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Posted by: Laia Fàbregas
December 13th, 2016 in Travel spots
Park Güell, a vital stop of the Barcelona modernist route

To all lovers of architecture out there, the name Gaudi will definitely sound familiar. Considered a pioneer in his field and the face of Catalan modernism, his legacy has embellished Barcelona greatly, attracting tourists from all around the globe. One of the gems he left behind is the famous Park Güell, a large public park built between 1900 and 1914 and composed by gardens and several buildings in which the touch of Gaudí doesn’t go unnoticed.

Park Güell is named after the Count Eusebi Güell, a wealthy entrepeneur and friend of Antoni Gaudi with whom he happened to share similar interests. He therefore became the architect’s patron and employed him in several occasions, requesting some of his most symbolic constructions and among them the Park Güell, the most remarkable of them all. It can be found in Gracia district, at the northern part of Barcelona city.

Gaudí was known for leaning towards naturalism, usually representing organic forms in his buildings as well as colorful textures and geometry. The Park itself is home to a famous lizard or dragon who would soon become not only his icon, but also Barcelona’s as well. Its design is filled with tessellation and never fails to garner everyone’s attention.

The Park is open to visits all year round and has plenty accesses which can be consulted on its official website. We highly recommend taking the time to stroll around the park, as most building structures in the area are supposed to bring calmth to their viewers by simulating nature. It’s also usual to find street musicians on the way, which make the experience all the more magical. Don’t miss the chance to witness Gaudi’s art in all its glory!

The best way to get to Park Güell is by metro. The metro stop is Vallcarca (green line). Then you would just need to follow the signs towards the park. Check the following map for directions here.

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Posted by: Laia Fàbregas
November 22nd, 2016 in Travel spots
Christmas is coming to Barcelona: Santa Llúcia market

As Christmas approaches, a jolly feeling fills the streets of every city in the world and of course, Barcelona could be no less. La Fira de Santa Llúcia takes place at this time of the year, gathering a huge amount of stands in the cathedral area for three weeks long, and up until Christmas Eve.

While not being the only christmas market in the city, it is indeed the oldest as it’s been celebrated ever since 1786, becoming a tradition as well as a must-see for both citizens and tourists alike.

One can find all kinds of items around the market, such as the most traditional Christmas ornaments here in Catalonia (Christmas trees, crib figures and the famous caga tió, as seen below) and a wide range of gift items (costume jewelry, puppets, artisan toys and Christmas sweets).

We highly recommend strolling around the market and visiting la Plaça de Sant Jaume, where the main hall is located, and where you can witness the most famous living nativity scene in the whole city. However, this year, the crib gives off a rather contemporary vibe as it’s presented within inflatable balls.

This year the market opens its doors on November 25th until December 23rd, from 10:30 to 20:30 on working days and 10:30 to 21:30 on public holidays. We recommend a night visit to dip yourselves in the most magical side of the city that is Barcelona.

How to arrive: The market occupies la Plaça Nova, where la Catedral de Barcelona is located. The closest underground stops are Liceu (L3) and Jaume I (L4) (see map).

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Posted by: Jonathan Street
December 10th, 2014 in Travel spots
Street art is big in Catalonia

The Catalans obviously like their large pieces of street art, some very elegant, some historic and some just a bit mad.

In Barcelona, in the Horta-Guinardó district, there is a huge box of matches (22 meter tall) on the intersection of a main road, and nearby, enormous broken or burnt out matches, supposedly from the same box of course! This piece of pop art was created by the swedish artist Claes Oldenburg and it’s called “Els mistos”. It was created for the 1992 Olympic Games to decorate the Vall d’Hebrón olympic zone where the tennis, volleyball and some other competitions were taking place. You can find it in the intersection of Avenida del Cardenal Vidal i Barraquer and Carrer del Pare Mariana. Click here to find directions.

Just up the coast in the tourist town of Platja d’Aro, there is a colony of gigantic ants in a park that look as if they’re eating the grass….like they do!

And they even light up at night!

In the same town, just off the main roundabout is a normal size herd of sheep that are actually meant to eat grass and a sheepdog…….not eat the sheepdog, just that there is one. These sheep are very appreciated between the Platja D’Aro residents and very frequently the City Council receives offers from their citizens to buy one of these sheeps for their personal courtyards.

