Fatima – A mix of pure devotion and commercialism

When I hear the word shrine I think of a few candles, pictures and maybe some cuddly toys that have been gathered together and that are generally small areas intent on being an improvised place of respect, like at a lamp-post or a wall.

So when we arrived in Fatima to check out the shrine on this world-famous pilgrimage site, I can hand on my heart say I was not expecting what appeared in front of us.

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Sintra – Portugal’s most spell-binding town

If there was ever a town that looks like it has been picked straight out of a Disney movie and dropped on the outskirts of a major city, Sintra is it. Twenty kilometers north of Lisbon, Sintra is another world completely; it couldn’t be any more different from the frantic routine of its neighbouring city.  It’s like stepping through the wardrobe in to Narnia, except Narnia is a huge expanse of luscious green gardens and forests and dreamlike castles and palaces.

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More English and Irish than Spanish?

I was 15 the last time I visited Nerja.  At least I think I was, I could have been 16?  Eamo was 16 the last he visited Nerja.  Weird, huh?  Maybe we crossed paths and didn’t even know it.

All the memories came flooding back to Eamo, the second we arrived in the little Spanish town.  For me… nothing.  I don’t remember a damn thing about this place.  I really should have, but all I remember is that I was here once upon a time.

Nerja is beautiful, it really is.  It’s a quintessential Spanish town with cute white houses and perfect little villas overlooking the Mediterranean.  Palm trees bustling full parrots line the Main Square all the way down the promenade to the Balcon de Europa, where you can get a pretty awesome panoramic snap of this part of the Costa del Sol.

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It’s the middle of January and it’s 20 degrees; what more do you want, right?

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‘Shrooms and skinny dips

Everyone’s been to Alicante, right? Or at least knows someone that has been?

It’s one of Spain’s biggest tourist traps, particularly as it’s one of the main gateway’s to the Costa Blanca.  I half expected it to be full of expats and almost a bit too touristy, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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A year of fun, frolics and fumbling our way through Europe