Posts Tagged With: barcelona

Sitges, Land of Golden Mermaids and Empty Beaches

In between our morning at the Picasso museum and the Gothic Quarter, (Which you can read about HERE) we took a train ride up to Sitges Spain to spend the rainy afternoon on the beaches there.

Sitges is my favorite place that I’ve been so far in Spain. The first time I went we got down to the beach and it was practically empty. There were maybe five people scattered up and down the sand. It was a warm day and the water was pleasant. It was so still you float on the top with no worry of having waves crashed on top of you. It was the perfect beach, a nice change from the drunk college tourist filled beaches of Barcelona. Though they were equally beautiful, there is just something about sitting on a beach with no one but your family and just soaking it all in.

The second time I went was last week with Best Friend. We had gotten to Barcelona and realized that everything was expensive and there wasn’t much to do, so we decided we would go see Picasso, and then hop the next train to Sitges. unfortunately it was rainy that day, but that didn’t deter us in the least. we figured if we can’t swim we can at least go to the beach and see the water. So we get to the main station in Barcelona, Sants and we scoured the train time tables until we finally found one going to Sitges. We got downstairs (I should mention that we used one T-ten for each of us on this trip and it only ran out on our last ride to the airport so buy one, it’s so much cheaper) and we wait for the train and we get on.

The ride was pretty uneventful and about thirty minutes long so we just chatted and looked at the scenery which, as in most places around the city, was mostly farm land. But then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of the ocean and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I don’t know quite why this stormy ocean landscape took our breath away like it did, but truly it was a sight to see.

We get off the train at Sitges and to be honest I have no idea where we are. When I cam last we came by bus and were let up closer to the center of the city where as the train is more on the seaside end of things. I am glad that that is where we ended up though because being in tis part of town just solidified my love for Sitges.

As you walk through the streets every alleyway is like the gothic quarter just old and beautiful. Most of the shops are little organic cafes or hipster coffee shops, and everything has an air of laid back contentedness. All you need to do to get to the beach is follow the signs and walk downhill and eventually you’ll see a little blue through the buildings and trees ahead of you.

When we got down to the beach there were maybe three people standing on it. The storm had made the water rough and choppy so no one was in it but a few children played along the edge. we turned to our left and there is this giant church on a hill overlooking the ocean so we think, why not? We walk over a set of stairs that lead to a platform that has a sculpture of a mermaid and a great view of the coastline. The waves are so rough that they are actually breaking onto the platform where we are standing, it was gorgeous. We walked up another set of stars and found ourselves face to face with this old seaside church, which turns out to be Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, better known as “La Punta” (according to wikitravel). In any event it was beautiful and the vie can’t be beat.

We walked a little further down more little streets until we found ourselves back on the beach. We took pictures, and stood in the waves, and finally we just sat down right in the sand and watched the waves crash upon the shore. It wasn’t super eventful day, but it was a beautiful on and I think Best Friend would agree that when we’re together and seeing new things, it doesn’t really matter if we’re partying all night long, or just sitting on a cold beach. It’s all about the adventures that we get to have together, and about getting to look at each other’s kids some day and say “This one time when me and your mom were in Spain…”

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Barcelona: The Gothic Quarter, Gaudi, Picasso, and Staying up all Night

 

Barcelona is a party town. And I’m not just saying that, I mean I literally can see no real reason to go back to Barcelona, except to party all night long, which I would totally suggest by the way. But there are a few things that, if you’re awake before noon and not nursing any lingering regrets from the night before, that I would suggest hitting up.

The first place I would totally recommend is the Gothic Quarter. This is one of the areas of the city that remains from the original Barcelona. Every alleyway and street is lined with wrought iron balconies and beautiful cobblestone paths and buildings. There is an old world feeling that is unmistakable Spanish. Every old adventure film held in the streets of Spain look like they were shot here. I also love all the street performers and Catalan flags and banners strung across the streets. The gothic quarter is, in my opinion, the best place to spend your time if you plan to spend anytime in Barcelona during the day.

