La Palma!

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

¡Bienvenidos! from Santa Cruz de La Palma.  The island of La Palma is the result of volcanic activity like the other Canary Islands. The volcanoes on La Palma are the most active of all the Canary Islands. The port town Santa Cruz de La Palma, which is simply referred to as La Palma, is just north of one of the smaller calderas. In spite of the potential for volcanic activity, the locals have created a wonderful town with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and cute cafes.

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

Castillo De La Virgen sits on a hill overlooking the town of La Palma. This structure was built for staging the Dialogo Entre el Castillo y la Nave. Every five years the statue of the Virgin Mary is brought here from the nearby Santuario de la Virgen de las Nieves for a festival honoring Our Lady of the Snows.

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

From the castle Plaza Alemedia is in view. The centerpiece of the square is a model of Columbus’ Santa Maria. The ship itself is a maritime museum.

La Palma, Spain - Designerella

Adios from another fabulous Canary Island!

Under the Sea

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

On the opposite side of Gran Canaria from Las Palmas is Puerto de Mogán. Here you can take a submarine ride to see what life is like under the sea. It is an amazing experience that provides breathtaking views fish in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Shipwrecks show the perils of man trying to conquer the sea. Now on the seabed floor, shipwrecks provide structure which attract schools of fish.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Leaving the sea, the port town of Purto de Mogán.  It is known as the “Venice of the Canaries” because of the many bridges over small canals near the marina. Here one can find sailboats of all sizes navigating near the shores of this fine island.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

In addition to the bridges, another aspect Puerto de Mogán is known for is colorful flowers. This time of year, beautiful red, purple and orange flowers spill over the bridges, through the fences and over the arches. Walking along the seashore the flowers provide a great contrast to the blue sea.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Puerto de Mogán is a hidden treasure in the Canary Islands with jewels both above and below water that should not be missed.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife: An Island of Wine

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The Canary Islands are a highly underrated wine producing region. Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the islands, has many wonderful wineries just a short drive from the main port town Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Just east of Santa Cruz is the La Baranda Winery. This is an excellent vineyard that also has a museum describing some of the historical aspects of wine-making. There is also a restaurant on the grounds that has fabulous views of the nearby mountains. Both the red and white wines are excellent.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The views from the Baranda Winery are magnificent. Terraced vineyards can be spotted on the mountainside down to the ocean.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Alvero Bodegas is the best place to find the perfect Tenerife wine. A large selection of wines allows visitors to find the perfect wine to match their desired taste. In order to truly experience the wine in the proper way, they offer excellent Spanish tapas to go with the red and white wines. A sparkling wine called Cava is a real treat.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

The bodega is filled with old bottles and barrels, many dating back many years ago. The dates of the wine may be difficult to determine, but the spiderwebs and dust give some indication. The bodega is antique looking and provides a real Spanish experience.

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Any wine-lover will enjoy a visit to Tenerife with an exclamation of: ¡salud!

Tenerife, Spain - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco!

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, or in Arabic الدار البيضاء‎, is located on the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Morocco. While the city may conjure images from the famous movie of the same name, their is much more to the city than the movie describes. Among those is the Central Market where you can find anything you need and even some you don’t. Shop stalls are filled with all types of items in brilliant colors.

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Standing on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean is the Hassan II Mosque. The most dominating part of the structure is the tall minaret, which stands 689 feet tall–the tallest minaret in the world. At over sixty stories tall, until you are standing next to it, the size is hard to comprehend. As in all mosques the mosaic tilework is phenomenal.

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Another place that has beautiful tile and carving work is the gate at the Royal Palace. Even the doorhandles have exquisite detail. The colorful tiles are done so well and placed perfectly to make the city so beautiful.

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Casablanca is a wonderful melting pot of cultures. With strong influences from European, Arabic and African cultures, it truly is a remarkable place.

Casablanca, Morocco - Designerella

Merry Christmas From Cadiz, Spain!

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) from Cadiz, Spain!  A Christmas Eve tour of this beautiful city shows it preparing for the big holiday feast. This city is beautiful with the many monuments, the ringing bells atop the cathedrals, and the holiday excitement in the streets.

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Being on the coast, seafood is excellent and fresh in Cadiz. Every morning at the Central Market a large section is dedicated to the fish market.  Since this was Christmas Eve all the locals were there early finding the best and the freshest seafood for their Christmas Day celebration.  There was a great energy in the market as the shoppers looked for the best deals and the shopkeepers worked their stalls.

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

While the fish section is a cannot miss attraction, the rest of the Central Market is also great. Other sections have stalls filled with fresh produce and meats. The signage and the clean displays make the items appear as art. It all looks so tasty!

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Cadiz, Spain - Designerella

Once again, Merry Christmas! And I wish everyone around the world a wonderful, joyful and safe Christmas!

A visit to Lisboa

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

Hello from Lisbon, Portugal again!  Previously I discussed about some fine side trips outside this great city. (Read about them here.) This time I set out to explore the heart of Lisbon. What I found was a magnificent city with great public places.

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

Just like San Francisco, Lisbon is known for having cable cars as a staple for transportation throughout the city.

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

Living sculptures bring great character to cities throughout Europe and Lisbon has one of the best artists who depicts Mozart.  This man only moves to greet and bless pedestrians who acknowledge his art by dropping a few Euros in a bowl in front of the Mozart tombstone.  These artists can be found in many European cities, but few are as detailed and well done as Mozart in Lisbon.

