All posts filed under: excursion

Sea view with flowers

From Calella de Palafrugell to Tamariu

An old German song about trekking more or less says “The water never sleeps, it keeps always moving.“ Hiking is fun. Also composer Franz Schubert already knew that. On a warm and sunny morning we set out for a walk along the Costa Brava. The camí de ronda leads us along the impressive “wild coast“, past picturesque fishing villages and beautiful bays with fine, golden sand, to Tamariu.

Busy fishing village

We start our tour in Calella de Palafrugell, a small fishing village. In a street café we rapidly eat some bocadillos and have a café con leche, before we finally can start walking. The route leads us through the huge round arches of the Port Bo square and past the beach of Canadell. It’s Sunday lunchtime and the restaurants are full of tourists and locals. Also on the beach, we can’t find an empty space. A quick selfie, then we are relieved to leave all the hustle and bustle behind us.

Pink flowers at the side of the path

At the coastline, everything is blossoming.

And up we go

Below an ancient watchtower, we go around a headland and arrive in Llafranc in almost no time. After a short break for drinking some water and taking a couple of photos, we climb up a few stairs at the harbour and get to a curvy street. Winding our way upwards we pass luxurious villas. At the top we come across the lighthouse of Sant Sebastiá, which is the most powerful Spanish lighthouse with a headlight range of 100 km. Here, you can also find a restaurant with a great view of Llafranc and the surrounding cliffs. We pass the lighthouse and an old watchtower dating back to the 15th century. After the climb at midday heat, we have to rest for a while and fortify ourselves with some sandwiches.

View of the coastline

What a view! The camí de ronda keeps surprising us with stunning sea views like this.

Colourful sea water

Fortified, we continue the final part of our route, leading us through forests and meadows, past a couple of isolated private plots, downwards to the Cala Pedrosa. In this remote rocky bay we find a small fishing hut offering some snacks for the small appetite. Fascinated by the game of the colourful waves – dark blue, turquoise, light green shining in the sun – we take a small break on a big rock at the sea. There is a lot of coming and going and we can’t find peace. So we put our drinking bottles back in our backpacks and leave the bay behind us. Shortly afterwards, we enjoy the aromatic smell and the cool air in a pine wood. Every now and then the blue sea shines through the trees. Excited what’s waiting for us after the forest, we follow the path now going along the coastline, passing small rocky bays with turquoise water.

Dream of paradise

The turquoise-greenish colour of the sea water is like heaven on earth.

Arriving at Tamariu

About 45 minutes afterwards we finally get to the beach of Tamariu. Crystal-clear, Caribbean-blue water and a red-golden sandy beach await us. We take off our shoes, climb over a few rocks separating the path from the beach. The sand is giving us a nice massage and the cool salt water refreshes our skin. Exhausted, we sit down on a bench at the promenade and rest there for a while. The small coastal town is very busy. You can find sangria, beer and white wine on the restaurant tables. Hikers, tourists, locals and sun worshippers come together here. Before we go back, we eat some tasty ice cream and enjoy the sea view. Above us the seagulls, making their rounds in the sky. A light breeze blows the hair out of our faces. Simply wonderful! The sun is slowly going down and it’s time to go back.

Arriving at Tamariu

Exhausted, we finally get to Tamariu. We can’t wait to feel cool salt water on our tired feet.

Info:

Route: Calella – Llafranc – Far de Sant Sebastiá – Cala Pedrosa – Tamariu
Walking time: In total about 2 1/2 hours
Don’t forget suncream and water bottles!

Traditionelles Dorfhaus

The road to silence – excursion

On an early morning in April, we hit the road to silence. You can find it only a few kilometres away from the beaches of the Cost Brava, in the small medieval villages of the Empordà area. There, time passes slower.

Less speed is more

In an old Mercedes we make our way through wide meadows and olive groves and even pass a grazing flock of sheep. Above us, the blue infinity of the southern sky. Today’s motto: less speed is more: more impression, more experience, more enjoyment. Always online, always available – today we are not. The world turns faster every day, times of peace are rare. Therefore, it’s important to discover silence in a new way. Deceleration is today’s programme. Yesterday, breathless through space and time. Today, we walk slowly, intentionally, through the quiet alleys, deserted landscapes and spend the siesta between ancient walls of romantic, medieval places.

Alley with archway

The nice spring sun is playing tricks with light and shade.

