very nice, juicy burgers. I ordered the classic and Casey got the kimchi burger! The kimchi flavor was subtle but added a nice spiciness to the meat. We also had the best grapefruit soda, which they called grapefruit lemonade. I think it was just sparkling water, simple syrup, and grapefruit wedges, but it was delicious.

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On the way home, we passed by a pretty building with fountains. I think it’s a theater of some sort.

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Sunday

On day two, we took the subway to another mall. This subway/metro was quite nice with stained glass, some cute paintings, and pretty mosaic tiles on the walls.

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We got to the ADK mall and had coffee and sandwiches for lunch. I ordered a mocha to perk myself up and Casey got a cappuccino. I was surprised to find Nathan’s Hot Dogs in the mall! You hardly see those in the US these days. Who would have thought it would be here.

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This mall was smaller than the one yesterday, but we walked around and then went to the market downstairs. We bought a few things and then went back to the apartment for the rest of the afternoon. When dinnertime rolled around, we walked to a café/restaurant on the corner and had pizza! The crust was fabulous (they obviously have a good pizza oven), hardly any sauce, but the flavor was good with the cheese and toppings. We also ordered bruschetta and a berry iced tea that turned out to be purple. Fascinating.

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We stopped at the market on the way home for a small treat. Casey picked out these tarts with adorable bees on top! They were so cute that I didn’t want to eat it. All of that cream is not whipped cream actually. It’s meringue! I was surprised too. And we saved that big one to eat the next day.

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Monday

Yesterday we went to yet another mall! But first, we started off the day with breakfast at a café near by. I got another mocha and it had the cutest spoon! It’s curved to rest on the glass. I just love it!

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This time we went to Mega Mall, which lives up to its name. It’s HUGE! This is actually very much like the Fashion Show Mall in terms of size. We walked around for a long time, and I’m not even sure we saw everything. There may have been a corridor we missed.

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At the food court, we finally found McDonald’s! They also had Burger King, Carl’s Junior (which is called Hardee’s here), Pizza Hut, and Baskin Robbins. Is Baskin Robbins even still open in the US? We ended up ordering some local fast food. We had chicken teriyaki (which had some sweet Middle Eastern seasoning) and some kind of noodle soup. I forget what it was called. We also had boba/bubble tea that was tasty.

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I loved this tree in the middle of the mall. We debated whether it was apples or cherries. They also had a beautiful fish tank with a puffer fish, two sharks, three eels, and lots of pretty fish.

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There was a huge, metal fountain with gears moving water up and down. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but it was really cool. Then I found this cute cup with a curved spoon! Very similar to the one we saw at the café. I might have to buy some curved spoons one of these days.

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We stopped at the market when we were finished, and I had to take a picture of the horse meat display. Very interesting! On one of our lunch menus, there was a horse sandwich option. We tried it once when we were in Spain and it was good if you can get past the mental block, but I don’t know if I want to try it again. We’ll see. We decided to get an ice cream treat to end the day before going back to the apartment.

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Tuesday

If you can believe it, we went to another mall today! This one was very small and not worth taking a picture of. Then we went to the market. Each mall we’ve been to has had a market inside it, attached to it, or next to it. Casey wanted to show me the various malls and markets in the city so I could get an idea of what each place sells. It’s been fun exploring the city and the shops!

We have more shopping to do this coming week in order to get ready for our upcoming trip to Sweden. For anyone who doesn’t know, we’re going to go backpacking in Northern Sweden for about 3 weeks, so we’re getting prepared for that.

That’s all for now! Hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures!


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Duncan Camping Trip 2016 Photos!!

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Hello Everyone!

Here are my pictures and videos from our trip! I am using Google Photos, so if you have a Gmail account, then you can add your photos too. We had a wonderful time hanging out with you all, and hopefully we’ll get to do it again next year!