Right in the heart of the Gothic Quarter is the Picasso museum. The museum has a large collection of Picasso’s works that he created while in Barcelona and the surrounding Spanish towns, as well as all of his renderings of Las Meninas which is just breath taking to see them all there in one room. I am a huge Picasso fan and it as such a treat to get to see his work in person. Plus you get 50% off from being the between the ages of 18 and 25, and you get in free if your a student. Which is my favorite price. I would recommend going here one hundred percent. even if you drag yourself there and then fall back into bed after, drink a Cafe Ole and make yourself do it.

Then of course there is our old friend Gaudi. Gaudi is one of those artists who just kind of took over. Barcelona is full of Gaudi, fake Gaudi, souvenir Gaudi. It’s Gaudi mania. But his architecture is definitely worth seeing. Go find the Gaudi district and take a look at his gorgeous designs, and of course don’t forget to go Sagrada Familia, the world’s most famous unfinished church. We walked up to it and Best Friend says, “Think they’ll ever finish?” To which we decided it wouldn’t be as famous if they did that so … probably not.

Now for my adventures in Barcelona. On our second night we knew we were going to have to be at the airport by 5:00 am at the latest to catch our 6:30 flight, so we decided to just stay up. We figured we could go out dancing, leave around 2am and the go check out and get to the airport. Great plan right? Well here is the thing I always forget about going out, you don’t want to leave, and when you do leave you’re party high only lasts for so long before you’re exhausted.

So we are at the hostel, we meet some people, we get on the bus to the club and so far everything is good. I have an alarm set to tell us it’s time to leave so there’s nothing to worry about. We get to the club and pretty much right away I lose my best friend to some Australian, which is fine with me because I’m hanging out with this Canadian and two girls from the UK. We’re dancing, we’re having a good time, when my phone goes off. ok, no problem, but where the heck is best friend? I shove my way through the crowded dance floor, avoiding flirt Spaniards (If only I had more time) and still can’t find her. So I go back to my new friends, tell them to tell best friend I’m outside if they see her and I bid adu to my Canadian (which I was very annoyed about by the way, and he only made it harder by trying to convince me I could stay and still make it to the airport.) and leave the club to wait outside.

Now the problem with traveling is I can’t communicate with anyone unless I have wifi, which luckily I found, but since Best Friend didn’t have any, I was out of luck. I sat and chatted with a nice Spaniard who spoke NO English, in the best broken Spanish I could, but he stayed with me and was very kind until finally BF comes out of the club.

Somehow in our exhausted and rushed state we managed to navigate two metros, a five minute walk to the hostel, getting all of our stuff, checking out, another metro, finding a bus to the airport, and then get through security, find our gate and get to our seats. I am not lying when I said that by the time we got seated I pretty much passed out and woke up two hours later in Paris. So thank you Barcelona for a hell of a time, I will be again someday with more time on my hands.

Honestly we really only spent an afternoon and that night in Barcelona because I prefer Sitges and wanted Best Friend to see it before we left Spain, but over all I enjoyed our time in Barcelona, but like I said if you’re not a partier don’t expect a jam filled itinerary. If you are into the party scene make sure you stay at the Urbany Hostel. Trust me, it’s so worth it. Just don’t stay at the club until 2am and then exhaustedly stumble to the airport to make a 6:30 flight. Not worth it. Ok maybe. Yeah who am I kidding, totally do that.

P.S. There is a Mcdonalds that’s open late down by the club strip so if you want cheap greasy food after a long night, that’s the place to be.

