Carlsbad is quite RAD

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Just finished spending a weekend in Carlsbad, where the sun and fun were found in plentiful amounts. Everytime, we visit our friends in Carlsbad I feel like we find new gems. beeratthebeach

Have a beer with a view at Dini’s by the Sea.blueocean

Lots of Sake to be had at Blue Ocean. Great Miso.barrelrepublic

I haven’t been to a Barrel Republic yet but I did enjoy being able to pour as much beer as I wanted… seems like it could easily get expensive! campfireIMG_4371

Campfire is new to the Carlsbad scene and while I can’t speak for the food, the cocktails were amazing.

We spent our night in the teepee which was a really fun way to close out my friends birthday! Highly recommend this place for cocktails – really close to the coaster station in Carlsbad. campfirecampfireIMG_4321campfireIMG_4320campfireIMG_4327

Gotta hit up Lola’s for a breakfast burrito. Really one of the cutest little places.lolasaysholalolas

The Succulent Cafe is also a newer addition in Carlsbad and would be a cool spot to work on your laptop or read a book. Very relaxing and beautiful.succulentsinsideofsucculentcafelattetimecooltableatsucculentcafehave a succulent day

I love Carlsbad and highly recommend a visit if you get the chance! Easily accessible via coaster and connects with Oceanside, Solana, San Deigo etc.

Top Favs in Kota Kinabalu

During our adventures last Spring in Indonesia we decided to spend about five days in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

The truth is … you always need more time, but our few days there were filled with adventure. Making new friends, trying new foods and scuba diving for the first time to name a few!

We took boats to different islands and brought our own snorkel gear. Sapi was gorgeous and it was amazing to float in the water and see all the fishes swim by. islandlifeindo

KK has so many markets! Seeing Mango flavored cotton candy was a real dream!mangocottoncandymalasysia

We got bit by the Scuba Bug! Sooooo crazy/scary/coolscubadivinginmalaysia

Delicious meal – no silverware required! malaysiacurry

Frolicking in the Mangrove Forrest and sweating through our clothes.mangroveforestsabah

Sunset viewing with a beer in hand… no matter where you are it feels good to get these little moments.kotakinabalu-malaysia

My top favs in Indonesia

I am finally getting ready to share my Indonesia and Malaysia trip here and going through the photos and my journal from the trip are really stoking my need for adventure and travel.

Here are a few top memories from the trip…

All packed up and ready to go! One carry on for three weeks. The truth of the matter is I probably had too much.indoorbust-3weeksina-carryon

Our first meal in Indonesia, and quite possibly the best meal of the entire trip. This simple and cheap meal still lingers in my dreams.

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Epic sunset wavesbatubolongbeach

The most amazing iced coffee from Crate Cafe in Canggu.cratecafecanggu

When GoogleMaps takes you to a remote village and an Indonesia man takes you into the rice fields…ricefieldsindo

A cool, not so secret waterfall, Tegenungan Waterfall in Ubud.

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Dicing and Slicing our way to Balinese Cuisine Cooking Professionals!

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We drove all night to see this crater at Sunrise.kawahijenjavaindo

Just a casual gecko joining us for lunch.madenewfriendsongili

Lowest of low tides on Gili Air.lowtideislandlife

Beach art on Gili Air – coral and Bintang bottles.giliairartbintang

You don’t see a goat… or any animal on the back of a motorbike often.justgoatforit

My Birthday! Which included a street side serenade – magical!kutabeachbirthday

A little oasis on the side of the road. kutabeachlombok

A few friends at the beach in Kuta Lombokbisononthebeachlombok

Sometimes the best views take a few (hundred) wrong turns. Getting to Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep Waterfall was an adventure.

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Drop Inn Cafe … when you are done dropping in on waves you can drop in for a sweet treat. dropinncafelombok

Ratu Boko Temple in Yogya. It was an adventure getting there… but Sunset did not disappoint.yogyakartaindo

At 1/15 coffee I tried an interesting combo of espresso, lime and sparkly water coffewithseltzerandlime-indo

A flip flop hike to watch the sun go down.sflipfliphikelombokindo

A few of my fav moments … get ready for the breakdown in the next couple weeks.

