Brugge was a trip I took back in September and got backlogged on editing, then work and life happened, and ... you get the point. I loved Brugge and had such a great time there so I wanted to get something up and will follow up down the line with the must do's in Brugge.
A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
One of the best parts about living in Ireland is the ease and ability to travel about the country. Galway is just a short bus trip away from Dublin and perfect for a day trip. The city is on the east coast of Ireland and is known for the Claddagh ring, rainy days, and and Aran sweaters.
The coach station drops you off a little north of city center and across from the tourist city center. It puts you within walking distance of the tourist center, so if you want to plan you trip when you get there you will have tons of resources and help available. The main attractions in Galway are not too far away either; like Shop Street, Hight Street, Quay Street, Nimmo's Pier, Galway Cathedral, Kennedy Park, and all the local pubs.
While a day in Galway is enough time to enjoy the day, get a good irish stew, and take in the sights; it definitely is not enough time to do everything. Some other great places to go in Galway if you are there for more than a day are Salthill (for cafes and promenade walks), The Aran Islands, or a outing to the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin.
xx A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
Granada, Spain is one of those places that is not a familiar or a well-known city in Spain, it is harder to get to, but so worth the journey. I honestly can't remember how I found out about Granada (instagram or Pinterest, maybe?) but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to find a way to get there. I wanted to go desperately two years ago when I was studying abroad in London, but it just never seemed to work out. So when all the plans feel into place for moving abroad to Ireland, it wasn't a matter of how but when I was going to Granada.
Granada is located in southern Spain at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is an hour from the Mediterranean Coast, an hour and a half from Malaga/Malaga Airport, and two and a half hours from Seville by car. There is an airport in Granada, however the flights can be limiting so the closest airport is the Malaga Airport.
While it can be quite a trip to get to Granada, it is definitely worth it of you want a quant little Spanish town that has a dash of a Moroccan vibe to it. The city has small and narrow streets that are easy to navigate and wander. It is definitely less crowded than Madrid and easier to navigate than Barcelona since it is a small city. After a walking tour and wandering around with a map for a few hours, I could find my way around with ease.
The main tourist attraction in Granada is the Alhambra and the Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra is a fortress and palace in the center of the city. It was first constructed in 889 AD as a small fort, the it was ruined, rebuilt again over the centuries incorporating the styles of the times. Today the Alhambra's exterior is a dirt red, but at the time it would have been white, similar to the exterior of the summer palace in the Generalife Gardens. The best way to envision what it used to look like was best said by a Moorish poet, he said the Alhambra looked like, "A pearl set in emeralds".
The Alhambra has six places within its gates interior, the most famous of the six is the Palace of the Nasrid, known for its Court of Lions and Lions Fountain. It is so popular, that you have to book your ticket in advance and you are given a specific time to go in to cut down on the traffic walking though the Palace of Nasrid.
Between the Palace of Nasrid, the Alhambra, and Generalife it takes a few hours to do self-guided tour though all of it.
Granada is an important part of Spanish history because it was one of the last powerful cities under Moorish rule before King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella began their conquest to covert the country to Catholicism in 1492. While Ferdinand and Isabella tried to stomp out all other religions in Spain during their rule to establish one religion for the country, the Alhambra remained still displays the culture, history, and art of the Moorish rule.
So today you can enjoy both Spanish and Moorish traditions in Granada from the cusine, art and architecture, music, and so much more.
So, not a history buff? Not a problem. This region is also well know for their olives so day tours to see the olive fields, drinks some wine, and relaxation are well within reach. Walking tours of the city are also highly recommended as most of the tour guides are locals and have a wealth of knowledge of the city and can point you in the right direction for food, activities, or the best flamenco dancing show in town. Oh, and of course you get free tapas with every drink, so I mean it is basically paradise.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
A little while back I went on a tour of Connemara with Irish Day Tours ... okay so it was like ... a WHILE back. My blogging style hasn't quite been the same for the last few weeks but I am aiming to get it back on track.
This was one of the first tours I really wanted to do because one of the stops it makes was at the top of my Ireland Bucket List ... Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey was built in the late 1800s by Mitchell Henry MP as a gift for his wife, Margaret. They both are buried on the estate and in 1920 The Benedictine community became the owners of the estate (and still are today).
Now I am jumping ahead of myself, the Irish Day Tours starts at a crisp 6:30am and doesn't go straight to Kylemore Abbey. The first stop of the tour is the Glengowla Silver Mines. The silver mines were opened in 1850 and abandoned in 1865 after exhausting its resources and serious flooding. But in the 1990s, the current owner of the property discovered the "tumblers" which led to the rediscovery, restoration of the mine, and reopening to the public in 1998.
After exploring the Silver Mines, you take a very scenic drive through Connemara and stop for a photo-op before making your way to Kylemore Abbey. It's a nice little break to walk by the lakes, take in the view, and maybe even get close a close up shoot of the sheep that are rooming around.
Next is the very anticipated Kylemore Abby! The grounds are massive and there is not enough time to see it all while you are on the tour (insert a sad face here). I would highly recommend looking up the Abbey ahead of time to see what interest you more: the Gardens or the Abbey itself. You will have to buy a ticket to get in, either once you arrive or online, since it is not included in the Irish Day Tour ticket.
This is one place they recommend to get food for lunch, it can be a bit crowded or busy at the cafe since you are usually there right at lunch time. I am not a fan of relaying on cafes or restaurants when I am on day tours - they are usually over prices and not worth the value (since every bus tour goes to all of the same destinations.) I would highly recommend packing a lunch, snacks, water, etc., just so you have options.
On the way to the Killary Boat Cruise is the little drive-by town of Killary and it has some of the cutest shops, cafes, and pubs. Still on the pricey side but this is a great option if you want to sit down (off of the bus, that is) and enjoy a hot meal.
Finally, the last stop of the tour is the Killary Boat Cruise. You can either sit up-top with the wind or enjoy the sights down below from the comfort of the indoor deck where they serve snacks and drinks.
Hopefully this inspires your adventurous side to get out of the city and go see more of the Irish country side.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
Back in the lovely winter of 2016 (what I like the cold?!), I found myself living in the heart of London for a short six months while studying abroad. Fast forward two years with a college degree, a few freelance jobs but nothing set in stone yet (career wise), and a move to Dublin I find myself making a trip back to a city that I fell in love with.
I think I only dream and pretend to plan a trip back to London, but I never thought I would return so soon. I love everything about the city from the architecture, the food, the culture, and the vibrant atmosphere. The best part about the trip this time around was being able to go back with a few of my favorite people that I had met during my time studying abroad in London. It was the best way to return to London after being away for so long (I know two years, it's so long).
Naturally, I could not put my camera down for a second while we were in London, so I have been editing through the hundreds of photos my trigger-happy finger could take.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)