Back in Barcelona, down by the Port Vell marina, there’s a huge happy lobster! This amazing sculpture was created by Javier Mariscal, mostly known by being the designer of Cobi, mascot of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. This giant lobster was created to sit above Gambrinus bar and it fact was Gambrinus image for many years. Some years later almost all the bars from the area closed down but Barcelona City Council bought this sculpture and restored it just to keep there as it has become an icon at the Port Vell marina.

Not far from there, on the Rambla del Raval you can find a fat deformed cat created by Fernando Botero in 1987. This cat has been moving around Barcelona in different spots (Olympic Stadium, Drassanes, Ciutadella Park, etc) but finally has seemed to find it’s place in the young and fashionable Rambla del Raval.

This same well-known artist created another big animal sculpture located in Terminal 2 of the Barcelona airport: Botero’s horse. This statue is used by thousands of travellers each day as huge meeting point. “Let’s meet at the giant horse”, is something very common to be heard when you need to meet with someone at Terminal 2.

Back in Barceloneta you can admire a huge tower of wobbly glass and iron boxes right in the middle of the beach! This crazy sculpture was created by the German artist Rebecca Horn for the 1992 Olympic Games and is called “L’Estel Ferit”, however it is commonly known as The Cubes.

In various points, scattered around Barcelona, large pieces of pasta shells (Galets) are placed in the streets, that light up at night, during the Christmas period. Galet soup is the traditional catalan starter for the Christmas meal. This odd tradition has been was started in 2009 by the City Council.

In the suburb of Vallcarca, very near to Park Güell, there is a huge ant climbing up the side of an apartment block, why this is we don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter anyway……it’s a huge ant climbing up the side of an apartment block!

Down the coast in the city of Tarragona stands one of the most bizarre statues yet, it is in the memory or honour of the grand Transformer himself, the one and only Mazinger Z……how brilliant is that!

A love of large objects and abstract animal figures seem to decorate many streets and public areas in Catalonia, and these are to name but a few. So for all those that like large objects and abstract animal figures, this one’s for you.

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Posted by: Jonathan Street
December 4th, 2014 in Travel spots
Get lost…in the longest Labyrinth in Spain

Kilometres of conifer tree corridors, curly, curved and circular, capped off with a castle in the centre…………How far would you dare to go!

Getting lost in a labyrinth can be scary or fun, depending on the circumstances. Being chased by a crazy axe branding Jack Nicholson covered by snow and sub zero temperatures…

…..or by a half man, half bull like creature, namely the Minotaur is one thing, but taking a family stroll on a sunny day and enjoying the scenery is another.

If your preference is the latter, why not try to get lost in the longest labyrinth in Spain, and one of the longest in the world, located in the Rafael de la Cerda park in Tentegorra, Cartagena. Recently opened, its 5 km maze features a Viewing tower in the form of a small castle in the middle and a bridge in order to help you find your bearings.

Occupying 5200 square metres of 3m high cypress trees, the labyrinth offers an easy route, which takes only 15 minutes, and a more difficult route, which is the more fun because it means you get lost for longer. There are 12 entrances/exits, depending on which way you’re going, but if you really can’t find your way out there are various emergency exits and two monitors, not minotaurs, that are constantly doing the rounds inside the maze itself.

The Rafael de la Cerda park also has an adventure assault course and small water park. So if you were to depend on the circumstances of this particular labyrinth it could be said that this one is more fun than scary…….sorry Jack!

Other important labyrinths in Spain:
The gardens of Horta, in Barcelona, which are the oldest in the city and have two gardened areas; one being of the eco classic style from the XVII century and the other being a romantic garden from the XIX century. For more information, read our previous blog post.

The Capricho, in Madrid, which was made for the Duchess of Osuna. It is of the romantic period and is never too busy due to its location, far from the city centre.

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Posted by: Jonathan Street
November 20th, 2014 in Travel spots
Torrent de Pareis: A beach hidden between the cliffs

Torrent de Pareis is one of the most spectacular and unique beaches in the Balearic Islands.

Due to thousands of years of erosion from the waters of Torrent de Pareis, that cut through the mountains of Sierra de Tramontana to finally reach the sea on the coast of Mallorca, the spectacular crystal clear and deep blue colour of the sea sits at the bottom of the 200m cliffs with the 25 metre long beach of cala de Sa Calobra in a narrow canyon below.

Sa Calobra is untouched by mass tourism due to its limited access restricted through a winding pass or from the sea by boat. To get there is not so easy.