TRI-rrific weekend in Malibu

I am currently coming down from the high of an amazing weekend!

Two of my best friends were competing in the Nautica Malibu Tri  and being the good friend that I am I decided I would join them to cheer em’ on! Didn’t hurt that it was taking place in a beautiful spot.

We had the fortune of staying in my friends parents airstream at Malibu Beach RV Park. They had the spot booked for months but it seemed that there were many open spots.

The park was very clean ( probably the nicest camp bathroom I have ever seen )  and we met really friendly people!

They have nice hiking trails near the park that we used to hike down to Malibu Seafood as well as the beach and up to a peak for sunset views.

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Here was the Tiny Tin set up! Amazing people and a great view set the backdrop for the best weekend. img_9931

I have been on the side lines of a few Tris before by chance but have never watched any friends compete. It was such a fun experience to walk around to the different areas to wait for your friends to race by! We lucked out and were able to see them compete in every leg of the race.

Here is their section getting ready for the swim! The ocean was super bleak at 8 am.

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Bikes, on bikes on bikes.

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Really awesome sand sculpture.img_0009

We caught them before the race!img_0011

Here they are ready to go! img_0013

Laura got the top box for her age group! It was PRICELESS to witness my best friend do so well. img_9977

What is a race without post race grub?!! Loved Malibu Seafood! It is so fresh and our fav… BYOB!

Fear not the 76 station .5 miles away will have beer if you ran out!img_9988

A WELL deserved post race BREWSKI!img_9993img_9996img_0001img_0004

Also noteworthy but not photographed was Sunlife Organics  – amazing backstory, great products and delicious fresh juices and foods!

Santa Breezy

A little over 24 hours in Santa Barbara and you are left wanting more, trying to find a way to get back to this little slice of coastal heaven. I am no stranger to Santa Barbara as I grew up about two hours North but this was my first rendezvous as a post 21 year old…shameful I know! On this particular weekend the weather was perfect and I had the most amazing guide who showed me the best time, thanks Baby Krause!

We began the day with breakfast downtown and then headed to Montecito for a little hike and beach time!

We lazed on the beach for a while before renting some paddle boards. Gazing up at the coastline and foothills/mountains ( prob foothills – I don’t think they have mountains ) was truly breathtaking and I thought to myself ‘What a lucky life’ moments that are simple but beautiful really make you appreciate what you have and for myself contentment with the life I have created for myself.

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No trip would be complete with out a little brewery hopping and while SB has a ways to go before they are a beer destination ( def more options for winos) I enjoyed sampling what they had to offer while working on my sun burn ( sorry future self! ).

Pure Order is a fun spot with games as well as live music and a food truck on a Saturday afternoon. img_9337img_9338

After we spent some time at Pure Order we walked to the Funk Zone and tried Brass Bear. I tried their beers as well as one rotating tap that was really delicious.img_9342

At this point it was high time for some grub so we ordered a meat and cheese plate it was satisfying and helped us make it to dinner time! img_9346

Right across from Brass Bear is Municipal Winemakers tasting Room. Fun decor and great outdoor space. I hear their Rose is amazing but on this fine day it was sold out so we opted for the Bright White – cool, crisp and so refreshing!img_9348img_9349img_9350img_9354

If you haven’t been to Lilly’s Taqueria head there – now – or at the very least make an effort to hit it when you are in Santa Barbara. I am pretty sure all they do is Tacos and they do them really well. img_9392img_9358

No weekend in Santa Barbara would be complete with some wheel action. They have fun little beach boardwalk where you can blade which is my favorite pastime and something I don’t get to do enough since I am living in Oakland… not too many blading trails… img_9363

Finally, to close the weekend we hit up a hybrid bar coffee shop and got the most delish cold brew. Melissa had the smartest idea of doing half/half sweetened cold brew and unsweetened cold brew. Such a genius idea!img_9365img_9366img_9367img_9369

SO sad to leave and can’t wait to go back!

