One Day at a Time: Cartagena, Spain.

From a beautiful traditional mountainous village to an attractive cosmopolitan naval city; our next stop on our “One Day At A Time” adventure brought us to Cartagena. Cartegena is a city that seems to have it all. This port city, located in the Murica region, is lucky enough to be bordered  by several coastal mountain ranges which means, like in Finestrat, no matter where you stand in this beautiful city you are blessed with the most wonderful backdrop of sea and mountains, fantastic! So you are probably wondering what else does it have to offer besides panoramic views? Well put on your walking shoes, grab some water and come explore the city with P, J and I; Lets go!

One of the many beautiful statues that are dotted around the city. Looks like we have three more coming on our trip with us!

Cartagena is a charming, compact little port city with a huge naval history. As you wander through the narrow streets of the old town this fact becomes very apparent. It is a city that is very proud of its naval history, which dates back to the 18th century, and the streets are filled with monuments paying tribute to its heritage. These monuments range from a simple iron statue of a lone sailor on his way home to a grand monument located near the city hall which pays tribute to several important naval figures from the past.

A lone sailor on his way home!
A monument paying tribute to important naval figures from the past!!

Apart from its huge naval heritage, Cartagena is famed for its Roman influences. Cartagena was an influential city during the roman times with its huge port and major silver mines making it a very profitable city. Today this past is very much alive through its well maintained ruins, its Roman theatre and skeletons of mining machinery that are dotted around the city and surrounding villages, they are a main focal point in the area. Clearly, Cartagena is a city that is proud of its roots.

The entrance to the “Teatromano De Cartagena”, unfortunately, the theatre is closed on Monday so we couldn´t have a good nosey around!
A glimpse of the “Teatromano” through the railings that surrounded it!
A glimpse at the remains of the mining machinery!

Another interesting fact about Cartagena is that it was a walled city up until the 20th century. Today these walls are a prime feature of the old town adding character and a sense of history to the area. It certainly is a city that has been influenced by several eras in history, each leaving their own stamp on the area making it truly unique.

Cartagena, the walled city!

Today Cartagena is still an important city. Holding on to its naval roots, it is home to an important naval shipyard. It´s also a major cruiser destination making the area highly touristic. There are several noteworthy churches, museums and archaeological sites which cater to the needs of these visitors. Our visit to Cartagena was a flying one, and when I say flying I really mean flying; Ps wheelchair decided that it didn´t want to go in its usual straight direction instead opting for the more enjoyable out of control, into the wall route which made the journey all the more difficult, poor P as if getting around wasn´t hard enough without having a wheelchair with a mind of its own to add to it! Don´t worry, the wheelchair went back this morning and was replaced with a shiny new one so hopefully this won´t happen again! Anyway, my point; seeing as this was a flying visit, in more ways than one, we didn´t get to explore the museums and the archaeological sites, sadly, so I can´t give you any insight into them, but based on the history of the area I would imagine they are well worth a visit!

The city hall!

So, all in all, it was another great trip. However, which is probably a little obvious from my lack of anecdotes in this piece, while Cartagena is an amazing city with lots of monuments, unusual buildings and beautiful scenery, there was something about it that left me a little underwhelmed and I´m not sure why. Maybe it was because I had heard so many great things about the city, maybe it was our limited time there or maybe it was our difficulty with the wheelchair but whatever it was, Cartagena didn´t capture our hearts. It puzzles me really as it has so much to offer, and I would go back again, but it just didn´t leave me with the feeling I want to stay here forever!

A couple sitting on one of the many benches located along the port!

All that´s left for me to do now is show you the slideshow. So sit back and relax, while Cartagena didn´t capture my heart it most certainly is a beautiful city, it´s definetly worth checking out the slideshow! Enjoy!

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Have you ever been to Cartagena? What did you think?

As always, thank you for reading,

Until the next time,



One Day at a time: Finestrat

From brightly coloured houses, fish auctions and chocolate factories to our next destination: Finestart. Finestrat is a beautiful traditional village which seems to have the best of both worlds: the mountains and the beach. This picturesque village hugs the Puig Campana, a majestic rock, which happens to be one of the most emblematic points on the Costa Blanca. Not only does this mountainous village boast spectacular views of the surrounding countryside but it also has its own beach, situated some five minutes from the village itself. Getting excited yet? I hope so! Lets go on and explore some more!

This picturesque little village, which hugs the Puig Compana, is elevated above its surrounding countryside allowing for outstanding views of the area!

So if you have been following my “One Day at a Time” series, a story of a man, a wheelchair and his family taking on the challenge of exploring the hidden treasures of our area, you must be thinking we´re mad. First we go to a town which has steep, narrow, winding slopes for streets, now this, a mountain village. What can I say? We´re just gluttons for punishment. That, or we really are just mad! Either way the up and down hill battles in this case were most definitely worth it, that pain/ pleasure theory must be true! Anyway – another ramble, sorry – some day I´ll learn, now onto the point: Finestrat!

