Read more about the article Barcelona – Spain
Barcelona - Spain

Barcelona – Spain

Share it with the world

Roman Barcino; Ciudad Condal

With so many trips and visits to one of my all time favourite cities in the world; usually coming once or twice a year since 2003 mainly to visit and enjoy being with my friends, it’s finally a great time to create the travel guide for it, no more excuses on why to postpone. And while I am typing these introductory words, I do already know this will be a long guide and harder to create than most of the cities I’ve been, merely because I know it very well by now and can describe lots of facts and places.

Barcelona is a brand on its own. Everyone around the world have heard of it. In fact, although at points painful, many people from non Spanish speaking countries do believe it is the capital of Spain. Well, on the other hand, the city knew well how to sell itself to the world. Adverts, promotions, guides, tourist projects to bring people, great marketing and so on; something Madrid has only started doing recently. But of course, Barcelona has an asset impossible to beat, the sea. It is the 3rd largest city in the Mediterranean only after Istanbul and Alexandria.

Although along the coast, it is not only a seaside destination; it is a major centre for financial, telecommunications, cultural and businesses. Second transport hub after Madrid. Large music, sport and arts city; and an incredible architecture playground unique in Spain. After all, the millions of tourist and business people the city receive per year want to marvel the elegant avenues with the countless collection of Modernist style constructions, having the ones from Gaudi (full name Antoni Gaudi i Cornet) the sight number one. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingBarcelona – Spain
Read more about the article Soller – Spain
Soller - Spain

Soller – Spain

Share it with the world

Art Nouveau Masterpiece

One of the most beautiful places in the Island of Majorca, the incredibly charming city of Soller. The perfect day trip for anyone staying in Palma. That is all it takes, just one day to fully explore Soller and enjoy the beach of Puerto Soller. At only 1 hour away either on the old train or by bus, it is one of the major tourist destination for its rich history and impressive architecture; famous for the Catalan Modernist style chosen by the then bourgeois society which made of Soller and Palma their residences.

For us, there was no way for other option than coming here on the ancient 1912 wooden train. The route is only 27km but the landscapes you will see are well worth to pay the extra than if taking the cheaper option, the bus. It is a very scenic route along plantations of olive, almonds, oranges, lemons and many more; small villages, forests and the mountains. You can be at either end of the carriages on the little balcony for better views and pictures, but also you will get the chance to grab the best pictures when the train stops and you can go out for few minutes on the highest point with views over whole Soller below.

Linking both Soller and Puerto Soller is the 1913 wooden trams. But honestly, this is something we did not take and instead took a taxi for just one quarter of the price the tram would have been.  (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingSoller – Spain
Read more about the article Astorga – Spain
Astorga - Spain

Astorga – Spain

Share it with the world

Asturica Augusta

Continuing on this holidays in Spain we decided to spend the day in Astorga, just 52km way from Leon. A major point along the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Way of Saint James, it comes next after Leon and middle way to Ponferrada, the next important stop along this pilgrim way. Listed as Spanish Historic Heritage site, it is well known for being the city in Spain with the best preserved Roman sewers. These are so good in state after 2000 years that are still in use today.

It was a key city during the Roman empire due to the gold mines not far towards Ponferrada to the north west of Spain, still in the region of Leon, known as Las Medulas and listed an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being one of the largest in production, they provided to the capital of the empire, Rome, with all the gold mined here. The streets follows the original Roman pattern and since the historical city is inside the walls, it is very simple and easy to walk around without need for any map or getting lost.

But the city is not only important for its Roman origins and remains, but also for being one of the very few places outside of Barcelona where Antoni Gaudi designed one of his works; and incredibly enough for this rarity, the province of Leon has 2 of his works, with the second one in the city of Leon itself.


Share it with the world

Continue ReadingAstorga – Spain
Read more about the article Bled and Bohinj – Slovenia
Bled and Bohinj - Slovenia

Bled and Bohinj – Slovenia

Share it with the world

Idyllic Setting around the Julian Alps

On our second part of this weekend trip in Slovenia after a nice experience in Ljubljana, the country’s capital; we visit what is perhaps the most known and famous natural landmark of the country, Lake Bled with its little island in the middle. Surrounded by castles, hills, pristine forests and lakes this area seem perfect for a fairy tale. And luckily the weather gave us a break with the sun shining and full clear skies for most of the day, something we cannot say from the rainy day before.

We rented a car upon arriving in Ljubljana airport the day before as we knew we would need it for our day out trip to the lakes and mountains. Reaching Bled via public transportation is not difficult in any case although it’s time consuming. Also remember that it is not only about this lake, but the many others and the nice mountains and landscapes you can only reach if you have your own transportation to be fully flexible.

