All posts tagged: Catalonia

vic bridge

Vic – historical treasures and Catalan small-town-charm

Vic’s small town beauty: Wide sandy beaches and the turquoise Mediterranean, small bays surrounded by steep cliffs, picturesque sailing boats and countless pine trees… For most people the epitome of Catalonia. It is easily forgotten that the interior of the Spanish region houses its own treasures. One of them: the charming small town Vic.

Vic’s Romanesque history

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The Romanesque Pont de Queralt

Situated about 70 km to the north of Barcelona, the town with its 40.000 inhabitants finds itself surrounded by the beautiful nature of the Comarca Osona. Vic couldn’t be more picturesque, even if it tried. On the outside of town walls, surrounded by trees, one can find the ancient stone bridge Pont de Queralt.

Sur le pont…

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Autumn in Vic

If something dates back to the 11th century and is that well preserved, it just has to be impressive! Up until 1274 the only way from Barcelona into the town led over the Romanesque arch bridge – after that, the king of that time decided to divert the old road; the new one led through the “Malloles“ gate. The beautiful bridge was named after a family of counts who lived in the town centre and it was even displayed on the back of a five peseta note issued in 1954.

 

 

 

Strolling through Vic

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The baroque Església dels Dolors

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Hidden church in Vic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing by the baroque Església dels Dolors, we continue our way towards the city centre; soon we reach Vic’s outstanding Cathedral.

vic cathedral

Vic’s outstanding cathedral

The Romanesque bell tower is the tallest of its kind in Catalonia and presents, together with the Pont de Queralt, Vic’s most important landmarks.

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The crypt and the remains of the Santa Maria church date back to the Romanesque era as well, the rest was built in a Gothic and neoclassical style.

A city full of history

On the other side of the church square lies the famous Episcopal Museum which was inaugurated in 1891. The building’s modern look misleads, though…inside it holds one of Europe’s best collections of medieval art including masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the Catalan Romanesque and Gothic periods.

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Vic’s famous episcopal museum

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The imposing Roman temple

 

 

A few steps further, we find the next historical treasure: the impressive Roman temple. The temple is the only remaining building of the city of Auso, as Vic was called in Roman times. Today it is regularly used to host exhibitions and cultural events.

 

 

 

 

Travel through time in the Catalan small town

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Vic’s colourful streets

 

Through colourful streets in the typical Mediterranean style we find our way to the big Plaça Major – the town’s main square. The surrounding buildings are all from different eras. Particularly impressive: the Catalan modernism. Walking around the Plaça Major certainly feels like a travel through time.

 

 

 

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Impressive Catalan modernism

It is also remarkable that all of the surrounding houses on the square were built with arcades in order to withstand the inclement weather; the arcades had to be high enough to accommodate a man on horseback – isn’t that clever?

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Vic’s main square

We all do it: we underestimate Catalonia’s interior and above all small towns like Vic. But it’s these small, hidden places that have a lot to offer: historically interesting sights, beautiful nature right on the doorstep and a great deal of small-town-charm!

Some impressions of Vic…

view tarragona

48 h in Tarragona

Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or Valencia… everyone knows them and everyone is dying to go there. Without a doubt, all of these well-known Spanish metropolises have their own charming character but in search of my next travel destination I was looking for something different. I was looking for smaller and less known cities. Cities like Tarragona.

The Roman Tarragona

tarragona history

Tarragona – full of Roman history

 

The Catalan small town is situated about 100 km to the south of Barcelona, directly by the sea. Tarragona captivates above all with its great variety of medieval and, especially, Roman buildings.

 

 

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Tarragona’s impressive Circ Roma

 

 

It is not surprising that a big part of the city has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. On my first day I decided to follow the traces of the Romans. If you’re like me and you absolutely love sightseeing you should get the cheaper combined ticket including the most important buildings.

 

 

 

 

tarragona amphitheatre

The Roman amphitheatre with a stunning background

Early in the morning, after a delicious Xuixo and a cafe con leche, I start my archeological promenade with the first and most popular Roman monument. Located directly by the sea, the ancient amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century AD. In Roman times countless gladiator fights took place in the ancient monument. Nowadays there are still fights happening in the summer but of course only for the tourist’s entertainment!

A city full of history

While enjoying the view from the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, I’m already looking for the route to the next monument. I don’t have to do a lot of planning though – the Roman Circus where horse and chariot races were held, and the provincial forum with its vaults and pilasters are less than 5 minutes away.