The town as it unfolds before you in front of the Sant Bertomeu Church: Beautiful.

I would describe Finestrat as a village completely at harmony with its natural enviornment. It is a privilaged little enclave which offers us some extraordinary views which manage to contrast the villages charm with the natural beauty of the area. Words fail to express this villages uniqueness. As Finestrat is an elevated mountainous village, hanging houses, narrow winding streets, quaint corners and gardens are all important characteristics of it, with each one adding to its seductiveness and charm.

A beautiful street view of Puig Campana

Now I must say we did manage to learn a valuable lesson on this journey and that was: wheelchairs + downhill slopes + flip-flops = disaster! I know right now that each of you reading this is thinking: obviously, but I shall explain! Our trip to Finestrat was actually an unexpected one. After deciding that the queue for the chocolate factory in Villajosa was too long we decided to head home. However, on our way out of the town we saw a sign post for Finestrat and, having heard great things about this village, we decided to venture there instead. Great idea but, sadly, it left us rather unprepared for the severity of the mountain slopes this town has to offer. In some places it proved too difficult, and dangerous I might add, to leave P in the wheelchair and he had to disembark and attempt to walk up, or down, some steep steps with the aid of J or I. Poor P!

Apart from this, the village is a delight. You can easily lose yourself while meandering through it´s narrow inclined Moorish streets which are filled with tradition, culture and history. It seems, as you are wandering through the streets, that behind every corner, on every new street, lies something new and more beautiful to discover. In other words: it is a maze of discovery rather than your stereotypical Spanish town.

A view of one of the hanging houses after turning one of the many corners in this maze of beauty they call a village!

Apart from its very attractive streets and the enchanting atmosphere it has to offer, one of the most impressive things about this village has to be its scenery. No matter where you are, no matter what street or square you find yourself at, you are presented with the most mind-blowing backdrops of either mountain or countryside and this, in my opinion anyway, money can´t buy. The beauty of this area is astounding. It has remained completely untouched and unspoilt by tourists and the development that usually goes with them. The town has maintained its identity by respecting the splendour of the natural environment around it and chosing to complement it with its Moorish influenced buildings rather than destroy it with modern architecture. With its views from the mountain right down to the sea Finestrat, in my opinion, is most definitely one of a kind.

View from the mountain to the sea!
View of Puig Campana

The atmosphere in this village is relaxed and welcoming. While on our travels, we saw very few people on the streets but those we did bump into all warmly greeted us with a smile. Even the animals gave us a warm welcome, a well-loved and cared for Labrador decided to accompany me as I explored a wheelchair unfriendly part of this charming village, just in case I´d get lonely on my own!

One of the many wheelchair unfriendly areas this village has to offer!

So all that´s left for me to do now is to stop talking and let you sit back and enjoy the beautiful images this area has to offer. Here is a slideshow featuring some of the best photos, out of hundreds, I took that day! It was so difficult to narrow it down this time but, don´t worry, I managed it somehow! Enjoy the show:

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While P, J and I all loved Villajoyosa there was something about Finestrat that stole our hearts. Its traditional rustic feel and charming Moorish architecture won us over and, despite our difficulties getting around the village with the wheelchair, it is a place that filled us with joy, a place we will never forget. And if nothing else it is a trip that we can look back at and laugh because within the beauty that we experienced lies the stupidity of three tourists taking on the mountain village with a wheelchair and flip-flips!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Finestrat and our experience there. I would recommend this village to anyone who enjoys true beauty and splendid scenery. Just remember though, if venturing here with a wheelchair, make sure you are not wearing flip-flops! 🙂

As always, thank you for reading!

Until the next time, take it one day at a time…

Giana xoxo

One Day at a Time: Villajoyosa.

So the next stop on our new adventure brought us to Villajoyosa or La Villa Joiosa as it´s known in Catalan, The Village of Joy. Quite a fitting name, don´t you agree? Seeing as we are not only on a mission to seek out the hidden treasures in our area but also put a smile on our faces! Anyway, on to the point, the town itself!


Villajoyosa is an enchanting little fishing town located some thirty minutes from Alicante. It´s a historical town famed for its brightly coloured houses, its beach, its fish auctions and its chocolate factories, yes you read it correctly – chocolate factories, the town is home to not one but three chocolate factories, no wonder it´s called The Village of Joy, with three chocolate factories how could one ever be sad?

Like most traditional Spanish towns, Villajoyosa has two completely contrasting sides to offer: an authentic old quarter bursting with personality and a more modern beach resort area just to keep the tourists happy! I have to say that when P mentioned that he wanted to see Villajoyosa I wasn´t all that excited at the prospect. In my mind, being so close to Benidorm, Villajoyosa was an over developed seaside resort with nothing much to offer. Well I´m here to tell you this is far from the truth.

