Spain-Gibraltar-Morocco Road Trip: How Did We Go?
I just came back from 17 days road trip around Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco, as laid out 3 weeks ago in previous post. How did we go? Lots of Amazing Race moments! Almost losing passport, going to a wrong place and wasted hours of driving, looking for parking outside of a no-park-zone historical city for hours, food poisoning, going to what looks like a deserted town, eating Chinese food the entire day on Christmas eve because everything was closed, and lots of hungry and tired times. But also we saw things so great and experienced things we never thought of — as we do when we go traveling!
Some stats: 2 girls (+1 guy halfway), 2 continents, 3 countries, 20 cities, 39.5 hours and 3,104 km of driving. 14 days in Spain, 1 day in Gibraltar, and 2 days in Morocco.
Favorite cities: Granada and Sevilla
We practically squealed with excitement when we found Plaza de Espana in Sevilla, as it looked so so pretty in the golden hours.
All around Spain we could see how there’s Muslim influence everywhere, especially in the architecture. Granada is the last significant city “liberated” by the Christian, so it is the most Moorish of them all. La Alhambra is in Granada — the country’s most important and most well known Islamic architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Sevilla is a much bigger city (fourth biggest in Spain) and is also impressive with its biggest church complex in Europe (they even have the Guinness Book of Record certificated displayed inside the cathedral) and its Alcazar — which is very much comparable in design and quality with Alhambra. But Granada’s Alhambra came first, it’s a Moorish palace built for Moorish rulers, while Sevilla’s Alcazar was built in Moorish style for Christian rulers.
More highlights include:
Salvador Dali museum in Figueres. I’ve been a fan of Dali’s paintings even before I knew it was painted by Dali, so that was a surreal moment (quite literally because he was such an odd artist).
Ronda — a white-washed mountainous village where bullfight first started, also featuring an impressive bridge: Puente Nuevo. They used to throw prisoners out of the bridge during the civil war!
Rock of Gibraltar (aka Pillar of Hercules) — the only spot in the world where you can see two continents and two oceans!
The Mezquita of Cordoba — the oddest inner architecture I’ve ever seen in my life! It is a mosque-turned-cathedral and somehow people retained all the Mosque architecture, built a square of cathedral in the middle of the room, and added Christian paraphernalia at the sides of the walls, all the while leaving the Mihrab (the Muslim equivalent of Christian altar). It is such an odd clash of Mosque and Cathedral, very fascinating to say the least.
Toledo — a small city just an hour South of Madrid where all the swords used in Hollywood movies are made in! It is a city famous for sword-making since middle ages, the best in the whole of Europe. We even saw the real sword used in Braveheart the movie! Toledo is also a former capital of Spain, before it was moved North to Madrid.
Prado Museum, Madrid. We’re not a big fan of Madrid (it doesn’t help that the full day we had in Madrid everything was closed because it was the equivalent of Spanish Christmas day — do NOT come to Spain on 6 January, everything is closed!), but I loved the museum complex. Prado Museum is comparable to Paris’ Louvre featuring Spanish painters and I wish I could’ve spent more time there.
So those were just a glimpse of what I saw. Will sort out the pictures and stories more slowly over the coming weeks / months. If you have request for one you are specifically interested in, just let me know. I listen :)