Blog

The daily life blog that might not be so daily.

The Alhambra

City: Granada, Spain
Weather: 63°, sunny
Site: Alhambra, Generalife, and Nasrid Palace
Activity: 4 hour tour
 

We learned about the Alhambra in Architectural History and we’ve been really looking forward to getting over there since then. Problem was, I didn’t realize how many other people felt the same way. It was probably the most crowded architectural site I’ve ever been to. (more than the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, Statue of Liberty…) So actually touring the site wasn’t as enjoyable as I hoped, but it was beautiful. And HUGE. It’s a walled city on a hill with multiple palaces and gardens. 

Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Nasrid Palace
Alhambra Summer Palace
Alhambra
Alhambra Nasrid Palace Ceiling
Alhambra
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Around Barcelona

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: beach, Barcelona Pavillon, Contemporary Art Museum
Activity: lots of cab rides

We did so much in our short 36 hours in Barcelona, mostly by hopping in and out of cabs which were really easy and cheap. Probably the best part of the day was Paella on the beach. I don’t take photos of food but I’m kind of regretting that decision this time. Our big plate of rice, muscles, scallops, shrimp, rabbit, and sausage… perfectly yellow with saffron. And a glass of white wine to wash it down with. 

Beach in Barcelona
Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum
Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum
Barcelona Pavillon
Barcelona Pavilion
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Hospital de la Santa Creu

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: Hospital de la Santa Creu
Activity: colors

This hospital was not designed by Gaudi, but it shares its whimsy and time period with many of Gaudi’s work. Also, Gaudi died here after getting hit by a tram. The Hospital de la Santa Creu is another example of Catalan civil-Gothic architecture

Hospital de la Santa Creu
Hospital de la Santa Creu
Hospital de la Santa Creu
Hospital de la Santa Creu
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Casa Battlo

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: Casa Batllo
Activity: Dodging high school tour groups

So many amazing details to comment on. See below. Every tiny bit of this home is thought out. 

Casa Batllo Staircase
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo Ceiling
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
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Sagrada Familia

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: Sagrada Familia
Activity: Looking Up

More of a collage, hodge podge, Disney castle than I expected but still had some really beautiful moments. Like those colors inside! Expected completion… 2028. Almost 150 years after it was started. 

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia Stained Glass
Sagrada Familia Ceiling
Sagrada Familia Stained Glass
Sagrada Familia
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Casa Mila

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: Casa Mila
Activity: Roof climbing 

Casa Mila was designed by Gaudi in 1906 and was full of textures, colors, curves. Loved it. Just wish we could live in an apartment where someone cared to design everything down to the window hardware. 

 
Casa Mila Looking Up
Casa Mila Exterior
Casa Mila Rooftop
Casa Mila Rooftop
Casa Mila
Casa Mila Roof Sculptures
Casa Mila Entry
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Park Guell

City: Barcelona, Spain
Weather: 68°, sunny
Site: Park Guell
Activity: climbing stairs, sitting on park benches

 

When you go to Barcelona, even if you’re not looking for him, you will find Antonio Gaudi. Alex and I were very much in search of Gaudi’s famous works so we started the day early with his Park Guell.

Park Guell Mosaic Bench
Park Guell Entry Building

 

 
Park Guell Columns
Park Guell Arches
Park Guell Columns
Park Guell Entry
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Nejjarine Museum

City: Fez, Morocco
Weather: 80°, sunny
Site: Nejjarine Museum of Wood Crafts
Activity: climbing stairs, looking at wood artifacts
Nejjarine Museum of Fez
Nejjarine Museum of Fez
Nejjarine Museum of Fez
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Royal Palace & Jewish Tombs

City: Fez, Morocco
Weather: 80°, sunny
Site: Jewish Cemetery, Royal Palace
Activity: reading tombstones
 

Day 2 in Fez, we visited a couple Jewish synagogues and their massive tomb site. The Royal Palace isn’t open for visitors but the entry gate is pretty impressive. 

Jewish Tombs in Fez
Jewish Tombs in Fez
Jewish Tombs in Fez
Royal Palace in Fez
Gold Palace Gate in Fez
Palace Gates in Fez
Palace Wall in Fez
Palace Wall in Fez
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Fez Tanneries

City: Fez, Morocco
Weather: 75°, sunny
Site: The Medina & Tanneries
Activity: getting yelled at by shop owners

The stank of Fez Tanneries is worth enduring for a glimpse at the leather making process of Morocco. We were harassed by a few different guys trying to get money out of us just to see the tannery, but it was pretty amazing seeing the vats of dye, fresh hides, and over worked donkeys.

 

Tannery of Fez
Tannery of Fez
Fez Medina
Square in Fez
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Fez Medina

City: Fez, Morocco
Weather: 75°, sunny
Site: The Medina
Activity: photographing shops

 

 

Meat shop in Fez
Orange Cart in Fez
Chamomile in Fez
Cart of Snails in Fez
Outside a mosque in Fez
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Shopping Marrakech

City: Marrakech, Morocco
Weather: 80°, sunny
Site: The Medina
Activity: attempting to barter

Everything feels photogenic in Morocco. Bright colors and textures on all surfaces. And to be expected, aggressive bartering for anything you want to buy.

