October 23, 2017

Travel: 1200m high at Montserrat, Barcelona

Visiting Montserrat Barcelona
Day Trip to Montserrat Barcelona
How to get to Montserrat Barcelona
What to do at Montserrat Barcelona
Montserrat Mountains Barcelona
Hiking the route at Montserrat Barcelona to Sant Jeroni the highest point
View from the Montserrat mountain

Montserrat is a multi peaked mountain about 60km from Barcelona and is accessible by car and by public transport. I've visited Monserrat quite a few times while living in Barcelona. Mostly with friends and family when they come over to visit. But each trip ended at the Monastery to see the Black Madonna or La Moreneta as she is known by the locals. This time, I wanted it to be different, and I wanted to get to the highest peak of the mountain. So when my flatmate asked if I'd like to go, I offered we hike all the way up.

We got there pretty early, grabbed a sandwich for a picnic up in the mountains and began our hike. The time specified to get to Sant Jeroni (the highest peak which is 1236m) was 1hr 20 minutes, but considering stops for pictures and a few minutes rest, it obviously took a bit longer. It took us a total of 1hr 40 minutes to get to the very top. There were lots of stairs, so honestly it wasn't easy and we were extremely exhausted but we made it to the top. The view is so amazing and you can see all the tiny houses and streets from all the way up. After a bit of a rest & lunch with a gorgeous view, we decided to head on down as we also wanted to see Sant Benet, La Trinitat & Sant Miquel. In the end we were so tired we decided to head on home after Sant Benet. The total distance we did was 16km, which doesn't seem like too much but put in the steps which were very popular along the route, and the difficulty increases. This was actually more difficult than the 19km we did at Parc Nacional del Aiguestores.

On the way down, we saw 2 guys mountain climbing almost at the very top of the mountain. From where we stood, they were so high up, omg. Totally crazy! Honestly, I could not believe it when Kat said look up there. I filmed them so go check them out in the video.

We had an amazing time and the view was honestly breathtaking. It was so worth it, even though it wasn't so easy. Definitely recommended for anyone visiting Barcelona. If you're planning to hike to the top, I'd recommend getting there very early in the morning. We had dedicated the entire day for this, so we left the house at 10am and got back home around 6:30pm.

How to get to Montserrat

Getting there by Car
Getting to Monserrat by car is pretty easy and only takes about 1 hour. There are 2 parking lots available at monserrat. One is located close to the Cremallera de Monistrol Vila Rack Railway Station. This parking lot has lots of parking spaces and is free, but requires you pay for the rack railway journey to get up the rest of the way to the monastery. This parking follows the same working hours as the rack railway. You can check the Official Cremallera de Montserrat website for the rack railway timetable & prices.
The other, which is located close to the monastery costs € 6.50 for the day and has limited parking spaces. This parking lot gets filled up pretty quickly, so make sure to get there early. The walking distance from here till the monastery isn't far. You can check the Official Montserrat Website for details.

Getting there by public transport
To get to Monserrat by public transport, you can either take a coach like Autocares Julia which leaves from the Sants Station, or you can go by train. You can check the official Autocares Julia website for details on prices and timetable. If you decide to go by train, you'll have to take the R5 line (Barcelona-Manresa) from Plaza Espanya and get off at Aeri de Montserrat to catch the cable car or at Monistrol de Montserrat to get the rack railway. Getting to Montserrat by train takes about 2 hours, and the cost varies depending on what exactly you decide to use.

Have you visited Montserrat? What do you think of the mountains based on the pictures & video?

October 16, 2017

Travel: Exploring, Hiking & Rafting in Lleida

Parc Nacional de Aiguestortes
Rialp, Spain
Sort, Spain
National Park of Aiguestortes
Calf in the mountains
Aiguestortes Mountains
Hiking in Lleida
Hiking in Aiguestortes
Admiring the view in the mountains
Rafting Llavorsi
Rafting Lleida

I recently had the pleasure to spend a few days in the North of Spain and visit Rialp, Sort, Espot and Llavorsi, all of which are located in Lleida, Catalonia. These are all in the north of Lleida and are about a 3.5 hours drive from Barcelona, but if you've got music and good company it goes by in a breeze. We set off Saturday morning and had a hotel booked in Rialp. On the way, we stopped by Sort for a bit of exploring and some lunch, then we headed off to the hotel.

Our entire Sunday was spent at the National Park of Aiguestortes where we went hiking to take in the amazing views and beautiful mountains. The trail we took wasn't too difficult, and after getting to a large section of the river with a stunning view, we had a bit of a rest and some lunch prior to heading back. The mountains weren't the only things we admired, while hiking we also came across some cute calves and horses. Up into the mountains and then back, we hiked a total of about 19km.

