Saturday, July 30, 2011

CATALONIA - COSTA BRAVA: GIRONA

Girona, especially its old quarter, is a nice city perfect to spend one day or, even a weekend, walking along the narrow streets of the jewish quarter, visiting its medieval buildings like the gothic cathedral or the arab baths, or enjoying the views of Las Cases de L'Onyar from its bridges. I like the old quarter of Girona almost as much as I like the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.

Besides this views of Les Cases de L'Onyar, I also liked a lot walking along the streets of the jewish quarter and around Sant Pere de Galligants monastery. The views of Girona from the city walls are fantastic too.


Next you have the places I visited during the day I spent in Girona:


  • Cases de L'Onyar
  • Pont de les Peixateries Velles
  • Call Jueu (Jewish Quarter)
  • Arab Baths
  • Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery
  • Girona Cathedral
  • Rambla de la Llibertat
  • Plaça de la Indepèndencia
  • Jardins de la Francesa
  • Passeig Arqueològic
  • City Walls

By the way, I strongly recommend walking through the jewish quarter of Barcelona and Besalú, which is actually a lovely medieval village.

Pont de les Peixateries Velles


Girona cathedral and Les Cases de L'OnyarGirona cathedral and Les Cases de L'Onyar from El Pont de les Peixateries Velles, built by the company of Gustave Eiffel


El Pont de les Peixateries Velles in GironaEl Pont de les Peixateries Velles has become one of the symbols of Girona

Cases de L'Onyar


Les Cases de L'Onyar in GironaLes Cases de L'Onyar, one of the best known postcards of Girona, and El Pont de les Peixateries Velles


Les Cases de L'Onyar in GironaNice view of Les Cases de L'Onyar, the Girona Cathedral and the bell-tower of La Colegiata de Sant Feliu


Call Jueu (Jewish Quarter)


El Call, the old jewish quarter, is a maze of cobbled streets. In the call there was the synagoghe, the ritual baths as well as other community services.


Carrer de la Força inside El Call jueu of GironaCarrer de la Força inside El Call jueu of Girona

Centre Bonastruc Sa Porta inside El Call Jueu in GironaMain courtyard of the Centre Bonastruc Sa Porta, located inside El Call Jueu in Girona

Sant Llorenç street inside the Call Jueu in GironaSant Llorenç street, probably the narrowest street inside the Call Jueu in Girona


Sant Llorenç street inside the Call Jueu in Girona
Another picture of Sant Llorenç street, a typical narrow street of the jewish quarter of Girona

La Pujada de la Catedral and Manuel Cundero streets in Girona
La Pujada de la Catedral and Manuel Cundero are two more exemples of  typical streets in the jewish quarter of Girona

Convent of Sant Domènec in GironaStaircase which leads you to the Convent of Sant Domènec. On the left, the arc under El Palau dels Agullana, one of the best known places in Girona


El Palau dels Agullana in GironaHere you can see better this well-known arc under El Palau dels Agullana. This street leads you to the jewish quarter of Girona


Carrer Bellmirall inside El Call Jueu in GironaCarrer Bellmirall, another typical street of El Call Jueu in Girona

Arab Baths


Arab Baths in GironaDressing room of the Arab Baths in Girona


Sant Pere de Galligants Monastery


Sant Pere de Galligants monastery in GironaThe surroundings of Sant Pere de Galligants monastery is a lovely place to walk

Girona Cathedral


Girona gothic cathedralMain facade of the Girona gothic cathedral

Rambla de la Llibertat


La Rambla de la Llibertat in GironaFrom La Rambla de la LLibertat, probably one of the most lively streets in Girona, you can see the bell tower of the Girona cathedral


La Rambla de la Llibertat in GironaRambla de La Llibertat is a pleasant place to have a drink

Plaça de la Independència


Plaça de la Independencia in GironaPlaça de la Independencia in Girona. Here, on weekends, there is a market of artisan food like honey, cheese etc

Jardins de la Francesa


Els Jardins de la Francesa in GironaEls Jardins de la Francesa, located between the Girona cathedral and the city walls are a lovely a quiet place

Passeig Arqueològic


Torre Gironella from El Passeig Arqueològic in GironaTorre Gironella from El Passeig Arqueològic, a nice promenade along the Girona city walls

Girona from the City Walls


Girona cathedral from the city wallsView of the Girona cathedral from the city walls


Girona cathedral from the city wallsA closer view of the gothic cathedral of Girona in the evening

Girona at night


Girona cathedral lit at nightNice view of the Girona cathedral lit at night



Besides, near Girona there are a lot of beautiful places to visit, like the beaches and coves of La Costa Brava:


and the Camins de Ronda in Costa Brava, from where you can enjoy fantastic views of Costa Brava and its beaches:



Of course, in addition to its almost heavenly beaches of turquoise water, La Costa Brava offers many cultural activities. Among them, I would recommend visiting the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery and the remains of Empúries

I also recommend spending a weekend in Cadaquès, Portlligat and Empuriabrava, three charming villages located in the north of La Costa Brava, as I did in 2009. Near these villages I also would visit the impressive church of La Catedral de l'Empordà in Castello d'Empúries.

