Saturday, June 23, 2007

Spain and its Paradores

We love to travel, and we've done our fair share over the past few years. High up on our list is Spain, where we will surely be returning to in the near future. We stayed in Paradors while we were there, which have an immense amount of character and local flair. The Spanish government takes an historic building like a castle or a monastery, renovates it, and turns it into a hotel. The proceeds of the hotel go towards the continued maintenance of the property. And the restaurant in the Parador always has great local food with regional ingredients. Our favorite one was a 14th century Arabic fortress high up on a hill in Carmona.

When we return, we hope to stay at the Parador in the Alhambra.

"Spending a night in the gardens of the Alhambra, among fountains, trees and large arched windows is the exclusive opportunity offered by this Parador, a former convent built by decision of the Catholic Monarchs. This monumental ensemble proposes placid walks around the city for the guest, although the building itself invites you to discover a dreamlike interior, where Arabic and Christian styles mix. Its bedrooms offer exceptional views of the Generalife, the Secano gardens and the AlbaicĂ­n, while the classical furniture and numerous portraits mark the decoration of the interior rooms. Under the coffered ceiling of the dining room and the freshness of the summer terrace 'gazpacho andaluz' (cold tomato soup), 'tortilla de Sacromonte' (omelet) and 'piononos de Santa Fe' (typical sponge caked soaked in liqueur) are offered."

Hopefully, the 7 Wonders of the World campaign won't ruin our plans!