Travels

Sitges

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The four days we spent in Sitges are probably my favorite days of the entire trip. This may sound pretty shocking after spending a week in Barcelona, but Sitges completely surprised me. I knew Barcelona would be awesome but I was surprised by the atmosphere in Sitges that reminded me of the one found in a Club Med.

Sitges is a beach town an hour outside of Barcelona by train. It is renown for its gay bars and beaches so I was expecting to see a lot of gay couples! However, I was surprised by how many families with small children were also spending their vacation there. The entire town had such a festive and family-friendly atmosphere that I really want to go back someday when I myself have children.

During our stay in Sitges, we stayed in this Airbnb and we loved it! Our hosts Andrea and Manuel were very welcoming and friendly and made sure we had everything we needed. They were without a doubt the best hosts of our Europe trip 🙂

One day, Manuel drove us to the end of the beach in Sitges so that we could do some hiking on the coast. The views there were gorgeous! If it weren’t for the strong waves, I think I would have jumped off a cliff right into the water. However, I did find a hidden beach where there were only a couple of people and I went for a swim. That moment was simply perfect. There was only the sound of the waves, the water was a beautiful shade of blue (and so was the sky), and the bottom of the sea was this super soft sand. It was a moment of complete peace and relaxation. So peaceful that I don’t even have any photos to show for it!

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During our stay, Andrea and Manuel organized a day in the Penedès for us to visit old ruins as well as a wine cellar. That was another super fun day spent mostly outside, and once again we were extremely lucky with the weather. The church below is part of 4000 year old ruins that were once occupied by the Romans. The church itself was built around year 800. I’m pretty sure that makes it one of the oldest church I’ve ever walked into!

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Before the trip, I had never gone wine tasting but I really enjoy wine so I knew being so close to the Penedès was the perfect opportunity to visit a cellar. Andrea gave us a few suggestions, but we settled for Albet i Noya, an organic wine producer. After visiting the ruins, Manuel drove us to the cellar where we were able to enjoy a great visit of the property.

The moment we arrived, I felt like I had just stepped into one of those romantic movies set in a vineyard. The pictures don’t do it justice, it was so beautiful and charming! The guide who told us about the history of the vineyard and how they make the wine was very sweet and informative. I learned a lot of cool tips on how to evaluate how old a wine is! Now I’ll be able to look like a pro at other wine tastings 🙂

A fun fact she told us about is how they handle the worms in the vines. Since they are an organic producer, they don’t use any pesticide so they have to go with another method to get rid of them. To do so, they use natural hormones that they spread around the vines. That way the worms get confused, can’t find one another and never get to reproduce! I thought that was pretty funny.

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One afternoon, we decided to go for a walk in the old town and ended up coming face to face with a castell by pure coincidence! At first we didn’t even know what we were looking at except a very impressive tower of people, but then someone explained to us that it is a yearly festival in which teams compete for the best tower. All towers are made with men, women and children. It was really beautiful to see the community coming together to create such an impressive tower! I will never forget that moment of complete surprise.

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Overall Sitges has been such a great experience and I can’t wait to go back. The atmosphere in the town is so relaxing. The only activity I wouldn’t do again is kayaking… Can you believe I got sea sick and the guide had to drop me off on a beach so I could come back walking? So from now on I’ll stick to land activities!

During the evenings, we would walk down to the beach with our dessert – either churros or chocolate crepes – and just enjoy the moment! Even at 11PM there were kids running everywhere and families enjoying their late night meal on terrasses.

If you’re ever in Spain, I highly suggest you visit this beautiful town. You’ll feel on vacation in an instant and probably won’t want to leave this paradise.

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Stay tuned for an upcoming post about our week in Istanbul 🙂

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Beautiful Barcelona Part 2

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Our adventures in Barcelona continue! One afternoon, we decided to take a walk to the Parc de la Ciutadella where the Arc de Triomf is, as well as the Parliament of Catalonia. Something that surprised me throughout our week in Barcelona and that is worth mentioning is how clean the city is! Much cleaner than Montreal, even in the neighbourhoods outside of the touristic areas. And this park was no different!

