Friday, October 31, 2014

5 Places I Want to Revisit

5 places I would revisit
Recognize any of them?

Thanks to Who Needs Maps for nominating me to do this little challenge. I enjoyed reading your list! This is something that I think about ALL the time. I think most travelers do. It is difficult to narrow my list down to 5 but here we go:

5. Austria

While on vacation in Munich, Germany we went on a day trip to Salzburg, Austria so I could be a classical music nerd and see where Mozart was born. This town blew my mind with how beautiful it is. I would love to spend more time in Salzburg and time traveling around the rest of Austria.

Salzburg from Castle
View of the town from the castle
Mozart House
Mozart House

4. Krakow, Poland

Poland has always been a country that I had been interested in visiting. I was really excited when some friends that I met on a trip to Morocco asked me to go to Krakow with them. Out of all the places I have traveled to this is still one of my favorite ones. Krakow is a really relaxing city with great architecture, history, food and people. I would love to go back.

Krakow fire breathing dragon
Fire breathing dragon statue
Krakow Sunset River
Sunset on the river
poland perogies
Perogies yum!

3. Brussels, Belgium

Some cities in Europe have a map targeted at young people that has travel tips from locals. We picked up one of these from the airport and it really surprised me that more than one person said that Brussels is a very ugly city. uh….no! I thought this city was really cool! The main square is gorgeous. This is a very walkable city  and there is so much to see and do. PLUS this country is known for chocolate, french fries, waffles and beer. What more could you ask for?

Brussels food
fattening heaven
Brussels Main Square
Main square

2. Morocco

After traveling in Europe it was nice to get a change of pace and see a country that is totally different from what I was used to. I went on a 5 day trip to Morocco and loved every minute of it. Since I went with a tour group I got to see a lot of places and stay in some really nice hotels. The highlight was camping in the Sahara Desert. If I could go back to Morocco again I would start in Casa Blanca and see where else I ended up. And hopefully get a chance to practice my (very low level) Arabic, إن شاء الله

edited sunrise
Sunrise in the Sahara Desert
Morocco Leather Tannery
Leather tannery

1. West Bank, Palestine

One of the most interesting and eye-opening trips I have ever taken. There is so much history and politics packed into this little place. I was in Bethlehem for Christmas in 2012 and was able to see some of the most famous religious sites of the 3 main monotheistic religions. I’m not religious at all, but even for me it was really cool! The food is amazing and the people are warm and welcoming. I would hop on a plane back to Palestine in a heart beat.

Apartheid Wall
Apartheid wall outside Bethlehem
Hiking in a valley between Bethlehem and Jericho
Now for the fun part! I am nominating…
Venga, Vale, Vamos
Itsy Bitsy Planet
A Brit and a Southerner
She Dreams of Travel
Wife With Baggage
I’m excited to see what you guys write! - Top Destinations to Go There

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Street Art in Valencia

One of the things that really surprised me when I first got to Spain is how much graffiti is on EVERYTHING here. Historical buildings and regular buildings are not spared from the spray paint. When a friend came to visit me my first year she kept asking why they didn’t clean it up. I don’t know the answer for sure….but knowing the mentality of the Spaniards I’m making an educated guess that they don’t think it’s worth the time and money to clean it up because it will be back up in no time.
This is graffiti. What is below is art.
There is a bright side to this though. Street art! Valencia has a few artists that can be seen all over the city. Some are whole walls of buildings and some are hidden, but they are definitely something fun to keep your eye out for as you walk around the city.
Street Art 1

Street Art 2

Street Art 3

Street Art 4

Street Art 5

Street Art 6

Street Art 8

Street Art 9

Street Art 10

Street Art 11

Street Art 12

Street Art 13

Street Art 14

Street Art 15

Street Art 16

Street Art 19

Street Art 20

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Only Drink You Need for Summer in Spain

Horchata can be found throughout the world made with different ingredients. The one that the Spanish enjoy is made from the Chufa or Tigernut. They have known about this nut for more than 3,000 years. The origin is from Central and Northern Africa and it is said that the nut was brought to Spain in the 8th century by the Arabs, who used the nut to make horchata for special occasions. Now, the nut flourishes in Southern and Eastern Spain as well as Northern Morocco. It is planted in April and May and harvested in November.

Horchata is most common in the Comunidad Valenciana. Before refrigeration was common, horchata was made in the mountains surrounding Valencia and stored in snow to keep it cold as it was brought down to sell in the city. Now a days, you can find horchata in almost every bar, and even in carts specifically selling the drink on the street. It is the perfect summer drink because it is cold and refreshing. It comes in liquid form, or my favorite, icy form. Horchata is traditionally pared with a sweet, tube shaped pastry called a Farton which is usually dunked into the drink before being eaten. Many of Spain’s Chufas are grown in a town called Alboraya near Valencia. Here you can spend a day on a Horchata tour learning about how the nut is farmed and even take a class on how to make the drink before trying some of the freshest horchata de chufa in all of Spain.


Horchata is a surprisingly healthy drink. Since it is made with nuts, it has a lot of protein. It also has a high content of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, complex carbohydrates and vitamins E and C. Many people who are lactose intolerant use horchata as a substitute for milk.

horchata to go

Even if you are not planning a trip to Spain anytime soon you can make horchata at home. Believe it or not it is very easy! All you need is some tigernuts, water, sugar, a cinnamon stick and lemon zest. It takes some time for the flavors to blend together but it is well worth the wait! Order some here if you aren’t in Spain.


There are many places in Valencia to get authentic homemade horchata. My favorite just happens to be the oldest in the city. Horchateria Santa Catalina is just off the Plaza de la Reina near the Santa Catalina Church. The shop is inside an old house that says it has “more than 200 years of tradition.” Inside you can see some beautiful architecture and great examples of ceramic tiles that are traditional in Valencia. Oh, and the horchata is pretty good too!

horchateria santa catalina

You can hear me read a shorter version of this post and learn some other cool things about Valencia on The Spain Uncovered Podcast.