Category Archives: Exploring

Relax at Parc de la Ciutadella

Pass the Arc de Triomf and through Passeig de Lluís Companys, lays a spectacular park. Ciutadella Park is one of the main public parks in Barcelona, Spain. The park is filled with history. The abundant amounts of attractions make it appealing to locals, as well as tourists.

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Tourists sometimes overlook the park. Compared to the other sites in Barcelona, the park doesn’t always get enough credit. However, having fewer tourists is what makes the park peaceful. This way, it isn’t too crowded. Ciutadella Park is a calm park in a busy city.

barcelona97-620x413In 1888, Spain hosted its first International World’s Fair. The fair was to celebrate the removal of the despised, military citadel. The 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition took place at Ciutadella Park. Over two million people were present. Most of the park was designed specifically for the fair. All the buildings had specific purpose. Since the fair, the park’s layout has been modified.

At 70 acres, Ciutadella Park is bigger than ordinary parks. There is much more going on. Individuals spend their time wondering the trails or walking their dogs. It is a great place to get exercise. People will go jogging or ride their bikes through the park. There are plenty of things to do and see.

Parc Zoologic is known to be the main attraction in the park. Housing over 7,000 animals, the zoo attracts many tourists. In the past, many individuals would visit the zoo to see Snowflake, the famous, albino gorilla. Sadly, Snowflake passed away in 2004. Located at the end of the park, the zoo is still the most popular aspect.

SNOWFALKE_2582411b

In the center of the park stands Parliament de Cataluña. This is the original building for the military of the citadel. Parliament de Cataluña is the oldest building in the park. Even though the public isn’t allowed inside, it is still admired. Occasionally, there are private tours provided.

The Cascada is a large fountain located in the corner of the park. Built by Josep Fontsère in 1888, the fountain was another addition for the Universal Exposition. Antoni Gaudí was said to have many contributions to the architecture. Two staircases on either side of the fountain are available to climb for a better view of the park. For drinks or a snack, a small café sits in front of the fountain. Many individuals relax on the benches and listen to the waterfall.

Fontsere
Fontsere
Gaudi
Gaudi

One of the most scenic sites of the park is the lake. The palm trees surround the lake makes the area more picturesque. The lake is known to be a romantic spot for the visitors. Boats are available to the public to ride. Many families and couples are seen rowing boats on the lake. Next to the lake is one of the thickest vegetation. There is a variety of vegetation that grows here that is picketed with signs.

Parc-Ciutadella.Barcelona

The park also offers a few museums. The Laboratory of Nature holds a museum of zoology and geology. There are exhibits for all ages. The museum of zoology holds exhibits for minerals, animals, and birds. The original building for the museum of zoology was used in the Universal Exposition. Francisco Martorell i Peña donated his collection of artifacts to the museum of geology. The building was constructed for the purpose of storing his artifacts. This was the first museum in Barcelona.

In between the building of the two museums, stands the Umbracle. This is another building built for the fair. The building is now used for a green house. Inside, palm trees and tropical plants cover the area. The roof is made of transparent to allow the light to shine through.

The park is a great place for families and kids. Parents take their children to play on the playgrounds at the park. There is an enormous statue of a mammoth that kids are free to climb on. Many schools lead their students on field trips to the park during the day.

This is a great recommendation for a place to visit in Barcelona, Spain. Parc de la Ciutadella has something for everyone. It has activities and history. The park is peaceful and active. For locals or tourists, the park is a great place to spend time. Whether someone wants visit the zoo or unwind, it is beautiful.

As for myself, I love to visit the park. It lived up to my expectations. Click below to hear and see my personal experiences at the park!

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A Week in Italia

Spending eleven days away from Barcelona was tough. Barcelona has become my home and being away for that long felt wrong. However, I knew spending a little over a week with my best friends touring Italy wouldn’t be so bad.