Day Trip: Massachusetts North Shore

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Rainy day views from inside a coffee shop with the best HAZELNUT Coffee I have ever tasted. It was like candy. IMG_6792IMG_6793IMG_6794IMG_6795IMG_6796

What beach town dreams are made of…this just makes me the happiest little gal. IMG_6898IMG_6805IMG_6808IMG_6810IMG_6813IMG_6814IMG_6816IMG_6817IMG_6818IMG_6819IMG_6828IMG_6830

Cape Ann Brewing is one of my favorite breweries in Mass. Their beers are delicious, I especially loved their stout. The food was also delicious!IMG_6831IMG_6833IMG_6835IMG_6836IMG_6838IMG_6839

Head to Woodman’s of Essex  for your fill of fried seafood!IMG_6840IMG_6841IMG_6842

The Crane Estate at Castle Hill is amazing! I LOVE thinking about the family who lived here and feel so lucky that they opened it to the public. IMG_6846IMG_6847IMG_6848IMG_6849IMG_6851IMG_6853IMG_6855IMG_6856IMG_6857IMG_6863IMG_6864IMG_6865

We went hiking around the property and down to the beach where I picked up some amazing driftwood!IMG_6867IMG_6868IMG_6869IMG_6871IMG_6874IMG_6876

Next beer stop, Ipswich Ale Brewery.IMG_6877IMG_6878IMG_6882

I am going to be real honest with you, their beer was good but I was kinda put off because you can not make your own flight.. they were super accommodating and allowed me to try other beers that I wanted to try that were not in the flight but I am just putting that out there as my only complaint. We didn’t eat here because we were stuffed from our fried food frenzy at Woodman’s.IMG_6883IMG_6884IMG_6885

My amazing driftwood finds! So excited to get crafty with it!IMG_6887

So I have had Boom Sauce and Steal this Can before in San Francisco and had no idea that they were born and brewed in Mass– what a cool surprise! I love how industrial and hidden the tasting room is. I honestly felt like I was really cool for hitting this spot. ( HA) The tasting of all four beers on tap is free, yes, you heard that right , free! Head to Lord Hobo to try their beers and take some cans with you! We went home with Consolation Prize and Boom Sauce. IMG_6888IMG_6890IMG_6891

Then because we were ready for some dinner we headed to Lord Hobo restaurant in Cambridge. Great beer selection – lots of sours!IMG_6892

Amazing burger and fries – I was stuffed.IMG_6894IMG_6895

Dessert at home from The Scoop N Scootery. SO good – glad I can’t get this at home!IMG_6896

Wearable Sleeping Bag

I have been wanting a Poler Napsack for quite sometime. I posted about it over a year ago and I still haven’t done anything about it!

As I was in the market for a new sleeping bag I thought maybe I should finally get the Poler Napsack.

I would have to get camo because I am obsessed with Camo.. thats my biggest draw for the Napsack, but in my online searching I found two other options that I am considering. In hopes of deciding between the three I have laid out my options here to identify which one will work best for me.

On the top of my list, the Poler Napsack.

Pros:

  • Style, cause duh CAMO

Cons:

  • Only great for super temperate climates, they say 50 degrees. I want to get something more versatile.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.00.39 PM                    (image from Poler’s website)

Next, I found the evergrn Crash Sack from REI.

Pros:

  • Price. When it was on sale. LOL Looked today and it is right around the same price.

Cons:

  • Style, not feeling it as much.
  • Only good till about 50 degrees. Same as the Poler.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.14.31 PM                    (image from REI.com)

Lastly, but certainly not least was a little local gem I found from Alite. It is called the Sexy Hotness Sleeping Bag.

Pros:

  • 20 degree Tempature rating! This is awesome. Especially for someone that runs as cold as me.
  • Just seems to be the most practical option.

Cons:

  • Not as cute as the poler, sorry, I just love the camo.

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.20.20 PM                    (image from Alite website.)

I am planning on heading to the Alite store this week to check it out in person.  If you have seen any of these walking/sleeping bag things let me know! I think it will be a good addition for all the traveling I plan to do.

Vibrant Valencia

Valencia is a wonderful mix of old and new. It is truly the city of arts and sciences. 

You must try – Horchata with Farron and Agua de Valencia.

I recommend renting bikes, you can bike through the park all the way to beach! Take along a lunch that you purchased at the Central Market and really enjoy your day exploring Valencia.

