Adventure: Sitges and Al’s Burger Bar!

I definitely qualify this one as an adventure!

Our new friend Sarah is heading back to Denmark at the end of the month, and although she’s been here for several months, there are a few things she hadn’t yet experienced – including Sitges, one of my favourite places! I always have to take photos when I go there, as the sun playing on the water is always breathtaking. We decided Sarah must go before she leaves.

So, we rounded up a couple of other friends, and the five of us took the lovely R2 Sud train down the coast. The train ride itself, once you leave Barcelona proper, is beautiful as it winds through the little towns along the coast. On one side are hills and communities; on the other side is the water.

We also decided that she must experience Al’s Burger Bar. It seems that when we get together, we always have burgers, and Al’s has some of the best in the region. Plus, we had yet to meet the elusive Al, so we were hoping this would be the day! AND IT WAS! Our friends loved it, and I foresee more trips there with them in the future. Al is a wonderful guy, a lot of fun, and didn’t hesitate to chat it up with everyone.

We stuffed ourselves silly, but there was no way we were leaving Sitges yet. It was 19 degrees, the sun was out in full force, and although there was a light breeze, it was a gorgeous day. So we decided to park ourselves on one of the breakwaters that jutted out into the Med. We chatted, enjoyed the sun, and even napped a bit! It was wonderful, and I finally got to start my tan.

Without further ado, here are some photos from our afternoon!

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The beautiful coast

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A soccer game in progress

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My darling Dane, Sarah

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One of my favourite sights – palm trees!

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Some cider we enjoyed in the sun

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The gals soaking it all in.

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Nap time!

The breeze did start to pick up, the closer it got to sunset, so we hopped on a train around 6:15 pm, and headed back to Barcelona. It was a wonderful afternoon, one I’d happily repeat every single weekend.

Cheers to good times and good friends!

 

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Adventure: Cementiri de Montjuïc and Bus 21

I really hesitated in calling this an ‘adventure,’ as a visit to a cemetery isn’t on the same level as going to an amusement park. However, we found the cemetery to be quite fascinating. I will have to try and use my terrible prose to describe it to you, as I did not take any photos (a. there was a sign, and b. out of respect).

The cemetery was opened in 1883, and became the main cemetery. There are over a million burials & cremations within it’s plots, and it sits on the back slopes of Montjuïc, overlooking the harbour and the water. There are winding paths leading far up the hill, and can be walked or driven. There is a bus that operates on Sundays thats sole purpose is to move throughout the giant space. We didn’t realize that this bus only operates on Sundays, so we didn’t get to see too much of the cemetery. We’re planning on going back.

You can either explore the cemetery on your own, or follow one of the three routes created: Artistic, which includes very artistic mausoleums and sculptures; Historical, which includes the graves of important figures to Barcelona (including Joan Miró, Lluis Companys, Joan Gamper, and Ricardo Zamora); and Combined, which combines, well, parts of the other two routes.

We took Bus 21 to the cemetery entrance, and walked up into the first area. The mausoleums are incredible; the sculptures just stunning. As we walked along, we came across some very large mausoleums; there were kneeling benches and what seemed like altars in some of them.

We walked a bit more, and then we were within the ‘walls of the dead.’ This was the most beautiful and tragic part of the relatively short walk we took. These walls were three to six graves high, and each grave is numbered. There were moveable staircases (that reminded me of ones in libraries) that can be moved so loved ones can climb up and place flowers and memorials on graves that are above ground level. It was utterly amazing.

Since I did not take photos, here is a link to more information and an image gallery.

After we decided to leave the cemetery for the day, we hopped back onto Bus 21, just to see where it goes! We ended up winding throughout the factory blocks, and ended up in El Prat, a neat little ‘town’ within Barcelona. Very beautiful! The bus took a pause at the Renfe station in El Prat, so we got out and took a look around. We found a semi-completed metro station, which is meant to hook up to Line 9. A worker indicated that it could be open in 2016 (why so long!?).

We also found safe bike parking!

Bici Box

Bici Box

If you have a membership, you can swipe your card and then store your bike in one of the little ‘garages.’ How cool is that? Safer than a bike rack!

On the way back, the bus also wound down close to the port, so we got to see the mountains of shipping containers and tankers, as well as the rail lines.

Cheers to a beautiful Wednesday!

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Adventure: Montjuïc and the Telefèric

As we’ve settled into our flat, I find we’ve been going on fewer ‘adventures.’ To clarify, we spent much of our first months exploring anything we could find. The zoo, the aquarium, the Gothic, the tiny little streets with the tiny little shops and cafés… it was endless. We set out almost every day to get things for the flat or simply explore. Walk, see where it takes us. There are still so many places to do that in that as the weather continues to warm up, I’m sure we will continue to explore.

Last week, we realized we hadn’t been up Montjuïc in quite some time. It’s absolutely beautiful! This area has been used for multiple things, such as the site for some of the 1992 Olympic events, as well as the Spanish Grand Prix. The castle at the top provides some interesting areas to explore, and the gardens are simply gorgeous. There are multiple ways to get to the top of the mountain – the bus, which goes all the way up to the castle; a funicular (rack railway) to the halfway point; and the Telefèric (cable car), which goes from halfway up to the top. The last few times we went up, we took the bus, which we did this time as well. However, we decided to take the cable car down, instead of walking through the gardens like we usually do.

We hopped into a car, lucky number 13!

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Oh my. The view. I forgot about the view. Taking the cable car, you glide over the gardens and the people walking below. You also get an unrivalled view of the city and the Med.

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There’s just something so special about the view. It makes me realize how tiny I am in this bustling city, but makes me appreciate the beauty that is just waiting to be discovered. Photos cannot do this justice, it is something that needs to be experienced.

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There is so much to see and do; I can’t imagine ever being truly bored. I suppose there’s something to be said about moving from a city of 120,000 to a city of 1.62 million (or about 5 million in the whole metropolitan area).

And so I raise my flag to Catalonia – may you always be as beautiful as you are right now.

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Cheers!

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Sunday, Lazy Sunday

Well hello there!

It’s a waning Sunday afternoon in Barcelona, and as usual we didn’t do a whole lot. Sundays tend to be reserved as our mega lazy days, as many shops (except in the tourist area) are closed. There are still things to do, but everyone needs a quiet day now and then. I generally reserve Sundays for sleeping in, writing postcards, doing some reading, cleaning and laundry, and perhaps some big cooking (like a large pot of soup, or a chili). Today? Not so much. We went out with some new friends yesterday, and I didn’t get home until around 1 am. Had a wonderful time with our friends, and explored a new bar, although it was a bit on the expensive side.

I have also been completing a 100 Days of Happy challenge, although I am doing it a bit differently than it’s supposed to be completed. From what I understand, you’re meant to take a photo of something that made you happy that day, and post it to Twitter and/or Instagram with the #100happydays hashtag. Well, since I use neither Twitter nor Instagram, I decided to actually journal about it in my lovely Day One journalling app. It’s been cathartic, especially on those days that are less than optimal. Ensuring I find something to be happy about has made me realize just how much there is to be happy about. And that makes me happy! Only 91 more days to go! 🙂

I will probably add another entry or two today as I get everything out of my head and get this started.

I will leave you with a photo from 2012 of the beach downtown.

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Cheers!

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