Idyllic country life

One of these places on our journey is Vulpellac. Here, you can find a stone castle, built between the 13th and 16th century, looking over the crooked roofs of the houses. The church connected to the castle was once the castle’s chapel. We admire tendrils and huge lemon trees. A cat scurries through an archway.The small alleys around the castle absorb us and the sunlight for one moment, and then release us a few minutes later. The village is covered in silence. An old friendly man greets us. We don’t remain unnoticed. At this time of year there are no foreigners here. Immediately we get exposed as foreign tourists and people are observing us. Whether our camera is able to capture the magic of this place? Better if you look for yourself.

Ancient building

Castle of Vulpellac, dating back to the 13th century.

Let’s keep unwinding

Not far away, you can find the place Canapost with its beautiful Romanesque church, dedicated to Saint Steven. From here, we go to Peratallada. This village is considered a jewel and is visited by many people during summer. Also today, we are not alone in this village surrounded by walls, impressing with traditional medieval structure. At the car park, we still don’t have to pay a charge and we easily find a place between the few hired cars of the first tourists. Peratallada is dominated by its castle and the Romanesque church Sant Esteve. We stroll through the crooked alleys and delightful squares. In the old town centre you can find many small restaurants, located in charmingly renovated historic stone houses. Almost all of the boutiques and small shops are still closed right now. We find a free table on one of the terraces between the arcades of the Plaça de Les Voltes. It’s time for some tapas and a glass of cold white wine. Relaxed, we are looking at the square. A nervous dog moves back and forth, hoping for a dropped down bite. Unfortunately, he has bad luck, as his owner calls him back. The owner from one of the restaurants in front of us is looking desperately for some guests. So far, only a few people came here for having lunch. When the season starts, they will fight for free tables. But today, the locals still enjoy the slowness. Also, our waiter is very relaxed and serves his few guests on the sun-drenched terrace without any stress. We wanted deceleration, so don’t complain and keep unwinding. The moment is wonderful and the day still has a lot to offer.

Café Peratallada

Sitting in a restaurant, we enjoy the view over the lovely square.

Back to reality

After another walk through the town, we decide to visit Pals. Here, we are back in commercialism. A few coaches just have parked in front of the medieval place. If we hurry, we might can get rid of the tourist masses. But then, deceleration and peace is over. The one way or the other. Nevertheless, a look a the Medes Islands and a short round through the picturesque village is a must. Finally, we are lucky and find a small hidden café, away from the hustle and bustle, where we finish our trip with a café con leche. Slowly, the sky turns pink and the sun disappears behind the mountains on the horizon. It’s time to go back into reality. Hopefully, there will be time for more moments of deceleration.

View over Pals

One last view, then it’s time to go back to real life.

 

Houses at the river

Girona – love at first sight

For a lot of people Girona is only a stop along the way to the Costa Brava or Barcelona, but Girona has more than a few things to offer and is definitely worth a visit. Already during my first visit I fell in love with this delightful, vivid and colourful town.


Bottom kissing

We start our tour at the bridge named Pont de San Feliu. From here you have the best view over the colourfully painted houses at the river Onyar. Orange, yellow, red…reflected in the small waves of the river, a lovely photo motif. We continue our walk, past the lion statue La LLeona at the Plaça de Sant Feliu and head towards old town. It is said that you can’t be a proper citizen of Girona without having kissed the bottom of the lion at least once. For visitors, the kiss promises a soon return to Girona. I forgo this custom, because l am certain of coming back anyway.

Lion statue

There is always a big crowd in front of the lion statue, waiting for their turn to kiss the lion’s backside.

Historic Baths dating back to 1194

Walking on the Carrer dels Calderers, we get to a small street called Pujada de Sant Feliu, which leads upwards. Here you can find a nice place for having a coffee or something to eat. Fortified, we pass by the Basílica Sant Feliu and go to the Arabic Baths. The entrance only costs 2 € (students only pay the half), so indeed a true bargain.

Ancient Baths

Inside the Arabic Baths, we are impressed by the unique architecture.

Witch hunting

Later, we follow the stairs up to the part behind the Cathedral of Girona. The view from there over the city is fascinating. We stroll along the small alleys up to the Jardins de la Francesa, a small garden, where you can find beautiful blue benches inviting you to have a seat and just relax. At the façade, there is an interesting detail to observe: a gargoyle shaped like a woman, called the witch. According to the legend, there was a woman throwing stones against the processions, until she herself got fossilized. In the garden you can also start the city wall-tour, which we postpone until later.