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The Bucket List Challenge and What Pinterest Has Taught Me

For those of you who don’t know I am third year film student. I love film, I love making short films, and vlogs, but I also cooking and reading and making DIY projects and, as I’m sure you’re well aware by now, travel. Because I have a passion for all of these various things, it is no surprise that Pinterest has become a really big part of my life in the last few years. It’s the best place to sit and document all the things you want to accomplish someday. But that’s also the problem with Pinterest; we spend all of our time pinning the things we want to do, and no time actually doing them. So I have set out on a mission to correct that. I have decided that I am going to start going through my Pinterest and accomplishing the things I pin, and since I am a film maker, what else is there for me to do but document it? So here’s the deal, instead of pining other people’s lives, I am going to set up a Youtube channel where I will post recipes, DIY projects, book reviews, and most importantly travel videos as I work my way to a life well pinned. But don’t worry, I will still be blogging about it as well because how could I give up writing? I want to prove that anyone can be a doer even if you don’t have all the time and money in the world. I am so poor sometimes it’s actually tragic, but I don’t let it stop me from accomplishing the things I want to in this life.

In that same vein I will also be working through my bucket list which you can read in my blog post here, and posting videos about those experiences.  In fact when I got to Barcelona and Paris next week I will (hopefully) be checking off numbers:

74) Stand atop the Eiffel Tower, 127) Eat a croissant in France, 137) Visit Versailles, and139) Eat Paella in Barcelona

Some of them are cheesy like eating a croissant in France, but some of them are more serious like seeing the stars from Atacama or riding an elephant. I am just tired of saying someday and I really want to start saying; “Today I…” and I challenge you to do the same.

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Down by the River

In Torrelles de Foix, Spain, there isn’t a lot to do. It is a very small town with just a couple of tiny markets and a pharmacy. And while I quite enjoy this quite little town, sometimes it can get a little monotonous.

So yesterday my two little brothers and I decided to go to the store so they guy buy snacks. We get there and , of course they are still closed for siesta so we decided to walk around a bit. We went down a small alley and back up, still closed. So we walked up past the store, up a hill we had never been before. As we were walking one of my brothers noticed a sign that was pointing to the right and decided that we should follow it, so we did. We walked down a path past a field with one old shack in the middle, and past a few scattered houses, up into the woods on the back side of town. When we got there we found a little stream that had beautiful, cold, clear water, and huge trees that were thick enough to climb in. We also found crawdads in the water, so we spent the afternoon climbing trees and exploring paths and catching crawdads. And even though we all got cut up on thorn bushes and came home wet and dirty, it was one of the best afternoons I have spent since we got here. On our way back we took a back road and it led past all these farms and vineyards that line the edge of town. It was so beautiful and green, I can’t believe we never explored that way before.

The thing that really got to me about the afternoon is that I forgot how good it feels to just be a kid. As I’m coming up on my 21 birthday I feel less and less like it’s ok for me to just be goofy and climb a tree. It was nice to regain some of that freedom.

A week from Friday I leave to spend a few days in Barcelona and Paris with my best friend so I try to keep my blog updated on how it all goes. It’s my first time to Paris and I’m super excited. We have plans to see museums and churches and all the beautiful touristy things that I’m not ashamed of. Although mostly I’m just excited to go to the Van Gough and Seurat exhibits which I have already informed my traveling companion will probably illicit tears from me. Art makes me emotional…sue me.

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Spain, where clothing is optional but Seafood is not

Last week we got the chance to go into Barcelona and go to the beach. As always, however, it was an adventure getting there.

We took the bus from Torrelles to Villa Franca, and then waited and took the bus from Villa Franca to Barcelona, then we walked about fifteen minutes until we realized that walking just wasn’t a practical way to go, so we got on another bus and took a very long bus ride down to the harbor where we walked the rest of the way to the beach.

The water was amazingly clear, and it was a nice warm day. The beach was incredibly crowded but that didn’t surprise me. The thing that DID catch me a bit off guard however was the fact that the beach was topless, which is totally fine, but one can never fully prepare oneself for the casual way woman will just sit around half naked. It was just a little weird, and I was and always will be perfectly happy keeping my clothes on.

As we were waling to and from the beach the thing I noticed was every single restaurant (and there were many) had a paella and sangria special. I had been told by a friend that this was a great combo and very popular in Spain but I had no idea to what extent. In fact seafood in general is such a huge industry. I mean you can buy calamari rings the same way you buy onion rings in the states. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

Other than that one outing life in Spain is pretty much just like life every where else. I work, I watch Netflix, I eat. Life is life everywhere you go.

