Recently, I entered in Conde Nast Traveler's Dream Trip Contest. Basically, the contest is a photo/essay contest mixed with a trip planning contest. I would love it if you'd go vote for my photo, so here's the link.
The trip I planned and submitted was a tour of South America, starting in Peru and ending in Argentina. The photo I submitted, which you'll also see on the contest site, is from the bath house in the Real Alcazar of Sevilla. I'll post it here and paste my essay (not my best writing!) below it.
Thanks for your vote!
I travel to be surprised: A new culture teaches me about my assumptions and ignorance; a new land shows me terrain unfamiliar. While living with a Spanish family in high school, I traveled to Sevilla and visited the Real Alcazar. The fort was an amazing testament to the three cultures that built it. I was pleasantly surprised to see an architectural marvel built collaboratively by the hands of Jews, Muslims, and Catholics. In the basement of the castle there is an old bathhouse. When you walk in, all you see are colorless dark columns and gray water. If you set your camera on the ledge and leave the shutter open for several seconds, you find this gleaming surprise. It goes to show, if you don't keep your own shutters open long enough, you may miss out on rich and colorful surprises travel brings.