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The provincial forum from the outside

Hidden underground passages lead from the Roman Circus to the Praetorium, a Roman-era tower with a viewing platform.

tarragona underground

Underground-treasures

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The Roman’s impressive work

As I make my way up the stairs, I have to stop again and again to look at the different sculptures. It is quite impressive to see how detailed and multi-faceted the Roman works are…

 

 

On top of Tarragona

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Beautiful view from the roof

Finally, a narrow staircase leads up to the viewing platform on the building’s rooftop. With the excellent view of the old historic part of town on the one side and the endless Mediterranean on the other side, the platform is the perfect spot for a short breather. What better way to relax?

Walking along the Roman walls

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Tarragona’s imposing Roman walls

But off I go again! The next sight is located only 15 minutes away. My path leads me through Tarragona’s beautiful and bustling alleys until I reach the Roman walls. As I am walking between palm trees and the impressively high Muralla, that has been surrounding the city since the 2nd century AD, I can almost imagine what life must have been like during the Roman times…

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The remaining parts of the Local forum

After a short break in the trees’ shadow, I continue my way to the last monument of the day: the Local Forum. What was once used as the religious and social hub, now surrounded by modern day buildings almost seems a bit bizarre. Bizarre but interesting! I definitely envy the residents living around the remains of the ancient Fòrum Local. Because who wouldn’t like to wake up every morning with such a view?

 

 

 

 

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Local Forum surrounded by modern houses

Tarragona’s modern side

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Tarragona’s impressive cathedral

A new day, a new cafe con leche. Today I want to explore Tarragona’s modern side. The first sight on my schedule is the old cathedral which was built in a transitional style between Romanesque and Gothic. But, wait! Didn’t I talk about visiting Tarragona’s modern side? Well, the beautiful Catedral de Santa Maria is at least less old than the Roman part of town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outside of the ancient church doesn’t fail to impress me but, in my opinion, the real gem lies on the inside. The mysterious cloister with its beautiful rose garden truly amazes me and even reminds me a bit of Hogwarts!

The beauty lies inside..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beauty of the Cathedral’s cloister is truly captivating…

A walk through Tarragona’s modern history

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The traditional Castellers made out of bronze

 

I continue my promenade to the grand Plaça Imperial and from there I’m walking in the shadow of the trees along Tarragona’s beautiful Rambla. Not long after, I reach the town’s landmark: the Monumento a los Castellers. The iconic statue with its Castellers, the traditional Catalan human pyramid, towers high above my head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing along the Rambla…

tarragona statue

Roger de Llúria

As I continue along the Rambla, I pass numerous sculptures and statues until I reach the majestic Monument a Roger de Llúria. Behind the huge statue I find of the most beautiful places Tarragona has to offer: the Balcó del Mediterrani. From the charming terrace lined with palm trees I have an excellent view of the sea, the beach and the ancient Roman amphitheatre.

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Amazing view from Balco Mediterrano

A perfect ending in the city by the Sea

As I’m enjoying the sun and the sea air in this beautiful and relaxing spot, I can suddenly hear Catalan folk music in the distance. Soon after, I spot the traditional Giants dancing wildly through Tarragona’s streets.

tarragona giants

The traditionally Catalan giants

Fascinated I follow the procession which leads me back to the cathedral. For the first time I can witness the famous Castellers in action! What I had previously seen in form of a statue, unmoved and made out of bronze, is now brought to life on the church square. Definitely the perfect ending in one of Catalonia’s most beautiful cities!

Girona: City with History

Just arrived in Girona, quickly collected your baggage and immediately heading to Barcelona? Wait!
Far too often, the charming city Girona is clouded by the Catalan capital Barcelona, which is larger, but also flooded by tourists. Not only is the beautiful medieval old town of Girona worth visiting – there are many more places to see.

The famous river Onyar and the colourful houses…

The church Sant Feliu

On a sunny morning, we decide to finally visit the city we had heard so many things about. Stepping out of the car, we realize that our car park is only a stone’s throw away from the church Sant Feliu. The perfect opportunity to visit the oldest church of Girona first! A very impressing building both from the outside and the inside, which combines different styles in a beautiful way.

       

The Cathedral of Santa Maria

The next monumental attraction is just around the corner: The Cathedral of Santa Maria. Probably the most popular selfie spot in town! We can’t resist, either.. The result: Far too many pictures of the building from every conceivable perspective.. Too bad that we left our selfie stick at home!

