Booking under: Nicole & Keith
Welcome to June! The weather may have been crazy these last few weeks, but that hasn’t stopped us from having an amazing trip to Spain.
Dying to see where we went? Want to know what the best places are to visit or the best things to do? Fear not, dear reader, we’re here to help…
Barcelona is our first stop, and its energetic and vibrant city vibe has proven our itinerary right. Being one of the major avenues in the city, Passeig de Gràcia is shops galore from high street fashion to local Catalunya style. We aren’t too crazy into shopping so Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces rather caught our sight instead. Along the avenue, we were mesmerized by his stunning architecture of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo (just to name a few) that are characterized by unusual dimensions and patterns.
Through the lens of Gaudi, who has left his mark everywhere in Barcelona, he designed Park Guell, the second most visited monument in the city where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city skyline. Of course, we took advantage of this gorgeous view and captured a lot of enchanting memories there. If these haven’t satisfied your cravings for Gaudi yet, make sure you pay a visit to the famous Sagrada Familia too!
If you have a day to spare, we recommend going on a day trip to Girona, a medieval town that’s 40 minutes train away from Barcelona. Be ready for some walking exercises when exploring the Jewish Quarter and the Onyar River and being beckoned by the beauty of this historic city.
After visiting the sprawling city of Barcelona, we move on to Valencia – the third largest city in Spain after Barca and Madrid.
Valencia isn’t small, but if you can only visit one spot in the city, make sure it’s the incredible City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias). The entire campus can be described as a work of art, with beautiful pools of water separating the key buildings. From the L’Hemisfèric planetarium to the L’Oceanogràfic aquarium, there’s much to be discovered inside and outside each building. In all, it’s very easy to lose a few hours exploring the site, taking photos along the waterline, and enjoying the connecting park nearby.
Valencia is also well-known for being the birthplace of paella – a rice dish that often involves seafood. We enjoyed having paella in it’s place of origin, and think La Riua is a particularly good restaurant for trying this famous dish. Just be careful, since almost all restaurants require ordering at least 2 portions for any one paella dish. Make sure you’re famished first!
And of course, we have Madrid. The capital is the largest city in Spain and offers plenty of gems.
Anyone who’s even remotely a football fan will want to visit the Santiago Bernabeu. As one of the “holy grounds” of football, the stadium offers fans a chance to tour the Bernabeu itself (complete with changing rooms, press boxes, etc.), visit memorabilia and trophy displays, and buy some Real Madrid apparel. You might not see Ronaldo himself around stadium, but at least you can get an easy computer photo opportunity!
And for history/scenery fans, do take train to visit Toledo. Taking the trip is like rolling back time, as we were treated to sweeping vistas of old buildings that clashed starkly with the modernity of Madrid. We were lucky to find an affordable tourist taxi that took us around the city and stopped for key photo moments. From ancient bridges and rivers to stunning views of the old city, we definitely enjoyed Toledo and will gladly recommend it to anyone!
Last but not least, we made our way to Seville, the final destination of our trip. As the capital of Andalucia, the city itself is small and neat so the attractions are pretty centered and are easy to access. Seville Cathedral, the third-largest church in the world, is a must-see. Behind the cathedral is Barrio de Santa Cruz (not the one in the States) where you will see many white-washed narrow streets and alleyways and it’s simply fun to wander in the neighborhood. If you are hungry when touring the city, grab a quick bite at Mercado Lonja del Barranco and enjoy riverside eating. Definitely don’t miss the self-service tapas food stall and juice stall!
The highlight of Seville is Plaza de Espana. Upon entering the premises, we were mesmerized by this stately edifice. Everywhere from its grandiosity to its intricately carved wall in the plaza is picturesque. We had some of the best couple photos in this trip taken right there with the river and rowboats in the background, resembling some of the memories and scenes in Venice. Just one heads up that our good friends there, namely the horses, might bring an interesting stimulation to your olfactory system!
With all of its history, culture, good food, and friendly populace, Spain really was a joy to visit. We loved snacking on tapas one by one, shopping for delicious treats to take home, and simply exploring the full spectrum of things Spain had to explore. If you haven’t visited Spain yet, you better act quick – although we do have Airbnb recommendations if you’re looking for a nice place to stay!
Join us next week as we crack on with Designing your Life. There’s going to be new wisdom from Bill and Dave, and we’re excited to see where the book will take us next. Until then!