Category: Travel

How To Visit The Game Of Thrones Filming Locations In Southern Spain

Much of Game of Thrones is filmed in Spain, even places you might assume were shot in Ireland like Dragonstone, can be found across the country. Although the Baratheon stronghold is in the north (of Spain) there are many easily accessible filming locations in Andalusia.

Whether or not you’re a Game of Thrones fan, these filming locations in and around the popular southern cities of Seville, Cordoba, and Granada are well worth seeing on their own – dragons or not. You can watch how to get to these sites in the video above or read on.

Starting Point

Those of you who are in or planning a trip to Seville, Cordoba, or Granada have several good choices for Game of Thrones (GoT) sites to visit. Keep in mind if you’re going to be in Granada, your best bet is two separate day trips toward Seville or Cordoba. Seville is roughly a 2 hour 45 minute drive and Cordoba about 20 minutes closer to Granada.

real alcazar de seville

Go For The Closest

In Seville, there’s  the Real de Alcazar where parts of Dorne were filmed. The palace is a major tourist attraction in the city and its gardens are well known to GoT fans. (The show’s first choice was the Alhambra but those plans fell through.) Be sure to get your tickets online otherwise you’ll be waiting up to 30 minutes or more to enter.

real de alcazar seville dorne

Since we’re already in Seville – a 15 minute drive just outside the city is the 2,000+ year old Roman Italica Amphitheatre Jon Snow would recognize as Dragonpit of King’s Landing. Further out, roughly an hour from Seville or 90 minutes from Cordoba or Granada, is the Osuna bullring. It’s no longer used for bullfighting but rather to attract tourists to this small town. The Plaza de Toros bullring isn’t open everyday so be sure to check the schedule before driving there.

Being Picky

In case you don’t have a lot of time and want to be selective of where you go, I would recommend setting aside a day and visiting Highgarden, er, Castillo de Almodovar del Rio, outside of Cordoba. It has to be one of the most picturesque places I’ve seen personally, beautifully perched on the top of a large hill overlooking the town below.

almodovar del rio

It doesn’t get a lot of tourists but what’s especially endearing is Almodovar know why you’re at the castle so to help you navigate, they’ve put up handy photos showing you what GoT scenes were filmed where.

castillo de almodovar balcony thrones

Castillo de Almodovar del Rio is one of those places many would miss but you’ll be glad GoT brought you to this Moorish castle from the 8th century.

Tips On Getting Around

In theory you could do this all in one very, long day. Rather, I’d recommend splitting these up into two day trips, depending on which city you’re staying in. (Let me also add the Roman Bridge in Cordoba, the entrance to Volantis in GoT.) Rent a car, roughly 25-40 Euro per day, and you can save a lot of time on buses to get to all of these places. Renting a car also gives you the flexibility to move at your own schedule, plus pull over to catch some spectacular views along the way.

Review Of Audio-Technica’s ATH-SR30BT Headphones: Carving Out The Under-$100 Range

Initial searches for a good pair of headphones for traveling often reveal the extremes of ultra-premium like the Bose 35ii, or the uber-budget Taotronics. Nestled in between however is a growing class of headphones that are bringing premium sound quality under $100.

The Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT wireless, over-ear headphones fill out this sparse budget range, making them an attractive option for a wider audience of travelers. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Bring Some, Not All Premium Features

The ATH-SR30BT headphones look and feel premium since Audio-Technica hasn’t cut many obvious corners on the design. These headphones seem a lot more expensive than they cost, with respectable sound quality for being both wireless and less than $100. More on the sound quality below but where Audio-Technica has cut costs is in places many non-audiophiles won’t notice too much.

audio technica ath-sr30bt

First of all, there’s no case in the box although you can get a sleek Greekria softshell for under $20. Aside from the headphones themselves, a single micro-USB charging cable is provided.

