Destination: Calpe, Spain

This gallery contains 42 photos.

Originally posted on International Bellhop Travel Magazine:
If there is one destination in the world where we would suggest to a traveler who is weary, tired, and in-need of rest and relaxation, it would be the king of European beach…

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Beautiful Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

This gallery contains 30 photos.

Originally posted on International Bellhop Travel Magazine:
There are some sights that you see on your travels that stick with you for a lifetime, and constantly beg you for a return visit. One such place that is always begging us…

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El Cid’s Peniscola

When he wasn’t God, Moses, Judah Ben Hur or an Ape-wrestling Spaceman, the extremely wooden Charlton Heston starred in El Cid (along with the gorgeous Sophia Loren), an historical epic about Spain’s battles with the Moors.

Chuck and Sophia. She got more money than him and sued the producer for not getting top billing...allegedly

Anecdotally, Heston and Loren didn’t get along at all well, and Heston refused to look at her during their clinches…was he mad?!

Chuck, go and get your eyes tested

Moors being the Muslim invaders from Morocco, just a short sail across the straits of Gibraltar in north Africa. The Moorish influence is evident throughout Spain in the origins of the language, architecture and culture.

One of the most memorable scenes in the film (and it’s a long, long film, that’s what epic means) is when the already dead Cid, draped in a white robe is strapped onto his horse to lead his army into battle storming the castle of Peniscola (doubling for Valencia). The horse gallops along the beach towards the castle…the view capture in the title banner photo of this website. Apart from Peniscola not being Valencia, the other little inaccuracy is that the real El Cid died of old age in is bed.

The classic view of Peniscola castle. No dead people riding horses this day

Rodrigo 'El Cid' before he caught the arrow

The ramparts of the castle

El Cid stood here...well Charlton Heston did

Even without the Hollywood connection, it's a fascinating castle and ancient town to wander around.

Posted in Charlton Heston, El Cid, Moors, Peniscola castle, Sophia Loren, Spanish holidays, Villa | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Escarnalbou Hermitage

The hilltop hermitage of Escarnalbou provides 360 degree superb views to the coast and the surrounding mountains and valleys. Nearby ridges now host a huge array of wind turbines.

The main hermitage seen from the path to the summit

Interestingly, the sandstone blocks in the door arch appear to have been heavily weathered before construction.

It's worth keeping an eye open for the details built into the hermitage walls

Another stone face stares out of the wall

Always a good threat from Christianity, if you don't behave yourself, this guy is waiting for you

A path from the hermitage leads around the mountain top

Weathering of the sandstone has produced intricate patterns

Further along the path, a chapel is built into the rock face

The interior of the chapel is very basic

Another chapel sits on the summit

Pilgrims to the peak are rewarded with a more decorative interior

The view from the summit towards a nearby rail viaduct. Some research suggests that part of this was demolished during the civil war, in an area known to Hemmingway

In another direction, the wind turbines spin and generate power

Posted in Alforja, Catalonia, Ernest Hemmingway, Escarnalbou, Hermitage, Reus, Spanish Civil War, Spanish holidays, Tarragona, Wind turbines | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parc Sama Ornamental Garden

An interesting, off-the-beaten-track destination is the ornamental garden of Parc Sama

The main pond forming the garden's centrepiece.

One of the bridges linking the island grottos

The pagoda atop the artificial grotto island

A large oriental vase feature

Waterbodies and vegetation provide good habitats for damselflies

Two attractive species were active around the pond edges

Posted in Alforja, Catalonia, Damselflies, Parc Sama, Reus, Salou, Tarragona, Villa | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Siurana

The reservoir at Siurana

A diversion on the road to Siurana takes you to the reservoir below. You can hire canoes and kayaks and paddle the reservoir.

Siurana is atop the mountain, seen from the reservoir

The long and winding road to Siurana

The visitors carpark on the edge of Siurana, used as a base by rock climbers

The rock climbers normally head straight for the cliffs.

Picturesque and challenging climbing

Overview of Siurana from the carpark

The entrance to the village

It's an ancient village that little kids enjoy exploring. A word of warning, there are sheer drops all around the village. Don't let kids wander off alone.

Posted in Reus, Siurana, Spanish holidays, Tarragona | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alforja

Alforja across the hazelnut and almond groves

Shelter from the heat of the day wandering the narrow streets of Alforja.

Moorish architecture

The arches of Alforja are used for the local market every Wednesday morning.

Cool in the summer, really cold in the winter

Posted in Alforja, Catalonia, Costa Dorada, Moors, Reus, Salou, Spanish holidays, Tarragona, Villa | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment