29.4.14

Rescue a princess

Well...at the very least you can pretend to, in this medieval castle that is part of the Paradores of Spain chain. The Parador de Alarcón is in the province of Cuenca and about 200 kms from Madrid. Ideally, you will book one of the "unique" rooms, located in the tower. Once there, I would suggest you allow your imagination to take over!



More Paradores:
Parador of Mazagón
Parador of Trujillo
Parador of Ávila
Parador of Cuenca
Parador of Santiago de Compostela
Parador of Salamanca

25.4.14

In the tip of Lima

For most visitors to Lima, the nearest they will get to El Callao is Lima airport, which is located in this province of Lima. The historical centre, Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco are the districts best known to visitors to the city, and unless you arrive by ship, you will possibly not think of visiting the actual port of El Callao, and its district of La Punta. This was not always the case, the port was once very popular, but with the wrong people. Pirates, including Francis Drake and Jacon Clerk dropped in from time to time. These unwelcome visitors convinced the Spanish viceroy at the time to construct the fortress of the Real Felipe, which still stands and is now a naval museum. Walking down to the sea from here, you go pass Rovira, a restaurant founded in 1907, and arrive at Plaza Grau in memory of Admiral Miguel Grau, a national hero in Peru. In the port you can board a boat to Isla Palomino, home to a colony of sea lions. Isla San Lorenzo, another island about 4 kms. from the port, was the place from where pirates attacked the port and is now a naval base. El Callao was also the place where the first railway of Peru, and the second in Latin America, was constructed and home to the first fire station of Lima. Tintin and Captain Haddock also visited the port of Callao in their adventure "The Temple of the Sun".
To get to La Punta, you can walk through the district of Chucuito, which still has some houses painted with bright colours, similar to the Boca district in Buenos Aires, but it´s possibly safer to catch a taxi. By the way, don´t be alarmed by the tsunami warning signs - unless you hear the alarms!. La Punta is the place where the affluent families of El Callao have historically lived and you can infer this by the large and well kept houses and it´s four rowing clubs. There is also a wetland populated by hundreds of birds.

El Callao

El Callao

Admiral Grau


More posts about Peru:
Cebiche in the Panamericana Sur
Monet´s favourite flower...in Lima
MATE but no chess
Lima coast
Shaken, not stirred...and with chicken
Lima to Asia in one hour
The Maltese falcon found in Lima
A story of nymphs and satyrs...and it's not about politicians
An English vampire in Peru
Lima flower market

5.4.14

Lima Flower Market

Pictures of the Piedra Liza flower market in Lima.


Piedra Liza flower market

15.3.14

Hungarian Rhapsody

When you fly into Budapest, you land at Liszt Ferenc International Airport; you can walk along Liszt Ferenc tér and have a drink or something to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants in this square just off Andrássy út; visit the Liszt Museum and with a bit of luck, listen to one of the Hungarian Rhapsodies played by one of the students of the Academy founded by the man himself.
Budapest is a beautiful city, or maybe I should say cities, since until 1873 there were two cities - Buda and Pest - separated by the Danube river. If you are staying in Pest, you may have already visited the Parliament building. Walk across the Chain Bridge to Buda, take the Buda Castle Funicular, enjoy Buda Castle and stroll around the district. If you decide to stop at one of the cafés, try the Café Miró. The Castle is lit at night and best viewed from Pest. There are a couple of hotels that have rooms looking onto the Danube and Buda, like the Intercontinental.  A not so expensive option, with no views, but next to the Opera and the beautiful avenue Andrássy út is the K+K Hotel Opera. There is plenty to see and do in Budapest and whilst I would advise walking, the underground is an attraction in itself as it is the second oldest underground in the world, which has been operating since 1896. Whether you decide to walk the length of Andrássy út or take the underground to Hősök tere, you arrive at Heroes' Square and close-by the Museum of Fine Arts. At the other end of town, near Corvinus University, the Museum of Applied Arts is also worth a visit, and the famous Gellért Spa and hotel is across the river in Buda.

View of Chain Bridge and Buda


1.2.14

An English vampire in Peru

No, it´s not a new version of Sting´s song, "An Englishman in New york". The title of this entry refers to the legend of Sarah Ellen Roberts, an Englishwoman buried at Pisco Cemetery in southern Peru, and who was considered by some to be a vampire. There are two sides to the story of Sarah Ellen, as she is referred to in Pisco. What appears to be certain is that she was born in Blackburn in North West England around 1862 and that she married John Roberts, a weaver. After this, there are two very different versions. One, describes how John and Sarah Ellen travelled to Peru, where John´s brother had settled, hoping to make a new life for themselves and that Sarah Ellen possibly died accidentally during the trip and and buried in the cemetery of the nearest port. The other story is that Sarah Ellen was found guilty of whitchcraft in 1913 and sentenced to death by being buried alive. The story goes on to describe how before the coffin was closed, Sarah Ellen shouted that she would rise to seek vengeance in 80 years time. Since the Church of England had not allowed the coffin to be buried in consecrated ground, her husband had travelled the world looking for a place to bury her and eventually ended up in Pisco. The legend though does not end here. In July 1993, 80 years after her death, many of the inhabitants of Pisco prepared themselves for the inevitable but nothing happened. Then, in August 2007, Pisco was devastated by a massive earthquake that killed hundreds of people. The cemetery was also affected, a large number of tombs were destroyed and coffins lay opened - except for the tomb of Sarah Ellen. Some of the inhabitants, then, began to consider Sarah Ellen not as a vampire, but a saint. The pictures below were taken by me in January 2014 and you will notice the fresh flowers that people leave, together with small metal plaques giving thanks for the granting of favours they had sought from Sarah Ellen. It appears, that the legend of Sarah Ellen is just that, a legend but... I just thought I would tell you the story in case you happen to visit Pisco.








21.1.14

The Eternal City

Recently whilst re-watching Fellini´s La Dolce Vita, I recalled my last trip to Rome and thinking how familiar the city was. That familiarity was possibly due to the fact that I had seen so many films that were filmed in the city, that I felt as a frequent visitor. I quite expected to see Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck walking down the Spanish Steps or running around the city in a Vespa; getting splashed by Anita Ekberg in the Trevi Fountain and not far from there, witnessing the theft of Antonio Ricci´s bicycle.


Fontana di Trevi


26.11.13

FITUR Travel blogger 2014

Thank you for your votes in the competition organised by FITUR.


17.11.13

A story of nymphs and satyrs...and it´s not about politicians

In Greek mythology, Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr was torn apart by the Bacchanalians for attempting to rape a priestess of Dionysus. His father asked the gods to restore him but, instead, they decided to make him into a flower and, thus, the orchid came into being.
A few photographs taken at an exhibition recently organised in Lima by the Peruvian Orchid Club. 


 
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