To add your photos:

  1. Click “Join”
  2. Click “add to album” (in the top right of the screen)

To download photos:

  1. When you’re viewing the album, you’ll see three vertical dots in the top right of the screen. Click that, and then you’ll see a “download all” option.
  2. When you’re viewing a single photo, look for those same vertical dots in the top right as well.

CLICK HERE

 


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All About Food

It’s been an extremely uneventful month here in Lagos. When we first got here, Casey worked a lot and I stayed at the hotel. He went on various nightstops during the week, and I was left to my own devices, which meant reading up a storm, watching Netflix, and knitting/crocheting. (Yes, we’re able to watch Netflix here! The only caveat is that we can only see the European content instead of what’s available in the USA, but that’s not so bad.) I don’t mind sitting here doing my own thing since I’d be doing these same things back home anyway. Luckily, my crafts travel well.

But now, he’s been off for a while, and we’ve just been on vacation! Woo hoo! Per se. Since there isn’t too much to actually do here, we’ve been treating ourselves to good food! Lots and lots of nice meals. That’s what I’m going to share with you today.

The first of our many Domino’s Pizzas!! We really love pizza. That’s pretty fortunate considering that it’s one of the best foods here in Lagos (to us, anyway). It’s just as good as pizza in the US, and their delivery service is SO quick! In 20-30 minutes we can have a fresh pizza at our door. Yum.

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A few months ago, Casey discovered a new restaurant called Truffles. It’s only about 10 minutes away from us, and they serve amazing food! The quality and taste is wonderful. We’ve gone there numerous times already and ate fettuccini alfredo, chicken quesadillas, mini hamburgers, fish sticks, sweet and sour chicken, mini pizzas, and more. The red drink below is called a Chapman. It’s a very common drink made of a combination of the following ingredients: Sprite, Fanta, Angostura bitters, grenadine syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and garnished with a cucumber, lemon, or lime. It’s really quite good. It tastes like a fizzy fruit punch. Casey got a vanilla milkshake one day which was very mild but good. (I love all of his varying expressions in these pictures.) 

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Another fun, new place is Ocean Basket! It’s a seafood restaurant originally from South Africa. I’d say that Lagos isn’t known for their seafood, but this place has some good quality fish, albeit imported. We’ve been twice and have enjoyed our meals. We’ve tried the salmon, fish and chips, fried calamari, and grilled sole.

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We went to the Sheraton Hotel one night and they had a Tex-Mex buffet. We had chicken fajitas, carne asada, some spicy beans, and another Chapman. They also had an array of super tiny, super cute desserts which were much cuter than they were tasty. But it gave me the idea to make extremely tiny mini cheesecake slices! Adorable!

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One of the take-out places we order from is called Shawarma and Co. Casey gets a falafel shawarma and I get a chicken shawarma. I think shawarmas are originally from Lebanon, so they use Lebanese bread, which is similar to pita bread but much thinner. They consist of various vegetables or coleslaw, a meat or main filling, and some sauce. Many places serve shawarmas and all of them are slightly different in flavor and ingredients.

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The best cupcake place is at the mall. Other bakeries just don’t know how to make cake. At all. And then there is always COLD STONE! We love ice cream, so we love cold stone. What can I say.

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Last weekend, we went to Lekki Market and Victoria Island with our friends, Jose and Ben. I wanted to do a little shopping at the market, and then we had a great lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (of all places) and a coffee shop (again, of all places.) The first picture is outside a place called So Fresh. They have one location on the Island and another location right by our hotel. We’ve been ordering smoothies almost every day and they are delicious! 100% fresh fruit smoothies! Who would have thought there would be a place like that here. Not us, for sure, but we are grateful to have a location so close to us that delivers too. Even better!

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Then we went to Cafe Neo. Casey said the coffee quality was really good. Apparently they want to open a location close to us, so hopefully that is true. He would be very happy.

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I hope you enjoyed our little food tour. Food has become the highlight of our stay here, so it’s fun to find new places. We’ve been having good luck finding some quality restaurants in our vicinity. Thanks for reading!

