Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Malaga's Favourite Son

29 October 2012

We are pleased that we will be returning to Malaga, a beautiful city, on our cruise in about a fortnight so that we can do some further exploration.

Today on our tour of Malaga we learnt quite a bit about one of Malaga's favourite sons, Pablo Ruiz Picasso.

Pablo's Birthplace - site of the Picasso Foundation
Picasso Foundation Building

Picture of a Picasso work I took before being told not to take photos

Copy of Picasso's birth record

The Square Picasso played in as a child

A bronze of Picasso in the Square

Paloma Picasso wrote on this barrel in the bar we visited for some refreshment




Monday, October 29, 2012

The Rock

28 October 2012

Ever since our elderly neighbours told me about Gibraltar when I was a little tot I have been keen to see the rock and today more then half a century later I got to visit it.

I was just expecting to see a large rock, sort of a Uluru by the sea; I was not expecting a large city of 30,000 souls, industry in the form of 3 dry docks plus an airport with a swish new terminal. We exited our coach to go through immigration (Gibraltar is a British colony) then boarded a mini bus for a tour of the area; the sun was shining, there was no wind and the sea was sparkling as we headed up the narrow roads towards St Michael's Cave, a network of limestone caves in the famous rock. On arrival there we were greeted by some of the Barbary Apes that live on the rock. The views as we drove along the steep, narrow access road were stunning; as the day was clear we could even see the African continent that is only 23 km away.

Robert at the Rock

Gibraltar Docks from on high


St Michael's Cave
The Cave is used for concerts

Baby Face
Grooming Time
The Airport runway intersects with the main road into Gibraltar
English style Fish 'n' Chips 

Gibraltar Bobbies 

Costa del Sol

28 October, 2012

First impressions of the Costa del Sol are quite positive. We spent some time in a very attractive hillside  town, Majis, this afternoon before journeying down to the coast. The area near our hotel at Torremolinos in Spain is well maintained with tree-lined streets, a few fountains and statues and a clean beach with several nice looking restaurants along the promenade.

It feels like a holiday when we can open our balcony door and hear the sound of the gentle waves of the Mediterranean breaking on the shore. It would be even better if the temperature was a few degrees warmer than 20 degrees but the downside of that is that it would encourage crowds of tourists

View from our balcony

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Snails on our trail

28 October, 2012

Spotted at a Vegetable stall when we made a rest stop on our trip from Seville to Gibraltar. I knew that Escargots were fancied by the French but didn't realise that Spaniards like them.




Flamingo Dancing

27 October, 2012

When I first told Mr Geniaus about last nights's entertainment on our tour in Seville he thought we must have been going to the zoo as that was where he expected to see Flamingo Dancing. Once I clarified that it was actually Flamenco dancing that is popular in the Andalusia region of Spain he realised why we were going to a dinner theatre.

Our Theatre/Restaaurant








A Sangria nightcap welcomed us on our return to the hotel

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dog on board

24 October 2012

Our guide suggested that we must be a reputable bunch of tourists after we had been stopped at a highway roadblock by the Spanish Guardia Civil.

Firstly the  officers checked the passports of the driver and guide and quizzed them about their passengers. A sniffer dog and his handler then boarded the coach  to have a whiff of its contents then they checked the under coach luggage compartments. All clear!  Our group  members must be a clean living group.

After we were given the all clear and set off our driver suggested that they may have been looking for Moroccan hidden under the engine.

Roadblock Ahead



They're coming to take us away

Our guide is interrogated

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Porto

Unfortunately I can't connect two devices to the internet at this hotel so, as I first connected with my smartphone,  I have to use it for my blog post.

Since we hit Spain we have been on the go. Thank heavens we had four quieter days in Berlin before we joined this tour of Spain and Portugal.

We left Salamanca, Spain for a picturesque drive to Portugal and felt quite at home as we passed many eucalypt forests. After a  tour of Porto City we had a seafood lunch of traditional Portuguese dishes before going to a Port tasting. We noe have a bottle of white port to add to our overloaded suitcases.

Porto on the Duoro River is right on the Atlantic. Pictured below is one of the bridges over the river. Does it remind you of another famous structure? In Paris?  Yes, it was designed by Monsieur Eiffel of tower fame.

The other snap is of two old travellers by the river.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Schmick hotel

20 October, 2012

On arrival at the Madrid Airport Hilton late last night we were upgraded to a huge corner room that was one of the best equipped we have ever stayed in.

Sadly many of the staff we encountered were either incompetent or couldn't care less. A bit of customer service training for staff would enhance the superb building and facilities at this hotel.

Work area in our huge room
Breakfast room/Restaurant from lift shaft

Berlin by boat

19 October, 2012

We have had an amazing four days in Berlin assisted by unseasonally warm weather. Our hotel, The Radisson Blu, is fabulous and well-situated (for a change I chose well - thank you Trip Advisor for your assistance) on the River Spree and next to Unter den Linden.

We have done a combo of bus tours (hopon hopoff) and losts of walking around this city that is a major construction zone.  This morning we opted for a 1 hour cruise down the Spree to gain a different perspective on the city.

Here are a few happy snaps from that excursion.

Multitasking 

Parliamentary Library 

Do the right thing - Berlin style (I think)

Radisson Blu

Oldest Church in Berlin - St Nicholas

Domed church on left is my fave building

Large map of Berlin with prominent places pinned

We went under lots of bridges

Worker salute

Reichstag

Angele Merkel's office - known locally as the washing machine

Double decker bridge links parliamentary buildings

Most of this bridge survived bombing in the war

Autumn leaves - a novelty for an Australian

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