Finally, clicking on the next link you will find links to other
beautiful places in Catalonia.


Friday, July 29, 2011

CATALONIA: GOLF COSTA DORADA TARRAGONA

Last weekend I enjoyed a fantastic day with some friends in Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona, where we did some Golf practice. As its name says, this club is located in La Costa Dorada of Catalunya.

Playing golf is one of the activities you can enjoy in la Costa Daurada. Of course there are also interesting places to visit in this beautiful area of Catalunya, like:



Next some pictures of the fantastic day we spent in Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona:


Entering Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona

A group picture before beginning our golf lesson

Flowers give a colorful look to this area of Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona

Improving my swing in Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona

Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona is a beautiful environment

Putting in Golf Costa Dorada Tarragona


Finally, I would like to give you some useful information in case you want to enjoy a nice day in this Golf club located in Altafulla:


  • Address: Ctra. de El Catllar, km. 2,7      
  • Website: www.golfcostadoradatarragona.com



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CATALONIA MEDIEVAL VILLAGES: SIURANA

Located just outside the Montsant region, Siurana is a charming village at the top of an escarpment in the Prades Mountains overlooking the Siurana Reservoir. I felt like visiting Siurana to enjoy the excellent views of the Siurana reservoir and surrounding valley. However, I also discovered a lovely village of stone houses and cobbled streets.


Siurana reservoir from SiuranaI think that this view of Siurana reservoir I enjoyed from Siurana is really nice

Among the attractions are the Church of Santa Maria. It is a Romanesque building preserved in its entirety. It was built between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In those years Siurana was an important defense of the border and was the last Islamic stronghold of Muslim Catalonia, won in 1153 and between 1154.



Sunset in SiuranaSunset in Siurana enjoying this fantastic view of Siurana reservoir


Typical stone house in SiuranaTypical stone house in Siurana



Main Street in SiuranaMain Street in Siurana



A typical street in SiuranaA typical street in Siurana



Medieval village of SiuranaAnother view of the main street of Siurana



Romanesque church of SiuranaRomanesque church of Siurana, an example of beauty and simplicity, has a single nave and a semicircular apse

Doorway of the romanesque church of SiuranaThe doorway of Santa Maria church has a tympanum figuratively framed by three semicircular arches resting on columns with capitals decorated with various motifs


Romanesque church of SiuranaBeautiful view of the Siurana reservoir where you also can see the Church of Santa Maria, one of the main attractions of this lovely village



Siurana reservoirAnother nice view of Siurana reservoir in the evening



Serra del MontsantTypical landscape of La Serra del Montsant where Siurana appears



As you can see in the previous pictures, Siurana reservoir, in an area of outstanding natural beauty, is surrounded by the Montsant and Prades mountain ranges. One of the most beautiful hikes you can do around here is the one which takes you to the village of Siurana along the old road from Cornudella. The path starts in the village of Cornudella and climbs up to the legendary site of Siurana, last Moorish bastion to fall to the Christian re-conquest in Catalonia.

If you liked Siurana, maybe you would be interested in visiting the nearby medieval town of Montblanc. Besides, there are other medieval villages in Catalonia as beautiful as Siurana, like Rupit and Tavertet (where you also will enjoy fantastic views of Sau reservoir), BegetSanta Pau, Castellar de N'Hug, Guimerà,  MiravetBesalú or Pals and Peratallada in la Costa BravaThe Pyrennes offers also charming romanesque villages in la Vall de Boí.


Siurana is located near la Costa Daurada, where you can visit:


If you like medieval architecture, you should also visit the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, the old city of Girona and the monasteries of:




Saturday, July 23, 2011

BARCELONA: BICING


Barcelona offers a new way to move around the city. It's perfect for people who love doing sport instead of taking the underground or the bus. Bicing has actually been really successful among the citizens of Barcelona since its commissioning.



