My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Jan. 6, 2015

The beauty of Alhambra in part is its gardens and fountains, of which we did not see on a sunny, but cool January day. This was the fifth palace we had explored during this month long vacation in Spain. We had heard so much about it and know that it’s one of Spain’s major attractions yet it left us a little in awe of this ranking.

Don’t get me wrong, the entire facility is interesting AND we loved the Morrish influence, the tiles and the plaster designs are breathtaking. The palace is filled with decorative walls, doorways and ceilings! They destiny are worth seeing it’s just that other palaces on this trip have been breathtaking too, including the Alcázar in both Segovia and Sevilla. The gardens were also beautiful (or we knew it would be with flowers etc ).

Originally built in 889 it was abandoned until around 1059 when the Morrish rebuilt it and made it a royal palace in 1333. During his time of power Napoleon tried to destroy the palace and succeeded in blowing up two towers. This began another round of abandonment. Finally in 1870 it was declared a national monument. There is constant renovation occurring and we witness many aspects of that on our tour. It took about 4 hours to visit everything.

We had not seen so much Moorish influence elsewhere in Spain, there was much more here. Gift shops and street vendors had items for sale we’d seen in Istanbul rather than in Spain. It brought back good memories from former trips.


there was ice in this fountain




the gardens are beautiful. The groundskeepers are doing a lot of work on them to try to bring them back to their original style.






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Ronda, a must see while in Spain.

Jan 5, 2015

During the months of planning for this trip one photo kept standing on my mind and that was was one I’d seen of the bridges and cliffs of Ronda. I was very happy that we were able to add a stop in Ronda to our itinerary. We arrived in town midafternoon and got settled into our little cottage housing.

We were advised from Carmen our host at the hotel where to park as we went into town. Being that it was three Kings Day many of the Spaniards were into celebrating and having parades and such, contesting downtown. After parking we headed out to see the sights.

I read that this is one of the most photographed sites in the world. I have nothing to prove that but…the “New Bridge” connects the old city the newer art of town and the outlying communities. It took 42 years to build this bridge which was started in 1751. It hovers above the stunning El Tajo canyon.

We viewed it from above then hiked down the trail to view it from afar. From the top I could also see a “road” that allowed an even better view from further back. We went in circles trying to find that road and as we were just about to give up, we saw it! It was about 2 miles along a cobble stoned road but we did it!

We also saw the “old bridge” to the east of the “new bridge”. Cars drive and people walk across the new bridge daily. What an architectural masterpiece. All and all a great day and worth the trip!

PS. Ronda is know for its bull fighting too, though we didn’t see anything other than the building.







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Gibraltar quick stop to see “the Rock”

Jan. 5, 2014

Unfortunately we were not able to take the ferry ride over to Morocco. This gave us an opportunity to visit Gibraltar and explore the upper rock a bit more. During the visit several times I commented that Gibraltar reminded me of Juneau. A tourist town surrounded by water and cliffs.

We had to show our passports as we enter Gibraltar as it is part of Britain. There are 8000 to 9000 Spaniards that enter Gibraltar on a daily basis to work. The gentleman at the information center indicated that they mostly did jobs that the British did not want to do. A tad bit condescending but I suppose if it’s good for the Spaniards then I’m happy for them.

We got directions on how to go to the upper rock. Once we arrived we parked the car and took off on a hike to the very tip top of the rock. Along the way we saw several monkeys and surprisingly they were not aggressive at all. There’s a huge fine if you are caught feeding them. In many ways I felt as if we were hiking to the top of Mount Juneau at home. It was steep, however here they were sidewalks to hike on.

It ended up being a beautiful day and we can see for miles and all directions including down to Morocco. The gentleman at the information center also indicated that we were on the most southern tip of Europe however we disagree with him and think that Tarifa, Spain is the most southern tip of Europe. Typical Gibraltar to think that they are better than Spain!

Gibraltar is only 2.3 sq miles and all 30,000 residents live in those 2.3 sq miles. One of the most interesting things is that as you enter Gibraltar you actually drive across the regional airport runway, planes often make car stop is there taking off or landing, kind of crazy.

Historically this rock plays a big part in the history of Europe. There has been much military presence there over thousands of years. Most everyone has heard the saying “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar”. This usually refers to a person that is unfathomed by a situation, as this rock remains in tact after centuries of war!

Certainly not the best stop on the trip, but can say we’ve been there. Locals were quick to say they’d accept Euros but gave a terrible exchange rate. The only thing we paid for was park entry so we used cc for better rate. The British Pound is high in value currently.






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