Having a break

Let’s have a short break in the shade.

Game of Thrones in Girona

Now it’s time to leave the garden and go to the place in front of the Cathedral. The Cathedral of Girona was built in various phases during the 14th, 15th and 17th century and has the widest Gothic nave in the world. From the Cathedral there are 90 stairs going downwards. This outside staircase is the biggest baroque staircase and even was the scene for the famous TV series Game of  Thrones. They even offer GOT tours around the city with stops at the various scenes.

Cathedral of Girona

Not only from outside, but also from inside the cathedral looks impressive.

Travelling through time

Downstairs, we walk on the Carrer de la Força (street of force) towards the old city and the Jewish quarter. Narrow, dark alleys are waiting for us and we now realize why Girona was serving as a medieval film set. We ourselves feel like back in time. The street of force was between 889 and 1492, so 600 (!!!) years, part of the Jewish quarter, also called Call.

Narrow alley in Girona

Walking through the dark and narrow alleys in the old town, we feel like back in the Middle Ages.

Time for shopping

Always straight ahead, passing tapas bars and restaurants, we arrive at the Plaça del Vi, turn right and go over the the bridge Pont de Pedra to the other side of the town. We turn right again into the Carrer de Santa Clara, following the street until we arrive at the next bridge. Of course, we can’t go past the shops without taking a look inside. In Girona there are so many small and adorable shops and boutiques, a paradise for all who love to shop.

Small supermarket

What we love most about Girona are the small and lovely shops.

Eiffel bridge

Passing trees with gorgeous pink blossoms, we walk over the Pont de les Peixeteries and return to the other city side. Girona has a large number of bridges, connecting both sides of the town, which are separated by the river Onyar. The Pont de les Peixeteries is a special highlight as it was constructed by Gustave Eiffel. The impressive metal structure leads us to the Rambla de la Llibertat. There is a lot going on here.

La Rambla de Girona

The Rambla de la Llibertad is an avenue with huge trees providing enough shade from the warm spring sun.

The most gorgeous bridge

Walking down the Rambla, we come to the Pont de Sant Agustí and to the Plaça de la Independència. Under the round arches, it’s finally time to enjoy a café con leche while watching the busy life at the square, one of my favourite things to do. After our short coffee break, we walk past the Plaça de la Independència and over the Pont d’en Gómez, in my opinion the most beautiful bridge of Girona.

Most beautiful bridge in Girona

At the Pont d’en Gómez you have some wonderful views to the colourful houses at the river Onyar.

Above the rooftops of Girona

Back at our starting point, we are now going to explore part of the old city wall. From there you have a stunning view over the rest of the popular sights, like for example the Basílica Sant Feliu, the Església de Sant Nicolau, the monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants and the small gardens and parks between.                                                                                                                                      There are so many different possibilities to discover this unique town. The best thing to do is to follow your hunch. Countless stairs promise secret surprises, for sure.

High above the rooftops of Girona

Climbing up the many stairs was totally worth it. What a view!

What you definitely have to try:

Tapas at Zanpanzar

Ice cream at Rocambolesc

Above Barcelona's roofs

Barcelona – two days in the Catalonian metropolis

Saturday morning at the train station in Barcelona. Here, Barbara is waiting for her boyfriend, who will come here directly from the airport. Their aim on this weekend: Exploring Barcelona and getting a first impression of the city between the mountains and the sea.

Arriving an adapting

Two days will never be enough for visiting all the sights, recommended restaurants and bars, museums and popular districts of the Catalonian capital, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Therefore, the two set out for their little adventure, a little bit blind and disoriented, Barbara admits. The most important thing is the right direction: they focus on their hostel for leaving their luggage. Just following their nose, the couple goes by metro to the city centre, as their accommodation is located in front of the Universitat de Barcelona, close to Plaça Catalunya. However, they already change their plan during their metro journey, get off at the next station, look for a café and, in a more organized way, make a new weekend plan, while enjoying a café con leche and delicious croissants.

Blick über Barcelona

Where to start?