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

One Lisbon landmark that should not be missed is the Rua Augusta Arch. It was built to commemorate the city’s rebirth after the devastating 1755 earthquake. The beautiful arch commemorates a beautiful city with fabulous architecture, fountains, monuments, plazas. Adeus! (goodbye in Portuguese.)

Lisbon, Portugal - Designerella

A Christmas Market in Germany!

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany has one of the world’s largest Christmas markets, or in German Weihnachtsmarkt, with locations spread all over town.  Wandering the Christmas market leads you to sections of the city that you may not have explored otherwise. Visitors from all over Europe come here to see the wonderful Christmas decorations, partake in the magnificent shopping experience and taste the great German Christmas sweets.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Of course best treat at the Christmas Market is the Glühwein, or hot mulled wine.  Glühwein has been made in Germany since the 1400s and it is believed this is the place where it originally was made.  With the hot wine and the smell of cooking sausages in the air you know you are in Germany.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

One of the largest Christmas Markets in the city is under the City Hall. The Hamberger Rathaus, or Hamburg City Hall, is a city landmark. The current structure was completed in 1897 after a fire had destroyed an earlier city hall. The building is known for the tower and the small clock on it. Standing under this impressive building in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Market lets you know its importance in the city.

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Hamburg is the location where the Alster and Elbe rivers come together. There are many other small rivers that come nearby, making bridges necessary to move about the city. There are over 2,300 bridges in the city, meaning that is has more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam –combined.

All the way from Germany I wish everyone a joyful holiday, or in German Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Hamburg, Germany - Designerella

Christmas Time in København, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Hej (hello in Danish) from Denmark!  The city of København, or Copenhagen, is one of Northern Europe’s jewels.  As in elsewhere Northern Europe the city has a network of canals that were used to establish a trading empire, but today they provide marvelous charm. Christmas time is a wonderful time to visit because it is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the world. I loved it here so much I have vowed to make a trip to Copenhagen a Christmas tradition.

On this day it seems that everyone was out doing their holiday shopping. People were out exploring the stores and Christmas Market stalls all over town. The most picturesque section may be the stalls along one of the canals. The sailboats, Christmas lights and colorful buildings make for an amazing sight.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

A cup of Glühwein, a hot mulled wine, is the drink of choice here at the Christmas Market. It is a perfect way to warm up while strolling through the cold. To make this tasty treat, you combine heated red wine with cinnamon, cloves, citrus flavoring and other spices. What a delicious treat!

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

One magnificent smell that permeates through the streets is that of hot roasted almonds. These treats are toasted, coated with sugar and cinnamon right in front of you as you walk down the streets.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

Copenhagen, Denmark - Designerella

København is a magnificent city any time of year, but it particularly so during Christmas. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or as they would say here in Denmark, Glædelig Jul!

Sweden: A Winter Wonderland

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Göteborg, or in English Gothenburg, Sweden is the second largest city in the country. I am not sure if it was the Christmas Market, Christmas decorations, the Swedish people or the lovely snow, but I absolutely fell in love with the energy of this beautiful city.

One of the landmarks of this beautiful city is the Statue of King Charles IX of Sweden sitting upon his horse.  The King who founded the city to be a center of trade, and in those early years of the city there were more Dutch nationals than Swedish. But as the city grew the Swedish nationals flocked to the city. The city is now centered around the Gustavi Domkyrka, or Gothenburg’s Cathedral, that has a clock on its tower.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Water is integral to the city of Gothenburg, which means there are many bridges over the natural inlets and man-made canals. As one would expect, December in Sweden that means snow. The locals seemed to take in it stride, going about their daily routine.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

The city of Gothenburg decorates the pedestrian walkways to create an amazing Christmas atmosphere. The Christmas atmosphere permeates from the streets into the shops and cafés.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

But it is the Christmas Market that has that most Christmas feel. Vendors have their small stalls set up selling all types of different things. Vendors seem to try and out do one another with the evergreen garlands and lights. There are so many sweets that are so enticing.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

One tradition that a visitor to the Chirstmas Market must enjoy is a mug full of glögg. Glögg is hot mulled wine, and when paired with a pretzel makes an excellent snack.  The hot wine combined with the warm pretzel is an excellent combination that can be used to combat the cold weather so you can continue to enjoy the Christmas market in Gothenburg.

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

Gothenburg, Sweden - Designerella

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Southampton, England - Designerella

Spending Christmas abroad allows you to see how different regions celebrate the same holiday differently. One thing that is unique in Europe is the Christmas Markets.  In my adopted “hometown” of Southampton, England there is a splendid Christmas Market in the Above Bar/West Quad shopping area. For the Christmas Market they set up little stalls from which vendors sell their goods and food.

Southampton, England - Designerella

Southampton, England - Designerella

Southampton, England - Designerella

Southampton, England - Designerella

Because this is England you can find the national dish of Fish and Chips, but at the Christmas Markets you can find a variety of hot dishes of all different types of food.  It is great that you can see them cook your hot meal fresh right there in front of you.

Southampton, England - Designerella

Local meat salesmen pawn their fresh meat to the customers. This butcher calls out to the crowd on the microphone while holding up a piece of fine red meat. He then places it on the scale and presenting fresh quality and the price to the locals and tourist as they walk by.

England is my adopted home and I love all my British friends!  This visit, being my first Christmas Market, only added to the many memories I have here in Southampton, England.