After Bled you can head towards Bohinj, another beautiful lake surrounded by high mountains around. And other than this, unless you want to continue exploring mountain villages, other lakes and overall nature, you can head to Trieste in Italy, not far away anymore. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingBled and Bohinj – Slovenia
Read more about the article Ljubljana – Slovenia
Ljubljana - Slovenia

Ljubljana – Slovenia

Share it with the world

Habsburg Laibach

With another weekend, comes another new place. A country never been before in this case for us, Slovenia, new capital city, Ljubljana, and great nature and landscapes as we would visit on the following day after first enjoying a whole day at the capital. It’s been a while we were tracking some flights here but these were always quite over the budget we would generally pay for just a weekend trip anywhere in Europe. Although it’s true we keep increasing constantly this budget since the days of the truly low-cost flights are gone to certain destinations, but with Slovenia in general it was always still too much to even consider bearing in mind our crazy unstoppable bug for travelling most of the weekends in a year.

The city, although small, has a very beautiful and large old town in a great state of conservation. For a long time it’s been a great project of gentrification where the otherwise once decadent and crumbling historical buildings, have been completely restored to their former glory. And incredibly, for Secessionist lovers, the city boasts a very large collection of this architectural style all over, mainly due to the fact that the city was destroyed in the 1895’s earthquake, being the Vienna Secession the new architectural style at that time, the true origins of the Art-Nouveau.

How long you should plan here depends if you want to visit any other place, like the Lake Bled, or even go to Trieste across the border in Italy. In any case, you should not plan any longer than 2 days as you will run out of places to visit on the first day. We planned the day of arrival for visiting the city, the day after for Lake Bled, surrounding villages and other lakes; and reaching Trieste for dinner. As for the last day before taking the flight back we did still enjoyed a walk in Ljubljana, sitting by the terraces along the river and a nice lunch. 2 days and a half was perfect for us to see everything we wanted and even reaching Italy for dinner.


Share it with the world

Continue ReadingLjubljana – Slovenia
Read more about the article Segovia – Spain
Segovia - Spain

Segovia – Spain

Share it with the world

City of the victory

Just a day has passed into the new year and we are already making our first day trip, to Segovia this time, although in this occasion is a simple one from Madrid where I was spending the Christmas holidays at home with family and friends. Before this date, there’s been only one time I’ve been here before but cannot even recall when that was. Certainly many years ago, therefore was great to finally come back here and with the proper instruments this time: a nice camera to capture the best the city has to offer, and of course, having the chance afterwards for creating this guide for anyone to enjoy.

The day back in Madrid started with quite harsh weather-wise talking. Snowing so heavily that we had to actually postpone our departure. We though we would not even be able to take the train there, but as soon as we arrived to the station, trains were running ontime without any trouble, therefore, why to wait?.

At 90km to the north from Madrid, it is one of the 9 regions that forms Castile and Leon Autonomous Community; and like it is on the other remaining 8 regions, it is full of rich history and extraordinary architecture. There is in this city, however, a major landmark that makes it different to any other and not just only in Spain but across the entire of the former Roman Empire: its aqueduct. It is an unique example of ancient civil engineering which stands today as the best preserved and the most complete anywhere. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingSegovia – Spain
Read more about the article Genoa – Italy
Genoa - Italy

Genoa – Italy

Share it with the world

La Superba; The Proud One

After many years since the first and only time I’ve been to this city, it was well overdue a return. And what a great difference this was! Back in the year 2001 when I came with my school on a trip through France and Italy, Genoa was a very brief and quick stop-over along the way heading towards Pisa and Florence. It was enough time to vaguely admire one of the most fascinating cities in Italy. Genoa is up to this date, one of my favourite in the country. So much to see and do, so charming and such incredible rich history it is no wonder most of its historical centre is listed an UNESCO World Heritage Site, noticeable for the system of palaces for which the city is famous for. So many of them! It is the most unique city having such an incredible architectonic patrimony in palaces.

The only downside, quite major in a way, is the elevated motorway still cutting through the waterfront along the entire length of the city. This is the main motorway linking France with Italy along the coast, with Genoa one of the major transport hubs. Nowadays many efforts have been done to improve this damaging image, specially by expanding Corso Italia towards the sea with new open spaces and the restoration of many decaying buildings. It’s been a long process and many years have passed but the city can proudly say it has lost its reputation as a dangerous and industrial ugly place, giving way to an incredible thriving and beautiful city as it always used to be.

Some few more facts about Genoa, it is one of Europe’s largest on the Mediterranean Sea and the largest seaport in Italy. Also famous, but arguably questioned and dubious, as being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. The Bank of Saint George, founded in 1407, is among the oldest in the world. The prosperity of the city was exponential from the 15th century onwards, hence the great collection of elegant buildings and constructions everywhere in the city. (more…)

Share it with the world

Continue ReadingGenoa – Italy
Translate »