Goose, paella and the sea

Leaving their mystery tour-tactics behind, they both decide to go for a walk through the Barri Gòtic, the oldest district of the town. Their travel guide proposes a very interesting route with passing all the important sights. So perfect for tourists like them who don’t have much time. Starting at the Gothic cathedral “La Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia“ with goose entertaining its visitors, Barbara and her boyfriend walk to the “Palau de la Generalitat“ where the Catalonian government has its seat, until the “Puente del Bisbe“, they visit all the famous Gothic buildings of Barcelona. At the same time, they get closer to the sea and make a break in the afternoon, at Spanish lunchtime, in the warm spring sun while having a tasty paella and a cold beer.

Palm trees in the cloister

Apart from the goose, there are also palm trees and other plants decorating the cathedral’s cloister.

Event location and leisure time spot

After the couple finally has left the luggage at their hostel, they make their way towards the local mountain, called Montjuïc, which has a height of 173 meters. The Montjuïc serves as a perfect event location, but also without anything planned, attracts as many tourists as locals. Whether the rests of the world exhibition in 1929, like the German pavilion constructed by Mies van der Rohe, the Font Màgica (magic fountain), the parks around the mountain or the impressive castle at the highest point of Montjuïc, there is a lot to see. From the castle, you have a beautiful view over the whole city and the Olympic site behind (In 1992, the Summer Olympics took place in Barcelona) with its huge TV mast provides enough space for a few quiet minutes, before they go back to the hustle and bustle.

Magic fountain

Montjuïc impresses with size and architecture.

Fascinating show and culinary diversity

Soon afterwards, Barbara and her boyfriend sit at the crowded stairs in front of the Font Màgica, waiting impatiently for the light show to begin. At 7 pm, water fountains will be shooting up into the air, accompanied by music and colourful lights. After the show, it’s time for dinner and they are spoilt for choice: the streets are endlessly filled with restaurants and tapas bars, especially in the trendy districts. The two look around next to Eixample and finally find a place for having something to eat.

Magic fountain during night

Both of them are impressed by all the different colours and formations of the lights.

Gaudí’s masterpieces

On Sunday, they planned to visit Barcelona’s highlights: the Sagrada Família and the Casa Milà, both constructed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. In a good mood and full of anticipation, they make their way towards the Sagrada. Arriving there, they get extremely disappointed. Of course, they didn’t reserve our tickets online in advance, which would have been a good idea. A big mistake regarding the huge queue of people already waiting since 9 am to get in. So, the two join the queue and are lucky: as one of the last people they still get tickets for the entrance at 1pm. Both of them appreciate the unexpected free time in the morning and visit the art nouveau Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, close to the Sagrada. Afterwards, they continue their Gaudí tour and walk around the roof terrace and the exhibition spaces of the Casa Milà, while listening to an audioguide. People also call it “La Pedrera“ (engl. quarry), because the residents of Barcelona were not very amused by the building with its curved façade and the many projections. Barbara and her boyfriend, however, are astonished at Gaudí’s innovative architecture and have to tear theirselves away, in order to not miss the admission for Gaudí’s most famous building: the Sagrada Familia, which he dedicated his life to. So, in a way, they follow the course of his productive years chronologically.

La Pedrera

With its curvy façade, “La Pedrera” captivates all of its visitors.

Barcelona’s landmark

From the outside, the two are not very impressed as the building is not finished yet and a great deal of construction cranes shape the usual image. Therefore, they don’t really get why this church is supposed to be so special and unique, besides the many cranes, towers and other elements observed from the outside. As they enter the church, their opinions suddenly change. Amazed by the modern construction and the big luminous interior, both agree that the Sagrada Família is something special, indeed. Not only because of its history (they started to build it already 130 years ago!!!), but also because of its unusual looks, making it not a typical church. And that’s probably the reason for its incomparable uniqueness.

Barcelona's landmark

Long queues and huge cranes are part of the usual picture of the Sagrada Familia.

Tow days, hundreds of impressions, one certainty

Still fascinated by the architecture of Gaudí, Barbara and her boyfriend have to pack their things, because their time in Barcelona is coming to an end. Arrived with few ideas and plans, they leave with much more impressions and memories. They’re sure, this won’t be their last trip to the vivid metropolis at the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona put a spell on them and still has a lot more to offer…let’s see where they will end up next.

Last view over Barcelona

One last view over the Catalonian capital.