One of the enchanting streets that Villajoyosa has to offer

Villajoyosa, a town which has always had a strong relationship with the sea, has managed, despite the growing number of tourists each year, to preserve some of it´s quirky historical and cultural features. As I mentioned at the start, the Village of Joy is famed for its brightly coloured houses. The story behind these vibrantly coloured houses is quite endearing really and very small town if I do say so myself. The idea behind painting the houses in such eye-catching colours was to ensure that sailors from the village could see their houses from afar, therefore making the difficult task of finding their way home that little bit easier! Whatever the reason behind it, I love it. It gives the place such character.

The light gracefully dancing its way through the streets casting shadows as it goes!

As you walk along the narrow winding streets you feel a huge sense of pride and nostalgia seeping through the walls of these colourful facades. The bright colours of these tall but narrow buildings contrasted against the bright blue sky is just incredible. The way the light dances through the streets, illuminating the trees and cobbles, casting shadows along the walls of the houses as it goes, makes you feel relaxed and contented. The only downside: it´s not exactly a wheelchair friendly area!

While the sea front itself is located on a flat area there is a steep rise to get from there to the old quarter, slight problem if you are like us: on a mission with a wheelchair! While the trip downhill was okay, a little tricky but nothing too difficult, the trip back up was another story. Let´s just say two-man horsepower was needed instead of the normal one but hey that´s all part of the fun, isn´t it? And if nothing else, it´s one way of ensuring we´re getting enough daily exercise!

The beach resort nestled in the mountains

Not only does Villajoyosa have bucket loads of history, character and quirkiness to offer any tourist who wishes to step foot on this authentic bit of Spanish heaven, it also has a beach and port area. This Beach, lined with the traditional coloured houses, is a far cry from the typical beaches you will find along the mediterranean sea. While it is a relatively small beach, with golden sand, clear blue water and clusters of palms to keep you protected from the rays of the sun, it is set in an idyllic location, surrounded by mountains, what more could you ask for?

The port

Neatly tucked in at the end of the beach is the port, the towns most important area. A relatively small port, just like the beach, but most definitely an important one. It´s key to this towns history, culture and personality. Being the authentic fishing town that it is, every evening, once the fisher men have returned from their daily trips, an auction is held selling the freshest of fish and sea food from the area, you can´t get really get more authentic than that, no wonder this town has such character!

The port area

Nowadays, shockingly, the towns main source of income comes from chocolate. As I mentioned earlier, this town is home to three chocolate factories and also a Valor chocolate museum. Located in the most modern part of the town lies the Valor chocolate factory and museum. After our stroll/ uphill battle with the wheelchair we ventured up there to check it out. However, due to the length of the queues, we decided to give the tour of the factory a miss this time round!

Caught you: sighting of a fisher man on his way home!

So all in all I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with what this little town had to offer. The perfect balance of sun, sea and culture. Villajoyosa is most definitely an example of a seaside resort that has remained true to its traditions and remained completely unspoilt by tourism. Such a refreshing change. I would definitely recommend a visit to this town if you want to experience a taste of what real Spanish life is all about. Just remember, if you go with a wheelchair, you need to be prepared for an uphill battle!

Take a seat and get ready for the slideshow!

I´m going to leave you now with a slideshow of the town, be sure to check it out! P, J and I throughly enjoyed our time there, despite the steep hills!

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Hope you enjoyed reading about our day in Villajoyosa, I hope you are having a good day wherever you are!

As always, thank you for reading!

Until the next time, take it one day at a time…

Giana xoxo

One Day at a time: Valencia.

I am kicking off this new section with a bang, first port of call: Valencia. I feel that this is a fitting place to start as it is here where the story began, it is here where this new travel project was concocted and brought to life. On the 30th of August P had an appointment to see a head surgeon in one of the hospitals in Valencia. Having been told by the surgical team in the hospital he has been treated in to date that they were unable to operate on him, as it was too risky and he was not in fit condition for such an operation, Ps oncologist decided to seek a second opinion and sought out an appointment with one of the most advanced surgical teams in Spain.

Having gone along with everything the oncologist has ordered up to this point P felt it was fitting to take on the three-hour journey to Valencia and see what this surgeon had to offer him. As expected the surgeon was of the same opinion as the other surgical team, P was in no fit condition for such a dangerous operation. Obviously, no matter how strong you are, no matter how positive a person you are news like this is not the sort of news you want to hear. You can prepare yourself for the worst, but hearing it is something completely different.

