Author: Tijana Becker

Keeping Tabs on Everything: Motorbike Tour Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Tossa de Mar

When we think of a road trip, most of us connect the feeling of freedom with it. The feeling of freedom means to leave behind everyday life for hundreds of kilometers, freedom means to discover new things, freedom means self-determination. Furthermore, we may think of a fully-equipped camper van, an overloaded estate or even a locally rented Fiat without air-conditioning.

However, our journey started on a sunny morning with our loaded motorbike. No wonder, because this region is well-known among motorcyclists as being one of the most exciting and beautiful regions in Europe.

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Therefore I exchanged my imagination of a comfortable front passenger seat with an amount of legroom and loud radio music for weatherproof clothes, winding distances and a lot of speed. I have to admit that this was a great challenge for me, being a spoiled driver of country roads as well as for my co-driver who, beforehand, had already driven more than 1.500 km to reach the Spanish Empordà – simply an adventure.

Quickly, it became clear us, that every kilometer of the long journey here and bearing some stressing circumstances have been worth it. The Suzuki purred in its most beautiful sounds and not only the full tank caused good humor – it was the most famous panoramic road between Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Tossa de Mar which lay in front of our visors.

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We took the C-31 in direction to Begur to have our first break in one of the nearby bays. From here, a small, adventurous street led us to the peaceful fishing village called Tamariu which wins over with its azure-blue water and its fine sand. Only with difficulty, we could turn away from this beautiful view and our pleasant ice-cream but the thought of the approaching distance let our anticipation grow endlessly.

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Further on, the country road led us, accompanied by the well-known droning of the motorbike, to Sant Feliu de Guíxols. It is a city which, with its hills and its rocky coast landscape, seems to tower over the Baix Empordà and the Comarca La Selva. Reverentially, the upcoming distance was now coming to my mind.

A few urbanizations and one place name sign later, I find myself with pounding heart in the midst of a spreading distance. My grip became firmer, thanks to my excitement or my joy, and my perception became clearer. The panorama of a winding street was extending right before my feet, framed by mountains and accompanied by a vast view over the sea. A view which is so beaming and beautiful that it not only gave me the feeling of the ever longed freedom but also made the 25 km to Tossa de Mar went by quite fast. Innumerable lay-bys and a pleasant free way offered short stops and enticed to have some daydreams.

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After every bend, I was again excited what would wait for me – if it was a view down to a bay, inviting for a sunbath, the view above a rocky landscape or a villa, towering on the mountains. This is how my initial respect turned into admiration and Faszination. I couldn’t stop thinking about again buying a ticket for my personal trip to this kind of attraction.

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The Wild Coast – Costa Brava

Up to now we know very well that the Costa Brava – or better known as the “Wild Coast“ – keep its name fully alive: With all those steep cliffs, where the stormy sea riots, a wildly flourishing Fauna and, of course, all those picturesque bays, this romantic countryside attracts many visitors each year.

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For us, not only spending a weekend at the coast, it was a free Saturday afternoon combined with a beautiful day in September, that stired up our enthusiam for a trip to the stunning beaches of the Spanish Costa Brava.

As we have been enjoying a Cocktail at those beautiful bays at Roses, visiting the inaccessible coastline below the cliffs of Cap de Creus or the extensive beaches nearby Empuriabrava so far, those small beaches around Begur should be today’s destination.

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Along a windig road accompanied by shady pine forests, we passed by the medieval city Begur, that is located in the heart of the Empordà and is well known for its surrounding bays.

A beautiful coastal road connects Palafrugell with the nearby small fishing villages Tamariu, Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell and invites to an impressive road trip along the coast – by car or on foot. We decided to spend the afternoon at the bay of Platja d`Aiguablava, a renowned place here.

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The way there offered a marvelous panorama of those crystal-clear bays with its meter-high cliffs, tumbling in the mist and the specific rocky beaches created a beautiful image of the Costa Brava. I felt the sun warming up my skin, combined with the smell of sea salt and a cheeky breeze that ruffled my hair. We haven’t even arrived yet, and this place already offered me some kind of rest

small path led us down to the beach which seemed to be immersed into countless colors: Among all those colorful bath towels, there were all possible variations of blue, accompanied by the green of the forests and the noble anthracite of the mountains, that painted an amazing picture.

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The bay allowed a pleasant and warm dip into the sea and also invited to a jump from the countless yachts and boats, that found a suitable berth there. In addition to a diving school, a limited number of small cafes and a beach bar were situated there, that offered drinks, including a beautiful view at the sea as well as the stimulating sound of the waves.

