Europe, Travel

My Spanish Adventures

Here is a short video I made of just some of my adventures in Spain:

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Europe, Travel, Uncategorized

A Day in Seville

For any Game of Thrones fans, there is a must see in Seville: The Alcázar of Seville, where the show films scenes for the fictional Dorne. I went in December and even though I did not see much of the gardens, the vast gardens and beauty are undeniable. Learn it’s history, have a meal in the cafeteria and read a book in the gardens. You can easily spend two hours there.

The famous Cathedral, Catedral de Sevilla is where the son of Christopher Columbus is buried and is known to be one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It is also right next to The Alcázar of Seville.

Then go to Plaza de Espana, it is simple yet radiantly beautiful. There are canoes you can rent to around the water, pony and horse rides or you can simple walk around.

At night, be sure to go to a Flamingo dance, it is well renowned and Seville is the place to be to see one.

Seville is a relatively small city so it is worth walking around and taking your time. There is so much to see and do but these four things are a must.

Europe, Travel

A Day In Barcelona

One day in Barcelona is nearly impossible, there is simply too much to do and see. However, if you only get one day, I do have a few recommendations so you can get ideas for the next time you go to Barcelona (because you will want to go back).

First, take a guided walking tour through the city’s Gothic Quarter which is where the beginning of Barcelona. Learn the history and how the city was founded and used since the first century.

If you don’t want to do that, do make a note to go the address, 10 Carrer del Paradis which preserves Roman columns.Not many people know about this free sight of 2,000 year old columns. The boards next to the columns tell the history of the city. The columns now are located in an apartment building and where the Hiking Club headquarters are.

Around the Gothic Quarter, there is a delicious small cafe called the Chocolate Box that has the richest hot chocolate. Then head over to the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia. For over 100 years, this unique church has been under construction. I paid an extra fee to go up into one of the tours to see the views and go down 400 steps. I think it is worth it to see the vision that architects, Francisco de Paula del Villar, and Antoni Gaudi had. The goal is to have this church finished by 2024 and with tourist tickets, it can help achieve it.

On the other side of town, there is the Park Guell, it is massive but has different picnic areas and a museum which will be good to finish up your day.

I admit, there is so much more to see and do, there are numerous other museums, churches, a cathedral. I spent only three days there and still one saw less than half of what the city has to offer. On my last day, I decided to walk everywhere, I walked over 29,000 steps, it was exhausting but well worth it. I saw numerous neighborhoods, saw tourist areas and watched locals go about their daily lives.

Having only one day in Barcelona is not enough but this list is just a taste of what you can see and learn from this wonderful city.

Hasta la próxima vez barcelona.

Travel, United States

The History of Jamestowne

“History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living.”
~ John Smith, explorer and authorvirginiaplaces.org

Two and a half hours drive from Washington, DC is Jamestown, VA, the first English settlement. For the last 20 plus years, the Rediscovery Project has been digging artifacts to learn more about America’s earliest history. I went in March and they are still working on the project so new information is found and proved all the time.

The Jamestowne Rediscovery Project started in the 90s at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, we have the written works of the first settlers and Englishmen who came such as the infamous John Smith, now we are getting physical proof of what went on back in 1607 when the first arrived.

For instance, John smith and Gabriel archer wrote about the first battle on the island and found the body of a 14-year-old body English sailor who was fighting the Powhatan Tribe. The Rediscovery Project found the body of what they have concluded is a 14-year-old Englishman. This proves what Smith and Archer wrote and that this battle.

The fact that we still speak the same language as they did in the 1600s has helped with the excavating and learning about the earliest history of what would become the United States of America. They also found the trash site, where pieces of animal bones showed their diet, coins from Europe and the jugs that carried their alcohol showed where they were coming from or where they passed through during their journey.

There are still a lot of questions the archaeologists and historians have. At the time I visited, they had recently discovered a wooden book or top to a box that stayed largely intact. They found out that it was made out of copper and that is how it has survived for over 400 years but it being held in their labs for further testing to see what was its purpose. It could help us understand the way of life more. The burial sites also remain a mystery, the direction they are buried in and the kind of coffin they were in sometimes contradict their lifestyle. For instance, religious figures are buried looking east towards Jerusalem but the body was wearing proper navy uniform, why was this person buried in such a position when there is no written record of a person having two positions, as a navy man and as a clergy member?

historic-jamestown preservationvirginia.orgThe Jamestown site is considered one of the top 10 archeology sites in the world. One of their most famous discovered is a teenage girl, around 14 years’ old who had rich nutrients in her bones showing that she was fed the best quality but was wearing working class attire. The archeologists theorize that she was a maid but there is no record of her in any books. At the time of settling into Virginia, the settlers kept records of all names, ages and occupation of who came but this teenage girl is nowhere to be found. The project decided to name her Jane and today, she is considered a top 10 archeology find. The Rediscovery Project as well as many other similar projects around the world continue this important work so that we and future generations can learn about our ancestors, especially for those who did not have a voice during their time, such as Jane.