Our first stop was Cinque Terre, Italy. Stepping out of the train station, I knew this would be a great place to spend three days. My favorite place to be is laying on a beach. Cinque Terre was a perfect fit for me. It is simply a small beach town. IMG_4783

After dropping off our bags our cute hostel, we went to a restaurant overlooking the ocean. We ordered pasta and cocktails to get the trip started. The rest of the day was spent laying on the beach till the sun went down.

The next morning, we took an ambitious hike to the next town. Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages. We only made traveled to one. It wasn’t easy. Along the way, we met two friends who were struggling just as hard. An hour and half later, we all made to Vernazza. The town was crowded with tourists and gelato. We ate more pasta and shopped at the souvenir stores. As the sun went down, my friends and I watched the waves hit the rocks.

Sunday morning and it was time to leave Cinque Terre. Honestly, I was sad to leave this beautiful beach town. The warm weather and sandy streets made it difficult to leave.

The train to Florence was long. Once arriving, I would be crashing with my friend’s cousin’s hardwood floor for the next three nights. IMG_4885

On Tuesday morning, this made the day trip to Venice difficult. I was exhausted. We took an early morning, fast train to Venice and caught a ferry to Burano. Unfortunately, we got on the wrong ferry. It took us 2 hours to arrive in Burano. It was worth it. The blue skies and colorful houses made for incredible pictures. After, we took another ferry and wondered the streets of Venice. We made great use of the short time we had. Later that day, we took a train back to Florence.11150443_10205935637452893_7661687077666655396_n

Another early morning train ride and off to Rome! We checked into our hostel. The weather in Rome was very warm. I was not expecting this and packed jeans for the day. The first thing we did was meet our friend from school. She is studying abroad in Rome and was excited to show us the city. We visited the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, we found out the Trevi Fountain would be under construction for the next two years. This was disappointing.

Thursday, we only had time to see the Vatican before leaving once again. The line to enter the church took us over an hour. That night, we met at the train station for the Bus2Alps Tour. This was a weekend long tour that we had signed up for a few weeks earlier. The bus picked up all the kids at the train station and took us to Sorrento, Italy. 

In the morning, the tour had us wake up early. Everyone hopped on a ferry that took us to smaller boat. The boat took us around the entire island of Capri. It was a beautiful day. First, we took even smaller boats inside the Blue Grotto. At the end, the boat dropped us off on Capri Island. Here, we traveled to the top to eat lunch and try Limoncello. Capri is known to grow the best, fresh lemons. It was delicious.

My favorite part of the island was the chairlift. It was a single chair for one person that took you to the tallest part of capri. It was very relaxing to be by yourself. The views of the ocean were incredible.

The next two days were not as exciting. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible. It thunder-stormed the entire time. We spent the next two days huddled in pizza shops and trying to stay dry.

When Monday came around, we were ready to get back to the nice weather in Barcelona. The trip was long but beautiful.

If you only have a short time in Italy, here are a few recommendations

My favorite places:

  • Cinque Terre
  • Burano
  • Capri

My favorite things:

  • Hiking
  • Blue Grotto
  • Chairlift

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Paris, Je t’aime!

Paris, France: February 20th – February 22nd 

It was a Friday morning and it was the trip I couldn’t wait for. On all the other flights I have taken I’ve slept the entire way, but not this one. I knew my dad would be waiting for me when I landed. I couldn’t wait to practice my French and eat macaroons at a café.

At 9am, my dad was waiting at my gate. Immediately after checking into the hotel, I dragged my dad to the Eiffel Tower.You never forget the first time you see it. It was pouring rain and still beautiful.

IMG_3387Before we went to back to the hotel for the night, we stopped at a restaurant for homemade French fries and ice cream. It was so delicious that we went back the next night. Fries really do taste better in France.

The next morning, my dad and I were ready to explore Paris. My sister, Kayla, and her boyfriend, Sam, weren’t supposed to arrive for a few hours. When we made our way to the lobby, they were there! Their plane landed early. It was a great surprise to see my sister.

