Kyoto is the jewel of the Japanese culture, the ancient capital of the Japanese Empire and a must-see in any trip to the country. From the Arashiyama Mountains to the old Gion, Kyoto is a city full of magic, where tradition lives together with modernity. But with more than 1,600 Buddhist shrines and 400 Shinto shrines it is always difficult to choose the ones to explore during the few days that a visitor can spend in the city. And thus, while planning your trip to Kyoto, you start reading and searching for those hotspots that you shouldn’t miss.
We are sure that when we visited the city we missed great shrines, but we’re also happy to know that we saw other ones that put inside us the peace of mind and the smell of incense that makes us dream about a second trip to Japan –a really addictive country! Below you’ll find out the main shrines and moments from our visit to Kyoto.
Pisa might be one of those cities in the world where you can always find plenty of visitors, especially in summer. We have already told you that we are not quite enthusiast about those highly touristic places, but we also think that if everyone wants to visit a city, it must be a good reason for it. Pisa is a common destination for student groups, but nor Dídac or me, at our age, had ever visited this Italian hotspot until last summer. Pisa entered into our plans when we saw cheap flights from Girona’s airport that perfectly suited some additional vacation days. And thus we decided to buy them and stay in Pisa for two nights before moving to Firenze. The first day was devoted to Pisa, the second one we had the opportunity to briefly explore the Tuscany region by car.
There is an island where you can feel in the middle point between the heaven and the underworld, a place that you can only reach by boat and where the shrines seem to float on water. A World Heritage Site, along with the virgin forest of Mount Misen and numerous preserved shrines, monuments and historical sites makes you realize you are in a unique place in the planet. The perfect harmony between human beings, nature and spirituality that Japanese people usually do so well can be felt in every corner of this island, Miyajima Island, the Island of Gods.
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.
We love Italy, that amazing country surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, home of the Occidental culture, a land of art and gastronomy. Italy is a synonym of good wine, better music and lots of romanticism. And the best part of it is that we are quite close to such a paradise. So there was no better way to celebrate Dídac’s birthday last summer than a short break to Tuscany.
Despite our trip mainly took place between Pisa and Firenze, we decided to rent a car in Pisa to spend a day driving (without map and without GPS!) to discover some hotspots in the region. In our plan we had two must stops: San Gimignano and Siena, but we still had time to end our day with a nice dinner in Monteriggioni.
"There is a thing that makes any trip unique. We know that where we walk around, where we eat, where we sleep, where we take a rest or where we laugh are places that probably we will not visit again. Places that we discover while knowing that some seconds later we will no longer be there, in an ephemeral manner, but with the same enthusiasm as two kids discovering the colors." Mapping The Map