Also notably missing if you’ve gotten used to premium earbuds or headphones is active noise cancelling. It’s a feature you’ll find on more expensive devices like the Bose 20i – one that’s hard to fly without once you’ve tried it. Still, the ATH-SR30BT has noise-isolation, a fancy term for good soundproofing. Noise-isolation on the SR30BT is good – although you’ll still hear the outside world or jet engine noise – nothing compared to noise-cancelling yet the SR30BT punches above its price here.

Cutting From The Top

Wisely, Audio-Technica has kept the price of the SR30BT down by taking out features from the premium end of the spectrum. In other words active noise-cancelling, a case, an optional wired connection are all notable omissions common to headphones in the $300 range.

audio technica ath sr30bt wireless headphones

On the flip-side however, the lack on noise-cancelling (combined with Bluetooth 5) leaves the SR30BT using less energy consumption – resulting in 70 hours of battery life. That’s close to double that of any comparable noise-cancelling pair; which can be recharged full in 4 hours. The leather ear cups, matte finish, and metal accents all add to lightweight, mostly comfortable profile.

Fidgeting With Buttons

The button placements look, yet don’t feel, entirely intuitive. One of the main issues I encountered is the volume up and down buttons, which also double as song forward and back, are differentiated by long presses. When I say long press, it’s supposed to be 2 seconds although these are very sensitive. I found myself skipping ahead and back when I just wanted to turn the sound down, for example. The third button (for phone pickup, mute, voice assistant, etc.) also got in the way quite a bit; so if the beep before Siri casually reminds you how useless she is drives you mad, stick to controls from the device you’re connected to.

Buttons can be acclimated to but the longevity of the Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT is in the best of its features: good sound quality, premium design, long battery life, and well under a $100 without cutting costs from the wrong places.

How Good Is This Portable USB Humidifier?

People who travel frequently often look for the portable versions of most things. (Myself included.) So, although you might not need a portable humidifier, you might want one for your home, and look for a travel-sized version. The USB-powered MZTDYTL is just such a device and I picked one up to review. You can see my full review terribly named MZTDYTL, which is designed for home, hotel, or car, in the video above.

After 6 Years At Sea, These Are Pictures Of Galapagos Albatross Returning To Land

albatross espanola galapagos

There are 22 species of albatross, who use the largest wingspans of any bird to fly for 5-6 years out over the open ocean. One of those species, the waved albatross, nests in only one place in the world: along these cliffs on Espanola Island in the Galapagos.

espanola galapagos

Albatross accomplish these long journeys often without flapping their wings, eating fish to fuel themselves for an eventual return home to find a mate. I was fortunate enough to capture photos of them during their return for breeding season as part of my trip to Galapagos with Andando Tours.

albatross galapagos

Waved albatross lay one single egg, a large brown one, without having to worry about predators since they have none on Espanola. Some young albatross though are still cautions, this one keeping an eye on a resting hawk, half its size, nearby.

young waved albatross

Albatross are born a bit goofy looking – actually a bit Big Bird looking – but no, the rumors are not true.

albatross baby

They can be as cute as the nearby sea lion pups (some down by the beach on Espanola) and will mature over the next 10 months or so.

albatorss baby galapagos

As their flight feathers begin to grow in, you’ll see them along the cliffs opening their 2.5 meter (8 foot) wings to catch the strong winds whipping about. They’ll practice this pre-flight ritual many times, before taking off over the edge.

albatross

Their maiden voyage will be a long one of several years and 17,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) or more. Resting half their brains at once and using micro-sleeps, albatross spend their waking hours hunting fish and squid on a dangerous journey.

galapagos albatross

Of the 22 species of albatross, 17, including the waved albatross, are endangered. Although their nesting grounds are well protected in the Galapagos, out at sea fisherman using over 100 kilometers of baited hooks (long-line fishing) inadvertently drown an estimated 100,000 seabirds annually. The albatross is one of these birds, who also have to worry about fisherman hunting them directly as well, they’re often eaten by fishing crews illegally.

albatross

Back on land they’ll find a mate, who will be their partner for life. Well, mostly. Biologists have noted many albatross, if given the chance, will cheat on their partners. To get a mate in the first place though, male albatross use their beaks to passively sword fight. Facial fencing is also the language of get out of my way – yet it’s so gentle you can hardly take these guys seriously.

albatross walking

Albatross on land are delightfully awkward but simultaneously majestic. Despite their size, they weigh only 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) but still need a substantial runway of about 1-3 meters (5-10 feet) to land safely back home.