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We stayed  at Home Hostels Valencia Spain – Calle Lonja N 4 46001  Our hostel was amazing at telling us all we could go do and see. The room was clean – it was a little loud since our room was right next to the living room/kitchen but if you are staying out late this probably won’t be a problem for you. IMG_2909

Delicious Maracaibo Ole in Junto a la Plaza de la Virgen

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You can get horchata and fartons at Chocolates St. CatalinaIMG_2893 IMG_2888 IMG_2889 IMG_2890

Horchata and Farton. IMG_2891 IMG_2882 IMG_2886 IMG_2881 IMG_2880 IMG_2885

The Central Market is open 7 am to about 2 pm. They have amazing juices, fruit, jamon, pastries, snails etc.

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All kinds of snails!IMG_2872 IMG_2870 IMG_2866 IMG_2861 IMG_2860 IMG_2859 IMG_2857 IMG_2856 IMG_2855

Agua de Valencia at Cafe Infanta in Plaza del Tossal IMG_2853 IMG_2852

Yummy food and friendly service at Trencat!IMG_2850

Taco and Beer at Taco Bell for 1 euroIMG_2843 IMG_2844 IMG_2848 IMG_2849 Took a bus from the center of town to Saler. Took about 40 minutes. Ocean felt great and you can rent Palapas ( sp?)for 4 Euro and chairs for 2 Euro each.IMG_2842 IMG_2841 IMG_2840 IMG_2839 IMG_2838 IMG_2846 IMG_2834

Acai Bar – Almalibre – Carrer Del Repes 3 – Barrio El Carmen 
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Get your traditional Paella de Valencia at La Riva 

Mar, 27 46003 Valencia 

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Everything about Valencia is a dream, the food, the drink, the architecture. I love it all and I can not wait to go back!

Lisboa is Love

I was especially excited to visit Lisbon. I had been to Lisbon previously right after high school and was enamored by the tile streets, the picturesque beaches and the cute gift shops and pastries.

We took an overnight bus from Seville to Lisbon.  We left Seville at 11:30/12 pm and arrived to Lisbon at about 4:30 in the morning.  We thought we were supposed to arrive at 7 but low and be hold we were out of the bus at 4:30 and had no idea what we were going to do.  We emailed the hostel and let them know of our situation – they got back to us extremely quickly and let us know that our room wasn’t available but we could come and sleep in the tv room. We were beyond THANKFUL.

Our hostel was Good Morning Hostel and without a doubt I recommend it. 

Really nice staff, tasty free breakfast, and centrally located. 

The metro in Lisbon was easy to use, but everything – even the airport is close so a taxi to the airport was under 7 euro. 

The sun is no joke in Lisbon – I got a bit burnt but that burn faded into a tan that I still have three/four weeks later. It was glorious – not the burn but the tan.

Getting to the beach from the main city center of Lisbon is pretty easy and convenient using the metro and a bus. 

The metro is 1.40 each way and the bus round trip was 3.50.  We took the metro from right outside of our hostel to Lisbon (Pca de Espanha) Terminal from there we got on the bus to the beach named Costa Caparica ( Torre Argolas).

One way was only 30 minutes.

It was foggy at the beach but this did not prevent us from getting a bit burnt. It was still hotter than hot despite the fog and the water was cold since we were in the atlantic ocean. 

We never made it on a walking tour of the city – my fellow travelers were very tired of walking by the time we got to Lisbon but we did end up doing one of those open top, double decker buses. It actually was a cool way to get around and get off at varying points of interest. 

With the tour bus purchase you also get to ride on buses and the trolley included in the price. We enjoyed this feature and I recommend taking advantage of this. 

Like everyone will tell you, taking the trolley is a must. It is fun and will take you towards the cathedral on one end and the massive flea market and on the other a beautiful church and park where folks like to gather on Sundays for live music and picnics with friends.

We found an amazing restaurant called Restaurante Flor Da Estrela. The most amazing fish and only for 8 euro.  We also got a liter of wine for 10 euro.  It was a successful meal and one that I will not quickly forget. I would recommend this restaurant and wish I could go back. 