The entrance with the Arc de Triomf was so majestic – especially with the beautiful blue sky. The atmosphere was so relaxing and it reminded me of parks I saw in Paris. People were having picnics and hanging out with their friends everywhere. There was even a beautiful small lake where people were taking boat rides. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to this park was for its famous fountain. I was not disappointed by its impressive statue but I’m still wondering where the water was – the fountain was completely empty! If I went back, I would make sure to have a picnic in the park and then go for a boat ride in the lake.

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Since I had heard so much about La Pedrera and Casa Batllo I was very excited to visit both projects by Gaudi. As they were walking distance from our Airbnb, we went there on our first two days in Barcelona. Both buildings were pretty crowded but a lot of fun to visit! We could access the rooftops and the views from there were so beautiful. I just stood there for awhile admiring Barcelona from above for the first time. The ticket included an audio guide so I enjoyed listening to all the details about the architecture and the history. It made the visit so much better and more interesting! My favorite one turned out to be La Pedrera, which is the one with the statues on the roof. Can you believe people actually live in that building today?

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Montjuic is probably one of the most well-known places in Barcelona. At the top of the hill, there is the Catalana National Art Museum and behind it the Olympic stadium. The entire area is quite large and is surrounded by beautiful parks. However, there aren’t many locals around so it’s not to best place to go eat or drink – it’s perfect for a nice afternoon of visits!

I enjoy art museums, especially when it comes to paintings and sculptures. This one had a lot of very nice exhibitions and we had fun walking through it. While in the museum, we decided to go check out the roof and found a Moët & Chandon lounge bar! I still have no idea why it was there but I didn’t even bother asking the price for a drink – even less for a bottle of champagne!

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Funny enough, we went to Park Guell twice since the first time around I had bought the wrong tickets. I thought I bought the ones for the park, but instead I got the tickets for the Gaudi House Museum. However, I’m glad I did since the Museum was fun to discover. The only disappointment is that when we went back for the park visit, it was extremely crowded so we weren’t able to take proper pictures.

The park itself is a lot bigger than I had anticipated and the views are stunning. It is up in the hills so it was definitely a good workout to get up there but so worth it! To be honest, I preferred the free access part of the park. The views there are even better and there are musicians playing on their guitars so the atmosphere is very nice.

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One café I will for sure miss in Montreal is Buenas Migas, a delicious and healthy coffee shop chain in Barcelona. My only regret is that we discovered it two days before leaving the city – otherwise I would have had lunch there every single day! Their menu consists of healthy quiches, focaccias, salads, lasagnas and pasta as well as delicious desserts – all for good prices. I seriously want to start one here!

Another foodie suggestion is Tosca, a tapas restaurant right in front of the Palau de la Musica Catalana. Can you believe we went there on four different nights?! We couldn’t get enough of the wide variety of tapas that were all delicious and affordable. Our favorite ones were the catalan-style bread and the Swedish meatballs. They also have a super good mojito. Make sure to check it out when in Barcelona!

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I hope you enjoyed the posts about our trip in Barcelona 🙂 Stay tuned for an upcoming post about our long weekend in the beach town of Sitges!

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Montserrat

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During our week in Barcelona, we did a day trip to the Montserrat monastery. I was very excited for that day since I love being outdoors and seeing beautiful sights and places. As you can see, I was not disappointed! This day was for sure another highlight of our trip.

However, the night before, Marc-André and I broke up. To be honest, I did not expect for this to happen during our trip so it was a little bit of a shock. I guess a Europe trip is a good way to test your relationship! Even though we both knew it was for the best, I was not feeling 100% that morning. However, to my surprise, Montserrat is exactly what I needed to cheer me up. The second we got there I felt better and I just wanted to enjoy myself and have fun. In the end, I have such a good memory of this day since it helped me get through that first post-breakup day. The beauty of the mountain reminded me how beautiful the world is – it helped me focus on something amazing instead of my feelings.

When I told my friends about the breakup, they all felt bad for me since we still had two weeks to go just the two of us. However, instead of being something bad, it actually turned out to be a good thing. During those two weeks, we were able to get closure, talk about everything and learn how to be friends. By the time the trip was over, we were both over each other! In the end, I’m so happy we did this trip together. He was a great travelling buddy and we had a blast!

About Montserrat, I strongly recommend you go if you’re ever in Spain. Make sure to take the cable car up the mountain to do some hiking as there are tons of trails up there and the sights are breathtaking! There is also a boys’ choir that sings everyday in the church and it is truly a special experience.

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