Barcelona bicingA Barcelona bicing stop where you can see bicycles of this successful public transport


This new public transport is called Bicing. You have to register for a year in the bicing website paying an annual fee. As a user you can take a bike for 30 minutes for free, but if you exceed this time you have to pay an extra fee.
Besides, there are a lot of bicing stations around the city and they are increasing every year. Next you can see an updated map of bicing stations:



Bicing in BarcelonaThere a lot of bicing stations around Barcelona



If you want, clicking on the next link you can get the same updated map of bicing stations.

Monday, July 18, 2011

BARCELONA MONTJUIC: CINEMA A LA FRESCA



On a hot summer night, outdoor cinema is a great way to freshen up and enjoy yourself. You've plenty of options, as you can see visiting the next link in Barcelona website. Here I will speak about a new edition of the Sala Montjuïc and the cycle organized by L'Illa Diagonal shopping centre.


Sala Montjuïc turns the moat at Montjuïc Castle into a cinema hall


The Sala Montjuïc, now a classic in Barcelona, will be turning the moat at Montjuïc Castle into a cinema hall, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Besides, the Sala Montjuïc is offering triple programmes, with a concert, a short film and a feature-length movie. From today, you will be able to see the following films in original version:

  • Monday, 18/07: Frozen River, Courtney Hunt, 2008
  • Wednesday, 20/07: The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski, 2010
  • Friday, 22/07: Nosferatu, F.W. Murnau, 1922
  • Monday, 25/07: À bout de souffle (Breathless), Jean-Luc Godard, 1960
  • Wednesday, 27/07: Lion’s Den, Pablo Trapero, 2008
  • Friday, 29/07: In the loop, Armando Ianucci, 2009
  • Monday, 01/08: Still Walking, Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008
  • Wednesday, 03/08: Charade, Stanley Donen, 1963
  • Friday, 05/08: Inception, The Dark Knight or Insomnia

All films (in original version with spanish subtitles) start at 22:15 and are preceded by a short filt a 22:00. All concerts start at 21:00.

- Useful Information:
  • TMB buses from the Towers on Plaza Espanya as from 20.30. Buses go back down once the film is finished.
  • Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 20.30.
  • Entrance: 5,00 euros
  • Deck-chair rental: 3,00 euros
  • For further information, you can visit the Sala Montjuïc website.

Daily heroes at L'Illa

Another cycle back again this year is the one organised by the L'Illa Diagonal shopping centre. This time it is going in for daily heroes as its main characters. On Thursdays, from 7 July to 4 August, at 22:00 you will be able to see the following films in original version:

  • Thursday, 07/07: Celda 211
  • Thursday, 14/07: Juno
  • Thursday, 21/07: Slumdog millionaire
  • Thursday, 28/07: Gran Torino
  • Thursday, 04/08: El Concierto

- Useful Information:
  • Address: Sant Joan de Déu Gardens ( Inside L'illa Diagonal).
  • How to arrive: Metro L3 Stop Maria Cristina (Les Corts). Bus: 6, 7, 33, 34, 63, 67, 78, 30, 66, 78, L51, L57, L61, L63, L64, L67, L68, L69, L14, L79, N0, N12.
  • Ticket price: 2 euros
  • For further information, you can visit L'Illa Diagonal website.


Finally, Montjuïc is a large green area in Barcelona perfect to walk, to spend a sunny sunday morning or to enjoy the fantastic views of Barcelona from the castle or one of its viewpoints.

I would recommend the following route to discover Montjuïc:



Other interesting routes in Barcelona are:


Friday, July 15, 2011

BARCELONA MONTJUIC: CONCERTS FOR FREE


Nits dels Cims a Montjuïc is another interesting option for music lovers to enjoy Barcelona summer nights at the top of Montjuïc Mountain. There, a wide variety of concerts take place next to Alcaide Viewpoint and the Montjuïc Castle.


Nits dels Cims a Montjuïc cycle concert of concerts takes place next to Montjuïc Castle


From the jazz to the electronic music, going for the tango, the fado, the salsa, the African rhythms and dj’s sessions. All styles are welcome to this new cycle of concerts, which will make you dance outdoors for free the summer nights on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The concerts start at 8 pm and finishes around 2 am.


The trees of this picture viewed from the Montjuïc Castle show the location of El Mirador del Alcaide

You have the next appointment with the music under the moonlight in a beautiful setting on July 15th. From 8 pm, Xavi Reija Trio's jazz will lead the night to the rhythm of its 'power jazz’ more personal. It will be followed by a turntables session performed by the Dj DirtYfunkYsoul.


Useful Information

  • How to arrive: Bus 55, 193, 50. Telefèric Montjuïc
  • Further information visiting the Barcelona cultura website

Until next September, do not miss the 'Nits dels Cims a Montjuïc', they are the best way to overcome the heat for those who live the summer in the city.



