Tag Archives | Montserrat

The Fighting Couple’s 10 Best in Barcelona

If you spend much time on our blog you know we write a ton about Barcelona, Spain. Why? There are so many layers to Barcelona. The wonderful city has so much it wants to tell you.  For us, it is one of those places that around every corner is something new.  As we walked down the Las Ramblas, retracing the steps of Orwell and Hemingway you can’t help be feel a connection to the history of this place.  As you stare in wonder at one of Gaudi’s playful architectural creations you begin to understand the city and it becomes a part of you.

Those of you that have yet to visit this incredible city, here are our top picks:

Camp Nou

For you football fans Camp Nou is one of the world’s great cathedral’s of sport.  It is the home of the mighty FC Barcelona.  The sheer size of the venue is what is so unbelievable   Even if you are not super interested in athletics, you must tip your hat at the impressive expanse of facility.  Take a tour of the storied FC Barcelona museum.  It is a bit over priced, but for the exuberant fan, it is a must.

Yellow Tram

Tram to the top

Montserrat

Our next recommendation is not in even in Barcelona…It is the must see day trip outside of the city:  The monastery at Montserrat.   Pack a lunch for you and your loved one and board the train for the hour long trip north of the city.  We did a post recently about visiting the benedictine monastery check it out here.  Go for the views and the tram ride up and down the mountain.

The Opera House

We have a tiny confession   We have never been into the opera house.  We have stood in line for tickets twice, took pictures from the lobby, and dreamed about what it looks like on the inside.  But due to circumstance beyond our control we have never made it in.  That is why it is on this list.  We want to see it too!  If you do go, please let us know what you think.  Should we keep it on the list of must sees in Barcelona?

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia Exterior

Sagrada Familia

We exited the underground right in front of the grand cathedral, walked out into the sunshine and there towering over me was one of the most interesting structures I have ever seen.  I stood looking at the exterior for nearly 30 mins!  It is a collage of biblical proportions in more ways than one!  The detail, the stories, the cast of characters just on the exterior of the church is impressive.   Then we walked inside!  I couldn’t help but feel dwarfed by the soaring ceilings inside.  This is one of those places that the pictures simply does not do it justice.  It is a must see on any visit to Barcelona.

Park Guell

Barcelona

Park Guell Barcelona

We have done a couple of posts on this famous park.  It is a bit of a hike to get to the park but it is so worth it.  The views from the plaza of all of Barcelona is breathtaking.  The park is another creation from the mind of Gaudi.  It is one of those iconic places that is on every tourist map for the city.  But  there is so much more than meets the eye.  Gaudi outdid himself on the design and function of the park.  The serpentine benches that line the upper plaza are a work of art.  The lower plaza has unique little design details that make it fun.  The columns that support the upper plaza are actually hollow and are used to collect rainwater from above!  The beauty of the park is that a visit any time of day delivers a great experience.

water feature

Magic Fountain Barcelona

 

Monjuic

We are lumping a bunch of different sites under this one heading.  There is a good reason for this.  We want to you see it all!  A great primer for seeing the mountain is to start at the Olympic museum atop the hill.  Wander around the many displays.  Get your bearings on where and what events were held.  Your next stop is of course the Olympic stadium.  Take you pictures and move on not much to see there.  Take in the views of the swimming and diving centers.  Walk through the parks and gardens.

The Magic Fountain

A great evening attraction is the magic fountain of Barcelona.  The mix of water, lights and if you time your visit right… music is highly entertaining.   On most evenings you can watch as water is launched into the air in a choreographed display that is memorizing   A word of caution, watch you belongings.  This is a favorite spot for the el pickpocket-itos.

La Padrara

We could of filled this list with just Gaudi related locations.   He is that good.  And there are enough Gaudi locations to fill many a list.  We are offering our recommendations for the best.  La Padrara is a wonderland.  There really is no other word to describe the feeling of wandering the bends and bumps within the apartment complex.  Being there reminds us the power of the mind to create beauty.  At every turn during your tour you are going to smile and be amazed at the level of creativity that Gaudi possessed.  Our hint, look for the details, they will amaze you.

