Showing posts from October, 2014

Colorful Coruña, Spain’s “Glass City”

I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest fan of A Coruña, Galicia’s second-largest city and the major metropolis along the region’s north Atlantic coast. Its residents have a reputation of being  pijo  (snobby), the city is sprawling and confusingly laid out, and much of Coruña has all that Big City character Madrid is known for…without the charm. View this post on Instagram Colorful Coruña // Throughout most of the region of Galicia, you'll find mainly gray and white buildings and houses. However, on the coasts, and especially in the big city of A Coruña, color is everywhere and is a nice change. This shot I took from Avenida de la Puerta de Aires, looking into the Plaza María Pita and the grand, turn-of-the-century town hall. // #acoruña #galicia #spain #travel #vsco #vscocam A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:35pm PST But there’s something attractive about Coruña that I just ca

Don’t Leave Spain Without Trying These 10 Dishes

I haven’t announced it yet on the blog, but I am getting more and more excited for my parents and brother to come visit me between Christmas and New Years this December. To get ready to be their personal tour guide and translator, I’ve been thinking about what places I want to highlight in Madrid, which restaurants I want to take them to in Santiago, and certain survival phrases in case we get separated (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen). My family is only going to have six nights to spend in Spain, which is almost too little time to do this country justice—but hey, it’s better than nothing! It would be impossible to cover all aspects of Spanish food in such a brief stay, but I’m hoping that if we stick to the highlights, they’ll leave having gotten a good overview of what authentic Spanish cuisine really is (hint: it’s not  paella on a Tuesday evening in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor!). Below are what I hope to share with my family when we head out for lunch or dinner during their trip.

Sintra, Portugal: Lisbon’s Romantic-Era Getaway

While I was kickin’ around in Lisbon this April, I took a couple daytrips from the city center to some admittedly touristy destinations. A modern-day tram that shares tracks and wires with the creaky, classic Tram 28 took me to the coastal neighborhood of Belém , a World Heritage Site dripping with history, museums, glorious architecture…and pastries. The next day, I hopped on a speedy regional train from the Rossio station to the nearby city of Sintra. Looking down from the Moorish Castle Inhabited since time immemorial, Sintra’s picturesque location perched on a hill between the Atlantic coast and Lisbon has made it an attractive place for kings, the wealthy, and daytrippers alike. Famous for its mystical fog and pleasing natural surroundings, Sintra became a favorite retreat in the 1800s. Relics from the Middle Ages (like the Sintra National Palace) or from Portugal’s Islamic past (like the Castle of the Moors) played in to the age’s prevailing Revivalism and Orientalism .

Photo Post: Santiago de Compostela’s Alameda Park

Going on paseo All across Spain, you’ll find that each city has their own principal public park, usually established a century or two ago and which functions as the city’s backyard. Madrid has the Retiro Park, Sevilla the María Luisa Park, and Barcelona the Parc de la Ciutadella. Santiago de Compostela is no different;  its Alameda Park —just to the west of the old historic core—is where the whole city comes out to go for an afternoon stroll or a late-night jog, or to simply get a breath of clean, tree-purified air. The Two Marías Built on land that the Counts of Altamira donated to the city in the 1500s, the park’s three main gravel avenues trace around a small hill, upon which hundreds of ancient oak trees have taken root. While the Spanish word alameda  literally means “a place with álamo  trees” or poplars, the term has come to mean any sort of grand, tree-lined promenade—which Santiago’s Alameda definitely fits. The Santiago tourism board describes the park as “

Lisbon’s Historic Neighborhood of Belém: What to See & What to Skip

As I hopped off the train in Lisbon’s magnificent Gare do Oriente train station, I was most looking forward to visiting the Portuguese capital’s historic neighborhood of Belém. Six kilometers west of Lisbon’s historic center, Belém (pronounced “bih-LANG” [bɨˈlɐ̃j]) has a concentration of museums and monuments a lot higher than the rest of Lisbon—or any city, for that matter. Insane ceiling tracery in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos church The area around Belém became an important harbor for sailors departing from and arriving in Lisbon during the Age of Exploration, an era when Portugal dominated the seas. Today, with the advent of modern tourism, Belém has become a great daytrip away from the city center, a great place to moor your ship for a spell and take in the wonders of this World Heritage Site. I’ll take you throughout the neighborhood below and let you know whether each site is worth seeing—or skipping. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery) South façade Thi