Besides Montjuïc is a large green area in Barcelona perfect to walk, to spend a sunny sunday morning or to enjoy the fantastic views of Barcelona from the castle or one of its viewpoints.

I would recommend the following route to discover Montjuïc:



Other interesting routes in Barcelona are:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BARCELONA FOR FREE: SUMMER THEATRE

Barcelona has a wide offer of free activities related to culture. One of them, which has to do with theater, is done next to Estació del Nord, among the lime-trees of El Parc de l'Estació del Nord.

There, a group of actors perform every year a play of Shakespeare previously chosen. This time they give us the opportunity to see A Midsummer Night's Dream.


First folio of the play Midsummer Night's Dream, written by William Shakespeare


If you are interested in theatre, you could enjoy watching this Shakespeare’s play for free every day at 7:00pm, from 18th to 31st of July except for Wednesday 20th and 27 th.

- For further information, you can visit the website www.parkingshakespeare.com
- How to arrive:
  • Metro L1, stop Arc de Triomf.
  • Bus 6, 10, 40, 42 y 54.
  • Tram T4, parada Marina.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BARCELONA: NICE PLACES FOR CHILDREN

Today I would like to show you what Barcelona can offer to children. For example, in a previous post called Barcelona: Montjuïc Viewpoints, you can see places pleasant for children where parents can also enjoy nice views of Barcelona.

In addition to this viewpoints, I'm sure that children will like and enjoy the following places in Barcelona:


Promenade and Beach



Barcelona promenade and beachBarcelona promenade is perfect for a walk, for cycling or for skating with the children


Golondrinas



Golondrinas offer a tour around the Barcelona harbourA Golondrina is a ship like the one of this picture which offers a tour around the Barcelona harbour

Maremagnum Area



Funny activities for children in MaremagnumThe Maremagnum area offers funny activities for children like the one of this picture, where children can jump and fly

Aquarium




Aquarium of BarcelonaChildren always like the Aquarium and the one of Barcelona is one of the more visited places in Barcelona


Useful Information

- Address: Moll d'Espanya del Port Vell s/n
- How to get there:
  • Metro L3, stop Drassanes and L4, stop Barceloneta.
  • Bus 14, 17, 19, 36, 38, 45, 57, 59, 64, 91 i 157.
  • Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Port Vell.
- Web site: www.aquariumbcn.com
- Opening time:
  • Monday to Friday, de 9.30am to 9pm. Weekends & public holidays, from 9.30am to 9.30pm.
  • June & September, daily from 9.30am to 9.30pm.
  • July & August, daily from 9.30am to 11pm.



Imax Port Vell



Imax Port Vell in Barcelona

Children can enjoy 3D movies inside the Imax cinema in the Port Vell, next to the Aquarium and the Maremagnum


Useful Information

- Address: Moll d'Espanya del Port Vell s/n
- How to get there:

  • Metro L3, stop Drassanes and L4, stop Barceloneta.
  • Bus 14, 17, 19, 36, 38, 45, 57, 59, 64, 91 i 157.
  • Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Port Vell.
- Web site: www.imaxportvell.com



Magic Fountain



Magic Fountain in MontjuïcImpressive look of the Magic Fountain in Montjuïc with the Tibidabo in the background



Useful Information


- How to arrive:
  • Metro L1 i L3, Plaça Espanya Stop
  • Bus 9, 13, 27, 30, 37, 50, 55, 56, 57, 65, 79, 109, 157 and 165
  • FGC parada Plaça Espanya
  • Barcelona Bus Turístic, CaixaForum-Pavelló Mies van der Rohe Stop
- Web: www.bcn.es/fonts


Montjuïc Castle and Montjuïc Park



Montjuïc Castle in BarcelonaMontjuïc Castle is a fantastic place for children and their parents


Montjuïc Park in BarcelonaMontjuïc Park is a perfect place, safe and quiet, to spend a lovely evening with children



Useful Information

- Address: Ctra. de Montjuïc, 66.
- Phone: 932 564 445.
- How to get there: Bus 193. Telefèric Montjuïc, stop Castell.
- Web site: www.bcn.cat/castelldemontjuic.
- Opening time:
  • From 1st October to 31st March: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 7pm.
  • From 1st April to 30th September: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 9pm.



