Wishing you all and your beloved ones a nice long Easter weekend!
Christian & Michael
PS: the below photo was taken by Michael – great photography skills on his iPhone8!
Looking for an Easter activity in Barcelona? Monday hike to Sant Cugat through the natural park of Collserola! A real recommendation. Learn more at The Barcelona Feeling – Private Walking Tours.
Now that full spring is in progress I can really recommend you to have a lunch menu in one of the following sunny beach restaurants. The prices for a 3-course menu vary from 15 Euro to 20 Euro including bread and a drink (sometimes also coffee).
Ca La Nuri Xiroi, Pg. Marítim de la Nova Icària, 38 (Playa Nova Icària)
- This is the good spot to have lunch or dinner by the beach with view over the Mediterranean. As it is further away from the busy Barceloneta beach it can be more quiet than its sister restaurant Platja Ca La Nuri.
- Their lunch menu during weekdays is fantastic. For 16 Euro you get an excellent three course menu including a glass of good wine and a bread basket.
- Location: 10 / Food: 10 / Price: €€
Platja Ca La Nuri, Pg.Marítim de la Barceloneta (Playa Somorrostro)
- This is the perfect (and our favourite) spot to have lunch or dinner on the beach. You are literally sitting on the beach.
- Their lunch menu during weekdays is fantastic. For 20 Euro you get an excellent three course menu including a glass of good wine and a bread basket. It is also a great fish restaurant.
- Location: 10 / Food: 10 / Price: €€
Shôko, Pg. Marítim 36
- Located by the busy restaurant mile close to the Golden Fish Sculpture. Come early for lunch. At nights it usually turnsinto a busy club. Great view over the beach.
- The 3-course lunch menu (18 Euro) comprises also a drink, bread and a coffee. Sometimes even a glass of Cava for being welcomed.
- Location: 8 / Food: 8 / Price: €€
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Last Monday we had lovely spring weather yet again and we decided to walk to Sant Cugat again through the natural park of Collserola.
The magnificent mountain range Serra de Collserola rises up over Barcelona Metropolitan Area. It is almost touching the city. For the huge population that lives around these mountains it forms a much-loved and incredibly valuable natural area and a great privilege to enjoy. Collserola is a well-preserved natural area – 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York. Though forest predominates it includes a variety of other plant formations that provide a habitat for valuable biological diversity as well.
Compared to the last walks we chose a different route that turned out to be quite spooky. During the whole walk we were nearly the only ones on the walking trails. Soon after our start the path got blocked by a seemingly wild hound that was not amused by seeing us. The dog was medium sized, had blood in his face and looked deranged. Michael and I froze – what to do? The dog snarled at us while Michael talked calmly to it. Should we try to go back? But with every move the dog snarled again and moved as well. I picked up a branch – not sure if it would help but I felt better with it. After a while (it felt like 10 minutes) the situation got finally solved. A cat climbed up a tree and distracted the dog that found it much more interesting to follow than gnarling at us. With the path cleared we continued very quickly our way.
Fifteen minutes later – still quite excited – we arrived at the site I had planned to visit: the ruins of the old Casino de la Rabassada located in the middle of nowhere.
“In 1899 the Grand Hotel de la Rabassada was built, decorated by the workshop of the French painter Edmon Lechavallier Chevignard, which was extended in 1911 with the construction of a casino, designed by the architect Andreu Audet i Puig, and an area of attractions. It was a pharaonic work that had a budget of 2.5 million pesetas, unusual at the time. More than 300 guests attended its inauguration on July 15, 1911, ten years after Tibidabo had opened. This majestic casino was the symbol of the luxury of a city in full economic expansion. It did not lack anything and even had its own amusement park, restaurant with large dining rooms and chefs from Paris, orchestra, hotel with luxury rooms, recreational rooms, public oratory, and grandiose gardens with exotic vegetation from various parts of the planet.” (source: Wikipedia)
However, its decline started shortly after its completion as the Spanish government forbade gambling. So the hotel and restaurant remained for several years until in 1930 it got finally closed. The building deteriorated and was used during the Civil War first as a refugee against bombing and then as barracks. In 1940 it got demolished.
After many decades, nature took back nearly the whole place. So, after the encounter with the wild dog trespassing the area was even more exciting for us. We discovered one major remainder:
We continued the path through the undergrowth and left the areas of the ruins (trespassing is actually forbidden) – nobody to be seen. Except when we coincidentally discovered the Fountain of Ribes and another surprise awaited: apparently a cat had chosen the solitude of the area to die. We felt a bit like in Stephen King´s “Pet Sematary” this day…
We kept a certain distance to the cat while watching her fast pacing breath, quick photo of the modernist fountain from 1909 and then we quickly walked further.
The rest of the walk was luckily without further incidents. We discovered many old chapels before arriving to Sant Cugat where we – after five hours of walking – really enjoyed a beer and a tapa.
Check out: The Barcelona Feeling – Private Guided Tours – https://thebarcelonafeeling.com
We left the Pyrenees Friday evening together with our friends and as we still had the rental car Michael and I decided to drive to Montserrat on Saturday after having dropped off Ingo and Peter at the airport.
Montserrat is the world famous monastery an hour drive away from Barcelona. It is situated in the mountain and you can reach it by cable car or by car. Founded in the 10th century it is still functioning.
It was our third visit to Montserrat and finally we had good weather and could go hiking in the iconic mountain. Starting at an altitude of 740m we climbed down to Santa Cova, a religious shrine built into the rocks.
Walking down the pilgrimage path you will find many religious scenarios.
After a visit to the chapel we continued a small natural path around and up to the top of the mountain.