Game of Thrones - Girona - Costa Brava - Catalunya

Also a filming location from Game of Thrones!

Once you’ve climbed the stairs with a total of 90 steps and entered the cathedral, you’ll definitely be overwhelmed by the size and, above all, the beauty of the interior. Again, a very impressive combination of different architectural styles  – Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque.

Pont de les Peixateries Velles

While strolling through the Christmassy old town and store hopping through some sweet boutiques, we reach the next popular picture spot faster than expected: The red steel bridge Pont de les Peixateries Velles, which connects the old town of Girona to the modern part and was created by Gustave Eiffel. It offers a wonderful view to the river Onyar, the colourful facades and the impressive cathedral.

       

Passeig de la Muralla

It’s time to make our way to the last tourist spot: the city wall of Girona. What a view! The steep climb is rewarded with an impressive panoramic view of the old town, the cathedral, the Jewish quarter, the church and the Pyrenees.

Girona - Costa Brava - Catalunya

This impressive view is totally worth it!

Christmas shopping in Girona

Enough sightseeing, we are in the mood for shopping! Many small shops and boutiques make it quite easy for us to find the perfect Christmas gifts for our loved ones. The city center is decorated with many colorful fairy lights and lovingly placed Christmas accessories – Oh, I can’t wait for Christmas!

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Rambla de la Llibertat

All these highlights and still no food! Luckily, Girona is brimming with restaurants that are waiting for hungry tourists to pass by! Following the smell of food, we walk to the Rambla de la Llibertat and pick a nice place in the shadow of a tree. With all the presents we bought, we are ready for the best time of the year – Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

Hike in paradise: Cadaqués – Cap de Creus

A hike through Catalonia’s beautiful nature: Starting from the residence of Spain’s most eccentric artist up to the easternmost part of the Iberian Peninsula

Distance: 14,6 km

Duration: approx. 4 h

Level of difficulty: medium

Starting point: Cadaqués

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Costa Brava’s “pearl”

Our promising trail starts in the region’s most popular fishing village: in Cadaqués. The small village is often called „the pearl of Costa Brava“ and those who have already payed a visit to Cadaqués understand perfectly why. The polished, snow-white houses together with the blue of the Mediterranean are dazzlingly beautiful. But because we don’t want to lose too much time, we’re not staying long in „the pearl“.

Short detour to Casa Dalí

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Dalí’s art

Once we have climbed the first steep hill, we’re making a small detour to Cala de Portlligat. In an extraordinarily picturesque bay we come across Dalí’s famous residence. Even though it is hard, today we’re only stopping to admire the Casa-Museu Salvador Dalí from the outside – we still have a lot (of walking) ahead of us!

A hike through Catalonia’s nature

hike catalonia

Olives everywhere!

Our hiking route continues and leads us from the beach up the hill past seemingly endless olive groves. Slowly I’m beginning to understand why olive oil tourism is booming in Catalonia! For a couple of minutes we’re walking in the shade of the olive trees, after that we’re continuing our way under the bright blue heaven between pine trees, cacti and other typically Mediterranean vegetation.

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Walking in the shadow of the trees

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Our beautiful hiking trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature everywhere

While we’re following our trail, we still get to feel the quite strong autumn sun. With the Mediterranean to our right, the route is meandering along the rocky coast. Up and down, we make our way through the beautiful Catalan nature and enjoy the numerous breathtaking views.

 

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Almost there!

Soon I catch a first glimpse of our final destination in the distance! The lighthouse shines bright like a diamond on the highest point of the Cap de Creus Natural Park and provides us with the necessary motivation for the last part of our hike. With the destination so close and the thought of a well-deserved ice cold Cerveza, the last couple of kilometres really fly by.

A well-deserved break from our hike

hike cap de creus

The dreamiest bay

Meanwhile, the sun is getting stronger and stronger while the sea is getting more tempting with every minute passing by. As it happens, we find the most beautiful bay of the whole hiking trail shortly before our last ascent. Crystal clear, turquoise water surrounded by cragged rocks and the picturesque lighthouse in the background…

 

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Even the seagulls are enjoying the beautiful scenery!

