Tag Archives: vacation

Best of Barcelona, ssh! it’s a secret…

21 Sep

Sightseeing in Barcelona


So you have the guidebook, so you know what you need to see…Well here’s my best of  if you are stuck for time in Barcelona, in no particular order….

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
This is as the name suggests, a giant labyrinth. Made me feel like I was in a lovely film, running around trying not to get lost. Beautiful gardens, crumbling Arabic mansion, and no city sounds…wonderful. p.s. I’ve lived in Barcelona for 4 years and I just discovered this beauty last weekend. It’s a weirdly not-rounded-up €2.17.

The Magic Fountain
This is a must see, but make sure to check the website before you make the journey. It’s roaring classical music meets lights, lasers and romance. Oh and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Mar Bella Beach
Forget the dirty touristic beach that sits on the end of the promenade. Go a little further, and meet the real 20 somethings of Barcelona. Great music, cleaner water and lots of bronzed bodies.

Walks

Gaudi
Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, Fountains in Parc De la Cuitadella, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo…they are all in the guidebook for for good reasons.

El Gothic
Windy streets, lots of tourists, roman ruins, big squares, lots of cafes and bars, souvenir shops, shady characters, cheap raybans, hippy clothes will all leave you with the distinct feeling you’ve just been on holiday…Check out Plaza Trippy for some cosy but crazy nightlife.

La Rambla
It even has it’s own wiki page.

El Raval
Twisty, dirty streets, full of chaos, loud noises, large families, great museums, pickpocketers, lots of great bars, a huge mix of expats from all over the world..oh and lots of men offering cerveza beer and a whole concoction of other things. weird, a little smelly in places. But very Barcelona.

Gracia
This is real Barcelona, full of 20 somethings, always up for a good time, with fresh food markets, little quirky vintage boutiques and cosy little bars with great prices.

Camp Nou

One of the most famous reasons to visit Barcelona. This stadium is HUGE, and to be honest any ticket you get guarantees a good view of the guys in action.
Get your tickets here: Football Tickets Barcelona
These guys speak English, French, Spanish and German and have been doing this for years.

Bars

Timeline
Owned by the lovely Carla and Nina-both bilingual- this bar is sure to please. Decorated cleverly in, well, a timeline of clocks, vintage furniture, old school books as menus, delicious cocktails served in generous jam jars, oh and the most yummy patatas bravas you will find in Gracia..this is a great location to meet new friends, kick back, relax and watch the time go by..

Heliogabal
This is a gem if you are a big fan of little intimate bars with good music and cheap beer and vino. The crowd is a good mix of locals, and expats, usually only too happy to strike up conversation.

El Chatelet
This is one of my favs, they do great cocktails, there is always a good crowd and the atmosphere is second to none. The crowd is kind of trendy, but relaxed and chatty. Mostly locals.

Tapas

I think I should be on commission for Bitacora. Every time we have guests over, this is the one place that we always want to show off in. Fabulous tapas, served in a grungy FC Barcelona supporters bar. Rude writing on the bathroom walls, dirty napkin filled floors, but some of the most delicious food I have EVER tasted. eh..did I mention I think this place is pretty awesome??

Museums
Quirky, in the heart of Raval, surrounded by skaterboys and girls, is Macba, tattoos, kitch bars, and stark white surroundings, this is the heartbeat of the art scene in Barcelona. Keep an eye out for some great photography exhibits in the gallery there.

travelling on a shoe string? what’s in my bag…

30 May

so i’m in a situation that means i have to kind of stick around at home with family for the foreseeable…leaving me plenty of time to ponder where i want to go to next on my travels…AND as a huge ‘to-do’ list fiend, packing, pre-packing, packing take#2 and unpacking, are all of my favourite things…so here’s some help if you’re not as weird as me. please note that this list is for trips to areas such as south america, thailand, australia etc… they do not include trips to extreme altitude/skiing, watersports with large equipment etc…although note that in countries like costa rica/ mexico and other areas known for watersports like surfing, it’s possible to rent top quality equipment on site and avoid huge travel costs and lugging around large bags.

passport– don’t be silly. at least 6 months in advance prepare all necessary visas/paperwork, especially if you are going long haul and travelling in between countries every few days/weeks. you don’t want to be stuck at a border with no food and no accommodation close-by after dark. and goes without saying, passport needs to be in date with over 6 months left on it’s validity for certain regions.

small daypack– this is a life saver, particularly on long bus journeys, perfect for carrying your water, passport, camera, snacks, toilet-roll(!), phrase book, wallet, any personal medication, book/ipod/etc… Be careful to divide up your money in different places (wallet, pocket, other pockey, day pack..)so, worse-case scenario, you have a fallback if you or your travel buddy get mugged.

mini first-aid kit-plasters/bandages, small bottle of disinfectant, mini scissors, suncream, sudocrem, bonjela, painkillers, after-sun, tweezers-these are a life saver for some reason!!- ‘traveller tummy’ tablets, bug spray/coils, malaria tablets-brand and strength varies on region- tampax for the ladies, condoms for both, talcum powder, anti-histamines, altitude sickness/motion sickness tablets. (try to divide this bag between you and your travel buddy)

clothestry not to pack too much. depending on your chosen activities, you’ll need layers/beach gear/wet gear/hiking gear etc… but if you are travelling for a full year bear in mind you might need to let go of those heavy hiking boots if you plan to stay put in oz for more than a few months..i’m 27 and female and if i was jetting off now for two months, i would bring: 2 bikinis, pareo for the sand, beach cover-up/pashmina(can double up as cover-up for visiting mosques/temples), 2 pairs shorts/skirts, long skirt, warm hoody, cardigan, about five vests/t.shirts, 2 cotton long sleeves, one or two brightly coloured pairs of earrings/necklaces to dress up for going out, trainers/comfy shoes, flip-flops for beach/day time, nicer pair of sandals for going out/evening, jeans, leggings, and undies.

flip-flops– yes i already mentioned this above, but what flip flops you choose can determine what kind of state your poor feet are in after a long day at the beach or strolling around a city.. take my advice and only buy havaianas, the originals, i’ve gotten about 6 months travelling, wearing them each day, from brazil to mexico. pay a little more and trust me, it’s more than worth it.

 

camera– this is an obvious one, but i think some people feel  like they should have invested a little more to capture their memories for friends and family back home. word of advice is to also pack c.d’s or dvd’s (or online storage) and copy your photos onto these and send them home as you go along, that way, even if your camera ends up in the water at your full-moon party, you still have the evidence of a great time prior to all of the waterworks. you may never see these places again in your life-time so grab that moment in time with a fabulous shot you’ll have forever.

pens/journal/phone numbers/email addresses back home- this is invaluable. remember that not everyone travels with a mobile phone or iphone etc..some people actually want to get away from it all, and try and keep in touch via email whenever they get to a cyber-cafe. your little travel book can be filled with nice messages, receipts of day trips, photos from photo booths, letters from new friends and so on. this is just wonderful to have and look back at years later, and everything from the trip comes flooding back with each page turn.