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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 16th 2020

NOVEMBER 3, 2019 All good things must come to an end. It was finally time to say “goodbye Barcelona”. Goodbye to everything Gaudi, the Barri Gotic, Sobremeso (sit and relax, order some Pipas (sunflower seeds) with a nice glass of Rioja and watch the world go by). Farewell to my favorite Boquerones (White Anchovies cured in OVO & vinegar), and the amazing Crema Catalonia. Muchas Gracias! It was wonderful to walk in the footsteps of Fermin and Daniel (from The Shadow of the Wind) in the historic areas, including the wonderful Cathedral of the Sea, and to revisit this city, now transformed from its smokey and dirty caterpillar stage into the beautiful butterfly it is today, competing with Paris for Europe’s best city. Port Vell, with its harbor full of yachts and tourists, has become a ... read more
Dave climbing the stairs at the Palau de Musica
Porter's Lodge and entrance to Park Guell
Barri Gotic, Cathedral of the Sea

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 12th 2020

NOVEMBER, 2, 2019 Sadly, we came to our last full day in Barcelona. We were no longer living in the charming neighborhood of Barri Gotic and since there was nothing of interest to keep us where we were, we had breakfast at the hotel (of far less quality than anywhere else in Spain) and quickly left to begin our day. We walked down to the Metro stop to find the Red Route Tour Bus for the Hop On Hop Off City Tour run by the Barcelona Transport Company - TMB. Not an easy task. We were approached by a few other confused tourists looking for the same bus and since we had scoped it out the night before, we were able to help. We wanted to cover more ground in Barcelona before we left, and since ... read more
Charm found on Avenue Diagonal
Columbus points the way
Dave dwarfed by the Royal Gallery, Maritime Museum, Barcelona

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Girona » Girona November 10th 2020

NOVEMBER 1, 2019 Today we were booked for our move out of our BCNGotic apartment to the Abba Sants Hotel which was included in our upcoming cruise to return home. I called the hotel and asked if we could check in late in the day, they assured me it was no problem. I then checked with BCNGotic who said if we collected our bags before we left for the day, they would store them in their office where we could retrieve them when we returned. So far so good. Having packed our bags, gobbled down food from the fridge and Teresa’s dessert for breakfast, we were off to the Palau de la Musica to meet our Viator guide Sergio for our Game of Thrones day tour to Girona. We knew the group would be small but ... read more
St Feliu church
Halls of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants
El Call, Girona's Jewish Quarter

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Monistrol de Montserrat November 7th 2020

OCTOBER 30, 2019 Since we hadn’t bought coffee for our coffee maker we decided to go for an early morning walk before today’s tour to look for a nice cafe. Cafe Zurich must have been calling us. We sat outside at a little table near Plaza Catalonia watching the city come alive, feeling very European and tres chic all while enjoying great coffees and to die for pastries. A little Switzerland in Spain? You bet. It was later in the morning so we did not suffer the lines of the Coffee Rush. Our waiter brought our Trenza and Muffin Xocolata pastries and coffees to the table. Yes, it took a little time, but nothing to complain about, we were on vacation soaking up the atmosphere, the reason we came here! At 10am we met our van ... read more
Our Lady at the Montserrat Cathedral
Montserrat Cathedral with the serrated mountains behind
Black Madonna

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 5th 2020

OCTOBER 29, 2019 Our Gate 1 tour was over and we needed to check out of our the NH Collection Constanza hotel to get to our new digs by 9am. Before we left for our trip to Spain, I had made reservations for us to stay in a charming 3 bedroom apartment through Bcngotic on 6 Carrer de l’Argenteria, Ciutat Vella (Old City) in historic Barri Gotic. We had a quick breakfast at our hotel, said our goodbyes to Vera and our new friends then grabbed a cab to the other side of the city to check into our apartment. We quickly got our key, settled our bags, then ran to make our 11am tour of the Palau de la Musica (about 10 a minute walk from our apartment). We were panting but grateful we had ... read more
Lluis Millet Hall
Palau de Musica balcony, Lluis Millet Hall
Balcony view of the concert hall

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 4th 2020

OCTOBER 28, 2019 Gate 1 announced that this last day of our tour would be a “free day” so I had booked the Barcelona in a Day tour (in advance) from Viator. Dave and I took a cab to our meeting place from our hotel. Kathleen from our Gate 1 troupe had decided to join us for the day. We met our first Viator guide Oliver who is an art historian, most appropriate for what we were planning to see: the Sagrada Familia. Crowds had already formed at 9am so Oliver scrambled to get our tickets. Oliver began outside the church by explaining the three doors to the church which represent the Nativity (Birth), Passion (Crucifixion), and the Glory (Resurrection). Currently there are only 8 towers completed but when fully built there will be a total ... read more
Intricate skeleton-like structures support the vaulted arches inside the Sagrada Familia
Casa Mila from the street
Casa Mila window

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » Barcelona November 2nd 2020

BARCELONA, Oct 27, 2019 We turned our clocks back one hour (Franco decided to change the time one hour forward) and we left Valencia at 8:30AM. I feel more rested, thank you Franco. Vera told us that after the civil war most people had to have two jobs in order to put food on the table. It was not easy to both eat and get to work. As a result, the time change gave them more time to eat later, yet, Vera told us, most people in Spain don’t know about the time difference in Catalonia. She said some of the locals want to change back to Spanish time but others think it culturally unique and special. As we knew from our travels before that Spain has a law that makes it mandatory that drivers of ... read more
Olive orchards viewed from the bus
Las Arenas, Barcelona
Dave enjoys the view on top of Las Arenas

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona September 13th 2020

Everytime I hear this question I feel fear and tears. I instantly clench and tears form at the backs of my eyes. Although I published a daily vlog though lockdown talking about it face to face is just not the same, when I write a blog or film a vlog it doesn’t feel like talking to a person but just releasing whats inside outside. I was confronted in London with the question so many times, a question I can’t process, the short answer is - ‘I feel like I have a form of PSD my body is in shock still and everything is yet to be processed but basically it was not ok.’ Not only does it make me feel fear & tears but as I have still not dealt with the pain I feel intense ... read more

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona March 6th 2020

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind, always.” As I exhaled into my first downward dog for 8 months I felt a rush of shame roll over me. How had I let it get this bad? My knees were bent, my stomach rolling over... my right heel screaming out in pain. That’s how I reminded myself, be kind Saskia. That was my mantra that class as I struggled for the first time since I can remember to touch my toes and scolded my stomach and weight, be kind Saskia, your here. You made it to the mat. How did I get here though? After starting to run in 2018 I was healthy and happy practicing yoga at least twice a week and running three times. I injured my foot that ... read more
Session 6
Spring at home

Europe » Spain » Catalonia December 19th 2019

Crossing the border, apart from a whoop whoop from ourselves doesn't change the scenery or weather, the border building is a derelict building, which could be reinstated should the need required, we wonder as we cross pre Brexit. Our destination is what is known as The Dali Triangle, Port Lligat, his home for some 40+ years, Figueres, his Museum, Art space and final Resting place and finally Pubol the castle he bought for his wife Gala, decorated for her and is her final Resting place. We arrive late in the evening and chose Roses as our stopping place before taking the twisting road over to the other side of the Pennisula known as the Cap de creus Pennisula. Roses as we are finding out is like so many of the Spanish seaside resorts closed “nobody is ... read more
Dali's house  - Port Lligat
Dali self portrait
View of the Volcanic national park




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