All posts filed under: cities and villages

Figueres Dalí museum

Figueres: artistic flair guaranteed!

 

church figueres

Església de Sant Pere in Figueres

Figueres – small town charm. Those who are looking for a bit of variety and urban feeling – even if it’s just on a small scale – should give the charming town Figueres a go. The relaxing atmosphere is perfect for a stroll through the town and some window-shopping – I’m sure your wallet won’t stay put for long! From charming, classy boutiques to bigger fashion chains – Figueres has it all. The city also has a range of culinary treasures to offer to its visitors. For those who are looking for restaurants in a beautiful ambiance, the square in front of the town’s church is the place to be. Lean back and watch the colorful life of the city.

Dalí everywhere!

figueres dalí sculpture

Dalís impressive sculptures!

But now moving on to a man who gave Figueres its artistic flair and made the town known around the world. Yes, you guessed right: Salvador Dalí! Because what would be an article about Figueres without mentioning Catalonia’s most prestigious artist? Exactly: simply incomplete and not capturing the town’s character. Strolling through the Catalan streets, stumbling upon Dalís works of art over and over, you can definitely tell: Figueres takes immense pride in the surrealist.

 

Teatre-Museu Dalí – Figueres pride and joy

figueres dali museum

The famous facade with its colossal eggs

His most impressive and noticeable work would be the Teatre-Museu Dalí in the city centre. The matte red facade with its oversized eggs representing love and hope, the enormous dome-shaped roof and the strikingly beautiful front with its countless details that alone take up a couple of minutes to observe, give a first hint of what’s hiding behind the old walls of Figueres’ former municipal theatre.

 

figueres dali

Night at the museum

figueres dalí museum outside

Impressive facade of the Teatre-Museu Dalí

Every summer the museum offers its art-loving visitors a special treat: exclusive nighttime tours including a glass of champagne! But beware: the tours that take place between 10pm and 1 am are extremely popular. Get your tickets early enough and I guarantee you won’t be sorry! The short period of waiting doesn’t bother us because now in the evening time a light breeze is blowing in front of the museum and you don’t feel like melting in the sun anymore like one of Dalís famous clocks.

 

 

Figueres entrance museum

Beautiful details at the entrance

Entering the Teatre-Museu Dalí we immediately get goose bumps all over our bodies. In the semicircular inner courtyard where all of the different figures and sculptures are magically displayed with spot lights shining on them, our eyes wander directly to the giant glass dome. Especially at night the outside area of the museum spreads a special charm because now the stars are shining – almost kitschy – above our heads.

Figueres glass dome museum

The sparkling glass dome at the museum

Figueres’ famous museum – fascinating and multi-faceted

Figueres museum dalí

Much more than just the famous clocks!

We continue our visit through the different rooms and notice in amazement: Dalís works of art were extremely multi-faceted. There is so much more to the artist than just the „Melting Clocks“. You could spend hours studying and interpreting every little detail of his art work. Dalí once said to his friend (and rival) Picasso: „Picasso es un genio, yo también“ meaning “Picasso is a genius but so am I“. Well, he wasn’t particularly humble…but he also didn’t have any reason to be!

 

 

 

Surrealistic dream

figueres dalí artwork

Dalís huge artwork

Those who still haven’t had enough after a couple of hours in the surrealistic museum, now have the chance to stock up on souvenirs from the gift shop. And if you developed a certain fascination with the artists life and motivation like I did, grab yourself a copy of Dalís autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí“ and start reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

pirate

Yo ho, yo ho – pirates in l’Estartit

„Yo-ho, yo-ho a pirates life for me“ Jack’s Sparrow was humming with a wild grin on his face as he puts out to sea with his beloved ship. Plundering, capturing, throwing all manners overboard and knocking back barrels of rum… Oh, the sweet life of a pirate!

 Back in time – pirates in l’Estartit

pirate life estartit

Pirates in l’Estartit!

 

Of course, life for commoners wasn’t always easy during that period. Especially the citizens of the former fishing village l’Estartit had a hard time. In the 16th century, the Medes Islands – now uninhabited – were jam-packed with pirates, corsairs and rapscallions of all sorts. The poor villagers were victims of the pirate’s attacks more than once.

The pirates are coming!

