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Spain is an intoxicating land of sunshine and sangria, nestled on the Iberian peninsula in south western Europe. Our journey continues as we discovered how this country brims with historically and culturally significant sites, over 40 of which have been recognized as World Heritage material by UNESCO. The following itinerary takes in the highlights of these sites such as the Sagrada Familia, the Prado Museum, the Alhambra, the Mezquita and the “City of Three Cultures,” Toledo. You can tour around Spain independently, or make your way with the help of the Centro de Turismo in Madrid, who can help you arrange everything required, including recommend reliable tour guides.

Day 1

Land in Madrid, Spain’s vibrant, cosmopolitan capital city. On your first day, acclimatize to the time difference and weather by taking a walk around your hotel or hostel. You can also immerse yourself in the grand art contained within the four walls of the El Prado, Madrid’s crown jewel of museums. El Prado is Madrid’s top cultural site and houses a dazzling display of European painters from Velazquez, Goya, Raphael, and Rubens, among other greats. Later, take a stroll along the Gran Via to soak in the glorious architecture, and end your day at the Plaza del Mayor, Madrid’s historical heart.

Day 2

The Castile region is more than just Madrid, fascinating as it may be, so it’s time to take the train out to Toledo for a daytrip. You can either organize a daytrip yourself or go with a recommended tour agent; it’s an easy journey by train from Madrid’s main station. Toledo is a melting pot of Christian, Jewish and Muslim influences and this is apparent in the city’s art, architecture and culture. The Alcazar, which overlooks the entire city, is a must-see, as is the Cathedral and the monastery of San Juan.

Day 3

Another day, another train trip, this time to the north, to medieval Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage listed city. The main attraction here is the Roman built aqueduct which was raised in the 1st century without the use of mortar and still stands, a graceful reminder of the might of Rome. Nearby is the fairy tale-like Alcazar, with its steel grey turrets piercing the Castillan sky. Rumour has it that Walt Disney copied Sleeping Beauty’s castle from the Sevillan example.

Day 4

Board yet another train from Atocha, Madrid’s main station – this time all the way south to Granada, where the main attraction is the graceful, air-filled Alhambra, a Moorish palace rising from the hills like a ship anchored to the land. Inside, the Nazaries Palace houses lavish rooms which look out onto gardens filled with dancing fountains and perfectly landscaped hedges, but the most famous sight within the Alhambra is the Palacio de Leons – the Palace of the Lions, with its intricate carvings.

Day 5

From Granada, a short bus ride takes you to Cordoba, another Spanish city with Moorish influences. Your first stop here should be the Mezquita, originally a mosque, then turned into a cathedral during the Reconquista of Cordoba in the 13th century. The red and white forest of pillars are an icon of the city and the highlight of many photographs here. From here, board an overnight sleeper train to Barcelona.

Day 6

Here in the city that Gaudi sculpted, the towers of the Sagrada Familia continue to rise above the skyline. Work on this monumental cathedral is due to be completed in 2026, more than 140 years since it began. The Sagrada Familia a symbol of Barcelona – some would even say, of Spain. Gaudi’s genius is evident in every detail from the entry motifs to the soaring pillars supporting a flower encrusted ceiling.

Day 7

On your last day in Barcelona, visit the Picasso Museum, which holds the largest collection of works by the artist outside of Paris. The well known painter was also an accomplished graphic designer, sculptor and engraver. Many of the works displayed in the Picasso Museum have never been shown anywhere else, and represent Picasso’s earlier days as a fledging artist. From here, hop on a short flight to Madrid, homeward bound.

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Why Is My Hair Falling Out? 10 Likely Causes

Hair loss can be worrying, embarrassing, and difficult to treat, but it affects most people at some point in their lives. About 85 percent of men and 45 percent of women experience significantly thinning hair by the age of 50. Aging isn’t the only cause of hair loss, however, with many medical, dietary, and lifestyle factors playing a role.

Aging

Hair loss is most often caused by aging, so check how old your parents were when they started losing hair. This can help you estimate a timeline of your own scalp longevity. Some hair loss is natural once you’re into your 40s.

Alopecia

Alopecia occurs when the immune system starts mistakenly attacking hair follicles, limiting hair growth and causing round bald spots. It can be severe, permanent, and reoccurring, although the hair loss is mild for many people. Treatments are improving, however, so consult your doctor if you’re seeing completely hairless circular patches.

Stress

Emotional stress can cause balding or trigger alopecia in some people (particularly if it runs in your family). Try to get your stressors under control by adjusting your lifestyle, meditating, or seeing a psychologist. Your hair most likely will grow back over time.

Pregnancy

Bald patches commonly occur during pregnancy due to the influx of hormones that carrying a baby produces. The hair almost always grows back, but make sure to check in with your doctor if you see any significant scalp changes.

Going Off The Pill

Switching or going off contraceptive (birth control) pills can cause temporary hair loss in some women as the body readjusts to its natural levels of androgen and estrogen. This type of hair loss is particularly common in younger women.

Steroid Use

Anabolic steroids, most often used by bodybuilders and athletes, can also alter your hormonal balance and cause hair loss. This usually isn’t permanent, but it can be a sign that you need to give your body a break from steroids.

Too Much Vitamin A

Excess vitamin A can cause premature balding and hair loss in some people. Make sure your supplements contain less than the recommended daily limit of 5,000 IU.

Hypothyroidism

An underactive thyroid gland, known as hypothyroidism, can lead to significant hair loss as the body fails to produce enough hormones to keep the hair follicles active. Thyroid medications usually help with the hair loss as well as the underlying problem.

Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder that causes sufferers to twist, tug, and pull out strands of hair from their head, eyebrows, or eyelashes. The underlying issue is psychological, so trichotillomania is best addressed by a cognitive behavioral therapist.

Intense Styling

Excessive usage of chemical hair relaxers and tight braids can cause the hair shaft to weaken and fall out. This hair loss can be permanent, so avoid intense styling and be gentle with your hair as it grows in.

Hair loss can be scary but it doesn’t have to rule your life. Reach out to a medical professional if you think that your hair loss is significant, and assess the treatment options available to you.


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