Lisbon: A strange but endearing city

This week, I was lucky enough to visit a new city in a new country; Lisbon. The original plan for my first holiday of the year had been a trip to Amsterdam (finally) but owing to the nature of booking so late and during peak holiday season it was a little out of my price range so Amsterdam is just going to have to wait for me a little longer. However, all was not lost as myself and my friend, Yvie, landed on Lisbon as a place we both wanted to visit so at the end of last month we booked ourselves flights and an Airbnb for a little 5 day holiday. Continue reading Lisbon: A strange but endearing city

5 Things I hate about Barcelona

I would like to precursor this post with the obvious; I do love Barcelona. However, like any place you live in for a while there are always things you’re going to hate and mostly that’s because other people exist and do things that drive you insane. So yes, Barcelona is great but there are somethings that just really grind on me. Here it goes:

1. The noise.

If it isn’t your neighbours having either an argument or a really loud discussion in the interior of the building whilst slamming doors in the middle of the night then it’s the street cleaners humming along at 3am that’s going to disturb your beauty sleep. Now, I am not a light sleeper. I infamously slept through a near riot happening at the pub opposite my old house in York that woke up the other 6 people I lived with. However, in a city of single glazed windows and buildings packed tightly together it’s hard to avoid disturbances. Even when you’re living in the ‘penthouse’.
Also, the metro or the street or anywhere public forthat matter is not the time to be playing a game/ watching a video on your phone with the volume on full, asshole.

Continue reading 5 Things I hate about Barcelona

A Few Days in London

Now I know that you’d think working as few hours as I do a week and getting to live in the beautiful city of Barcelona would mean that I’d never feel the need for a holiday but sometimes, you just want to get out of your surroundings and have a break – even if that means going an even busier, louder and drearier city. With my Matt and Hayley (my brother and sister-in-law) living in London, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the capital quite a few times but this trip was different. I was really excited for several reasons including getting the chance to see my friends/family, meeting my new cat-nephew, Xenopus and most of all not really having a plan for much of anything meaning I had the freedom to do things as and when I pleased instead of trying to cram in a lot over a few days. This trip was my mini-holiday and one of the best presents Matt and Hayley have ever gotten me and trust me when I say they are the best gift-givers; they set the bar pretty high when they gave me a vintage Underwood typewriter for my 21st.

Continue reading A Few Days in London

Best Food & Drink places in Raval

El Raval is my neighbourhood, on top of its proximity to Port Vell it also had a lot of good places to grab a bite to eat and have a drink. As my parents were visiting me a couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to visit a few more new places near my flat and as my area is a place that tourists don’t seem to usually venture out to I wanted to recommend some places away from La Rambla. In no particular order:

Continue reading Best Food & Drink places in Raval

Weekend Excursions: Sitges

This week, I was lucky enough to have my parents fly over for a two-day visit in which we managed to pack in a trip to Sagrada Familia, the Botanic Gardens and Sitges! When I first arrived in Barcelona I was told by the person who helped me get from the airport to my accomodation to visit Sitges but for some reason or another I kept putting it off in favour of doing things inside the city or for visits to Monserrat, Montpellier and Munich (posts about all three can be found here). The idea to visit Sitges with my parents came about quite serendipidoulsy as my Mum was told by a friend that Sitges was a nice town and after she accidently posted about it on my Facebook thinking it was a private message I thought a little trip out whilst they were here was a no-brainer.

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Barcelona Carnival Fail

All week I was unable to avoid signs of upcoming carnival; a tradition that appears to have be born sometime in the 14th century and was revived after the fall of Franco as a time to celebrate the beginning of the Easter period. My students would show up to lessons covered in face paint or with their hair sprayed different colours and on the streets I saw many a strange costume. The children told me how one day they had to dress in their pyjamas and on another in their parents clothes, which I really wish I had a chance to witness. I was getting pretty excited to see what the carnival fuss was all about but the celebrations themselves were somewhat elusive. Continue reading Barcelona Carnival Fail