Even though l’Estartit’s past is still engraved in the citizens memory, nowadays they take it a lot more lightly – as I could see for myself at the pirate’s celebration in l’Estartit! Having arrived at the village, I immediately felt the changed atmosphere of the usually quiet holiday destination: thrilled anticipation and hundreds of voices excitingly chattering. Boat trips to the Medes Islands, workshops, exhibitions and artisan markets are organised during the day. But now, at night time, when the sun has already sunken and the moon is up in the sky, the scene changes. It’s getting dangerous and loud… the pirates are coming!

pirates beach

Pirates on the beach of l’Estartit

Fire dancers and sword fighters

pirate fire torch

Playing with fire

In the course of the next two hours, l’Estartit offers its visitors a spectacular show. Torchlight processions accompanied by traditional musicians as well as dancers performing incredible acts with fire and realistic sword fights are thrilling the audience. The best is yet to come, though. I let my eyes wander over the dark blue sea and in the distance – far away from the show – my eyes catch a glimpse of something big. Something big that’s coming closer and closer. A giant pirate ship packed with pugnacious barbarians loudly roaring while swinging their swords. Not only the kids jaws are dropping – mine is too! The first pirates are already jumping overboard and screaming furiously while running towards us. The fierce fighting that follows couldn’t be more thrilling.

Fireworks on the beach

pirate firework

Giant firework over the sea

The spectacular show on the beach ends with a a giant firework over the sea.

pirate firework

Sparkling firework at the beach

Grand Finale on the church square

pirates estartit fire-breather

Fire-breather on l’Estartit’s church square

But that wasn’t all. The whole gang of pirates persists in roaming the streets of the village – and we are of course close behind! Finally, all pirates and corsairs come together on l’Estartit’s church square to celebrate the end of the spectacular show. For many visitors this was only the beginning of a wild night. The next barrel of rum is already open – that’s the way real pirates live! And we say: drink up me ‘earties, yo ho!

 

 

Idyll Made of Stone – Peratallada

The back country of the Costa Brava, not far away from Girona, is cut from a very different cloth. Here, you can find the most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. These seem to send you into another time, if it weren’t for the tourists running around with the latest camera technology.

       

Peratallada – is one of those magical places full of history! Hardly any other village surprises with such an authentic, medieval charm.

Peratallada - stone houses - Costa Brava

Beautiful stone houses to discover in Peratallada …

Peratallada – “carved stone”

Peratallada — derived from “pedra tallada”, meaning “carved stone” — lives up to its name. Surrounded by a moat and a gigantic fortification wall, the place carries a medieval charm and rural silence hidden behind stone walls.

       

Far from the crowded beaches

The streets, the towers, the houses, the archways, even the church and the castle – everything is made out of natural stone and has been renovated with lots of love in the past few years. Numerous coffee bars, restaurants and hotels create a friendly atmosphere far away from the crowded beaches. Some small boutiques with souvenirs, ceramic and clothes tempt you to go shopping.

shops - peratallada - costa brava

Welcoming shops in the centre

Majestic church Sant Esteve

Having left the village over the fortress bridge after a relaxing walk through the shaded alleys, you’ll see another medieval jewel: The gigantic Roman church Sant Esteve, dating back to the 13th century, majestically rises just outside the doors of the village and forms a popular photo scene.

Church - Peratallada - medieval village

Beautiful, gigantic church Sant Esteve

Time to pay a visit to Peratallada!

Peratallada is on the toplist of the 10 most beautiful villages of Catalonia and is definitely worth visiting …

First time: Costa Brava

Until now, I’ve only been to Mallorca a few times. The island manages to fascinate me all over again every time. The Spanish continent – especially the Costa Brava – is virgin territory to me. During my internship, I would love to explore the other part of Spain – or rather of Catalonia.
At the very beginning of my internship, we took our first exploratory trip – with the Costa Live in the trunk.

Costa Brava - Begur - views to the sea

Fantastic sea view – Costa Brava

First stop: L’Estartit

Our first destination was the small resort L’Estartit near to Torroella de Montgrí.
On our way there, the views were already spectacular: The combination of sea and mountains was simply overwhelming. On site, a beautiful beach, small bustling shopping streets, a manageable yacht harbour and many welcoming coffee shops and restaurants with sea view amazed me. The place wasn’t flooded by mass tourism at all.

Costa Brava - Harbour - L'Estartit

L’Estartit Harbour

A tiny coffee shop between beach and harbour drew us to quietly enjoy the panorama of boats and water while sipping a refresher. The beach wasn’t overcrowded at all and the water was quite calm – although the waves were raging in many places this day.

After that, we made a little walk along the new promenade until the end of the town to admire the small islands “Illes Medes“ – the landmark of L’Estartit – from there. Wild waves were crashing against rock faces which were steeply rising out of the sea. The power of the open sea – we had it right in front of us.