 

Mountains covered with snow

Between Spain and France – on the way to the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees form the natural border between Spain and France and separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe. On a warm spring day, we hit the road for exploring this no man’s land at the northern part of Catalonia and for learning what endless wideness and absolute harmony with nature really mean. 

Let’s go!

We start at Torroella de Fluvià and go towards Darnius and enter into another world. Dense cork-oak forests cover the mountainous landscape like a blanket and narrow streets, seamed by blossoming broom plants, lead us upwards towards the snowcapped peaks.

High above the valleys

Our way takes us higher and higher through the mountains.

Narrow streets and small villages

Like a thin thread the street winds upwards to the heights of the Pyrenees and passes small rivers and valleys through bridges, which seem to melt together with the subsoil. We pass Maçanet de Cabrenys and Tapis and get to the French Coustouges. If the street signs were not in French, you would not notice the difference, because time seems to pass slower there. Neighbours are having a chat at the one corner, children are playing at the other and one step further a man makes his way home with a fresh baguette. The narrow and steep alleys of the mountain villages remain silent. The natural stone houses adapt to the hillsides of the mountains and create a pleasant atmosphere.

Blue sky over pass road

Along the mountain pass our way leads us across the easter Pyrenees.

Textile manufacture in the middle of the Pyrenees

Just in time we get to Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans. It is almost 12 o’clock and they still let us into the showroom of “Les Toiles Du Soleil“ before making their lunch break. Since the 19th century, the traditional Catalan company high up in the Pyrenees produces high quality cotton and flax textiles. We not only find ourselves in the village’s last textile manufactory, but also in a textile paradise. They use the colourfully striped materials to manufacture pillowcases, napkins, cooking aprons and much more. If you like sewing yourself, you can also take home piece goods or rests of textiles. An extensive spending spree later, we sit back in the car and continue our journey.

At the company of Les Toiles du Soleil

The firm premises of Les Toiles du Soleil.

The magic of the mountain villages

The narrow street leads us past the villages of Le Tech and Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste back to Espinavell in Spain. The houses there seem to stick to the mountains as they are built on top of each other. Down at the river, where they drive by the horses from mountain pastures down to the valley every autumn, there is a small country hotel. There we eat delicious fresh trouts. After this unique taste experience, we head towards Molló. In the centre you can find an incredibly big Romanesque church, compared to the size of the village. We are winding up our way through the mountains, cross various times the river Ter and finally get to Camprodon. Especially the arch bridge “Pont Nou“, connecting both banks like a wooden brick, is something to remember there. Also in Sant Joan de les Abadesses you can find such a bridge. However, this small town is famous for the history of its convent dating back to the 8th century. The last stop is Ripoll with its beautiful Romanesque Benedictine monastery, the first one in Spain. Inspired by the St. Peter’s Church in Rome, the monks created a true oasis of peace.

Monastery in Ripoll

Cloister of the convent in Ripoll.

Church in Molló

Size and age of the church in Ripoll make it something unique.

Back from the mountains

With a few pieces of fresh coca (bread) and a lot of impressions we finally make our way home. Slowly we dive back into the loud and stressful daily life at the feet of the silence found up in the mountains. We leave behind the isolation of the villages, the endless expanse of the mountain range and the feeling of being able to touch the clouds at the highest point of the mountain pass.

Looking at the snowy mountains

Hasta luego and bye bye! We are sure of coming back to the mountains for experiencing peace and freedom.

 

Along the coast

At the other side of the Pyrenees

The sun shines brightly and bathes small coastal towns, the mountain range Serra de l’Albera, picturesque bays, rough rocks, traditional fishing villages and narrow streets in a golden light. Perfect conditions for our trip on a sunny day in spring.

From Perpignan towards the Pyrenees

We start our journey in Perpignan and travel back to Spain along the French Mediterranean coast. Passing salt lakes south-east of Perpignan, very popular for surfing, we get to Argelès-sur-Mer. This seaside resort connects in a way the Pyrenees with the Mediterranean Sea and impresses with its small alleys and fine sandy beaches. However, we don’t stay long and follow the street along the coast, covered with hundreds of blossoming lavender and broom plants.

Coloured plants decorate along the coast.

Beautiful plants seam the coastline.

Picturesque fishing villages and unspoiled bays

Our way southwards leads us to Collioure, an old fishing village, which attracts lots of different artists. Again and again we see their framed motifs. At the promenade, a frame shows, for example, the ancient fortified church, captured by Henri Matisse. We make a small break and take in the splendid colours and the hustle and bustle in the bay. Then we leave Collioure and its colourful alleys and soon afterwards enjoy the peace in one of the secluded and delightful bays of Port Vendres.

