Stopover

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Sometimes it feels like I know these cities, but all I know are the carpets, the big windows, the colourful dots of light on the runways and the gates of these city’s airports. Once again, I’m flying east over Abu Dhabi, not Dubai this time, and once again all these tickets tucked between the pages of my passport will bring me to a faraway but familiar place, to a sunburnt country I am looking forward to seeing and feeling again.

I took this picture on my last flight between the continents and seas, almost three years ago – I think it was in Singapore.

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Manchmal denke ich, ich kenne diese Städte, dabei kenne ich nur die Teppiche, die großen Fenster, die bunten Lichter auf den Landebahnen und die Schalter der Flughäfen in diesen Städten. Wieder einmal fliege ich gen Osten, über Abu Dhabi, diesmal nicht über Dubai, und wieder einmal werden mich all die Tickets, die zwischen meinem Reisepass klemmen, zu einem weit entfernten und doch nah bekannten Ort bringen, to a sunburnt country, und ich freue mich darauf, wieder dort zu sein.

Dieses Foto machte ich auf meinem letzten Flug zwischen den Kontinenten und Meeren, vor fast drei Jahren – ich glaube, es war in Singapur.

 

Favourite places | Barcelona

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It is the city of peaches and and lemons and cafés con leche; of patatas bravas and siesta and cervezas on the plazas; a metropolis big enough to discover new corners every day but small enough to walk everywhere; the city of sea and sun and parks; and a fairy tale stage thanks to Antoni Gaudí. I’ve spent four months in Barcelona and there is so much I miss about the city already!

I love to get inspiration for new cities from other blogs and city magazines and friends. I always wanted to return the favour, and also wanted to remember my favourite places, so I wrote down my own Top 3 list of things to do, see and feel in Barcelona. I hope you like it and that it gives you some ideas for your next trip to this beautiful city!


CAFÉS

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1. Mescladís, Carrer Carders 35, El Born.
My first café con leche on colourful retro chairs at this outside café.

2. Café Granja Petitbo, Passeig de Sant Joan 82, L’Eixample. (Photo)
Perfect place to work and dream of the world on the wall.

3. Cafè del Teatre, Carrer de Torrijos, 41, Gràcia.
Lively enough to observe the outside world through white-framed windows, and quiet enough to write and read inside.


PARKS

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1. Parc del Laberint d’Horta (Photo)
The buildings remind me of Italy, the trees smell like in my grandparent’s garden, the park is a poet’s dream of the perfect writing place – and to confuse all senses, you can get lost in the labyrinth. Perfect.

2. Montjuïc + Teatre Grec
Take a long stroll at and around this hill by the sea and by the city– there is a beautiful view and picnic spot at the top, lots and lots of gardens and also a secret bar behind the castle.

3. Parc de la Ciutadella
Great resting place next to El Born. Look through the greenhouses’ windows, listen to some music or just take a siesta underneath a palm tree.


LOOKOUTS

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1. Bunker del Carmel (Photo)
You can climb the hill with bus V17 from Gràcia and once you are up there, it is all unfolding in front of you: the city, the sea, the sky. At its best in the late afternoon when the sun slowly collects its light together and then disappears behind your back. Take a cerveza.

2. Montjuïc
Just below the castle, there is a field you can sit down and see the roofs of the city as well as the sea and the harbour. Big ships are waiting outside, and so can you wait and enjoy a picnic up there.

3. Tibidabo
If you only go half way up with the old tram Tramvia Blau, you can already get a cup of coffee and a different view on the city: Barcelona looks slim and long from this side.


PLAZAS

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1. Plaça Virreina, Gràcia
This is a great spot for many things: to watch (or dance) swing and salsa on a sunday, to have breakfast in the morning or to just read a book on one of the benches.

2. Carrer de l’Allada-Vermell, El Born (photo)
It is a street’s name but the street is so wide it feels like a plaza. Sometimes they play music on one of the benches, there is an Impossible Project shop next to cafés and restaurants – simply a very comfortable atmosphere.

3. Plaça del Diamant, Gràcia
My favourite book by a Catalan author is called Plaça del Diamant by Mercè Rodorado, so I was more than happy to live just around the corner. Read the book and have a look at the statue honoring the novel!


BOOKSHOPS

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This summer, I started Paper Sail and found four very special bookshops in Barcelona. Please follow the links to their Paper Sail portrait to find out more about each of the places:

1. La Central, Carrer de Mallorca 237.
It is impossible to leave this bookshop – there are so many pages, art, langauges, genres and thoughts and words around.

2. Babèlia, Villarroel 27.
Two friends founded a favourite place of books, coffee and languages. A place they’d like and I do, too.

3. Llibreria Calders, Passatge Pere Calders 9. (Photo)
This bookshop combines books and wine and at night add music and readings to the mix. Tastes good, reads well.

4. Pequod Llibres, Carrer de Milà i Fontanals 59.
A destination with the smell of sea, literature, wanderlust and immortal prose. And good old Moby Dick is watching, too.


