I discovered a long time ago that one of the keys to my personal growth and happiness was travel – as often and as far as I could manage. It is also very fortunate that in my marketing position here at Ideas Collide, travel is very conducive to adding value to our clients in terms of ROI. That return on investment comes from fueling my creative juices by traveling around the world and learning from other cultures and the people who live there and bringing that experience back to the office with me to share with our clients.
This year I had my sights set on visiting the Iberian Peninsula of Portugal and the beautiful White Hill Towns of Andalusia in Spain.
I was anxious to see the cobblestone streets of Lisbon, sample their exquisite Port and ride the ancient trams up the daunting hillsides. A short train ride outside Lisbon took me to the charming village of Sintra where I wandered through the fairy-tale castle of Pena Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Getting from Portugal to Spain is not as easy as it looks on the map. It requires a local train to Faro, a town on the very southern tip of Portugal where I spent several hours drinking wine, staring at the Atlantic Ocean and chatting with Portuguese locals who were anxious to practice their English. From Faro it was a 4 hour bus ride over to Seville, Spain.
I immediately fell in love with Seville. The city is vibrantly alive both day and night. For several days I simply wandered the narrow, medieval streets enjoying the sights, sounds, tapas and wine. I loved walking around and seeing the meshing of Roman, baroque, Gothic, Islamic and Renaissance architecture reflected in all the buildings.
From Seville it was on to the picturesque town of Ronda in the White Hill Towns of Andaulsia. This overnight stop turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. The next day I had tickets to the Alhambra in Granada. The Alhambra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best example of Moorish influence in southern Spain and one of the reasons I had traveled to Spain. From Granada, it was a push on to Cordoba to catch the train up to Madrid before flying back to Phoenix. I really have to add that lunch in Cordoba turned out to be one of the best I had while on vacation!
Well, I have returned to the office with renewed energy, a journal full of ideas and memories that will last a lifetime. That is, until my next holiday.