P.S. We checked out a new mall the other day. Casey had fun trying out their virtual reality ride and a hoverboard. He said the virtual reality was just subpar, but the hoverboard was much fun.

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Duncan Camping Trip 2015 Photos!

HEY FAM! 

I went through the photos and chose the best ones. We had such a fun trip! There are a lot of good rafting and badminton pictures. Click the link below to view them! You can download all of the photos for free, or you can download one by one. (When you’re viewing the album, you’ll see three vertical dots in the top right of the screen. Click that, and then you’ll see a “download all” option. When you’re viewing a single photo, look for those same vertical dots in the top right as well.) Let me know if you have any issues. Love you all!

CLICK HERE!


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A Walk in Ikeja [video]

A couple weeks ago, Casey and I went to Goodies Market for lunch and grocery shopping. We ended up walking back to the hotel because our usual method of transportation, a small three-wheeled vehicle called a keke, was not allowed to pass on a certain road. (Since it was the holiday season, the police wouldn’t let them pass for some reason.) We decided to take a video of the walk to show you all what it looks like around our side. Unfortunately we didn’t think of it early enough, so the video starts during the middle of our walk, but you still get to see a good amount of the neighborhood. Casey was holding the camera, and he was trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, so the camera shakes from time to time. If we decide to take another video, we’ll try to do a better job! But enjoy this one for now!


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Granada, Spain

Our last city to visit was the infamous Granada. It seems fitting that we ended our trip in such a well-known place. This was a spur of the moment decision, since we had previously decided to go back to Valencia after Málaga. We rode our bikes to the bus station, boarded the charter bus, and were there within two hours. The ride was smooth and comfortable. I was anxious to see the Spanish countryside, but it was quite similar to Southern California.  You could hardly tell the difference at times.

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We rode our bikes to the hotel, as usual. Even in the daytime, the weather was already much colder than it had been in Málaga, since Granada is inland quite a bit. We knew it would be really cold at night, as it had been in Ronda.

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Our hotel was really nice; one of the best we stayed at during our whole trip. We settled in, then left to get something to eat. Afterwards, we ventured out into the city to get the lay of the land. Admittedly, both of us were already disappointed because we expected Granada to be a small city, like Ronda. I don’t know why we thought that though. After experiencing Ronda, then having culture shock in the big city of Málaga, we were looking forward to being in another cozy town again. Alas. Granada wasn’t quite as big and busy as Málaga or Valencia, but it still had the city vibe and wasn’t as quaint as we were hoping for. We rode our bikes around the downtown area and then chose random alleyways to go down to get out of the traffic. Without foresight, we came upon a very, very steep pathway that led up to the most famous site in Granada – the Alhambra.

We went up the path, which looked just like any nature path in a park, and found ourselves at the entrance to the Alhambra. Unfortunately, we arrived at the exact moment that the complex closed, so we didn’t get to see it that day. Instead, we walked further up the hill and found a dirt path leading to a lovely viewpoint overlooking the city. The sun had just set so it was getting quite cold, but we stopped to take some pictures anyway.

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There were beautiful snow-capped mountains behind us which turned out to be the Sierra Nevada Mountains! After living near the Sierra Nevadas in the US, it was nice to see the original mountains in Spain.

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It was absolutely freezing (to me, of course) by that time. We rode our bikes down a very long hill with the wind in our face and went back to the hotel. We thawed in the room and then did some more laundry in the sink. We ordered dinner in since neither of us felt like heading out again.

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Before we went to sleep, I did some research to find out if visiting the Alhambra was worth it. It’s highly touristy and the number one spot in Granada, but we wanted to be sure. In the end, we decided that we might as well see it since we were there, so we bought tickets online to have them ahead of time. We found out that you can visit it at anytime during their business hours, but there was one section (the Nasrid Palaces) that could only be accessed at a specific time. Apparently this spot was so popular that they had to give you a designated time, and then you were only allowed to be there for one hour! If you missed your slot, then you had to buy another reservation. We chose a time later in the day so we could see the city a bit in the morning and then finish up at the Alhambra.