Which is here, the only place the waved albatross can be found, perfectly adapted to these cliffs.

albatross

Seeing these albatross took my breath away unlike any other wildlife I’ve seen before. Wandering around the cliffs, gigantic birds start popping up from behind the rocks everywhere. An airport for albatross who couldn’t care less you’re around. Despite the Galapagos Islands being full of various birds, beautiful landscapes, and animals without a healthy sense of fearing humans, the albatross stands out as an impressive manifestation of evolution on Earth.

The Curious Case Of Kuwait

kuwait towers

The small State of Kuwait as it’s officially known doesn’t get many visitors, making it easy to assume the nation of 4 million resembles its oil-rich neighbors. Kuwait City does look a lot like them but with far fewer recreational visitors, there’s not much to convey what makes Kuwait distinct.

It may be because of that cover that Kuwait is intangibly unexpected.

Quick To Skip

Less than 2% of Kuwait’s GDP comes from tourism. Location and local competition make Kuwait blend in, so for most tourists, it’s a stop or complete skip over. Culturally however, Kuwait is surprisingly unique in several ways, challenging norms of the region.

Kuwait’s economy is solidly average in terms of freedoms according to The Heritage Foundation, hardly shocking considering it’s the 4th richest nation in the world (thanks to oil). Less obvious though is that Kuwait has the freest press in the region, besting several Balkan European countries, including an EU member. Obviously southeastern Europe is not a region known for its press freedoms – neither is the Persian Gulf – though comparing backdrops, both standout in different ways.

Kuwait also holds some of the highest approval ratings of the United States in the region, including of certain presidents as well.

Dewaniya Discussion

A dewaniyah has many variations but in Kuwait it is a forum for discussion. Traditionally in homes, there are local dewaniyah buildings where men go to discuss issues. Rather than censor or circumvent the dewaniyah, the government uses them as an engagement point with citizens. Politicians (half of the parliament is publicly elected) often make their cases at dewaniyahs, a focal point of Kuwaiti culture.

kuwait city skyline

None of this is to say Kuwait is a liberal democracy – yet there remains an informal understanding discussions at the dewaniyah have some flexibility to push societal norms. (Several less formal dewaniyahs may also include women.) Additionally it’s worth pointing out nearly 70% of the population are foreign workers, who have no opportunity to become citizens and use the voice that comes with it. Criticizing the emir too carries with it harsh punishments.

Evolving Traditions

One of the most impressive science museums in the world, The Kuwait Science and Natural History Museum covers technology, climate change, and evolution. The three put into frame with the first two being the products of humanity while outside of the third. Perhaps it says more to my ignorance than Kuwait’s tolerance but taken as a whole, in relative context, the difference here versus what’s across nearby borders is compelling.

Religious freedoms are balanced in a way reminiscent to Malaysia, impressive as a snapshot in time. Where things get really intriguing is the trend: what direction do places like Kuwait go from here? There are multiple forks in the road, like everywhere, that decide the general course; making Kuwait an interesting place to see for yourself.

Why You Should Visit Granada, Spain

Granada is the only place to ever be voted by you, twice (and in a row), the Best City to Visit. With the 2019 contest nominations coming up in February (here’s where to enter your city), I wanted to show you all the intangible reasons Granada, Spain has deserved the top spot for the past two years. For many travelers, Granada tends to be a day trip from nearby Seville or Cordoba, but as you’ll see in video above, that’s how they miss the best parts of southern Spain.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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