Monthly Archives: August 2013

A photowalk thru the historic center of Girona

The historic center of Girona is full of interesting old doors

The city of Girona is located about 100 km northeast of Barcelona. It is one of the major Catalan cities and its historic center is a major tourist attraction. The train ride from Barcelona takes about one hour. The day trippers make for a crowded experience in these narrow medieval streets. If you can stay here overnight you might be able to avoid them and take a quiet walk thru the historic center early the next morning. Many cultures dominated this city. Iberians, Romans, Moors, Jews, Visigoths established themselves here. Even Napoleon’s troops took over the city for a few years. The Jewish ghetto or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe. Here are some images of a few of the old doors you may find walking in the old center.

You can see more images of Girona here on my previous blog post on the Eiffel bridge.

You can also follow my friend Dana on her blog at Time Travel Plans.

El casco antiguo de Girona y su viejas puertas sorprenden

La ciudad de Girona está situada alrededor de 100 km al noreste de Barcelona. Su viejo casco histórico es una gran atracción turística. El tren desde Barcelona toma una hora. Las excursiones de día abarrotan los estrechos callejones medievales del centro. Les recomiendo quedarse una noche para que puedan disfrutar en tranquilidad temprano al día siguiente. Muchas culturas han hecho historia al pasar por aquí. Los Iberos, Romanos, Musulmanes, Judíos, y Visigodos se establecieron aquí. Hasta las tropas de Napoleón tomaron la ciudad. La Judería o el Call es uno de los núcleos medievales mejor conservados de Europa. Aquí les dejo unas imágenes de las maravillosas puertas que encontrarán caminando por el Barri Vell.

Pueden ver mas imágenes de Girona aquí en mi entrada de blog acerca del Puente Eiffel.

girona spain call barri vell historic center door catalonia catalunya

The passage of time works wonders on old metal.

girona door barri vell call catalunya catalonia spain historic center

Simple twisted metal turned into door handles.

catalunya catalonia girona barri vell call spain door historic center

Combination door knocker and handle. See photo below for a closer look.

catalunya catalonia spain girona barri vell call door historic center

A closer look from the side of the previous photo

Jerez De la Frontera in Andalucía Spain

The city of Jerez is known for wine, flamenco, and horses

Jerez is the biggest city in the province of Cadiz in southwestern Spain. I made a quick visit here during my first trip to Spain. I only dedicated a whole day to see as much as I could of this city. It was an extremely busy day packed with a visit to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, a tour of a sherry winery, and a stop at the central market. The city is easy to walk and the town has an aristocratic air, with wide avenues lined with palms, and many beautiful squares. I plan to return here soon. The proximity of Jerez to the coast and the cities of Sevilla and Cadiz make it an ideal stop when exploring Andalucía.

You can see more of my visit to the Central Market here.

More tourist information here on Wiki.

Caballos que en el viento bailareis en mi solo pensamiento

Esas son las palabras del poeta Rafael Alberti. Podeis leer mas de sus Sextinas dedicadas a los caballos Andaluces cuando visiten la Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre. Durante nuestro primer viaje a España, pasamos rápidamente por la ciudad de Jerez de la Frontera. Contábamos solamente con un día para ver la ciudad pero lo aprovechamos al máximo. Logramos visitar la Real Escuela de Arte Equestre, visitamos una bodega, y pasamos por el mercado central. La ciudad no es muy grande y es facil de caminar. El aire aristocrático permea la ciudad con muchos palacios y jardines. Espero poder regresar pronto. Con su proximidad a la costa y las ciudades de Sevilla y Cadiz, Jerez es parada obligatoria cuando visiten la región.

Pueden ver mas imágenes de mi visita al Mercado Central de Abastos de Jerez aquí.

Mas informacion turística aquí en Wiki.

jerez train station andalucia andalusia spain

One of the most beautiful train stations I have seen in Spain.

tio pepe jerez streets andalucia andalusia spain

Tio Pepe barrels in the streets of Jerez

jerez royal school equestrian art andalucia Andalusia real escuela andaluza arte equestre spain horse

The Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Equestre

jerez escuela arte equestre royal equestrian school andalucia sapin horse

Interior corridor of the Royal School

real escuela andaluza arte equestre andalucia royal school equestrian art andalucia jerez spain horse

Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Equestre

caballeriza real escuela andaluza arte equestre royal equestrian school art andalucia andalusia spain horse saddles harness

Horse saddles and harnesses at the caballeriza

The luxury resort town of Portofino in the Italian Riviera

Located in the Riviera di Levante

We dropped into Portofino as we were working our way back to Milano after traveling thru Northern Italy. We were coming from the South after our stay in Cinque Terre. A short train ride would take us to the city of Santa Margherita Ligure. From there, a 15 minute bus ride would take us down a very narrow road to the town of Portofino. This region of Liguria is also known as the Italian Riviera, or Ligurian Riviera. The Riviera is the narrow coastal strip that extends from the border with France to the Eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia which is close to the border with Tuscany. Here is a link to the Portofino Google map.

Portofino used to be a fishing village but by 1950 tourism had replaced fishing as the main industry. These days the charm of this old fishing port and the beauty of its landscape, has made it a popular destination for tourists. The harbor is usually full of luxury yachts with their crews preparing them for the next sailing. The waterfront also has a continuous ring of restaurants and cafés. I would advice staying in Santa Margherita Ligure and taking the bus to Portofino. Portofino is beautiful but small and it can be seen in a day. Santa Margherita has more things to see. The fisherman in me loved the fish market along the waterfront in Santa Margherita. Even though I do not speak Italian, I was able to communicate with them when I asked them about some fish species. I think this is how all fishermen are. Our passion for the sea is clear and any language barriers are easy to overcome. Here are some images of Portofino Bay. I was surprised to still find working fishing boats in a harbor that is surrounded by luxurious yachts.

