Day Trip to Llanes, Asturias: A Cozy Coastal Town

day trip to llanes

We took our day trip to Llanes, with Gijón as our base, during our week-long trip to Asturias. Llanes is a popular summer destination among Spaniards, but I was particularly interested in visiting because my great-great-grandparents, the parents of my Cuban great-grandfather Manolo Fernández Blanco on my maternal grandmother’s side, were from there! They likely emigrated from Llanes to Cuba in the late 19th century. It was exciting to see this little slice of my Spanish-Cuban heritage! Continue reading “Day Trip to Llanes, Asturias: A Cozy Coastal Town”

Lunch in Lastres, Asturias: Cider and Seafood at La Rula

lunch in lastres

Lastres, or Llastres in asturiano, the Asturian language, is one of many picturesque towns in Asturias, a northern autonomous community of Spain.  Be sure not to overlook this town, though – lunch in Lastres was definitely one of my favorite experiences during our week-long stay in Asturias.

Before eating lunch in Lastres, we set off from our hotel in Oviedo and made a worthwhile pitstop at Covadonga, home to a striking 19th-century church set among the mountains. The site commemorates the Moors’ first defeat in Spain at the hands of Pelayo, an Iberian Visigoth turned Asturian king, which marked the beginning of the Reconquista in 722 AD. Near the church is a small cave with a shrine to the Virgin Mary, who, according to legend, appeared to Pelayo and his men before the battle.

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Patios de Cordoba: A Floral Feast for the Eyes

patios de cordoba

Córdoba is one of the many gems of Andalucía, the southern autonomous community of Spain, along with Sevilla, Málaga, Granada, and Cádiz, to name the most well-known. The Patios de Cordoba festival is unique to Cordoba and features what is, quite literally, a floral feast for the eyes. The festival is usually held in the first half of May, when the city’s patios burst in full bloom. Continue reading “Patios de Cordoba: A Floral Feast for the Eyes”

Palaces in Sevilla: The Unparalleled “Casa Palacios”

palaces in sevilla

I’ll be honest: there is nowhere in the world like Sevilla. Sevilla’s most popular attractions are probably the Alcázar, the cathedral, and the Plaza de España. However, if you spend a few extra days in the city and really dig into what it has to offer, you’ll discover some lower-key sights that will rock your world, like the city’s beloved “Casa Palacios,” or palace-mansions. These palaces are perfect microcosms of the city’s cultural, historical, artistic, and architectural legacies. Some of the most beautiful of these palaces in Sevilla are Palacio de Las Dueñas and Casa de Pilatos, which I describe below; however, Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija and Casa de Salinas are still on my list! Continue reading “Palaces in Sevilla: The Unparalleled “Casa Palacios””

Half Day in Sighisoara, A Colorful Transylvanian Town

Sighisoara is a little Romanian fairy tale. The vibrant colors of this cozy Transylvanian town will win over your heart. Although you could leisurely spend a day there, a half-day in Sighisoara will do just fine, especially if you’re tight on time. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the region! Also see my posts on other cities in Romania, like Bucharest, Braşov, Sibiu, y Timişoara, here!

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Romanian Castles: Top Sights & Tourist Traps

My year living in Bucharest, Romania, was one of the best ever. We loved driving through the Romanian countryside, which is dotted with fairytale palaces and historic fortresses. Below I outline some of the most notable Romanian castles, including what I consider the top sights as well as those I’d consider tourist traps. These sights make up part of an ideal itinerary for a driving route through Transylvania, along with Braov, Sibiu, Sighişoara, and hiking in Piatra Craiului.

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