Although we've been home for almost ten days, we are still under Spain's spell, and we experience a little bit of the post-travel blues. To cure that, I'm doing two things - planning and preparing for our upcoming travels, and look at our photos taken in Spain. Both of these activities are quite enjoyable, and the photos inspired me to write about our time in Catalonia.
We did lots of things, but mostly along the Costa Brava, so of course, we still need to go back to see everything we wanted to. What a great excuse!
There's an amazing little gem where we spent lots of our time, Tossa de Mar. It has an amazing location, in the middle of the wild coast, not too far from Barcelona. A nice mediterranean town, with breathtaking beaches and rocks, an amazing castle with great views of the sea and the town. It doesn't have an actual castle up there, the walls were built only to protect the old town from the attack of pirates. The old town (Vila Vella) with bright flowers and hundreds of adorable old houses where still several families live. Beautiful churches and chapels, lots of gluten-free restaurants, well-kept ruins of the Roman Villa with lovely mosaic floors, and the Moorish Tower offering a picturesque view. If you're lucky enough, you can also see the awesome firework show in the castle, from the beach, and I don't think you'll ever forget the experience. I absolutely loved this amazing town, and I was happy to find that it wasn't at all packed with tourists, and was nothing like the neighbouring town, Lloret de Mar.
From behind the castle walls, we went to hike along the Camí de Ronda several times. A nice 6 kilometres long hike leads you to an almost hidden beach, Cala Llevado, where we went to try a new beach, and to meet some friends staying there. The hike offers great views of both Tossa and the wonderful deep blue sea, but you'll defenitely need a few bottles of water as it's usually schorching hot up there.
I'm going to be honest. I didn't like Lloret de Mar at all. It's a party city - all day, all night. It's really crowded and noisy, the streets are full of clubs and bars. I'm sure there are parts of the city that are nice to visit, and it's great for people looking for a mentionable night life, but we weren't one of them. We still visited its botanical garden, Santa Clotilde, which we really liked, but I'm saving those experiences for another blog post. We also went to the Fenals beach, which was really crowded, and the beach was far from clear, as well as the water, but there were huge rocks and really big waves, and that made it absolutely enjoyable.
We didn't see too much of Blanes, but we loved all that we did. Nice beaches and coves, lovely botanical gardens, a lovely beach town. We visited Pinya de Rosa, and it took our breath away!
We spent quite a lot of time in Barcelona, and both of us fell in love. I'm not sure I've been to a city this diverse, and this full of sights and attractions. I still can't find the words. We were even lucky (and fresh!) enough to see the sun rise in the city, and it was perfect to walk along the avenue that early, empty streets, nice lights and a real Barcelona, without all the crowds and noise. Our favourites in the city included the Arc de Triomf, the Barrio Gótico, the Palau Nacional de Montjuic, and the picturesque view from up there, the Parc de la Ciutadella, and of course, the Sagrada Familia, which we could admire for a few hours, as one of my friends stayed in a hostel near there, and it was our meeting point.
I'm planning to write more about the city in an upcoming post. I really hope to return to Barcelona some day!
Our last destination in Catalonia was Montserrat. It was a nice train ride from Barcelona, a much needed one after lots of walking in the city. There's a monastery up there, on top of a mountain, between huge rocks, therefore offering a great view. The monastery was built around 880, and is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the Catalans. The basilica looks wonderful inside-out, and operates a museum with works of famous Spanish artists such as Dalí and Picasso. Some say Montserrat takes your whole day to visit, but we only spent there a few hours, and I think we managed to see all the things we wanted to - Montserrat really isn't a big place.
I already miss Spain, and I miss sipping sangría on our porch, overlooking the medieval houses and the sea, and all the beauty surrounding us.
Have you been to Spain? Have you visited any of these destinations? Do you have a favorite summer destination?