Fortified church in Collioure

The bay of Collioure invites coffee lovers, sun worshippers and wind surfers.

Great view of the coast

Passing Banyuls-sur-Mer, famous for its sweet wine, we finally get to the Cap Rederis. From there you have a beautiful view of the coastal landscape: from the Cap Béar to the Spanish Cap de Creus, you can enjoy a stunning panorama, framed by various illuminated flowers. Down at the water, waves with sea spray break against the rough rocks of the steep coast and through the clear, turquoise water beyond you can see to the ground.

Looking down to the seabed

Through the clear water you can see down to the bottom of the sea.

A trip full of impressions

Wonderful strong colours and idyllic small bays. Traditional fishing villages and abandoned streets along the steep coast. Clear water in all possible shades of blue and great views over the entire coast. All these impressions make a trip along the southern part of the French Mediterranean coast totally worth it.

Looking into the blue sky

La Garrotxa – A walk through autumn woods

Autumn comes, the summer is past, winter will come soon, too. The November weather on the Costa Brava was perfect for the coloured leaves: As these need low temperature in the night and high during the day as well as intensive sunlight. Rarely have we seen such a beautiful November accompanied with this vivid colours.

The Hidden Life of Trees

“The hidden life of trees”. Peter Wohlleben decrypted it, so that his book became a bestseller. Peter Wohlleben is German’s most famous forester. In his book he shares his deep love of woods and forest and appear at the top of the bestseller lists. It will intrigue readers who love a walk through the woods. Not looking for disenchantment but for the magic! In keeping with the romantics, we want to hang loose – the reason why we replace the beach walk in November with a walk in the forest: instead of shells, we collect coloured leaves and mushrooms.

Perfect autumn weather

With every coloured tree we see, we get more fascinated by nature.

The healing power of the forest

The forest relaxes and lowers blood pressure. Inhaling the scent of pines, it strengthens the immune system and leaves the thoughts calm. Rustling sound of fallen leaves. A gentle breeze. Soft moss beneath our feet. Light and shadows do a round dance. “You can communicate with trees like you do with your brothers. Forests are silent. However, they are not dumb. It doesn’t matter who is coming, they make feel everyone better,” Erich Kästner said once.
In Peter Wohlleben’s book, the readers will begin to recognize trees for what they are, told with scientific competence and fairy tale-like: This book is his declaration of love to the forest, told by trees, which communicate with each other, have feelings and a memory …

Bridge over not so troubled water

Thinking of Peter Wohlleben, we can almost feel the strong connection the trees have with each other.

La Fageda d’en Jordà

Joan Maragall (1860 – 1911), one of the most important promoters of the renewal of Catalan culture at the end of 19th century, was fascinated by the singularity of the beech grove. In his poem “La Fageda d’en Jordà“ he praises the calmness and beauty, which any visitor falls for. The lonesome walker that unconsciously starts to count and slows down his steps, sinking into the luscious green and abandoning himself to the sweet oblivion of the world; finally, becoming a prisoner of the grove…
Fageda d’en Jordà – this is not only the name of a poem of the famous Catalan poet Joan Maragall, but also of a legendary beech grove near Olot.

Falling for the beauty of the woods

We are falling in love with the beauty of the forest.

The labyrinth of trees

We get into the adventure and find ourselves already in the middle of the forest. A fabulous canopy of leaves above our heads. The dark trunks structure the green, yellow and red. Sun reflexes dance around. Grouchy boulders are scattered on the lava ground, littered with leaves. Is it behind these stones where the goblins hide themselves, protagonists of numerous legends? We prefer not to leave the red marked pathway number 1 to find out more; more than one got lost in labyrinth of trees.

The labyrinth of trees

One can get lost easily in the labyrinth of trees.

A source of inspiration

Haven’t we just listened, unconsciously, to the rhythm of our steps? Haven’t we looked up to the green tree tops for too long now? The magic of this place is undeniable. It is not surprising that this singular forest has not only inspired poets but also painters, for example Olot’s famous school of country painters. In less than an hour we perambulated the marked walking trail and, full with new impressions, get back to the car. This time, La Fageda has released us.
In La Garrotxa you can find plenty of restaurants with good regional cuisine, for example in the picturesque medieval village of Santa Pau.