After 90 minutes of climbing up and arriving to the upper cable car station we felt challenged by the iconic rocks and decided to go to the top of one of them.
On the very top (1200 meters) we could enjoy an amazing view. The weather was incredible – after having spent a few days in the snow, the sun felt so good and it was possible to walk in t-short.
We continued a full round on the mountain after having climbed down from the rock and returned to the monastery – extremely tired after 5 hours of hiking in an altitude between 600m and 1200m.
We will come back for some more!!!
Check out The Barcelona Feeling – Private Guided Tours. https://thebarcelonafeeling.com
Last week we went skiing with our friends from Dortmund, Ingo and Peter. They arrived on Saturday by plane and the next day we took a rental car to drive to our destination: Baqueira-Beret in the Catalan Pyrenees. After a four hours drive we could check into our lovely apartment in the middle of the Val d´Aran.
Baqueira has been founded in the 1960s as a ski resort and since then has grown into (according to their website) the biggest ski area in Spain with 147 km of slopes. The village has been extended over the decades and we stayed in the most modern area – Val de Ruda. A modern apartment complex constructed with perfect infrastructure:
No cars – as all traffic disappears in the massive underground garage, extension of the major ski lift to the apartments and ski lockers underneath the ski lift, so you did not have any hassle with carrying your ski equipment.
Michael and I spent full five days on the slopes with daily changing weather conditions: lovely sunny days to cloudy, arctic days with -9 degrees. Though it is not the biggest ski area that we have been to – like Dolomiti Superski with 1200 km of slopes and the biggest ski carousel in the world – it was pleasant for those five days and just enough variety.
Especially, the outer slopes were situated in lovely, natural areas with no signs of civilization. The ski conditions were good with around 250 cm of snow in the mountains. The ski area was located between 1500m and 2600m with mostly blue to red slopes.
A downside were the ski huts in the area – that lacked food offering and coziness that we are used to in the Austrian and Italian Alpes.
All in all, we had a great time but next ski trip we will be back in the Dolomites!
Check out The Barcelona Feeling – Private Guided Tours. https://thebarcelonafeeling.com
After a rather cold February spring finally started at the end of the month with mild temperatures. So we had a couple of spring walks. For example we walked on the Carretera de les Aigues which is a 9 km walking and cycling path along the slopes of the Tibidabo mountain range with incredible panoramic views over Barcelona. At the end of the track we found a tapas bar where to sit in the sun and enjoy a drink.
Discover The Barcelona Feeling: https://thebarcelonafeeling.com – Private Guided Tours
Spring has arrived and so has the new guided walking tour of The Barcelona Feeling: Poble Sec & Montjuic.
Poble Sec is a multicultural, working class neighbourhood of Barcelona located between the sea, the old town and the hill of Montjuic. Its chaotic lay-out along the slopes of the Montjuic with many 19th century houses gives the quarter a distinctive atmosphere that is nowadays very popular among young people.
The tour starts with a discovery of Poble Sec before climbing up the hill of Montjuic – Barcelona´s green lung. During the walk you will escape from the bustling city and will be able to take amazing panoramic photos. We will also take you to one of the best kept secrets of Barcelona on top of the hill!
The Barcelona winter sky is just amazing. Generally, even on a grey day (which we do not have that often here) the winter feels so different from back home in the Netherlands or Germany. The clouds are so much higher which provides a complete different feeling.
January was also a party month for us. Our friend Victoria visited us with her niece and we had a great time at the Harlem Jazz Club in the Old Town just around the corner of our house.
Also we spent a weekend in Madrid to meet our Dutch/Spanish friends who emigrated from Amsterdam to there. Coincidentally, also our friend Jadin from Colombia passed through the city on his way back to Bogota. So we had a party and reunion weekend in the Spanish capital (with super cocktails and tortillas gigantes).
We kicked off the New Year in Barcelona with a lunch on the beach on January 3 with incredibly sunny 22 degrees. Our favourite beach restaurant: Ca La Nuri.
We even had two more days above 22 degrees and a couple of mild days – but finally rain came after the extreme dry autumn where we were close to water rationing.
Michael joined a running group in January whereas Chris went back to his roots and joined a ping pong club. Also we are back to Salsa classes which are a lot of fun.
Next to those activities January was very sportive. Michael went 3 times a week swimming and summed up 20 km. I went 3 times per week to the gym and swimming once a week. All those activities combined with an adjustment in our nutrition led to quick results: loss weight and and building up muscles.
But no only did we take care of our bodies but also our minds. Michael intensified his Spanish classes and we spend a lovely evening in the Palau de la Musica. For Christmas I got tickets for the New Year´s concert – Strauss´popular waltzes and marches.
Body, mind, culture – January was also the month of partying… (to be continued)
Michael and I have started the year with focusing on changing our diet and increasing our sports activities with a great result. After the Christmas cookie marathon we both lost 4 kg while gaining more muscles. All this without actually doing a diet but eating more consciously and much more vegetarian.
That´s why we also checked out two vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona that we would like to recommend.
Rasoterra, Carrer del Palau 5, 08002 Barcelona
- The restaurant is located in the middle of the Gothic quarter very close to the city hall. Its modern and bright design makes your stay very pleasant.
- The 3 course lunch menu is very reasonable for 12,50 Euro including a large bottle of water.
- Location: 9 / Food: 9 / Price: €€
Aquaribay, Carrer del Taulat 95, 08005 Barcelona
- The restaurant is located in the Poble Nou quarter, a ten minutes walk away from the metro station. Comfortable restaurant with a creative menu.
- The food is excellent, though a bit more pricy. I loved the ecological wine. Come early as it is very popular during Spanish dinner time.
- Location: 9 / Food: 9 / Price: €€€