 

Soaps at the Jama Al F’na
Cat and Leather in The Medina
Leather Pouf Shop
Moroccan Lamp Shopping
Lamp in Marrakech
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YSL Garden

City: Marrakech, Morocco
Weather: 75°, sunny
Site: Jardin Majorelle or YSL Garden
Activity: Museum of Marrakech, looking at Cacti

This is a 12 acre garden originally designed by a French artist in the 1920s, YSL purchased in 1980 so you can also do some pricey shopping here now.

YSL Garden in Marrakech
Cactus in YSL Garden Marrakech
YSL Garden in Marrakech
YSL Garden in Marrakech
YSL Garden in Marrakech

 

 

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Marrakech – Squares and Palaces

City: Marrakech, Morocco
Weather: 75°, sunny
Site: The Medina, Jamaa al F’na
Activity: looking
Bread in Marrakech
Tile & Cat in Marrakech
Stork nest in Marrakech
El Badi Palace in Marrakech
Flag of Marrakech
Soaps in Marrakech
Alex under Arch
Colored glass at Bahia Palace

 

 

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Madrasa of Marrakech

City: Marrakech, Morocco
Weather: 75°, sunny
Site: Ben Yousef Madrasa
Activity: exploring every. single. dorm room
Courtyard at Ben Yousef Madrasa
Carvings at Ben Yousef
Arches in Marrakech
My Face
Courtyard of Ben Yousef
Alexander at Ben Yousef
Bedroom at Ben Yousef
Bedroom at Ben Yousef
Bedroom window at Ben Yousef
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Walking Around Istanbul

City: Istanbul, Turkey
Weather: 85°, sunny
Site: Galata, Taksim Square
Activity: walking in the crowds

I could gush about Istanbul for hours. It’s possibly my favorite city I’ve ever been to… truly vibrant and layered. And of course the old cliche “where east meets west” could not be more correct. My one regret was shortening our trip because of the fear of terrorism and political unrest. We felt safe and comfortable on our short whirlwind tour of the city. Take notice of the number and size of Turkish flags. I’m curious the appearance of the city before the coup attempt.

Galata felt similar to Williamsburg, complete with a Shake Shack. I couldn’t believe it. Specialty boutiques and sidewalk cafes lined windy cobblestone streets. Women in full burkas next to hipsters in tiny cut-off shorts.

Not pictured: going to a traditional Turkish Hammam (Cagaloglu Hammam) and awkwardly bathing ourselves alone in a massive stone hall with natural light streaming in from the dome above.

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Istanbul: To Market
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Istanbul: Market
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Istanbul
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Istanbul
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Istanbul
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Istanbul Skyline
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Istanbul: SALT Galata
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Istanbul: SALT Galata
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Istanbul: Galata Tower
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Istanbul: Taksim Square
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Topkapi Palace

City: Istanbul, Turkey
Weather: 85°, sunny
Site: Topkapi Palace and Harem
Activity: enjoying the elaborate decor

Next site seeing stop was Topkapi Palace, located with a view of the Bosphorus and the skyline of Istanbul. The ornament was varied but always vibrant and elaborate. Hand painted tiles and gold everywhere. We especially loved wandering the Harem where the royals immediate family and servants lived.

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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace
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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace
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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace
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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Harem
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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Tile
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Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Tile
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Hagia Sophia

City: Istanbul, Turkey
Weather: 85°, sunny
Site: Hagia Sophia
Activity: looking in awe

Hagia Sophia, the building I most looked forward to seeing on this entire trip. It did not disappoint in its incomprehensible scale. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of scaffolding inside and out that skews your perception. It also felt very collage-y. A mish-mash of colors and stone. Christian and Islamic iconography. Old and new.

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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia
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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia
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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Interiors
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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia
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Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Interiors
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The Blue Mosque

City: Istanbul, Turkey
Weather: 85°, sunny
Site: Blue Mosque
Activity: looking in awe

Day 8: The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque, was our first stop on our whirlwind tour of Istanbul. It was modeled closely to the older, more famous, Hagia Sophia that it sits directly across from but began and continues to be a functioning Mosque where as Hagia Sophia began as a Greek Orthodox Church, morphed to a mosque, and is now a museum.

Those columns are hugeeeee. They are called “elephants feet”.

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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Istanbul: Blue Mosque
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Ancient Agora and Psyrri

City: Athens, Greece
Weather: 95°, sunny
Site: Ancient Agora, Psyrri Neighborhood
Activity: sketching, antique shopping

Day 7: Started fresh with even more ruins, this time the Ancient Agora. The large Middle Stoa has been re-built with a roof. I actually like this because I could finally experience a space similar to how it would have been.

We spent the last bit of time before our flight walking around the Psyrri neighborhood. It’s known for graffiti, large murals, and antiques.

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Athens: Ancient Agora
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Athens: Ancient Agora
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Athens: Ancient Agora
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Athens: Psyrri
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Athens: Psyrri Graffiti
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Athens: Antiques
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