Chiang Mai – Northern Thailand

We ventured around Northern Thailand for 4 days, and it was great! One day we explored beyond the city limits of Chiang Mai by going on a nice bike ride to the mountains and then a hike. Another day we went to an elephant sanctuary where we got to feed elephants, give them a bath, and then play with them in the mud.

For the other two days we ventured to Pai, a town about 3 hours north of Chiang Mai. Once there, we rented a scooter for a day and drove up and down the hills and mountains, stopping in some small villages. We saw a lot of the Thai agriculture, many locals just livin’ life, and some great views. These pictures of our time in Northern Thailand will tell you more than I can describe in words :)

Here’s a whole separate post of the elephant pictures because there are too many great ones!

Bike ride from Chiang Mai!
After biking to the base of a mountain, we had a picnic in this cute river hut!
After biking to the base of a mountain, we had a picnic in this cute river hut!

Picnic time!

Then we hiked through the jungle...
Then we hiked through the jungle…


To this waterfall!! Then we biked back to Chiang Mai and made it just before dark
To this waterfall!! Then we biked back to Chiang Mai and made it just before dark
A pit stop on our scooter ride through Pai
A pit stop on our scooter ride through Pai
Pretending to fish with a bamboo pole we found


Sometimes the hills were too steep and we had to have one person walk up the hill and the other walk the bike up hahah :)

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Another rented car and another beautiful trip! We took a day trip to Ronda which is the quintessential white hillside town in Andalusia.

We didn’t fall in love with the town, it’s pretty touristy and doesn’t have a ton to offer.

BUT – Ronda is split in two (the new Spanish part and the old Moorish part) by an amazingly deep river gorge with the bridges connecting the town. It’s really dramatic and picturesque. Amanda and I hiked down into the bottom of the gorge on a wandering “trail” with old ruins to explore scattered along the way. At the bottom we climbed down a rope and tree to a swimming hole between two big waterfalls. This part was incredible.


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The Sierra Nevadas of Spain!

We took a fascinating, adventurous and gorgeous trip back to Granada and the Sierra Nevadas of Spain. Just like last time we really enjoyed Granada. There is so much unique culture in one place. Amanda and I agree it’s our #1 recommended spot to visit in Spain and it’s one of my favorite cities in Europe to visit.

It’s only about 1 hour in a tiny blue car to Granada from our house in Nerja! It’s fun to jam on the freeway and look down to see the speedometer at 130 (km/hr that is). Then, after marveling as we walk through the Alhambra, exploring the many caves of Sacramonte, watching the sunset with a beer in hand from a cave bar, and enjoying the odd but delicious tea, silly hookah bar, colorful knick knack markets, and African food of the Albaycin, we continued on to the mountains!

It’s a 40 minute drive in a red lining little car in 2nd gear up to the ski resort of the Spanish Sierra Nevadas. It’s way up there and it’s an amazing view from the top! We took a great hike up to we think around 12,000 feet.

Then… We decided to take the long way home. That means a curvy, dirt road filled, trip about 5 hours down, around, up and over the mountains and then back to Nerja. It was worth every bit. Gorgeous and way too much fun.

We saw a huge damn, a fake stag on a rock off a dirt road that tricked us for too long, the most amazing fall colors I’ve ever seen, and interesting geology similar to a mini grand canyon at times.

This was a really fun and freeing trip!!


In the Alhambra in Granada with our “Watson” sign written in Arabic
The Sierra Nevadas of Spain!


Beautiful fall colors!


Rio Chillar, Nerja!

We have now been in Nerja, Spain for just over a week! Nerja is a beautiful beach town on the coast of Southern Spain. We decided to rent an apartment and stay here for just over a month. We are one week in and loving it!

Saturday we went for a hike up the Rio Chillar – it was SO COOL! Eric and I agreed that it was one of the coolest hikes we’ve ever been on. You hike up the river! It starts as a really wide river-bed with just a stream of water. The river gets narrower and the water flow increases until you are hiking completely upstream, climbing up small waterfalls and wading in the water. After about 6 miles up the Chillar, we hiked up a pretty hidden trail that leads to an aqueduct. Then you hike on the aqueduct for about 5 miles before a 1 mile steep decent back to the river. Including the walk to the trailhead – we traveled about 15 miles! (Thus the all you can eat Brazilian restaurant for dinner haha :) 6 sides and 10 different types of meat that they bring to your table on skewers!)

Here are some pictures from our amazing time on the Rio Chillar!

Eric climbed into the bottom cave and up into the top one
Towards the beginning of the hike – the first of many waterfalls we found
Hiking up the river!


Amanda hiking on the Chillar!
Little waterfall into a swimming hole, which we may or may not have skinny dipped into…


This was pretty much the turn-around point – look how far we’ve come!
Almost the whole hike back to the trailhead was ON an aqueduct! Either on the walls of it, or on top!
Eric found a frog!
Along the aqueduct!