The trees as an inspirational source

The magic of the woods has inspired many artists.

There is still snow on the mountains.

Trip to the Pyrenees

When God created the Earth, he was especially nice to the Catalans – or is there another explanation for the fact that they live on one of the most beautiful coasts of Europe and are, at the same time, surrounded by mountains which are perfect for skiing?

 

La Molina – Ski resort near the coast

From December the harmony between the steel-blue sea and white-glittering mountain peaks does not only enchant winter sport fans…
One of the most prestigious ski resorts, which has attracted snow lovers for more than a century, is La Molina between Castellar de n’Hug and Alp. Vast forests, peaks 2,500 metres above sea level, plenty of slopes, chairlifts and various thematic areas make the whole family perfectly happy.

Blue sky and sunshine makes us look forward to a great ski day.

Our way leads us through the beautiful landscape to the snowy mountains. We get exciting about spending a ski day in the Pyrenees.

Outdoor activities for the whole family

While the youngest ones conquer the slope by sledge, the others enjoy snow-boarding in the Snow Parc, downhill or a cosy cross-country trip. All together can explore the region by quads or even a dog sledge.
A perfect infrastructure, ski schools, equipment rental, shops, hotels and restaurants form part of the standard as well as 341 snow cannons which make the station independent of natural snowfalls.

This mountain view definitely motivates for a day outdoors.

Blue sky and slopes covered with snow provide perfect conditions for a ski day.

Ski area with sea view

Another first class resort is Vallter 2000, only 1 and a half hours by car from the Costa Brava. Those who love skiing are not only tempted by perfect slopes, but also by spectacular views over the Gulf of Roses and the romantic valley of Camprodon, next to the medieval village.

Winter fruits bring life into the wintry landscape.

Not only winter sports enthusiasts, but also green hills and shrubs bring life into the wintry landscape.

Ski resorts near Costa Brava

Vallter 2000
2000-2650 m. 50 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée : 22,50 €
2 días/tage/days/journée : 42,75€
3 días/tage/days/journée : 60,75€
www.vallter2000.com
972 13 60 57

Nuria
1960-2920 m. 79 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée 27€
Cremallera + forfet
www.valldenuria.com
972 73 20 20

La Molina
1436-2540 m. 70 qkm
1 día/tag/day/journée : 36€
2 días/tage/days/journée 68€
4 días/tage/days/journée :132 €
6 días/tage/days/journée : 190€
www.lamolina.com
972 892 031

Masella
1600-2530 m. 43 qkm.
1 día/tag/day/journée : 42€
1/2 día/tag/day/journée : 33€
www.masella.com
972 144 000

barcelona

Barcelona – The other side

Barcelona off the beaten tracks…The famous Sagrada Familia, the Rambla, the Plaça Catalunya… all of these popular sights immediately come to mind when thinking of Barcelona… But Catalonia’s capital has so much more to offer! With that in mind, I payed a visit to the Catalan student city off the beaten tracks and far away from the most popular sights.

The only way is up – Barcelonas neighbourhood to be

The young and hip district Gràcia is located in the north of the city centre, far away from the crowds of tourists that Barcelona has to deal with. This part of town is nothing like the somewhat hectic historic centre. Walking through the streets of Gràcia, you immediately feel the changed atmosphere. No flawless architecture, no brightly polished streets but variety, liveliness and above all authenticity.

barcelona

Especially in the evening, the district’s squares like the Plaça de la Virreina and the nearby Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia are full of life. „Good food, good mood“ is our motto for the evening. The Patatas Bravas are hot, our Cervezas are cold… The perfect ending to our first day in Barcelona!

 

 

 

And those who are looking for a special, non-ordinary, place to stay, should definitely check out „Mare de Déu de Montserrat“.

barcelona hostel

Mare de Déu de Montserrat – one of a kind!

barcelonabarcelona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The youth hostel that was built in a Moorish architectural style offers an extraordinary view of Barcelona because of its location on top of a hill. Although I have to admit that reaching the hosel (by foot) leaves you a little bit out of breath, the view makes it worth every step!

barcelona architecture

Impressive architecture!

In vintage-heaven

barcelona

Barcelona’s vintage heaven!

