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Archive for the ‘Barcelona’ Category

Arriving in Barcelona at 8:30 a.m. tired after a very uncomfortable and long flight we (Lanora Mueller and myself) took a cab to our hotel; Sheraton’s Four Points on Avenida Diagonal 161-163. (Very comfortable beds!) The hotel is located in an area of Barcelona called Poblenou, which is Catalan for “New Village.”

Right out the front entrance of the hotel is Rambla del Poblenou a tree-lined street that has a wide center for walking, eating, and sitting.  As with the other ramblas in Barcelona, this one leads from the sea towards the mountains.  Hungry and in need of euros, we walked along Rambla del Poblenou first looking for an ATM (there are several) and then a place to eat (there are many choices on each block).  The street is made up of interesting buildings that define the history of this beautiful rambla.

         

Ramble del Poblenou began as an industrial textile area in the mid 1800’s; suffered decline; was taken over by squatters and artists who moved into the abandoned buildings; and then in the 1990’s because of the 1992 Olympics it went through a new restoration that has helped define what it is today—a new village that has a vibrant community and a mixture of different architectural styles from the 1800’s to the 21st century.

          

This vibrant neighborhood with easy access to public transportation was a great place to begin our trip of Costa Brava Spain and ending it two weeks later where our last night was spent at La Bella Mar restaurant enjoying a glass of sangria and paella.

            

              

 ¡Disfrute!

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In October 2012, we, my husband, daughter and I, ended our Paris to the Swiss Pearl River Boat on the Rhone River trip in Barcelona.  We stayed in the World Trade Center located along the shore and near most of the main attractions that this city offers.  I loved the trip and all the places that we went to and the people we traveled with.  Ama Waterway Tours was very good in all that they provided and the food and wine was delicious.  It was all and more that a touring vacation can be in excellence.  Tours though, no matter how well organized can get old and as we approached Barcelona from Arles, France I was becoming overwhelmed with all the information and quick look at sites.  We had booked extra days in both Paris and Barcelona so that we could have family time at our own pace.

And that’s how we ended up lost in Barcelona.

Actually my philosophy about getting lost is that I’m not really lost because I know exactly where I am, I just don’t know how to get to where I want to go…anyway…

We ended up off the beaten path of tourism and into a neighborhood of narrow streets, high buildings with laundry hanging from the upper windows and small shops that sold practical goods (no touristy junk here).  We came upon a small park that was the center of three converging streets; a man was feeding the pigeons when a woman with her son walked by.  The boy, seeing a great opportunity, ran at the pigeons.  This was a moment that has stayed with me for a year now.  It helped bring Barcelona and it’s people into a better perspective.

So now, here I was a bit less than a year later back in Barcelona with my friend Lanora Mueller of WritingTravel.com.  We were in Spain for a blogger’s convention in Girona and spending a couple of days in Barcelona before we moved on down La Costa Brava.  We stayed at the Sheraton Four Points in the neighborhood Poblenou, Catalan for “New Village”, and loving it but more on that later.  On our second day we too got “lost” and turned around while walking the side parallel streets around Las Ramblas and ended up discovering a different world than the one that Las Ramblas has to offer.  We were looking for an old hospital that is now a library and a coffee shop that I had gone to the last time that I had been here.  We found the coffee shop but not the right one (same name wrong shop) and the old hospital which is now a school and library with a beautiful central garden.  It was a refreshing moment and I loved ending our walk through narrow streets sitting in a garden watching two men play chess on a large chess board, students standing around talking and birds drinking from the fountain.

Special thanks to Europe TBEX ’12 for organizing the Travel Blogger’s conference in Girona, Spain and the sponsors who made the time there both enjoyable and informative about this beautiful area of Spain and Catalunya:

Costa Brava: Pirineu de Girona: Costa Brava Girona Tourism Board @ www.CostaBrava.com

Catalunya Tourist Board @ www.catalunya.com

Ajuntament de Girona @  http://www2.girona.cat/ca

Palau de Congressos de Girona @ www.auditorigirona.org/eng/pc.presentacio.php

Expedia @  www.expedia.com

Europe TBEX ’12 in Spain @ www.tbexcon.com  (for more information on the Travel Blogger’s network, sponsors, & conferences)

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