Summer is coming and, when it arrives, all Catalans use to go and bath in the Costa Brava –in our opinion, one of the finest landscapes of Catalonia. It may not be the typical exotic coast, but it has the incomparable Mediterranean charm of its cliffs and its plant life. The Costa Brava, which literally means “rugged coast”, is the scenery of our summer childhood memories. The coast follows the Catalan counties (comarques) of La Selva, Baix Empordà and Alt Empordà, all of them within the province of Girona, whose inhabitants have seen how fishing has been replaced by tourism as the main business of the area.
Those who follow this blog may already know that we are used to plan our travels using satellite images. We don’t use travel agencies and reduce to the minimum the expenses behind the planning of a trip. In this post we speak for the first time about our next travel destination: Namibia!
How did we decide to go to Namibia?
Last year we crossed the Iberian Peninsula from Barcelona to Portugal and did a road trip through a fantastic country, visiting Alentejo, Lisbon, Porto… and Sintra. I say this because it was in Sintra, maybe one of the most beautiful places in Europe, where we realized that the beauty cannot be properly explored among thousands of people. Some places which can be fascinating when isolated may loose their magic when thousands of people are looking at it.
When we came back home and being in that period between the last trip and the need to plan a new one, we saw a documentary in TV about a Catalan family, also the two kids, doing a round trip around the World. One of the places they went to was Namibia and there they did free camping in some of the dreamiest landscapes in the planet. They also planned a strategy to find the desert elephant which can only be seen in some places in that country.
Sometimes the way to our travel destination can give us the gift of visiting places that had been in our wish list for a long time. That’s what happened when we travelled to Tokyo via Moscow. When we booked our Aeroflot flights I was so happy since I finally had the chance to visit the capital of Russia, the heart of one of the most powerful countries in the world and the home to many historical events. In particular, we were going to spend some day hours in the city during our travel to Tokyo and a night there when going back to Barcelona. So we made all the paperwork to get our visas and waited for the day when we were to land in Russia for the first time.
Have you ever heard the name Grossglockner? Maybe yes if you are from Austria or live around the Alps in Europe. We must admit that we had not heard about it before and we want to share with you how we discovered the most beautiful road in Europe.
Everything started with my obsession to memorize the satellite images of the zone that we want to visit. In that exploration, using Google Earth, I saw this:
Finally I realized that there was a hostel at the highest point of the road, at 2,600 m, where we could sleep. Moreover, I found those two huts and I decided there was no better place to spend a night. We modified the plans for the previous day just to be able to sleep there. And fortunately we could. Here starts the story that brought us to the Grossglockner road.
If you love old towns and historical sites as much as we do, you will be happy to know that there is a hidden region in Spain where you can find, among others, a city built from the old Roman town of Emerita Augusta (now named Mérida), a monastery with a wonderful Mudejar cloister devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe (in the village with the same name) and the two medieval gems appearing in this post. That region, Extremadura, was the land of famous Spaniard conquerors of the New World. But today Extremadura still remains unconquerable to the great number of tourists that visit Spain year after year.
Our journey to Portugal led us to cross the entire Iberian Peninsula by car and to enter the Portuguese region of Alentejo from Extremadura. On that trip I realised that amazing places can be found quite close and Cáceres and Trujillo are two living examples of that which have even served as the location of Game of Thrones due to their amazing architecture.