 

Sure, the famous Rambla (and Barcelona in general) are a true shopping paradise. The most popular fashion chains can be found on every corner. But isn’t that a bit boring in the long run? Vintage and second hand stores on the other hand are full of history and personality! Who would have thought that only a couple of minutes away from the Rambla on the Carrer dels Tallers, a completely different shopping world is waiting for me?

 

 

barcelona vintage

Traveling through time – in style!

 

More than excited I rummage through every corner of every store for the next couple of hours. From beautiful 50ies dresses to old denim jackets and shirts with the craziest patterns and colours (long live the 70ies!)- there’s nothing you can’t find here! The Carrer dels Tallers? Heaven on earth.

 

 

 

 

Exploring Barcelona off the beaten tracks

barcelona hospital

The impressive Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

barcelona Without a doubt, Gaudís grand masterpiece has to be seen once in a life time. But also off the Sagrada Familia there are dozens of things to discover. For example the impressive Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau that was built in the famous Catalan modernism style. Although the former hospital has long been replaced by a new building, the historic site still has its doors open for visitors. Part of the old building is nowadays used by the medicine faculty of the University of Barcelona – definitely not a bad spot to study!

Sunday in Barcelona: from the labyrinth…

A Sunday well spent brings a week of content! 

Anyone who devoured the book „Perfume: The Story of a Murderer“ and loved the film adaption as much as I did, definitely has to visit „Parc del Laberint d’Horta“. After all, Barcelonas oldest park is one of the movie’s most beautiful locations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The heart of the beautiful park? Its mysterious labyrinth…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…to the beach!

barcelona beach picknick

And because its Sunday, the day of rest, I treat myself to a relaxing afternoon at the beach. While I bury my toes in the sand and watch the seagulls circle above my head, I’m already planning my next trip to the Catalan capital I fell in love with…

 

 

 

 

barcelona beach

Beach day!

Some impressions…

Fairytale scenery

Les Orgues d’Ille-sur-Têt – unique sandstone world!

Enchanted sandstone rocks

Mother nature often creates unique worlds like in Ille-sur-Têt, near Perpignan. In front of the imposing backdrop of Canigou (2784 m) sandstone sculptures protrude in front of the bright blue horizon. The landscape looks just like a fairy tale! These sugar towers that are created by erosion could have possibly inspired Antoni Gaudí when he planned his Sagrada Família. This great spectacle of nature can be reached from Costa Brava by car in about an hour. To explore the so called „Cheminées de Fées“ (‚fairy chimney‘) it takes about an half an hour walk.

 

Impressive and high sandstone figures

Fairy chimneys as a source of inspiration.

 

First we enter the amphitheater that is surrounded by a fairytale backdrop of stone. It looks marvelous! New forms arise every time it rains. The nature is here its own sculptor! The rock needles protrude up to 15 meters into the sky. With a little imagination one can recognize mythical creatures, various animal heads or models with modern hats.

 

City out of sand stones

Natural art

 

We stroll through the maze of stones. We are enjoying the view and capture beautiful moments with our camera. This is for sure a relaxing trip into another world. We decide to go back to the sea and enjoy the backdrop from there. On our way back we stop by to walk around and do some shopping in the streets of Collioure. Taking the way back along the beautiful coast after a trip to France is more than recommendable! Through the serpentines we drive back to Costa Brava. We cannot get enough of the beautiful sea-views. Green vineyards, turquoise sea, blue sky – there is beauty wherever you look! These amazing landscapes remind on paradise and are truly meditation for the soul. A trip to Orgues is definitely a great excursion tip for a mild sunny day in autumn.

 

Unique world of Ille-sur-Têt

Sandstone towers from further away

How to reach Ille-sur-Têt

– from Figueres in about 50 min
– First, motorway AP8 to Perpignan, then towards Andorra. After that exit the expressway N 116 at Ille-sur-Têt.

Alternatively:
First, take NII behind Le Boulou exit towards Thuir via D 612 to Ille-sur-Têt. Here you drive comfortably through villages along wineries. Buy Fruits at the roadside and taste delicious wine of the region in one of the wineries. A picturesque landscape framed by the massif of Canigou awaits you.

Follow the signs “Site des Orgues“ in Ille-sur-Têt until you reach the parking lot behind the place.

Buy tickets (price: 5€) at the parking lot and then follow the marked path. After about 800 meters you reach the entrance to the rock spectacle. Do not forget your camera!