Is this a dream? Naturally, after walking 7 kilometres in the bright sun, we seize the opportunity and cool down in this breathtaking scenery. Definitely a pleasure you don’t come across every day! We let the sun dry our bodies and after a couple of minutes relaxing on the beach, we take on the last part of our hike.

Ultimate hike destination: the light house

cap de creus hike light house

The iconic light house

After finally reaching the top, a breathtaking and incomparable view awaits us. Surrounded by steep cliffs and the deep blue Mediterranean, the beautiful light house towers above our heads.

hike cap de creus

Rocks and the deep blue sea

Next door, we find the charming restaurant and our long-awaited ice cold Cerveza. With the sunshine in our faces, we enjoy our well-deserved break for the next hour.

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Magnificent view from the charming restaurant

I have to stop one last time and enjoy the amazing view!

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Captivating view!

Refreshed and relaxed, we make our way back to Cadaqués where the evening sky is already showing off all of its beautiful colours. A day to remember…

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Dalí in Cadaqués!

Besalú – Medieval charm

The back country of the Costa Brava is filled with treasures. Where overcrowded cities and beaches take a back seat, the focus is on rural tranquility and medieval beauty. In quiet, car-free old towns with beautiful, lovingly restored buildings, you start a journey into another time.
Destination: The most beautiful medieval villages of Catalonia. One of them – Besalú.

Besalú - Pyrenees

The beauty of the Costa Brava, right in front of you!

Enchanted by Besalú

Starting point of our little journey through Besalú: The gigantic, perfectly restored bridge Pont Vell. The view of the beautiful bridge, its two majestic towers, the river Fluvià, the picturesque old town with numerous medieval stone houses and the foothills of the Pyrenees is simply overwhelming. Nobody can resist here: Taking pictures of this view is a must!

Besalu - old town - medieval

Impressive, isn’t it?

Back to the past

Unleashed from everyday life, we enter a place far away from stress and worries. Small, narrow streets lead to the village square, the Plaça Llibertat with lively little restaurants and cafés. The Monastery of Sant Pere leaves you very stunned. Our thoughts wander far into the past. Our next stop: the Church of Sant Vicente – also an impressive Romanesque building.

 

Definitely a highlight

In the former Jewish quarter, a very special highlight awaits us: a Jewish ritual bath. Only four of these species have survived across Europe – Wow! You cannot miss that. Such a magical place ..

A perfect walk..

A true masterpiece – Besalú

From the bank of the river Fluvià, we enjoy the unique view of the majestic bridge and the medieval work of art Besalú for the last time. While listening to the lapping of the river, we feel the passing time and the history surrounding this magical place.

 

 

 

pals medieval village

Pals – Medieval Catalan beauty

Travelling through medieval times.  The Spanish region Catalonia is known for many things. Breathtaking scenery, similar to Italy’s Tuscany, the impressive coast with its steep cliffs and the seemingly endless Mediterranean… and of course a number of charming villages captivating with their history.

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Hidden corners in the medieval village

Medieval idyll

With its 2500 inhabitants, the small and historical town Pals is classified as one of the ten most beautiful Catalan villages. After a visit on an early autumnal but sunny afternoon in September, I now understand perfectly why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Situated on a small hill, Pals’ name derives from the Latin word “palus” meaning marsh. As the name already insinuates it was once surrounded by lakes and moors. These days the village is lined by trees in all shades of green and paddy fields where the typical Spanish paella rice is produced. Arriving at the villages entrance, we abandon our car and continue by foot – the only way you should be passing these hilly, narrow streets!

Time travel in the Catalan village

pals medieval village

Medieval time travel in Pals

After taking a few steps we reach Pals’ gates and feel as if we’re transferred to a different era. Those who are expecting even a touch of modernity are searching in vain. Thanks to an impeccable restauration the whole villages medieval basic structure is still well-preserved. You can almost hear the horse’s hooves on the bumpy cobblestone of Pals’ narrow streets and our thoughts wander… What life must have been like here in earlier times?

Torre de les Hores – the town’s landmark

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Torre de les Hores in medieval Pals

We continue our path along the old stone walls covered with picturesque ivory and reach the town’s landmark. The “Torre de les Hores” – a Romanesque tower – sits majestically on top of the hill characterising the townscape. Moving further you find yourself on a little square with a viewing platform overlooking the beautiful surroundings and the dark blue sea. On clear days you’ll even be able to see the Medes Isles.