We started out with a morning walk through the city. I love my dad’s new nickname for Casey: the Jumping Bean! It’s so perfect.

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We saw a hilarious little carousel with kids riding horses made from rubber tires. The guy in charge of the ride was pedaling on a bicycle in order to spin the kids around. Pretty clever and really funny!

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This sign made us laugh. What does it mean? I can think of a number of interpretations.

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More beautiful gothic architecture! Just gorgeous.

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This cathedral was just amazing from the outside. The curvature is such a neat design.

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Our front desk clerk at the hotel told us to go to a certain lookout point where you had a great view of the Alhambra high up on hill. We followed a map and eventually found it. It was packed with people! But it did offer a great view. The only downside was that everyone was just lingering and loitering, sitting on the low wall, so that you couldn’t get close enough to take a decent picture of the view. Or you had to stand right next to people and hover over them to take a picture. Meh.

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We left after a few minutes since there was no place to sit, and I was getting mad that people wouldn’t move out of the way. There was a small café where we got a snack.

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It was almost time to venture to the Alhambra. We had walked all the way up to the viewpoint (which was a long ways up), so we took a bus down the hill, and then took another bus back up another hill to the Alhambra entrance.

At this point, the blog lends itself more to photos than writing, but I’ll give you some background first. The Alhambra is made up of five general sections: the Generalife gardens, the Alcazaba, the Towers, the Nasrid Palaces, and the Charles V Palace. We weren’t able to see everything that day, unfortunately. Casey didn’t want to spend all day there, so we didn’t go early enough to see everything. I would have gone earlier, but I admit that we were both getting a little tired of seeing the same type of old, Spanish buildings. Of course they were all different, but they were all similar in a way. Maybe if we had come to Granada first, we would have gone earlier and seen the whole Alhambra complex. But it was what it was. We only got to see the Generalife gardens and the Nasrid Palaces, so that is what you’ll be seeing today as well.

Many different rulers resided there and contributed to building the Alhambra, either by adding onto it or destroying parts of it. The Generalife gardens were built as a sort of sanctuary for the residents to stroll around and relax. It was a nice place. It seemed like it would have been quiet and tranquil hundreds of years ago. Since the gardens are on the highest part of the hill, there was a great view of the city and of the rest of the Alhambra.

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It was now almost time to see the Nasrid Palaces! Remember, they give you a specific time, so we didn’t want to be late. We had to walk about ten minutes across the whole complex to get there though, so it was quite the trek. On the way, we saw tree-lined paths, a little building called “Hotel America,” and the outside of Charles V Palace. We also briefly went inside an old, Arabic bath house. There were lovely star-shapes cut into the ceiling to let in light, so I took a quick picture of that. Then we stood in line to enter the Nasrid Palaces and finally went in.

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Honestly, I don’t know why the Nasrid Palaces are so popular that they need timeslots to accommodate people. It’s basically a palace with lots of rooms, patios, and courtyards. I’m probably dumbing that down completely, but that’s essentially what it was. The main thing that struck us, and everyone else around, was the immense DETAIL in the architecture. The walls, ceilings, columns, floors, everything was completely covered in detailed tilework or incredibly intricate carvings. We had seen beautiful detailed work in other buildings, in other cities, during our trip. But I guess this was the ultimate in detail and design. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular. Anyway, on to some photos!

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While walking through the rooms, I noticed how cold it was in there without any breeze at all. I could just imagine how wonderfully cool it would be in the hot summer.

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I read online that a lot (maybe all) of these carvings are actually poems! Isn’t that cool?

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Here are couple more of those built-in shelves, if you will. Still adorable! You might not be able to tell, but they mimic the room that they are built in. Meaning that they look like a miniature version of the room that we were standing in. It was so cute.