Costa Brava - L'Estartit - View - rocks

Pretty view in L’Estartit

Tapas in Begur

Next, we made our way to Begur, a popular resort which has a lot to offer. Whether you like to go shopping, make a trip to the beautiful bays or enjoy the fascinating views from the castle hill over city, countryside and sea – Begur’s got it all.

Church and restaurants in Begur

Meanwhile, it was siesta time and our stomachs were growling. So we struck off to the town centre to eat a little something. Fortunately, we found a free table in the shadow of an olive tree in the famous restaurant “El Tapas de Begur“, which seduces with a lot of little treats. Without having to wait for the waiter to take the order, you can take the tapas yourself from the bar. It is important to keep the sticks which grace the tapas and not to throw them away! They are necessary for cashing up. Until then, this practical system, which is perfectly simple and is based on trust, wasn’t familiar to me. The tapas were very delicious and are definitely recommendable.

 

Shopping & Sightseeing

Nice boutiques in Begur

As the restaurant is located in the heart of the city, we had already spotted some nice boutiques next door while eating that we had to visit afterwards. Especially if you’re a big fan of pastel colours and Ibiza-style summer clothes, guaranteed you will fall in love with some pieces!

 

Fantastic view – Begur

Later, we couldn’t miss the chance to enjoy the view from the top of the castle. The steep ascent is rewarded with an unique view over the coast of the Costa Brava up until the Pyrenees. Time to take some pictures! Instantly, I had found a bay that I have to visit in the next couple of weeks: The bay Sa Riera!

 

Medieval charm

Stone houses of Pals

Finally, it led us to Pals: a perfectly restored medieval village, which had been build on a hill. As the old town from Pals is car-free, I would recommend you to leave your car beneath the historical centre and enjoy the walk.

 

 

Having reached the top, I understood why Pals is considered one of the most beautiful medieval villages of the Costa Brava: narrow streets, charming stone houses which are build closely to each other and again an unbelievable view of the surroundings from the Mirador de Josep Pla. In the distance, we could also spot the islands “Illes Medes“ which I mentioned before. If you want to drink a coffee or buy a small souvenir before leaving, the alleys of Pals will not disappoint you.

Diversity of the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava swept me off my feet on the very first trip: there is so much more to see and explore than I had expected! I’m very curious about what lies ahead in the next couple of months …

CAC

Weekend trip to Valencia

I’ve already heard a lot about Valencia and I’ve always wanted to visit “Barcelona’s little sister“. Finally, on a weekend in June I arranged a meeting with my friends there. My journey began on Thursday evening.

Arriving in Valencia

From Figueres, you can easily go by train to Valencia, with a change in Barcelona. After about 5 hours, you arrive at the train station Estació del Nord in Valencia. This strain station was built in 1917 by Demetrio Ribes in a modernist style. The beautiful decoration and ornaments draw attention. Next to the train station, you can also find the bullring. Walking towards the city centre, I get impressed by wonderful city houses with little towers and big statues. At a typical Spanish tapas bar we rest from the journey, with sangria, of course. Then we go to our accommodation, nearby the underground station Turia. From there, we start our weekend tour through the city, on Friday morning.

Valencia Estaciò Nord

If you look carefully, you can find small oranges on the façade of the building.

Food paradise

The first sight on our list is the Botanical Garden. We get astonished by all kinds of orchids, succulents, cacti and agaves – all of them in full bloom. Then, we head towards the old city, through the Torres de Quart, one of Valencia’s old town gates. We get to the Mercat Central, an old market hall, and find ourselves in a food paradise. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, sweets, juices, wine,… it’s like heaven on earth for us. Market stand after stand we taste as much as we can. Simply delicious! Of course, we also try a little bit of vino tinto, because we are in Spain! Fortified and heavily loaded with ham, cherries, salami and sweet pastries we continue our tour through the old city.

Cactus with flower

Cactus, agaves,… everything is flourishing right now in the Botanical Garden of Valencia.

Royal drink

Moreover, in Valencia you absolutely have to try a freshly made, cool horchata de chufa (orxata de xufa in Catalan), preferably from the famous Horchatería Santa Catalina, where already Isabella, Princess of Asturias, was guest. The drink is made with the so-called earth almond or tiger nut, a crop of the sedge family and has an unique taste. Especially on hot days, it serves as a tasty refreshment. It is also very healthy. Afterwards, we have a look inside the Cathedral of Valencia, go past the archdiocese of Valencia, the Basílica de la Mare, the Plaça del Manises through the Torres de Serranos and along the Turia park back home for a siesta.