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Although I was surrounded by this idyllic and relaxing atmosphere, the curiosity inside of me arose. Unfortunately I haven’t brought my snorkel with me but instead it was this litte mysterious path that now gathered my full attention.

Wearing my used Espadrilles, I made my way over hill and dale to the next bay, that I appointed to be my own oasis for today…

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Medieval Besalú – Among Lances, Lords and Ladies

During the last weekend of August the historical center of Besalú again made its journey to the Middle Ages.
In the midst of the mountanious volcanic area of Garratoxa and close to a marvelous nature park, the panorama of one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Catalonia spread to our feet in a theatrical manner.

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As we had been part of zivilisation before, a fabulous romanesque bridge from the 12th century took us to the historical center of the city a little later , which still reminds of its fortress built during the 10th century.

Countless small shops and boutiques with all kinds of ceramic, leather bags and jewelry were hiding in between those meterhigh stone walls and were accompanied by an impressive amount of booths and stands, that -due to the motto- were offering medieval costumes as well as food.

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Locals as well as showmen dressed in lovingly sewn costumes created the image of an authentic medieval city. There were those rural women, preparing their breads in a stone oven, flag wavers in their colorful robe, noble damsels accompanied by those cheeky squires as well as knights in their heavy chain mails.

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Along those lovely decorated stands, which let any gourmet’s heart beat faster with those roasted almonds, freshly baked bread, arabic specialities, local wine and oil as well as typical Spanish sausages and cheese, we reached the Plaza de la Iglesia, that turned out to be central meeting point of the festive games.

In the middle of wildly tilted banners, loud drum music and authentic sword fights we were wondering who would be the next squire getting his accolade or pretty damsel being asked for a dance in the ballroom…

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Visiting a Spanish Market – Discovering, Haggling, Cheering!

Whereas visiting a market in Germany means taking a tour to the city hall to buy sausage, cheese and eggs from the farmer round the corner, Spain seems to be overfilled by various markets:

Every Wednesday, there is a market in Sant Pere Pescador, on Saturdays Empuriabrava attracts with numerous souvenirs, fresh vegetables as well as clothing at its Promenade and on Sundays you can stroll along the stands in L’Escala.

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These markets are closely followed by specific regional markets, such as the Medieval Market in Besalú, which takes place in the context of its Festa Major, the evening-night White Summer Market in Serres de Pals or the antique markets of the region.

With our shopping bags in our hands and willig to make one or another bargain we were heading to the market in Sant Pere Pescador – including rummaging and haggling, of course. There was a long way framed by countless booths and stands with plenty of colorful shining jewelery, filigree dresses as well as toys and designer handbags – originally, or not.

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Sunglasses here, leather bands there, accompanied by bags filled with fresh vegetables and fruits, the image of a lively market that has a lot to offer joined up.
Especially the hand-made goods gathered all my attention: There were those woven baskets and bags in African style, finely decorated ceramics, and colorful deocorated purses, that were embedded in Indio Music and the smell of incense sticks.

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Stunned by all the affortable prices and the opulent banns of goods, the intention that we actually don’t need anything was quickly replaced by the wish and the occasion just to take home everything.

Girona – Following the senses

After getting in touch with the airport of Girona while arriving three weeks ago from now, the marvellous downtown should be today’s destination. The way there immediately presented a beautiful panorama of colorful houses to us, lined up in a harmonic row, which seemed to frame the historic center. Along the Onyar extends a wall of warmly coloured facades with a widely flowing river at its feet.

We chose one of the many small bridges and only a few steps and a few streets later, we found ourselves in the midst of one of those busy shopping streets of Girona.

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It were the mysterious narrow streets, winding alleys with its small boutiques and restaurants, as well as the spacious courts which gathered our full attention. Like a labyrinth the city offers countless different ways towards the first sight we were up to visit: The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Girona is one of the most famous churches in town.

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We just had to look skywards to know which of those endless streets would carry us there. A wide, bright shining front, with countless statues accompanied by all those impressive embellishments lay in front of us. All in all, it was an artful blend of different architectural styles.

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Standing in front of this huge and gorgeous sight, we could barely understand why the construction of this magnificent monument took over 400 years and combines several epochs in itself. A 90-step staircase took us to the beautifully designed facade with all ist details.

We continued our way through the picturesque old town of Girona, while this first impression should not be the last one for today: We were passing the majestic garden of the Cathedral, then visiting the “Basilica Parish de Sant Feliu” as another remarkable church of the city, strolling through the streets of the district Call, one of the most extensive and best preserved former Jewish quarters in Europe.