Ciutadella Park and Zoo



Ciutadella Park in BarcelonaCiutadella Park is the largest park in the Barcelona downtime with a nice fountain and a large green area. Besides, inside this Park is located the Zoo, where children can spend a funny day


Useful Information
- Address: Parc de la Ciutadella s/n
- How to get there:
  • Metro: L4, stop Ciutadella-Vila Olímpica.
  • Bus 14, 39, 40, 41, 42, 51 and 141.
  • Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Parc de la Ciutadella-Zoo.
- Web site Ciutadella Park: www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins
- Web site Barcelona Zoo: www.zoobarcelona.cat/
- Opening time Ciutadella Park:
  • December, January, february, from 10am to 8pm.
  • March & November, daily from 10am to 7pm.
  • April & October, daily from 10am to 8pm.
  • From May to September, daily from 10am to 9pm.
- Opening time Barcelona Zoo:
  • From 1st january to 26th March, daily from 10am to 5:30pm.
  • From 27th March to 15th May, daily from 10am to 7pm.
  • From 16th May to 15th September, daily from 10am to 8pm.
  • From 16th September to 29th October, daily from 10am to 7pm.
  • From 30th October to 31th December, from 10am to 5:30pm.



Park Güell



Park Güell offers nice places for childrenPark Güell, a masterpiece of Modernism designed by Antoni Gaudi, offers nice places where children can have a good time


Useful Information
  • Address: C/ Olot, 1-13.
  • Opening hours: de las 10am until the sunset.
  • Free tickets.
  • How to get there: Bus 24 and 92, Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Park Güell.
  • Web site: www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins



Parc del Laberint



Maze of El Parc del Laberint d'HortaI'm sure that children will have fun inside the maze of El Parc del Laberint d'Horta



Useful Information

- Address: Pg. dels Castanyers, 1
- How to get there:

  • Metro L3, stop Mundet.
  • Bus 27, 60, 73 and 76.
- Web site: www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins
- Opening time:
  • November, december, January and February: daily from 10am to 6pm.
  • March & October: daily from 10am to 7pm.
  • April: daily from 10am to 8pm.
  • From May to September: daily from 10am to 9pm.



Pedralbes Gardens


Pedralbes gardens in Barcelona
Pedralbes gardens are a fantastic place to spend a good time with children



Tibidabo



Tibidabo funfair is perfect for childrenTibidabo funfair is another place children will enjoy a lot



Tibidabo funfair in Barcelona is perfect for childrenOf course there are attractions for children of all ages


Useful Information

- How to get there:
  • Tibibus from Plaça Catalunya.
  • FGC, stop Av. Tibidabo + Tramvia Blau or Bus 196 + Funicular del Tibidabo.
  • FGC, stop Peu de Funicular + Funicular de Vallvidriera + bus 111.
- Web site: www.tibidabo.es



Castell de l'Oreneta Park




Ponies in Oreneta Park is perfect for children
Ponies in Oreneta Park, perfect for children


Miniature train in Parc del Castell de l'Oreneta
The miniature train in Parc del Castell de l'Oreneta, is one of the best scale models, and best equipped, in Europe. The route is 636m with three wide tracks (between 5 and 10 inches), goes through three tunnels, over two bridges and a metallic viaduct, and there is a main station and a wayside station.



Cosmocaixa (Science Museum)



CosmoCaixa is the science museum in Barcelona run by "la Caixa" Community Projects, and is designed to stimulate people's knowledge and opinion of science through exhibitions and a wide variety of activities.
CosmoCaixa offers its visitors a whole host of activities and permanent and temporary exhibitions to give anyone who is interested a greater insight into the world of science.


Highlights of exhibitions include the Flooded Forest (Bosc inundat), which recreates an Amazonian rainforest ecosystem; the Geological Wall, which illustrate the world's different geological structures; and the Room of Matter, a journey through the evolution of matter and life on our planet. Finally, the Planetarium invites you to take a journey through space and time, past the stars and planets of the firmament.


Useful Information

- Address: Isaac Newton, 26
- How to get there:
  • Bus: 17, 22, 58, 60, 73, 75 and 196
  • FGC: stop Av. Tibidabo + Tramvia Blau or bus 196.
- Web site: www.lacaixa.es/obrasocial
- Opening time:
  • Tuesday to Sunday & public holidays, from 10am to 8pm.
  • Opens Monday during the Christmas and Easter holidays, and in summer.
  • January 1st & 6th and December 25th, closed.


Camp Nou Experience (Camp Nou Tour and Museum)



Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona StadiumOverview of the Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona Stadium, one of the largest football stadiums in Europe, with a capacity of more than 98.000 spectators


Can Mercader Park



Train in Can Mercader Park
Children can enjoy a trip in these trains of Can Mercader Park in Cornellà de Llobregat, a town located beside Barcelona



Finally, clicking on the next link you will find links to other beautiful places in Barcelona.