After leaving the city of Palma de Mallorca by car, the mountain road includes more than 800 bends and then a 300 metre walk along the cliff edge and through the canyon before arriving at the beach where you can finally relax and enjoy the warm sun and clear waters of cala de Sa Calobra.

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Posted by: Wifivox
September 27th, 2013 in Travel spots
How will La Sagrada Familia look like when finished in 2026?

Construction of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia began in 1882. 131 years later, the basilica is still under construction and according to its current architect Jordi Faulí, the building will be finished in 2026.

Since the last century, 9 different architects have been in charge of Sagrada Familia’s construction, and they have all completed just 65% of Gaudi’s masterpiece.

Now thanks to a 3D infographic animation provided by the Sagrada Familia Foundation we can know how the temple will look like when finished in 2026.

The most stunning tower (that has still to be built), is the central one, and will be 170 meters tall, becoming the tallest building in Barcelona. Also, according to the plan, in 2026 we will be able to admire 18 towers, which will rise over 100 meters. (Today just eight of the eighteen intended towers have been built).

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Posted by: Wifivox
July 4th, 2013 in Travel spots
Feeling like Alice in Wonderland?

If you’ve always wanted to run through a hedge maze just like Alice in Wonderland and you’re planning to visit Barcelona, Laberint d’Horta park will make your day.

This park, built in 1791 and mostly visited by locals, hosts a giant hedge maze, made up of 750 metres of cypress trees. In the center of the maze you will find a little Eros statue surrounded by 7 different gates; only 2 of them will get you to the exit.

But the famous maze it’s not the only element worth the visit. Laberint d’Horta is the oldest park in the city, and has other magnificent spots such as a romantic artificial lake, a cemetery, neoclassical buildings, Italian fountains, springs and pools all of it surrounded by a large area of Mediterranean forest. The park was officially opened to the public in 1971 by the City Council and was restored in 1994, and it’s actually one of the most special parks in Barcelona, mostly unknown by the tourists.

Beware, there’s a limitation with the number of people visiting this place in order to preserve the environment; just 750 persons at the same time can go inside the park.

And remember, if you ever get lost in the maze you can always follow the Eros statue (located in the center of the maze) or use your Wifivox pocket wifi for easy escape solutions!

How to arrive: The park is located in the upper part of Barcelona. Just stop at the Mundet metro station and walk 5 minutes until you reach Germans Desvalls street (see map).

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Posted by: Wifivox
June 21st, 2013 in Travel spots
A beach without sea?

Can you imagine a little sand beach from where it’s impossible to sight the sea and which is 100 metres away from the sea shoreline? This weird beach exists and can be found near Naves (Asturias). It’s name is Gulpiyuri and is one of the most amazing inland beaches in the world.

How does the Cantabrian sea water arrive to Gulpiyuri’s beach? And most of all, why does it have waves just as any other beach in the world?

It appears that the salt waters of the Cantabrian sea have been carving a series of underground tunnels during millions of years. These tunnels feed Gulpiyuri’s beach with transparent water and charming waves. The sea comes in and out here with the tides, so when we have high tides tourists can swim in one of the most outstanding beaches in the world.

The beach is located in the middle of a grassy meadow so although you don’t have seaside views, you can enjoy the typical Asturias green sights while you sunbathe on this 40 metres beach. In the following link you will enjoy of a 360º view of Gulpiyuri’s beach and its exceptional location:

Gulpiyuri’s beach 360º view

One of the best ways to arrive to Gulpiyuri’s beach is by taking the coastal pathway from the beach of San Antolín in Niembro. You will end in the “top” of the beach and enjoy of a stunning view of the beach without sea.

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Posted by: Wifivox
June 11th, 2013 in Travel spots
The shortest street in Barcelona

Carrer de l’Anisadeta, measuring just 6 meters from the corner to the edge of the Santa Maria square, is the shortest street in Barcelona.

If you’ve ever visited Barcelona you may have walked through this street on countless occasions without being aware it was even a street. This little alley connects the famous Santa Maria square with Canvis Vells street, and thousands of tourists walk through it every day on their way to the Barceloneta area.

In just a few meters this street hosts 3 nameplates, 3 bollards, 3 trash bins and a tenant: the restaurant La Vinya del Senyor, which has a side access here (the main door is located in the square).

The Anisadeta street also has some history behind. The port workers had a small table installed on this street with anise and water. When their work shift ended they came here and manufactured a drink called Anisadeta (a mix of anise and water), which ended up giving name to the street.

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