 

 

medieval pals

Green idyll in Pals

 

After enjoying the panoramic view for a while, we stroll down the old stone steps to the centre of the village. For those looking for a refreshment or a bite to eat, Pals offers a nice selection of cafés and restaurants considering the villages rather low number of inhabitants. One definitely doesn’t have to starve in Pals!

 

 

 

After this first travel through time to the Middle Ages one thing is for sure: we are excited to see what the other nine villages have to offer!

In the mood for a hike: Camino de Ronda

Admire one stunning bay after another and having the wonderful, turquoise blue sea continuously right in front of you? Going for a swim, relaxing in the sun and afterwards putting your hiking boots back on? In between, snacking a small treat in a restaurant with spectacular views to the sea and sipping a cool mojito later at sunset?

That sounds great to you? Well then, you will love the famous coastal path of the Costa Brava which has, for the most parts, been left in its natural state.

 

Camino de Ronda

With a length of approx. 45 km, the so-called Camino the Ronda offers infinite possibilities to enjoy the beauty of the Costa Brava with all of your senses. Whether you like to take a chance on the whole path within 2 days – like a professional hiker – or prefer walking only a small section on a sunny afternoon – it’s your choice. But I guarantee you won’t regret a single step!

 

 

 

Insider Tip: Cala Calitjàs

On a warm day of summer, we decided to visit the bay called “Cala Calitjàs“ in Roses, which persuades with a gravel beach and spectacular views to the light blue sea. On a holiday with perfect weather for bathing in middle of high season, I expected the beach to be overcrowded without air to breathe. I was quite surprised noticing that we had to share the spacious gravel area with less than 25 persons. Definitely an insider tip!

 

 

Next Bay: Cala Pelosa

After taking a refreshing bath in the cool salt water, we enjoyed the sun for a while – listening to the soft sound of the sea. Until our rumbling stomachs finally reminded us that it was already siesta time! Fortunately, we had organized a table in the famous restaurant called “Chiringuito La Pelosa“ before. The idea of a juicy paella with fresh seafood motivated us to leave the comfortable beach and hike to the next bay, the so-called “Cala Pelosa“, using the Camino de Ronda.

 

 

Hiking with spectacular views

Having walked only a few meters, I already understood why so many fans of Spain decide to walk the whole path: the views were continuously spectacular! Permanently, I had to stop to take some pictures of the dream scenery.

You can’t get enough of these wonderful views!

But I have to admit that I’ve been a little torn: On the one hand, I had to concentrate not to loose my footing and fall into the enormous cacti and on the other hand, I couldn’t help but admire  the crystal clear water, which sparkled in the sun and was decorated with numerous, luxurious boats and yachts. It’s better holding on for a minute now and again, otherwise it could get quite dangerous!

Restaurant “Chiringuito La Pelosa“

While we made our way through the prickly pears and palms, some passengers of boats in the distance seemed to have a lot of fun – boat party ahoy!

By the way, the restaurant has a boat service that delivers the paella!

 

Sooner than I expected, we reached the beautiful beach “Cala Pelosa“. At a distance, we already heard the chaos of different voices, clacking crockery and the clangour of glasses – the restaurant was at its peak. Whether we had to wait in spite of reserving? Unfortunately, yes. Whether it’s worth it? Definitely!

But the waiting period could be much worse: Chilling in a bar with comfortable seats and views to the sea – even the most impatient of you guys would survive this!

 

 

Paella – we’re coming!

After 1-2 cool refreshments, our names were called and we were brought to our table – with a great anticipation of our delicious meal. It didn’t take us more than 5 minutes to decide what to eat: a big paella with seafood and a few starters, to that of course a wine. As quickly as the starters arrived, they were gone again: A tuna fish tatar, salad, calamari, bread – well, that was tasty!

    

After resting a while, there was enough space in our stomachs for what we had been waiting for the whole time: The paella! Mhh smells delicious … I’ve never eaten paella before – a big mistake as I recognized. I’ve rarely tasted something so special! The Spanish people know exactly how to spoil their guests.

A very special taste experience..

A final selfie before leaving..

Finally some cocktails..

Satisfied and sated, we walked over to the bar to treat ourselves with some mojitos. After taking a few last pictures, we set off back home. Why don’t we spend every day like that? I’d love that!

