Hey there ! We are Nathalie and Sébastien, French travel bloggers from Borderless Travelers where we share our adventures from all over the world and all of our tips and tricks to help you make the best out of your trip! We’ve teamed up with Hedgren to give you a glimpse of our adventures with our faithful Hedgren connect backpack. Today we’ll tell you about Spain. We had 3 to 4 days to explore Andalusia and ended up planning an amazing roadtrip which is the best way to discover this beautiful region filled with character and History.
We loved Portugal and were eager to discover more of the Southern Iberian Peninsula. Moreover, it was the perfect opportunity to find out if those long and hard Spanish lessons we had taken in high school would finally pay off. We’re proud to tell you that some of it did stick around in our brain. We were able to jabber a few words and be understood…most of the time!
Seville was our very first stop in Andalusia, right after our amazing stay in Lisbon. We didn’t have much time to visit Seville but our priority was to wander around the promising Real Alcazar which we knew from Game of Thrones (it's the the set for Oberyn’s brother’s royal palace in Dorne). Yes, we’re geeks. We absolutely love this show so we were pretty excited to go see this beautiful palace in real. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, the Real Alcazar is definitely worth visiting. It was truly one of the most magical places we had visited so far. This magnificent palace was built in the 9th century, during the Muslim period. It’s the perfect symbol of the arabic architecture. There are so many beautifully decorated arches, secret patios, huge gardens filled with orange trees and palm trees, in which we ended up spending the entire afternoon contemplating. Also, don't hold back to explore the famous and lively Santa Cruz district that surrounds the palace, right after your visit. Just walk, look and be amazed by those charming little places and authentic cute restaurants. You might be able to enjoy a nice meal of tapas accompanied by a generous glass of sangria while listening to some gypsy music. To finish your day in style, why not go to the Plaza de España for sunset? Ok, the main reason we were there was, again, to satisfy our geekiness (it appeared in Star Wars Episode 1) but prepare to be blown away by this huge semi-circle shaped place. You definitely won’t regret.
The next day we went to pick up our rental car and were off to Granada. Well, Pinos Genil to be more specific. It’s a cute, little village located not that far from the Sierra Nevada. We had booked a night in Gary and Caroline’s beautiful b&b, a sweet and funny retired, British couple that has been living there for a few years. They were really cheerful and welcoming and we had the opportunity to spend a very lovely evening with them talking, laughing, sipping wine and getting to know each other. It really was a special evening and we can easily say that they were our best encounter during our trip to Andalusia. The next day, we had set our alarm pretty early. We quickly put some clothes on and went out around 7am to go get tickets for the Alhambra. It was dark and cold (we were expecting snow that day!) but we managed to be the first in line and get the tickets to visit this worldwide known place. Not bad for a Valentine’s day/birthday present right? We went back a few hours later (you have to choose a timeslot when booking tickets) to discover this famous place. Even though we liked the Real Alcazar better, The Alhambra also has a lot to offer. This Arabic architecture really is a treat for the eyes. We were surprised to discover that it’s a small city in the city. There are several buildings to visit. Our absolute favorite, which is also probably the most famous one, was the Palacios Nazaries. It’s hard to find words so we happily refer to the picture below. Isn’t it marvelous?
Finally, our last stop was beautiful Cordoba. Here we definitely visited the most odd and surprising place so far on our adventures. Have you ever heard of a mosque-cathedral? Yes, you read it right, a mosque-cathedral. First, it was a church that turned into a mosque during the Muslim period, then it transformed back into a church and then a cathedral during the Reconquista in the 13th century. It’s a lot of changes! When they got hold again of the building, the Catholics didn’t raze it but still wanted to make sure their greatness would be acknowledged. So they kept the Arabic architecture and added a whole new wing that was dedicated to the new cathedral which they filled with huge solid golden statues and objects. It’s pretty odd to see a building with an Arabic architecture that also has Christian crosses hung on the walls. It’s odd but also very interesting and enriching to wander around this building filled with so much History.
Sébastien and Nathalie
More about our trip to Spain on our blog right here!