People watching in an anarchist bookstore

If you know us well, you know we love to people watch.  There is no place better in Barcelona than in one of the many revolutionary bookstores.  This is where the red-blooded revolutionaries come to get more….. revolutionary.  Sip your beverage, read some Hemingway.  Take it all in at your own pace.

Barceloneta Restaurant

Calle L’Escar, 22, 08039 Barcelona, Spain (La Barceloneta)

Our last recommendation involves food.  The perfect ending to any visit to the inviting city of Barcelona is a dinner at the Barceloneta.  You are going to have to save up your Euros to splurge on this one but the return on the investment is huge.  Located on the city’s harbor, this seafood out of this world.

That is it.  Our quick recommendations for Barcelona.  Getting to Spain is easy.  There are direct Barcelona flights from all of the major hubs in the states and Europe.  Barcelona also has one of the most user-friendly airports.  Enjoy your stay in Barcelona! Send us pictures!

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3 tips for Sun Seeking in the South of Spain

The Spanish do a lot of things very well: revolution, paella and SUNSHINE!  With its sun soaked beaches, lofty climbs, and vibrant cities, Spain continues to invite sun seekers from near and far.   We want to take you along to visit three of our favorite locations for the perfect holiday in Spain.  Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Gaudi BarcelonaThe Terraces of Barcelona

Let’s start our sun seeking tour at the heart of Southern Spain, Barcelona.  Barcelona’s mix of style, art, and warmth beckons sun seekers.  One of the central figures of the city is the renowned master architect Gaudi.  His thumbprint is all over the cityscape.  Barcelona is home to one of his masterpieces which is a sun seekers dream: Park Güell.  For the “un-Spanished” the word Güell is pronounced “Gwell”.   The park is actually an abandoned upscale housing development envisioned by Gaudi which included villas, an elaborate water collection system, shops and the highlight, the gardens.  Gaudi’s talent was injecting animals and nature themes into his designs.   The park is filled with little touches that create interesting finds at every turn.  The focus of the park is its outlining benches.  The tile benches surround the city facing portion of the park.  Gaudi elected to use a snake like theme, which creates these small intimate bends and nooks for sitting with your loved one enjoying the sun.

Getting to Park Guell is a little bit of a chore.  By Metro, Take the green line to the stop “Lesseps”.  From there follow the signs that lead to the entrance of the park.  It is a roughly a 20 minute walk.  It is located at the top of a steep hill.  The effort is well worth it!

Montserrat

TramThe next stop on our Southern Spain sun tour is the mountaintop location, Santa Maria de Montserrat.  This wonderful Benedictine abbey is located 30 miles west of Barcelona.  It is perfect for a daytrip outside the city.  From this wonderful perch you can take in one of the most amazing views in all of Catalonia.  There are a number of small hikes that you can take from the abbey.  This is going to sound a little crazy, but the food at the cafeteria of the abbey is actually really good.   There is not an entrance fee to the Montserrat Monastery but if you wish to visit the museum the entrance fee costs €6.50 for adults.  Of course, you are there for the sun.  Pack a picnic and take a walk across the smooth stones of the mountain top and take in the glorious sunshine.

Getting to Montserrat is half the fun.  Shrug off the easy way and forgo the cram packed tour bus.  Simply catch the Line R5 train headed toward Manresa at the Espanya rail station.  Tickets are very affordable.  I don’t think we paid over $20.  It takes about an hour to get from the Espanya station to the Montserrat stop.  Once there, enter the ticket office and purchase your tram ticket.  Pick a spot to stand near the windows and make sure your camera is set, because the ride up to the top is simply amazing!

Did you know that you can ask the Fighting Couple Anything?  Yes!  “Ask us Anything!”

Costa Brava

The grand finale in our sun seeking adventure is heading up the coastline to wonderful Costa Brava or “Wild Coast”.  The Costa Brava stretches from Barcelona all the way to the border of France.  If you are into sun, sand, and seclusion this is your place.  Unlike its twin sister Nice, France further up the coast, Costa Brava continues to be one of the great under-discovered locations.