To learn more and keep updated on their findings, please visit the projects website and if you ever get a chance, take advantage and visit them yourself. Walk the steps that John Smith and Pocahontas took along with Jane and hundreds of other Native Americans and English settlers.

 

Europe, Travel, United States

My Favorite Museums 

victoria-and-albert-museumThe Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England

I wont lie, my favorite thing about the museum is the Fashion and Jewelry Collection. Going through time by seeing what the fashion was like is a fun experience. There are other collections especially for artwork including paintings and drawings, glass, furniture, and much more. So much to see and learn, it is definitely worth more than just one visit.
InternationalSpyMuseum-1The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., USA

Complete with giving you an alias, hidden passages, and lots of history on espionage, I can’t get enough of it! Half of my things are from the gift shop alone including shirts, invisible ink pens, and hidden book safes. The museum goes through important spy tricks and happenings over world history. From Alexander the Great’s secret messages to his commanders, to Japanese ninja’s trainings, to The Cold War, you learn a lot about how private citizens and governments kept an eye on each other.

the-museum-doesn-t-take from tripadvisor

Museum of Sex in New York City, USA

Don’t judge but it is actually really unique and interesting to learn about the history of contraception, different fetishes, and learn about the research and studies that were done to allow the public to understand what is going on with their (and the opposite sex) bodies. Obviously, because of the nature of the subject and it does not shy away from much, it is not much a family friendly outing but it is more than just for giggles. They also have an exhibit on the different techniques and habits of the animal kingdoms sexual activities.

Travel, Uncategorized, United States

The Worst Trip I Have Taken

Have-worst-time-never-admitIt was right after Christmas of 2014 and I went to a popular conference near Phoenix, AZ. My father enjoyed it the year before and wanted me to come this time. The day before he was suppose to leave, he got the flu so I was to go alone. My mother stepped in but drove with her nephews and brother from Los Angeles while I flew. I spent my time alone at the gym, watching TV, relaxing. Despite this last minute change and that we had to cancel our pit stop to the Grand Canyon because Dad and I promised to see it together, things didn’t seem so bad.
But after the four tortuous days, my first day was going to be one of the very few good things to happen. I did end up seeing friends from New Zealand who were visiting the States. Then the conference began, one boring session after another. After a dozen sessions, only two were interesting and noteworthy. This conference has been going on for some 30 odd years so most people used it to be reunited with friends and family. Since my mom and I came for the first time, we had a hard time finding anyone who wanted to meet up for coffee or a meal. They were all busy meeting with family they only see at the conference. Understandably, we went on our own but after a full day together stuck in a secluded hotel, we had nothing left to see or talk about. Enter boredom, on vacation. This is virtually impossible for me, I love vacations and explore everything I can. Well after two days, I had seen everything I could with no car or public transportation near us.

By the end of the second day, we gave up and just stayed in our room catching up on Homeland. When the highlight of your vacation is one dinner and then catching up on a television show, it’s proof that it was a bust.

On our third day, the hotel called us during an afternoon nap break from our Homeland watching. My father and I were suppose to go to the Grand Canyon but we forgot to let the hotel know that we cancelled the plans. Graciously, they found us another room for the same discounted price but we had to scramble and leave the current room because they needed it to prepare for a new family. We dumped everything into our suitcases and dashed downstairs to the new room, our bags barely closed, we were lucky nothing got lost!

Then my cousin was suppose to drive us all back to Los Angeles but he wanted to stay longer, possibly. I spent the rest of the time calling rental car companies, airlines, train tickets, etc to find another way to get back but nothing was cheaper than $300 per person. My cousin then said he would drive us only to change his mind the next hour, so I dashed off to get cell reception and wifi but the price went up another 100 or so. Finally, we got a straight answer where we made sure he couldn’t back out of it, my cousin would indeed drive us back.

What’s a family vacation without a fight? Our last day, my mother and I had a huge fight and didn’t speak for the entire drive. Other than finishing a fantastic season of Homeland and seeing friends from New Zealand, this awful trip was nothing but heartache and a big massive headache. Boring conference, no one to talk to, nothing to do, then to top it off, so many mishaps with reservations and travel.

Needless to say I am only going to Arizona for the Grand Canyon, not for that horrible conference.

Middle East, The Baha'i Faith, Travel

A Day in Haifa 

Israel_-_Haifa_-_Bahai_Gardens_004If you find yourself visiting the beautiful and historic country, Israel, be sure to take a trip to Haifa. It is an hour train ride from the Ben Gurion Airport train station.

Israel is a small country with a lot to see and is in many religious texts as the place for many important events. In Haifa, it has Mount Carmel, a mountain that is mentioned in many holy texts.

Today, it is where the Shrine of the Bab, Who was one of the two twin manifestations of the Baha’i Faith. The Shrine of Baha’u’llah, the other manifestation, is an hour drive in Bahji. Buses and taxis are well familiar where these two Shrines are. Mornings are open for free to the public and you can take pictures outside of the Shrines and of the gardens.

When you have finished your visit of the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, you can get some exercise with quite a view of Haifa, going down the terrace steps to Ben Gurion Street where there is a mall and countless places to eat.