The site is actually three cinder cones, two of them filled in by the last one. Auckland is a lovely city filled with great restaurants with menus from all over the world — and great independent bookstores!
Claire and Sam (our hostess and her golden retriever), along with her young neighbor (and the darling girl’s black dog), were all very welcoming. To stay at Claire’s lovely B&B, email her at email@example.com or call her at 0274512691
León, founded in 29 B.C., has so much fascinating architecture that the two days we visited weren’t enough to see everything. León’s gothic Santa María de León Cathedral was constructed mostly during 1205 to 1301, its north tower and cloister during the 14-century, and its south tower in 1472. Ever see Mother Mary pregnant? (Tap on photos to see them bigger and their captions.)
Shops in historic León, Spain.
Footsteps mark the way along religious pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago.
Seashells mark the religious pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago.
The historic district of León features quaint parks.
Spain’s homestyle food (unlike typical restaurant fare most anywhere) is loaded with delicious veggies. I swooned when we happened into a tiny eatery that cooked like I was visiting someone’s gourmet granny — we ate there twice! Every single morning, ‘a comer’ take out restaurant owner Susana shops for the best of what’s in season, then cooks a new menu from scratch — thank you from the bottom of my stomach, querida Susana!
Our hosts, Marco and Mariu, made our stay at their home extra cozy and our visit to León extra memorable — many thanks to both of them!
It was time to hit the highway to Madrid!…
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Sure Frank Gehry’s amazing architecture at the Guggenheim Museum helped put a failing Bilbao, Spain back on the map. Front, back, in, and out the Guggenheim Museum, Spain, turns perceptions upside down and inside out (tap or click each photo for more info)…
The river that runs beside Guggenheim Museum Bilbao features innovative structures, lights, and steam.
A shot of me from an upstairs window, admiring Jeff Koons’ “Tulips.”
I’m waving hi to you from the feet of Maman (Ama) by Louise Bourgeois.
However, art and art-worthy architecture abound everywhere in Bilbao.
Along the way to the museum, we stopped to see Azkuna Zentroa. Built in 1909, it now houses a building within a building balanced on unusual columns.
Akzuna Zentroa, Bilbao, Spain.
Look up at Akzuna Zentroa to see the bottom of a swimming pool.
The kids’ room at Akzuna Zentroa’s library.
Many amazing columns hold up the inside of Akzuna Zentroa.
What better way is there to celebrate a special occasion than with an all-day excursion of gorgeous weather, strolling an array of gardens that span rainforest to desert and Japanese to Australian to more, seeing the worlds’s stinkiest (and amusingly phallic) plant, eating international fare, admiring fine art museums, and ending it all with a high tea?
If you were hanging out in the Kitchen’s Garden Lounge of Comments yesterday you would have read that a piglet was lost in that first cold night. I found him dead on Poppy’s side of their quarters. Being the Lady Pig Farmer is not always easy. All our focus these first few days is keeping the babies safe and well fed. This task feels mutually exclusive at times.