Some of the best beaches on the Costa Brava are near Palamos.  The Platja de Castell with it’s warm sand and relative seclusion is one of the areas finest.  The sapphire colored water is so inviting!  You can also follow the old smugglers trail to a wonderful ocean viewpoint on the east end of the beach.  Bring or rent a sand chair, open a good book, and soak up as much sun as you like.

There are a number of different accommodations levels, everything from wonderful resorts like the Rehana Royal Beach Resort to more rustic abodes.  Access to the beach is the key.  We highly recommend you have a car for traveling the Costa Brava region.  Public transport is scare and unreliable.

So these are our recommendations for sun seeking in the South of Spain.  Tell us, what is your favorite places to seek the sun?  Island destinations?  Swanky resorts?  Leave us a comment below.  See you in Barcelona!

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Kissing Capitals: Barcelona

Best places to kiss in Barcelona

“Her lips on his could tell him better than all her stumbling words.”-Margaret Mitchell

Are you looking for a few good places to kiss?  We are here to help.  We are launching a series of the best places to kiss in the world.  We are calling it the best of the kissing capitals.  Our first nomination is Barcelona, Spain.  Barcelona with its warm ocean breezes, Eclectic art scene, and Latin vibe is well deserving.  The Entire Catalonia region of Spain is steeped in romance.  Kiss in Catalan is pronounced petó.  Peto has a number of different meanings…we will leave that between you and Wikipedia.

Lets begin our kissing tour at the top literally.

BarcelonaMontjuic

Overlooking the entire city of Barcelona is Montjuic. It is more of a hill than a true mountain, but the vistas night or day are dramatic.  Nestled on the banks of the hills are wonderful walking paths that meander through gardens.  Montjuic is a wonderful place to pack a picnic, or take an evening stroll.  Montjuic came to its prime through development during the Olympics.   Many of the Olympic events were held at venues on the Mont.  Montjuic continues to be a favorite of both locals and first timers.

Sunset is truly the best time to visit Montjuic.  There are a number of benches and stops along the trails up and down the mount that offer great places to watch the sun go down and steal a kiss or two!

 

fountianMagic Fountain

At the base of Montjuic you will discover a wonderful display of water, light, music and magic.  We give you our next stop on the kissing tour: the Magic Fountain of Barcelona.  A little history on the fountain, it was erected for the World’s Fair that the city was playing host to in 1929.  The original plans by designer Carles Buigas were initially cast off as an overly ambitious impossibility.  One year later, thousands of workers completed the fountain ahead of schedule.

Today the fountain continues to wow its crowds.

You will need to time your visit when the Fountain is in full splendor:

 

Winter: (October to April)

Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Music sessions: 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM

Summer: (May to September)

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Music Sessions: 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM 11:00 PM

 

Gaudi parkPark Guell

Could we have a tour of Barcelona without a Gaudi location?  Impossible!  Antoni Gaudi, the Catalan master of art and architecture designed a number of unique attractions throughout Barcelona and the Catalonia region.  One of his most expansive projects was an entire housing development for Barcelona’s well healed.  Located on a hill just outside the city is his vision of subdivision living.  Fortunately for today’s visors, Gaudi’s vision was a little deeper than the pockets of prospective investors.  Today, the entire development has been transformed into a public park and greenspace.  It is a masterpiece.

You and you lover can walk on trails criss crossing the entire development.  Climb the famous “lizard” stairs, and arrive at the main terrace.  It commands excellent views of another Gaudi masterpiece the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.  The terrace is surrounded by cozy benches that are designed to a tee for couples.  These unique benches are actually in the design of a sea monster!  Park Guell is a wonderful place to kiss your sweetheart.

 

Mountain tramOn the tram to Montserrat

Clinging to the crests of cliffs outside Barcelona is the Monastery of Montserrat.  For those couples demanding a little more adventure in their smooching venues, we highly recommend the tram to Montserrat.  The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 4,055 feet above sea-level.  The tram ride up to the top is truly an experience that cannot be fully described or missed!  Visiting Montserrat can be a full or half day venture depending on your interest level.  Don’t get conned into taking a special tour bus ect.  There is train service to the tram station.  It is a very affordable side trip for any stay in Barcelona.

How did we do?  Did we miss any special places in Barcelona?  Where do you nominate that we discuss next?

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