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Bienvenido a Torrelles De Foix

I have now officially been in Spain for almost two weeks and I have yet to write a blog post. In my defense we didn’t havve internet for a while, and then we were out a lot, and then my grandmother passed so there just hasn’t been a god time to sit down and really reflect on my first week here.

We left Frankfurt, Germany around 8pm and arrived in Barcelona, Spain at about 10pm. It was a stress free, short flight…at first. We got off the plane and walked through the airport to baggage claim in relatively high spirits. We sat, and waited for the luggage to be unloaded, and we started to gather our things. Now because my God family is moving to Spain permanently, they have a lot of bags to keep track of. We got most of them, but there was one missing. So we waited, and waited, and waited some more until the airport was almost empty and there were just a few stray bags going round and round in a continual circle. We took stock of everything and discovered that, of course, the missing bag was the bag with all the expensive recording equipment, (Luckily my God father is smart enough to keep a lock on his equipment case). So my God father stood in line for an hour or so just to be told that the luggage got left in Frankfurt, but would be on the first flight the next morning. Tired, and annoyed we left the airport and called the hotel shuttle to pick us up. We finally got in the van around 11 pm and, luckily we had a very kind driver. He didn’t speak much english but we knew enough Spanish to communicate. After getting tot he hotel and getting settled for the night we went down to the little store in the lobby of the Barcelona Best Western (which is beautiful by the way highly recommend it) and bought sandwiches and water. For five of us it came to almost 50 Euro which is ridiculous for pre made sandwiches and bottles of water, but beggars can’t be choosers. I called my father and chatted for a bit and then drifted off into a very comfortable sleep.

The next morning we were out the door by 10am to meet the man who owns the house we have rented. He had graciously offered to pick us up from the hotel and take us to the house, but as soon as I saw his compact, four passenger car I looked at my oldest G-Brother and said, “There’s no way we are all fitting in THAT…” and I was right. 20 minutes, and a lot of failure to communicate later, I found myself sitting in the Best Western lobby waiting for the boys to get dropped off and for my G-father and the owner to come back and pick me up. I would say I was there a good three or four hours, but I had wifi so who’s complaining? Plus I had lunch at the hotel restaurant which, while a little expensive, was incredibly delicious and my waiter was a very nice man who forgave my poor Spanish and made conversation with me as far as I could communicate. Eventually I was picked up and we made our way to the house.

We are staying in a lovely little house in Torrelles de Foix which is about forty minutes outside of Barcelona by car. It is a neat little town with close set building and little alleyways where people hang their clothes out their windows and on lines across the sky.There is one little market with a meat counter in the back, and I’m pretty sure we now own the only box of cereal in the entire town. There is also a Panderia owned by a wonderful man named Pedro, and a meat and wine shop owned by a coupe names Jaime and Marcella. There are maybe two thousand people in the whole town and we have met a lot of them. Inclusing an Australian (that old travelers joke about Aussies being everywhere is so on the money).

The first time we went out we met Jaime and Marcella who let us try every one of their meats so we knew what we liked and wanted to buy. Next we met Pedro who is very kind and always up for a chat even though he speaks no English. then there is the restaurant/bar that serves the best coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life, where a young woman works who speaks Spanish, and apparently French as we learned after she served a french couple one night, but no English. Basically no one speaks English but they are all so incredibly kind and patient with our poor Spanish.

We also live about fifteen minutes out of Villa Franca which is a decent sized town where we go to buy groceries and essentials for the house. I can’t tell you how many times we have stopped to ask directions and someone has just dropped what they are doing to take us to where we are going. We even met an Englishman who took us to two different places to find Visa information, and THEN found us in a grocery store later to give more ideas on the solution to some of our problems. People here are so kind it’s staggering.

This post in getting incredibly long so I will save my Barcelona trip for another day, but my conclusion so far is that Spain is lovely and so are its people.

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