On the last day, we had planned Rafting in Llavorsi. Considering I wasn't feeling too well, I wasn't sure I wanted to still go ahead with it because I knew there was a possibility of getting wet, and since it was quite a cold day I didn't want my flu to get even worse. Finally, I braved it up and got dressed in the wetsuit and jacket, put on my helmet and off we went. Honestly, best decision ever! We had such a great time and it was so much fun. I will definitely be doing it again, except maybe this time I'd be smart enough to bring my helmet strap for the action camera so I can record it all.

Any suggestions on where in Spain or Europe I should visit next?

October 9, 2017

Travel: Mini vacation to Ibiza

Boat ride Ibiza to Formentera
Mini vacation to Ibiza
Relax in Ibiza
Ibiza beach
Sunset in Ibiza
Pink Sunset in Ibiza

Ibiza is one place I've wanted to go for a while, and this year I was finally able to do it. We stayed at a friend's house which is beautiful, and we had the pleasure of having a private pool. How cool is that? We went for just 4 days and had a bit of relax time as well as some fun & partying.

We stopped by a few beaches like Sa Caleta which is on the southern coast of Ibiza, Cala Conta which has beautiful turquoise waters and three different beach areas, and Cala Carbo which is only a 10 minute drive from San Jose. Cala Carbo is a combination of sand and pebbles and is a beautiful snorkelling spot. This is my favourite one from those we visited.

As for clubs, we visited Ushuaia, Pacha and Hï. It was a lot of fun but partying in Ibiza is pretty expensive. Lucky we were able to get some free entrances. We also rented a boat which took us to Formentera with a few stops on the way for snorkelling and cliff jumping. I was so scared cliff jumping because I knew the jelly fishes were in the water, but it was so much fun. One of my friends actually jumped from a cliff that is about 20m high which I honestly thought was crazy but at the same time it inspired me and made me want to do it as well {I didn't in the end, for fear my food would not accept such a challenge}.

We were so relaxed I honestly didn't do as much filming or take as much photos as I was planning. But hopefully you enjoy this post anyway. Make sure you watch the video and subscribe to my youtube channel for more travel & lifestyle videos.

If you're considering going to Ibiza, I'd recommend going during the warmer months of June - August as the weather wasn't very kind at nights in September. But there's always something to see in Ibiza no matter the weather.

How did you spend your summer vacation?

October 2, 2017

Travel: Day trip to Girona City, Spain

What to visit and where to go in Girona City, Spain
Visiting Girona City, location for Game of Thrones Season 6
What to do in Girona
Girona Game of Thrones Location
Top tourist spots in Girona
Day trip to Girona from Barcelona
Jewish Quarters Girona
Onyar River Girona is a must visit
Travel Diary about Girona
Top places to visit in Girona, Spain

My friends and I recently visited Girona, a beautiful city in Spain. The coast of Girona is a place I frequently visit in the summer because the beaches are amazing. Most of my snorkelling days are spent in this region. But Girona city center is also a must see because of it's beautiful architecture and historical spots. The city got a lot more popular for tourist activities after the 6th season of Game of Thrones was filmed there. 

We had a lovely day walking around, having lunch and taking about a million pictures while spending the day together. 

Getting there

By Car - Getting to Girona City by car is pretty easy and only takes about 1hr. Once you are out of the city, take the AP7 and follow this highway until you are in Girona.
By bus - You can take the Sagales bus from Barcelona to Girona which would cost approximately 30 Euros for a roundtrip.
By train - The high speed AVE train will take you from Barcelona (Barcelona Sants) to Girona city in about 40-45 minutes and would cost you about 20-25 Euros.

What to do

While visiting the Girona city, you have to stop by the Girona Cathedral which is where the scene of the Queen Margaery's Atonement was filmed. 
The Onyar River is a must see. The colourful houses which line the river added even more beauty to the architecture of the city in the 20th century. The Jewish Quarters is another important location as it is one of the best preserved in the world. The narrow streets are a pleasure to explore.

You also have to take a walk along the Girona Wall/ Passeig de la Muralla which was build by the Romans but later extended and restored. If you're in the kissing mood, you can visit the El Cul de La Lleona (Lioness' Bottom) which is located in Placa Sant Feliu and give the bum a kiss. It is said that those who kiss the bum of the lion will return to Girona. 
Some other must visit spots include the Church of Sant Feliu, , Rambla de la Llibertat, Eiffel Bridge/ Pont de les Peixateries Velles & Placa Independencia.

So If you're visiting Barcelona, why not take a day trip and check out the amazing architecture, streets and views in Girona City.

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