Portofino esta situado en la Riviera di Levante

Al final de nuestra vuelta por el Norte de Italia salimos de Cinque Terre y tomamos un tren rumbo al Norte con destino a Santa Margherita Ligure. Un bus de unos 15 minutos por un estrechísimo camino nos llevaría a Portofino. Esta región de Liguria se conoce como la Riviera Italiana o Riviera de Liguria. La Riviera Italiana es el estrecho costanero que se extiende al Noroeste de Italia desde la frontera con Francia hasta el Golfo de La Spezia en el Sureste casi al borde con la region de Toscana. Aquí tienen un enlace al Portofino Google map.

Portofino era una villa de pescadores pero ya para el 1950, el turismo era la principal actividad económica de la región. Hoy en día el viejo puerto y su bello paisaje han convertido esta bahía en un destino turístico. La bahía de Portofino esta llena de yates lujosos con sus tripulaciones preparándolos para nuevas aventuras. El paseo marítimo esta rodeado de restaurantes y cafés. Les recomiendo alojarse en Santa Margherita Ligure y tomar el bus a Portofino. Portofino es precioso pero chico y se puede ver todo en un día. Santa Margherita tiene mas cosas que ver. No dejen de pasar por el mercado de pescado en el paseo marítimo de Santa Margherita. Siempre me gusta hablar con otros pescadores. Aunque no parlo Italiano nos pudimos comunicar cuando les preguntaba sobre ciertas especies de peces. Creo que así somos todos los pescadores. Aquí tienen unas imágenes de Portofino. Me sorprendió ver lanchas pesqueras tradicionales en medio de tantos yates de lujo.

portofino harbor marina santa margherita ligure

The Bay looking East towards Santa Margherita Ligure.

portofino genoese boat

Traditional Genoese boat moored in the harbor.

portofino traditional boats harbor

Traditional boats in the harbor.

old mooring ring portofino harbor

Old mooring ring rusting away in the harbor.

portofino traditional fishing boat

A real working fishing boat surrounded by luxury yachts.

Hiking in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile

There are many options for hiking in Torres Del Paine

Torres del Paine National Park is located in southern Chile around 300 km north of Punta Arenas. It is a popular hiking destination. Access to the Park is not exactly easy but the Park still receives a lot of visitors every year. To reach the Park you will first take a 3 and 1/2 hour flight from Santiago into Punta Arenas. From there you can transfer into Puerto Natales via a 4 hour bus. From Puerto Natales it is another 100 km into the Park. The Park is open year round but Spring and Summer are the best times to visit. I know of a photographer who prefers visiting during the Winter as he is searching for extreme weather and better light. We visited in late November and had great weather conditions. Be aware of the extremely windy conditions. I have never seen a plane come to a full stop so soon when landing. I guess pilots don’t need to apply brakes when landing into these headwinds. A visitor in another group got hurt when a wind gust took him down. I really enjoyed a 7 km hike along the eastern edge of the Park. The trail is known as the wildlife trail and it included a climb to a hill with a cave with indigenous cave paintings. The hike was easy with not much climbing. In the Spring, you will see all sorts of wildlife with their offspring. We saw Foxes, Guanacos, and Ñandús on this trail.

Pueden ver mucha vida durante una visita en la Primavera

El Parque Nacional de Torres del Paine se encuentra en el sur de Chile alrededor de 300 km al norte de Punta Arenas. Es un destino muy popular para senderismo. A pesar de que el acceso al Parque no es muy fácil, muchos turistas lo visitan todos los años. Para llegar al Parque tendrán que tomar un vuelo de 3 horas y media desde Santiago a Punta Arenas. Seguido tienen que transferirse a Puerto Natales. Esto les tomará unas 4 horas más. Desde Puerto Natales son unos 100 km adicionales para entrar al Parque. El Parque permanece abierto todo el año pero Primavera y Verano son la mejor época del año para visitar. Conozco a un fotógrafo que prefiere visitar durante el Invierno ya que busca mejor luz y condiciones atmosféricas extremas. Nosotros visitamos al final de Noviembre y tuvimos un clima perfecto. Tengan cuidado con el viento. Es muy fuerte y una ráfaga les puede tumbar como le pasó a un turista en otro grupo. Nunca he visto un avión detenerse tan rápido al aterrizar. Me imagino que frenar no es muy necesario cuando se aterriza con estos vientos de frente. La mejor caminata para mi fue una caminata corta de 7 km en el borde este del parque. Este sendero se conoce como el sendero de vida silvestre e incluye una subida a un monte que tiene una cueva con pinturas rupestres. El sendero no es muy difícil y se puede tomar muchas fotos. En la Primavera se ven toda clase de animales con sus crías. Zorras, Guanacos, y Ñandús se cruzaban caminando frente a nosotros en este sendero.

 

torres del paine rio serrano

View of the Rio Serrano and the Park

torres del paine lakeside hiking lake Nordenskjold Mirador de Los Cuernos

Short hike around Lake Nordenskjold on the way to the Mirador de Los Cuernos

torres del paine salto grande lake nordenskjöld

Salto Grande at the western end of Lake Nordenskjöld

torres del paine wildlife trail

Hiking with the Guanacos along the wildlife trail

torres del paine cave wildlife trail

Cave paintings are found here inside this rocky outcrop

torres del paine cave paintings puma wildlife trail

Cave painting of a Puma

torres del paine cave paintings human puma wildlife trail

Cave painting of a human – the Puma head on the right is very accurate

torres del paine cave paintings condor wildlife trail

Cave painting of a Condor

torres del paine looking west

Looking West from the top of the hill – lots of good hiking here