IMG_3439They were exhausted from the flight. While they napped, my dad and I went exploring in the pouring rain again. I made him walk me back to the Eiffel Tower and through Champ de Mars. Soon, I got cold and we had to walk back to get hot chocolate.

When everyone woke up, we walked to the Arc de Triomphe. This was also close to our hotel. The Arc was huge, much bigger than Barcelona’s. Next, we walked down Place Charles de Gaulle for shopping and dinner. Everyone was still exhausted from the long flights so, we went to sleep early.

IMG_3683_2Sunday morning was a beautiful morning. The sky was bright blue and didn’t have cloud. For the third time, I hurried to the Eiffel Tower. We ate breakfast and drank our espressos. After a photoshoot in front of the tower, we took a bus tour through the city. This took us to all the major places in Paris.

The Notre Dame in Paris was beautiful. We made sure to tour the inside. I couldn’t believe how old the cathedral was, dating back to 1163. Even though we didn’t get to see the Mona Lisa, my other favorite destination was the Louvre. We didn’t have time to make it inside the museum due to the long lines.

We also saw L’ Hôtel Des Invalides, The Opera House, Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde, Trocadéro, and Place Vendôme. Paris is huge, I noticed. There are so many amazing sites to see. We were lucky to accomplish them all in a day.

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Traveling to Paris in a weekend? Here are my favorite parts that I recommend:

  • Eiffel Tower (at least three times)
  • French Fries (who cares if they aren’t technically French?)
  • Bus Tour (especially if you only have a day)
  • Louvre (buy your tickets ahead of time, if you want to see the Mona Lisa)
  • Macaroons!
  • Notre Dame de Paris (the inside)

“Paris is always a good idea,” Audrey Hepburn couldn’t have said it better herself. Even though it was practically a hurricane of rain for the first two days, we managed to see everything in one beautiful day.

Take a walk!

It was a Tuesday afternoon in Barcelona and I was all set to watch my Netflix. When I opened my bedroom curtains, the sun was shining so bright. It was a beautiful, blue sky day and I didn’t want it to go to wastScreen Shot 2015-02-19 at 9.50.34 PMe. Instead of being lazy, I decided to get some exercise. I shut my computer, put on my Toms, and grabbed my iPod and a book. I was off to explore.

My first site that I came upon was the Arc de Triomf. On my way to class I pass by it, but never stop to look at it. I made my way through Passeig de Lluís Companys. This is a long promenade between rows of palm trees. A few street performers were blowing massive bubbles and rolling around in giant hula hoops.

Eventually, I made my way into the Parc de la Ciutadella. This is somewhere I had never been. There were so many people on this beautiful day. People were reading on benches, running for exercise, and kids were playing on the playground.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.07.13 PM

On my walk through the park, I passed a museum of zoology, playgrounds, and art pieces. My favorite part of the park that I found was the fountain. The sound of the water and kids playing made me feel so peaceful. Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.06.18 PM

For more exercise, I climbed to the top of the fountain. There were a lot of stairs. That’s when I started to sweat. The water and the rest of the park was so pretty on top of the fountain.

After I climbed back down, this is where I decided to stop. I found a bench near the fountain. Then, I brought out my Lea Michele book that I packed. After a while, I had to head to class.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.06.59 PM

At the end of the day, I ended up walking around 3.5 miles. That may not seem like a lot. If I did that every day instead of watching Netflix, I could see a lot of improvement. Now that I know that there is still so much more in Barcelona that I haven’t seen, I am going to take walks more often.

If I would have stayed in my apartment and watched New Girl, I never would have seen this part of the city. It is important to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. I enjoyed going by myself and having some alone time.

If you have free time, take a walk and explore. You don’t have to run or sweat. Its a relaxing to listen to music and reflect on your thoughts. Bring a book and create an adventure! Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.07.31 PM