SHOPS

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1. D-Lirio
They have a beautiful collection of necklaces, earrings, some dresses and rings. I couldn’t resist to get myself a green Barcelona ring (photo above).

2. Natura
If you are looking for clothes (dresses!), accessories or just wellness products, they’ve got it all. Natura is a Spanish chain and everything looks good and relaxed. There is usually nice music playing in the background too. Tempting.

3. Raima
Two floors of all things paper: notebooks, writing pads, single sheets of paper, journals, in all colours, all formats. If you are into paper goods as much as I am (when I am not carrying a backpack through countries), go inside.


NEARBY GETAWAYS

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1. Sant Pol de Mar
A sweet coastal town only one hour by train (with sea-view out of the window) away. It has tasty Paella, a quiet siesta, cactuses on top of the hill next to a church and, of course, a beach.

2. Sitges
A nice day trip to get away from the big city and to the beach. Big enough to do some shopping, crazy enough to do people-watching.

3. Montserrat
There is not only a monastery up there, it is also great for hiking to the top of the mountain where you can see – if the weather is fine – Barcelona and the Pyrenees. (Read my article about Montserrat on Andanza Mag).


SONGS

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1. A Singer of Songs – Oh Barcelona
I listened to it on repeat before I moved to the city. Great Belgium singer-songwriter who’s been living in Barcelona for many years.

2. Roger Mas – El dolor de la bellesa
Sometimes you need to go and watch a movie without understanding the language. I went and saw 10.000 km, understood the emotions and loved the music.

3. Maria Coma – Abismes
I am always looking for a soundtrack of a city and a time – so I went to a concert of four Catalan musicians and she was the first I heard.


Thanks for ideas & inspiration:

Andanza Mag | In & Out Barcelona | Time Out Barcelona | Barcelona Metropolitan | Alma | eat this poem | What should I Eat For Breakfast Today | Fabrizzio’s Petit

I hope you enjoy Barcelona as much as I do, and if you have any more questions or if you have other beautiful place in mind I should visit  (as I will most probably be back one day), I’d be happy to hear from you (contact details on About me)!

Cindy

 

 

Sensitive plants

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A walk on a saturday morning in Barcelona means: anytime before 12 o’clock. So I walked through Gràcia and along Carrer de Paris for an hour in the morning and the day was still quiet. People were having a coffee outside, but not many. The streets were empty. I was looking for a garden in a brick building, where palm trees are too big to fit inside and therefore feel the urge to grow out of the roof, where there are red cactuses that look a bit like fly agarics, where plants and humans can be sensitive.

When you are in Barcelona, have a look at Hivernacle. And afterwards, you can simply take the metro to Teatre Grec and walk around the gardens that don’t dwell inside brick buildings. Barcelona is definitely a city of parks and gardens and lookouts…

Oh, Barcelona!

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Ein morgendlicher Spaziergang in Barcelona bedeutet: zu irgendeiner Zeit vor 12 Uhr. So lief ich durch Gràcia und die Carrer de Paris an einem Morgen entlang und der Tag war immer noch ganz ruhig. Leute tranken ihren Kaffee draußen, aber nicht viele. Die Straßen waren leer. Ich war auf der Suche nach einem Garten in einem Backsteingebäude, wo Palmen zu groß sind um hineinzupassen, und deswegen aus dem Dach herauswachsen, wo es rote Kakteen gibt die ein bisschen wie Fliegenpilze aussehen, wo Pflanzen und Menschen sensibel sein dürfen.

Falls du in Barcelona bist, schau vorbei in der Gärtnerei Hivernacle. Und danach nehm die Metro zum Teatre Grec und laufe dort durch Gärten die nicht in Backsteingebäuden hausen. Barcelona ist eindeutig eine Stadt der Parks und Gärten und Aussichten…

Oh Barcelona!

First café con leche

Mescladís

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Verena

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Mescladís

Why not jump in times, why not swope beginnings and ends, and remember how it all started? My Barcelona started with a long walk from my hostel to the sea. On the way, I had my first coffee at the wonderful outside café Mescladís and sat down and wrote into my journal and put it down on the sightseeing-list for my visitors. First days are important; this one was. It made me fall in love with a city.

late afternoon

a la playa

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red cross

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The light turns golden, the air is salty. I try to be close to the sea as often as possible, and I also like the paths that lead to the sea and the buildings nearby. In Valencia, I took photos of different spots near the water – the first three photos on a trip to El Saler, only a bus ride away from the city, and the other two near the city beach.

Always after a swim.

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Das Licht wird golden, die Luft ist salzig. So oft wie möglich versuche ich nah am Meer zu sein, und ich mag auch die Wege, die zum Meer führen, und die Gebäude in der Nähe. In Valencia fotografierte ich verschiedene Spots nahe des Wassers – die ersten drei Bilder machte ich in El Saler, nur eine Busfahrt von Valencia entfernt, und die letzten zwei in der Nähe des Stadtstrandes.

Immer nachdem ich schwimmen war.