Three restaurant chefs

Disfrutar in Barcelona wins the ‘Miele One to Watch’ Award 2017

Restaurant run by former El Bulli chefs as global rising star

Disfrutar in Barcelona has been named this year’s Miele One To Watch by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Opened in December 2014, Disfrutar is a collaboration between chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch. The three met while cooking at former No.1 restaurant El Bulli, where they worked alongside legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.

Disfrutar as one of  the world’s 50 best restaurants

Disfrutar’s founders will be presented with the coveted award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Melbourne on April 5th. The Miele One To Watch Award celebrates emerging global talent and recognizes a restaurant that is outside the 50 Best itself but has the potential to rise up the list in the near future.

Front of Disfrutar restaurant

The modern front of the restaurant. (photo: Adri Goula)

“Worthy winners of the Miele One To Watch Award”

William Drew, Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Disfrutar showcases the individual talents of these three chefs and broadens their influence on Spain’s culinary scene. Their commitment to pushing the creative boundaries of gastronomy makes them worthy winners of the Miele One To Watch Award.”

Inside the restaurant

From inside, the new restaurant has an understated elegance. (photo: Adri Goula)

Disfrutar – a symbolic nod to Barcelona’s cultural heritage

Following El Bulli’s 2011 closure, Casañas, Castro and Xatruch opened „Compartir“ (meaning “share”) in Cadaqués. Building on the success of their initial venture, the trio launched Disfrutar (meaning “to enjoy”) to widespread acclaim, earning their first Michelin star in 2016. Centrally located in Barcelona’s Eixample district, Disfrutar evokes a Mediterranean spirit with its décor and laid-back ambience. Beyond the entrance, guests walk past two open kitchens and are led into the spacious, whitewashed dining room that extends to an open terrace. Bright and earth-coloured ceramics in various forms dominate the space, a symbolic nod to Barcelona’s cultural heritage and the restaurant’s focus on artistry.

Disfrutar's kitchen design

With its earth-coloured ceramics and the open kitchen, Disfrutar evokes a Mediterranean spirit, indeed. (photo: Adri Goula)

Macaroni made out of gelatin

While Disfrutar’s multi-course tasting menus uphold modernist culinary principles, they also reveal the chefs’ quirky personalities. Avantgarde, theatrical and inventive, each course aims to delight and excite the senses. Signature dishes include macaroni made from gelatin, tossed in truffle foam and smothered in Parmesan at the table. A deconstructed whisky tart invites guests to wash their hands in whisky and inhale the scent as they eat.

Winning architects

The Pritzker Architecture Prize 2017 goes to Catalonia

Winners are  Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is regarded as the Nobel prize for architects. The prize is worth 100.000$ and is awarded by the Hyatt Foundation and a jury of prestigious architects, since 1979. In 2017, the award went to three Catalonian architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta from Olot, Girona. Since almost 30 years, the three architects have been working together under the label RCR ARQUITECTES. Through their projects, they create an interaction between space, light, shade, ambience, surrounding, colours and landscape.

“Great understanding of history, natural topography and culture”

According to the jury, their work is “powerfully connected to the surrounding landscape“, which comes from the “strong sense of place“ and the great “understanding of history, natural topography and culture“. They always intend to “highlight the natural surrounding“ through the siting of buildings, the choice of materials and the geometries and “to pull them into the building“. Their work connects past and present, just as exterior and interior, which shows their “love for both tradition and innovation“. They often use modern materials like glass, plastic and recycled steel.

Folded steel walls in vineyards

The vineyard Bell-Lloc in Palamós, dating back to 2007. Here you can see folded steel walls, integrated in the vineyards like sculptures. (photo: Hisao Suzuki)

Aiming at regional work

For the first time, three architects together are honoured with the prize. Their purpose is to tackle the local history and landscape and to work regionally. All three of them are deeply attached to their roots, preferring local life rather than a jet-set lifestyle or working with the most famous architects worldwide. However, they prove that, wherever you are in the world, with the right sense for time and space, you are able to design in a creative and modern way.
Most of their projects are realized between Girona and Barcelona, near to their office in Olot.

All of their projects provide balance. To be open minded and close to your roots is the recipe for success, according to RCR ARQUITECTES.

Plastic roof floating in Olot

Since 2011, you can find a transparent, bent plastic roof, floating between old stone walls at the restaurant Les Cols in Olot. (photo: Eugeni Pons / Hisao)

 

Here you can see some of their well-known work:

 

 

 

 

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.

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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“.

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Mare de Déu de Montserrat – one of a kind!

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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

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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…