Old city gate

On our way home, we walk through one of the old city gates of Valencia.

Party all night long

At night, we stroll along the trendy district Russafa. In the Cafecito, our new famous bar in Valencia, we enjoy some homemade sangría and agua de valencia (alcoholic cocktail with vodka, gin, prosecco and orange juice). In a good mood, we take a taxi to the most famous club of the town, MYA, in the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. We party until the next morning.

Sangría Cafecito

In our new favourite bar Cafecito we enjoy some homemade sangría. What a difference to the one from the supermarket!

City in a city

The next day, our aim is the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències. The “City of Arts and Sciences“ is a modern complex of scientific and artistic facilities and impresses with an extraordinary, modern architecture. An IMAX 3D cinema, a natural science museum, Europe’s biggest aquarium – the “Oceanogràfic“ and an opera house belong to the city made out of glass and white metal structures, surrounded by turquoise water. Later, we go shopping in the old city, buy some souvenirs and relax with tapas and cool drinks. Valencia is definitively worth a visit! Away from mass tourism you can find loads of interesting corners and Spanish originality.

Ciutat de les Arts Ciències

In the Ciutat de les Arts Ciències we make a break and relax at the turquoise water surrounding the modern buildings.

Flour museum in Castelló

Fira del pa – Bread fair in Castelló d’Empúries

Not far from Empuriabrava, there is the small town of Castelló d’Empúries, which used to be famous for its mills and the production of flour. When the place was the capital of the county, it had three flour mills. Only one of them remained and was transformed into a museum, explaining the process of the flour production.

The journey of the wheat grain

Designed as a tour through the different floors of the old fabric, visitors can follow the complex journey of the wheat grains and their end product flour. Divided into different stations, you get to know more about cleaning machines, conditioning machines, milling machines and the famous red mills, the heart of the Farinera. The museum is definitely worth a visit, also for kids there is a lot to explore and to try out. Visiting La Farinera will surprise you!

Grains in the museum

From the grain to flour, visitors can go on a journey and see how the process of producing flour works.

Bread fair

Also interesting is the visit of the annual bread fair in Castelló d’Empúries, which takes place every Whit Sunday. The fair is organized by the museum. Apart from guided tours through the museum, there are also workshops for the preparation of bread. Young and old can experience an old craft together, trying out different bread recipes. Who doesn’t like to knead just goes to the market. Here you can try different types of bread and take them home. Besides, you can buy regional specialities and hand-crafted products. Have a look at our photos from 2017!

 

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

Flower festival Girona 2017

Temps de Flors – Girona spring scented

Sometimes carnival like, other times tastefully and minimalist, every now and then poetically or just hopelessly romantic – there’s such a diversity in the installations of “Temps de Flors“ 2017.

Rebellion against Franco

There are many myths around the history of the flower festival. According to some sources, the festival was a symbol of resistance against the Franco dictatorship. However, the flower show was officially opened in 1954 for the first time, that’s a fact.

Decorated stairs with flowers

The stairs in front of the Sant Feliu church are lovely decorated with arches and flowers in bright colours.

Kitsch and art

This year, the colourful festival takes place for the 62nd time in the old town of Girona. You can argue about the artistic value, but not about the entertaining quality. The lines between kitsch and art become blurred. Year after year in May, the Temps de Flors festival is a major attraction and works perfectly as marketing element for the city.

Bags filled with water

Bags filled with water hanging down from a tree, interesting decoration, we think.

Everyone is participating

The spring festival is also proof for the sense of community the locals of Girona have. Everyone does his bit, whether it is a small bouquet of flowers at the entrance, opulent tendrils at the front of a window, or hundreds of flowerpots in an old bathtub in a historic patio – everybody wants to be part of it.

Huge onion

While walking through the old town, we suddenly find this huge onion consisting of loads of small onions.

Food with flowers and a cappella music

In cafés you can try flower cakes, boutiques present flower dresses, a flowerbed decorates a furniture shop’s window, restaurants serve flower menus and the A Capella Festival provides the perfect music to all of this.
Every year, we stroll curiously along the alleys and let the city cast its spell over us. Girona shows how beautiful community and province life can be.

Peonies in a cupcake store

We can’t walk by this lovely decorated shop window of an even lovelier cupcakes store. They have arranged peonies, my favourite flowers!

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.