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There were high-pitched stairs, extending in every imaginable directions, surrounded by fully planted walls, combined with heavy doors, which were suggesting a remarkable garden. Stunned by the beauty and authenticity of this area, which seemed like a small village to us, we walked up and down and easily found our way back to the “Rambla de la Libertad”, which definitely makes its name fully justified as one of the main shopping streets of the old town. From here, the probably best known crossing of the city – a bridge, designed and completed by the famous Mr. Eiffel before conceiving his masterpiece in Paris – flattened the path to the other side.

At the end of the day we cheerfully explored a new place, having another memory card filled with stunning images as well as another memorable experience during our precious time at the Spanish Costa Brava.

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Now we unterstand very well why this specific city was chosen to become one of the mysterious locations for the filming of Patrick Süskind’s well-known novel and why it inspired the central character Grenouille while producing of the specific fragrance…

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Leave nothing, but footprints…

Spending a day at the sea: Visiting the bays of Cadaqués, swimming in the water of Callela’s popular beaches, sailing in the port of Barcelona. This beautiful day invites countless vacationer as well as locals to the impressive coastline along the Costa Brava.

We packed our beach bags with exciting reading material, large beach towels, sunblocker and plenty of cheerfulness for a trip to the beach of Sant Pere Pescador.

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A small Spanish village with lots of restaurants, campsites as well as a big well kept beach. High waves with their white crests, sparkling in the sunlight, fine-grained golden sand, a constant fresh breeze, which makes the sunbath in the blazing heat pleasant. Whoever does not yearn for a refreshing Coke in his hand, a stable beer or a sparkling cocktail accompanied by a small snack or more?

The Marlin Beach bar close to the beach should fulfill our little daydreams with softly sounding lounge music, a great sea view and a lovely decorated surrounding. Here, we could definitely close this soothing beach day. Dressed with our beach clothes, not worrying about anything, we walked into the beach location, which seemed totally integrated into the maritime charme of its environment.

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In this pleasant atmosphere, time just passed away and the promising menu also contributed its part. With a Sangria in our hands we stayed until the early evening arrived, which brought live music with it. We were constantly watching visitors who were Selfie-snapping in front of a wooden sign, and curious as we were, we also wanted to know what was hidden behind it.

 Leave nothing, but footprints.

Take nothing, but pictures.

Kill nothing, but time.”

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¡Viva Barcelona!

Most of us associate with a trip to the capital of Catalonia a fulltime schedule of activities: Starting with the picturesque Parque Güell, then visiting the Sagrada Familia as the most popular church of the city, ending up in the FC Barcelona Football Museum – this city really seems to offer many activities and sights for everyone. So we made our way into the city, but honestly, our daily schedule seemed a bit different on this sunny morning. Just a few metro stops away from the central station, we directly became one with the tumult of a constantly pulsating metropolis.

We were totally magnetised, looking forward to crowded streets, priceless drink prices, wildly gesticulating people and disoriented tourists.

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Right in the middle, instead of just taking – this was probably the motto of our current trip. At 10 am, which is more or less an atypical time for people that are totally focussed on their upcoming holidays, the motto was just rarely realizable.

A Café Sólo should wake up our dizzy minds this morning – priceless, but totally necesarry. There we were, badly trying to avoid the typical tourism manner, willig to experience the unconditional and uncensored flow of the city.

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Afterwards, this was admittetly a bit naive – at least a map would have saved a detour at one or the other point – but who cares, we were here, in a good mood, hungry for new impressions and a new metropolis. Tourist, or not – our cameras round our necks as well as our tan, which still reminded of German summer, definitely revealed our origin – the Plaça Catalunya should become our first destination.

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A place full of people with all itstour Buses in rank and file was framed by countless Spanish chain stores. Our noses just seemed to stick to the shop windows of Zara and Mango, closely followed by our faszination for Gucci, Cartier and Chanel – here, a hand bag costs as much as a fulltime study credit…
After this short shopping madness and a “if we only have so much money“, the small alleys and mysterious places gathered our total attention.

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After a good lunch in the afternoon – seafood and aioli included – we paved our way through the Gothic District of the city. Narrow lanes, bordered by lofty facades with 2 sqm balconies, small shops full of antiques and trinkets recorded a picturesque image of the “Old Barcelona”.

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Here it was – our personal impression of the city, far away from the crowded attractions with their long queues in the summer time, we were allowed to experience Barcelona in our individual way.
An ice cream in one hand and a leather strap to the other, accompanied by many new impressions, we started our way home.