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The ceiling in this next room was just gorgeous. Well, the whole room was gorgeous since it was completely covered in tile and carvings. Not one inch was bare. Casey and I kept wondering how long it took them to carve these intricate details into the walls.

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This next room was extremely unique. The ceiling rose up into a huge, star pattern and looked like it was dripping with stalactites. It’s called “mocárabe, honeycomb work, or stalactite work.” It consists of multiple layers of vertical prisms slowly rising up into an apex of tiny arches. The tiny windows at the very top also let in strategic angles of light in order to see the dozens of honeycomb curves.

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This ceiling was really built at an angle (like a rhombus). It wasn’t me taking a picture at an angle.

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Casey spotted this pretty stained glass ceiling. It was roped off so no one could see it, but he leaned over and found it. After that, many people after us also leaned over and took a picture.

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What is this, a llama? I don’t know, but we saw this guy numerous times around the Alhambra. I think he’s the mascot or something.

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And then it was over. It was almost closing time, so they pushed us out into the night again. We ended our tour in a little garden, and then had to find our way out. We wanted to go back to the main entrance, but the gate was locked and we ended up feeling locked in for quite a while. We walked back and forth trying to find a way out, and it took some time to spot the pedestrian path leading back down the hill. We were tempted to just spend the night at the Alhambra and see more of it the next day. After all, they locked us in, right?

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There were more persimmon trees here, just like we saw in Ronda. I loved them quite a bit. They still remind me of Halloween for some reason. I wonder if they would grow in Washington??

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This is Charles V Palace. Apparently he demolished a huge section of the Alhambra to build his palace. On the way out, I saw a teeny tiny little sign noting the “Alhambra.” The sign was about six inches across and three inches tall. You’d think such a huge, popular place would have a bigger sign!

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We descended the steep path and walked through the park, through the city, into the night, back to our hotel. We saw some interesting graffiti and murals as well.

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And that was it. That was the Alhambra. That was Granada. The next day was uneventful. We went on a walk, found a science museum, and took pictures with Albert Einstein. Both of us didn’t feel like doing anything special. We were honestly worn out from sightseeing, if that can be possible.

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We did find a cute bakery where we treated ourselves to a croissant filled with whipped cream. Mmm. We also tried a Spanish specialty called pionono. It’s a small cylinder of sponge cake that you can eat in two bites. It’s really tiny. We had no idea what they would taste like, so we ordered an original pionono with a crème brulee cream topping and another one with a mandarin orange cream topping. WOW! That’s all I could say. As tradition dictates, sponge cake is generally always soaked or brushed with some type of liquid to moisten it. These cakes had been completely soaked in something so it was 100% moist and soggy. Personally, I couldn’t eat it. The soggy texture was way too strong for me. Casey didn’t mind the texture as much, but they weren’t his new favorites either. We’re glad we tried them though. I loved their menu  with pictures of all the desserts and clear prices for all of them. Great idea.

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The day slowly passed and we took the night train back to Valencia. I wrote about this in depth already in a previous post: Back to Our Home Away from Home.

I guess in my conclusion I should state that we had a really wonderful time. We are so glad that we chose to go on this trip and see new cities in Spain. Next time, I think we both might plan a little more ahead of time so we know what each city has to offer. On the other hand, we really had a good time just doing it live and seeing what we wanted when we wanted. We both love to explore cities like locals and just enjoy whatever our feet or our bikes lead us to at the time. So who knows what we’ll do next time.

Well, I’m done! You’re done! That was our Southern Spain Trip! I thoroughly hope you enjoyed reading about it and seeing our pictures. I’m going to put the rest of them on our photography website so you can browse through all of our photos if you want to. Since it was hard to insert galleries into each post (like I did for the post on Sevilla), I think this will be the easiest way.  I’ll let you know when they are all uploaded and ready for viewing. Thanks for reading!!