So slightly deflated and disappointed with the outcome we headed back to the hotel in quite a zombie like manner, each person trying to remain positive and upbeat but struggling to hold back the disappointment and the emotion. After awhile J, as she will be refered to for the purpose of this blog, came up with an idea, a genius idea if I must say so myself, she decided that, instead of sitting in the hotel room dwelling on the news, she would go to the reception and find out if it would be possible to rent a wheelchair and, as I´m sure you can guess, the answer was yes! So, seeing as it was late, we decided to set off to the shops and get P some comfortable clothes, have something to eat, head to bed early and set off and explore the city the following day, Ps birthday.

We woke well rested, the news from the previous day had taken it´s toll and we all slept like babies the night before, ready to take on the city – only downside; we only had half a day to do it in. Hmmm mission impossible suddenly comes to mind! Ha! Right, time to put our thinking caps on, what is the fastest way to see the most of what this city has to offer? Bingo, I´ve got it, a hop on hop off tourist bus, genius…or so it seemed!

We asked at our hotel where the nearest tourist bus stop was and the lady explained to us that if we went to the city of arts and sciences we would find a bus stop there, brilliant, off we went on our mission. We set sail, with our shiny new set of wheels, for the city of arts and sciences and o what a city it is. I have to say, once I stepped foot in this so-called city of arts and sciences something very strange happened to me: I was left speechless. What a site to behold, a picturesque garden set against a backdrop of modern dome like buildings, one a deep blue shade, another a long glass dome and finally, at the very furthest point, a stone dome covered in the most colourful flowers you could ever set your eyes on. Beautiful, much more so than my words give it credit for!

The Oceanographic Museum
The city of arts and sciences

After a little wander through the grounds of the city of arts and sciences we decided to head for the bus stop. We had been told that there were two bus routes available, one to take you around the section of the city of arts and sciences and the other to take you around Valencia. Feeling confident in our decision we decided that we wanted to take the tour of Valencia and hopped on the bus designated for the route we were informed about. We settled ourselves down in the seats ready to explore the city, suddenly panic set in. Why are we leaving the city? Where are we going? The city is the other direction. F**K, we´re going up the mountains!

After a brief moment of panic, seeing as this was half twelve and we needed to be back at the hotel for three, I went and asked the bus driver how long this trip was going to take. He informed me that the boat trip, yes you read it correctly BOAT TRIP, takes around forty minutes and the journey back to Valencia takes roughly 20 minutes, so all in all we would be back in Valencia in roughly an hour. Ah relief. But how the hell are we going to go on the boat trip with a wheelchair and a man who feels cold even in 40º weather? Hmmmm, interesting.

P, being the great sport that he is, decided to tackle this change of events head on, we left the wheelchair in the cabin located beside the boat and headed off on our unexpected yet highly entertaining boat trip. Apparently the main attraction of this trip is the fact that you can spot rare wild birds along the river. Our tour guide was a character, filled with anecdotes and was very helpful when it came to pointing out the birds. How did he know where they were? Amazing. Suddenly, after about the fourth bird sighting, P an J began to laugh. Puzzled I asked them what was wrong, they asked me had I noticed anything about the birds and I said not really as I couldn´t see them very well from where I was. Guess what? The birds were plastic! Only in Spain haha! After they pointed this out to me I began to pay attention to these so-called birds the man was pointing out and sure enough not one of them moved, they all had the same position, same colour and all the other creatures and birds around them scattered with the sound of the boat, but no, not these “rare” plastic birds! Priceless. Even the photographers on our trip put away their cameras half way through!

Nonetheless we enjoyed the trip, we were a little disappointed, it wasn´t what we had hoped for – a trip around Valencia – but it was highly entertaining and the scenery was beautiful. Take a look for yourself:

Along the River
Along the River
Along the River

After this excitement it was time to head back to the hotel. We ate, collected our bags and headed for the train station. Finally, we got to see a bit of the city. The train station, The Nord, is a magnificent building located in the centre of the city, beside the bullring. So once the taxi dropped us off I went and printed our tickets from the machine and left P and J at the station and quickly went and explored the area. Got to make the most of the time you have after all! I was gone roughly ten minutes in total, that´s all the time I had to spare sadly but I must say Valencia appears to be a beautiful city. It´s contrast between the modern architecture found on the outskirts of the city and the old buildings in the city centre is breath-taking.

The Nord
The Bullring

All in all it was an emotional trip, a trip of highs and lows, but most definitely a memorable trip filled with as much laughs as sadness, if not more laughs! I would definitely recommend a trip to Valencia but one word of advice, if you decide to take the tourist bus make sure you chose the right one. Otherwise you might have some “rare” birdwatching on your hands!

I´ll leave you now with a slideshow of some of the magnificent photos I managed to take on the trip. Enjoy!

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Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Valencia and learning about how this travel idea came into play.

Hope you are having a fantastic day wherever you are.

As always, thank you for reading.

Until the next time, take it one day at a time….

Giana xoxo