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Following The Footprints of The Pilgrim

Comfortable shoes at our feet, a map and plenty of water in our pockets, a full tank, which should take us to the twisting mountain landscape of the Pyrenees – this is how our trip started.

A small, tight road carried us onto the mountains that lay near to the highway we took before. A mile-wide landscape, surrounded by wild and flourishing vegetation and countless streams that clear their way through the mountains, spread before our feed. My view got further, swepping over the peaks of the mountains that seemed to hang in the clouds. I was bemused and banned at the same time. Besides,the feeling of freedom captured me, respectfully facing the vastness of my surrounding, which carried me to unknown dimensions.

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We passed by narrow curves, meter high stone walls, and had an overwhelming view. Soon we should reach our first stop for today which was Espinavell, a small village in the middle of the mountains – a place of total isolation and intimacy.

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To a certain extent we felt like intruders with backpacks and cameras, respectfully immigrated to the idyll of this peaceful, small town. We were warmly greeted by the villagers who climbed the high-pitched streets of their village, peacefully watering her vegetable garden of feeding their animals.

It was difficult for us to break loose from the peace and privacy we found there, but our trip through the mountains should carry us further and we were excited about the upcoming day. Back onto the pass, which offers an exhausting route to one or another cyclist, we rarely enjoyed the company of other vehicles. Instead there were loose cows and sheeps with their loudly ringing bells round their necks, grabbing our attention.

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This is how we made our way to the small villages of Rocabruna and Beget, which quickly filled the memory cards of our cameras with beautiful pictures of their gorgeous churches and stunning façades made of stones.

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Classy restaurants as well as cozy bars offered us a little breather of the never-ending impressions, that also attracted other hikers to vistit those small mountain villages.

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I found my resting place. A piece of land surrounded by the majesty of the mountains, which not only opened me a totally new perspective but also time for myself.

 

 

 

 

 

Let the Adventure Begin!

Gaining practical experience abroad in a country for its culture and mentality I have always been delighted by. These were roughly summarized my expectations and ideas, before the plane took me to the Spanish Costa Brava.

While packing, one or the other sorrowful thought had bruised next to the flip flops and bikinis that filled my suitcase, but was quickly overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and joy that I felt for the upcoming period.
From now on, I would leave my accustomed environment, my family, and friends for the next months, meaning to fully dedicate myself to the internship that lies ahead at the Costa Live Magazine.

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I neither expected nor imagined that this chance could directly turn out to be such an exciting and valuable time after the first few days of our arrival. I am still overwhelmed by the people who have welcomed me so friendly, the sun, which manfully makes its way through the clouds to light up our mind, the sea, which seems to expand my horizons and not forgetting the environment that offers me a landscape, which not only seems to hypnotize my thoughts but makes me more and more familiar with the country, which I call „My Home“ for the next two months.

The first day of my internship seemed to intensify my first impressions while we were up to discover the northern Costa Brava of Catalonia. The first destination to visit was Cadaqués, a small fishing village with its own bay and of course, residence of the Spanish-Catalan artist Dalí.

There were these narrow, busy streets, full of people enjoying the sun, beaches, covered with colorful sunshades, and an outstanding architecture. Well, more or less, this always has been my impression of the spanish cities I have already visited. But Cadaqués was different – surrounded by an impressive nature park which is called “Cap de Creus”, a beautiful impression after another flooded my mind. I was astonished by the tight-pass road which leads to the village and also included a panoramic view on the Pyrenean peaks. Everything seemed so impressive and overwhelming at the same time: the wideness of nature, the shining turquoise bays that extend below the cliffs, and a totally unaffected nature which is spreading out right in front of our feet.

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“Amazed by the beauty of nature” as I always tend to say, but nevertheless we were equipped with our photo cameras and notepads to document our experiences. We wanted to grab everything: The typical Spanish vegetation, meter-high stone walls, as well as the depths of the bright blue bays to capture our impressions of this beautiful nature reserve. But our little road trip should go even further and thus, that eventful day brought even more surprises to us.

Cadaqués stretched up before us with white roofs that shone in competition with the sun, lively promenades and small beach sections that invited the tourists and the locals to enjoy in the sun as well as refreshing themselves in the water. Now we could unterstand very well the rush of tourists, during the summer months which spend unforgettable holidays there.

Filled with memorable impressions and a big smile on my face, we took the way home which lead through the mountains again and gave me a sense of freedom. My mind wandered again – I was exited about the upcoming impressions that might await me during the upcoming months.

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Tijana