One of the first things that we did upon our arrival in Cochabamba was to visit the Cristo de la Concordia, which is a statue of Jesus Christ. The statue sits on top of San Pedro Hill and is accessible by a cable car or you can walk the 2,000 steps to the statue if you prefer. The statue is quite interesting, but since San Pedro Hill is almost 900 feet (265 meters) above the city of Cochabamba, the views are worth the visit as well.
The Cristo de la Concordia statue was modeled after the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The similarities are obvious, but the statue in Cochabamba is actually slightly larger. The statue is position such that the left hand points south and the right hand points north. Visiting the statue and seeing the views of the city should certainly be part of any visit to Cochabamba.
Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is a wonderful city located in southern Spain. For obvious reasons, the Alhambra Palace is a definite highlight of a visit to Granada, but there is more to see than just the fortress and palace. The narrow streets, beautiful cathedral, the Royal Chapel, and restaurants and stores make visiting the city worth at least a couple of days in order to see it adequately. The city is very walkable, although many of the narrow streets can be quite steep, so feel free to stop at a local bistro for a quick break to enjoy a glass of Spanish wine.
With an elevation over 2,400 feet (730 meters) above sea level and with roads that crawl up the sides of the Sierra Nevada mountains, there are wonderful views of the city from several vantage points. Some of the best are from the walls of Alhambra, but there are many from neighborhoods as well. Even though the panoramic views are amazing, the best views can be found by walking the side streets and discovering some of the many restaurants and shops that the city has to offer. One of our favorite streets wrapped itself along the sides of Alhambra and provided a different view of the fortress.
When planning a trip to Granada, or southern Spain in general, one should be prepared to be on a relaxing schedule. No one is in a hurry and even though the temperatures can be more mild than other parts of the region, people still go out for walks late into the evening. Granada is located about an hour’s drive from the coast and an hour and a half from the city of Malaga. It was closer to a four and a half hour drive from where we stayed in Estepona. It was certainly worth taking the time to get there. If you intend to go to Alhambra, as you definitely should, be sure to buy your tickets well in advance as they do sell out up to six to eight weeks ahead of time.
We really enjoyed our time in Granada and it was one of our favorite memories of the region. We also spent time in Seville as well as Ronda, but seeing Alhambra in Granada is a memory of a lifetime. We spent several days in Granada, making our time there very relaxing and enjoying many different restaurants with wonderful food.
With the birthplace and gravesite of Shakespeare, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and historic Tudor buildings, Stratford-upon-Avon is a wonderful town in England to visit. It gets its name because it is located on the River Avon and is sometimes simply referred to as Stratford. Located in the county of Warwickshire, there is also the Warwick Castle nearby, which is definitely worth visiting as well. Although it is definitely a tourist destination, we went during the off-season and enjoyed sharing the streets with more locals than tourists.
Obviously, seeing the birthplace of Shakespeare is a highlight of any visit to Stratford-upon-Avon. The house where Shakespeare was born in 1564 is located on Henley Street, which is part of the historic section of the town. The timbered house has been restored and looks very much today as it might have in the 16th century when Shakespeare was a child. There is also the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre where performances still occur throughout the year, but especially over the summer months featuring many famous actors. With over two million visitors per year, Stratford-upon-Avon can be quite busy.
We were in Stratford-upon-Avon during the holiday season, so there was a Christmas market and the town was decorated for the holidays. We also were there to watch the mayor kick off the holiday season as people gathered around the town hall. There were also many stores that featured holiday gifts as well as other typical shops selling items for tourists. Perhaps even better were the various pubs that were offering mulled wine to keep us warm on a cold autumn evening.
We spent a couple of days in Stratford-upon-Avon visiting the historic town and seeing the impressive Warwick Castle before catching a train to continue on to Manchester. Seeing the English countryside and the historic buildings was certainly one of our favorite parts of our trip to England several years ago.