Page 9 of MaRs BaRs Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 19th 2015

Today started off with us arriving at Plaza Catalunya, just in time for our day trip to Codorniu Cava Winery and Montserrat. We had little time to spare, so we bought a quick breakfast at a local café. While we were scarfing down our breakfast, we were approached by an older women asking for money. I felt insecure to go through my wallet looking for money. When she asked for my croissant, I decided to give it to her. I do not like seeing people go hungry. We quickly got on the bus and then it was off to Codorniu Winery. Codorniu, specializes in creating Cava, a sparkling wine mainly produced in the Catalan region of Spain. When we reached the winery, we were presented with a 3D video of the history of the winery. Very ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 18th 2015

Our first stop, this morning was Park Guell. Park Guell, located in the Gracia district of Barcelona, is a fair distance from the city center. We booked our tickets to the monument region of the park online to avoid the queue and save a dollar. We had to take the metro to the Vallcarca station and then follow the signs to the park. After walking uphill and taking a set of escalators, we finally reached the park in about an hour after we left the hostal. We just made our tickets window in the nick of time. At 8:30 in the morning, the park was fairly calm. It was nice to walk around the park in peace and quiet, without the large tourist crowds. As it is located on a hill, the park provided wonderful views ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 17th 2015

I am one of those people that likes to plan things well in advance. Therefore, when I heard that it could take over 2 hours to enter the Sagrada Familia, I decided to book entrance tickets online. I booked the Basilica entrance and the Nativity tower at 9:00 am and 9:30 am, respectively. However, when we reached the basilica, there was no queue. Nevertheless, I guess it is better to plan ahead than potentially have to wait for hours to get inside At 9:30am we took the elevator to the top of the Nativity tower and were rewarded with a great view of the city. We saw intricate details of the Nativity façade through the many windows poking out of the tower and also got to see some of the construction that was being done on ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona October 16th 2015

The day has finally arrived! After months of planning, my sister and I are finally going on our first Contiki two week trip to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. But first, we are spending an entire week travelling around Spain by ourselves. Our mission, to discover parts of Spain not included in the tour. Our first destination; Barcelona! Known for the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, great food and nightlife, Barcelona was definitely a destination we could not miss on our visit to Spain. We landed in Barcelona around 5:00 pm on Friday, October 16th. That gave us enough time to check into our Hostal, El Angels, and wander around the famous street, La Rambla and visit La Boqueria market. For the off season, La Rambla and La Boqueria market were surprisingly very crowded. La Boqueria market was ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 30th 2013

Friday, August 30th, 2013- Saturday, August 31st, 2013 On the road again… Today we were on the road again from Iringa back to Dar Saleem airport. We stopped at an arts and crafts store on the way. I bought a lion painting, salad spoons and a jewellery box. Renata bought some jewellery. The whole Tancan 2013 team cleared out the store in one sweep. Then we were back on the road again to Dar Saleem airport. We may have missed our flight if we did not take a secret route to the airport to bypass the rush hour traffic. We were able to make our flight with time to spare. The plane ride home was fairly uneventful. From DarSaleem we headed to Zurich, from Zurich to Newark and from Newark to Buffalo and then the greyhound ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 29th 2013

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 Walking tour and meeting the Maasai…. Today Renata, Viola, Leo, Joanne and I went on a walking tour early in the morning with Eddie and a Maasai through the National Reserve. We saw animals in the distance and learned about the trees and animal footprints. We saw a baobab tree that was used as a hideout for poachers to hunt for animals. The gun the Maasai warrior was carrying was not for animals but for poachers. Poachers will kill humans if they are seen in order to protect themselves. Luckily, we did not see any poachers. Eddie gave us the fruit of the baobab tree to taste. It was overripe and tasted powdery and sour. The Tanzanian people make a drink out of the fruit juices. The baobab fruit is known to ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 27th 2013

Tuesday August 27th- Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 Ruaha National Park Safari…. Its Safari time! The Tancan 2013 group took two safari vehicles to Ruaha National Park. Seven of us traveled with tour guide Eddie while the rest of the group traveled with tour guide Jacintha. We saw numerous elephants, giraffe, zebras, impala and kudus and learned about their mating habits and way of life. The safari vehicles went up and down through the bush as we searched for hidden animals. At one point the other group’s vehicle got stuck while searching for a leopard. We missed spotting the leopard that time but later on in the day we came across it lying under a tree. It was not keen on getting its picture taken and slowly walked away. I felt like a paparazzi, taking pictures and ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 26th 2013

Monday August 26th, 2013 Bus ride to Iringa….. Today was a long bus ride from Mbangamao to Iringa. We did not have the luxurious coach we had for our first road trip from Dar Saleem to Songea. However, it got us from point A to point B. We first arrived in Songea, where we met the sisters for the last time and took any of remaining luggage stored at the clinic. We also said goodbye to Shirley, Virgil, Martha, Elizabeth and Suzanna, who were leaving us. Shirley and Virgil were going to Kenya to meet other sponsor children from their parish and Martha and Elizabeth were going onward to Kenya to go back to work at the Chalice office in Kenya. Suzanna was going back to Dar Saleem, where she works in a CIDA organization. Then ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 25th 2013

Sunday August 25th, 2013 Mass, school blessing, sponsor child visits and Canada vs. Tanzania basketball game…… Today was officially our last day in Mbangamao. At mass, we were greeted by the bishop and the priests in the region (Father Varghese, Father Matthew, Father Pachai, Father Simon). The church was decorated with streamers, for the bishops welcome. It looked very festive. After the mass which was spoken in Swahili, the bishop, members of the congregation, and the Canadian team headed back to the school where the bishop gave a blessing on the newly built De Paul Secondary School library and computer lab. The computer lab will not only provide educational resources to De Paul Secondary school students but also the government students in the community. It is a great tool to provide students with the education they ... read more
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Africa » Tanzania » South » Songea August 24th 2013

Saturday, August 24th, 2013 Last day of Clinic …. Clinic Day 5: Today, I was in charge of the gift table. I had to make sure that there were enough gifts for the clinic children. Our supply was diminishing. It was a fairly slow day. I played card games with the student volunteers at the clinic and talked with other members of the Tancan team. At the end of the clinic I handed out candy canes to the student volunteers not expecting them to go crazy and surround me. They were normal while we played card games. I guess when it comes to free candy all civility goes out the window. It was a free for all, and chaos unfolded as the volunteers swarmed me while grabbing the candy. I was glad when all ... read more

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