Granada, Spain – a place of dreams

I did the right thing by starting my tour of the Andalusia region of Spain with Seville, then Córdoba, then Granada. That’s because Granada is different.   At first it’s hard to define what makes it different; it seems to be something in the air. Perhaps the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada looming overContinue reading “Granada, Spain – a place of dreams”

Cordoba, Spain – where three cultures flourished

A 45-minute ride on the comfortable AVE fast train separates Seville from Córdoba (or Cordova, in English). The train follows the route of the Guadalquivir River, the only navigable river in Spain, and cuts through rural and agricultural lands that are said to be the most fertile in Spain. The great artery of Andalusía, inContinue reading “Cordoba, Spain – where three cultures flourished”

Seville, Andalusia – the true Spain

Seville is the capital and the largest city of Spain’s autonomous region of Andalusia, a southern province blessed with an ancient and rich culture, amazing history, and a strong sense of identity. So much so that many things associated with Spain are actually Andalusian in their origin: flamenco, bullfights, horses, Moorish architecture -the list goesContinue reading “Seville, Andalusia – the true Spain”

Chania, Crete, a beauty in Greece

I remember hearing about Chania and Crete as a child in Brazil. At our family reunions, my uncle Christos – who was born there and became part of the family when he married my aunt Maria – would tell us about Crete and Greece, and we children were always fascinated by his stories. Everything aboutContinue reading “Chania, Crete, a beauty in Greece”

Knossos palace, Crete – the first Europeans

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and – according to people who know the country well – the finest. Crete has history, culture, traditions, a rich cuisine and some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. A land of myth and imagination – where mythology and history are so intertwined it’s hard toContinue reading “Knossos palace, Crete – the first Europeans”

Santorini, Greece – honeymoon paradise

One of the world’s greatest sights and a favorite destination for romantic couples, the iconic Greek island of Santorini is an easy 45-minute flight from Athens. Direct flights from other European cities are also available, but I opted for a three-hour boat ride from Mykonos instead, to continue my Greek-island hopping. It was a goodContinue reading “Santorini, Greece – honeymoon paradise”

Mykonos, Greece – the party island

There’s no denying that the Greek islands Mykonos and Santorini attract international jet-setters like honey attracts flies. But these days they seem to attract everybody else, too. Are they crowded? You bet. Part of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea, on the eastern corner of the Mediterranean, both islands are endowed withContinue reading “Mykonos, Greece – the party island”

Meteora Monasteries, Greece – on earth, close to heaven

What’s most impressive about the Meteora Orthodox Monasteries – a UNESCO World Heritage site in a remote corner of Greece – is the site where they were built. Sitting atop impossibly high stone pinnacles, erected at a time when all work was manual, some people even attribute their very existence to divine intervention. But whateverContinue reading “Meteora Monasteries, Greece – on earth, close to heaven”

The Oracle of Delphi – how intoxicated priestesses ruled the Greeks

To some people, the word oracle probably brings to mind the giant software company of Silicon Valley. But the inspiration for the name – the Oracle of Delphi, in Greece – is much older than that. Delphi and the Temple of Apollo – the former being the most important oracle in all antiquity, the latterContinue reading “The Oracle of Delphi – how intoxicated priestesses ruled the Greeks”

Athens, Greece – where it all started

I’ve often heard people say that ‘Athens is an ugly city, don’t bother with it, go straight to the Greek islands’. I’m glad I didn’t listen – I found Athens beautiful, exciting, culturally rich and full of layers.  Of course there’s no account for taste – different people seek out different things while traveling. But how couldContinue reading “Athens, Greece – where it all started”