Also in this same area we went to another amazing restaurant, same price point and really amazing fish again. It was an unassuming hole in the wall but it was such a great deal. I don’t have the name for this one but its a block or so from the last stop of the 28 trolley and on the same street that the trolley goes on.

A great day trip from Lisbon is Sintra.  Sintra is beautiful small town where you can visit a moorish castle and the park and palace of Pena.

We rented these little golf carts right across the train station in Sintra so that we wouldn’t have to walk to the moorish castle and Palace of Pena. We were told it would take an hour to get up there. 

The golf carts ended up being 25 a person for the day and to enter the Parques de Sintra it was 20 ( cheaper if you buy the entrance fees together).

Note: It was cold and windy in Sintra.  The first time on this trip that I was cold, really cold and almost bought a random sweatshirt just to ward off the chill. However, as soon as we were back in Lisbon it was warm again.

Whatever you do try the Pastel de Nata.  They have variations of this pastry and everywhere I went it was delicious and very rich.

These pastries are amazing and this is the only country I saw them in. 

We didn’t go out in Lisbon at all, but oddly enough we did go to the Hard Rock Cafe ( my first time at a Hard Rock actually).  They had a fun cover band playing and we all danced and sang our hearts out – it was a great time but the beers at Hard Rock were much more expansive than drinks found at normal bars in the area. 

I loved spending time in Lisbon and feel that I could have spent more time in this region. There are many other places in Portugal I would like to go to.

If you are planning a trip to Portugal I would without a doubt recommend learning some Portuguese.  

For the most part I could only communicate in English other than Hello, Thank you etc. and I think its much more fun when you can communicate in the countries native tongue.

Another note, I would also suggest not going in August – this is the hottest time of the year – and a time when a lot of city dwellers head to the country or the ocean to get outta the heat. We should follow suite and go there a cooler time of year.  It makes it really hard to see the sights when its over 90 degrees outside.

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Foggy but hot day at the beach.IMG_2569 IMG_2571

My dream camp, surf, live mobile.IMG_2572 IMG_2574 IMG_2576 IMG_2577

We got lost and at this moment were not sure if we would make it through the night alive. Now its silly – but this alley right? creepy.IMG_2584 IMG_2582 IMG_2581 IMG_2580 IMG_2579

Tile work, done by hand.IMG_2587 IMG_2588 IMG_2589 IMG_2590

Our rented golf carts in Sintra.
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Don’t quote me –  but I think this is one of the first palaces with indoor plumbing and it is spectacular.IMG_2656 IMG_2661 IMG_2659 IMG_2657 IMG_2662 IMG_2663 IMG_2664 IMG_2666 IMG_2671 IMG_2670 IMG_2669 IMG_2668 IMG_2667 IMG_2672 IMG_2673 IMG_2674 IMG_2675 IMG_2676IMG_2679 IMG_2678 IMG_2677

Finally, pastries after a day of exploring.IMG_2682 IMG_2685 IMG_2686 IMG_2689 IMG_2692 IMG_2693 IMG_2698 IMG_2697 IMG_2696 IMG_2694 IMG_2699 IMG_2700 IMG_2701 IMG_2648 IMG_2725 IMG_2710 IMG_2709 IMG_2708 IMG_2707 IMG_2711 IMG_2712 IMG_2713 IMG_2714 IMG_2715 IMG_2717 IMG_2716IMG_2718 IMG_2719 IMG_2721 IMG_2728 IMG_2727 IMG_2724 IMG_2723 IMG_2722IMG_2733 IMG_2737 IMG_2731 IMG_2729 IMG_2734 IMG_2740 IMG_2748 IMG_2868 IMG_2795 IMG_2769 IMG_2749 IMG_2752 IMG_2757 IMG_2756 IMG_2754 IMG_2762 IMG_2777 IMG_2774 IMG_2773 IMG_2768 IMG_2770 IMG_2767 IMG_2766 IMG_2765 IMG_2764 IMG_2763IMG_2782 IMG_2781 IMG_2780 IMG_2779 IMG_2778 IMG_2784 IMG_2787 IMG_2791 IMG_2796 IMG_2795 IMG_2790 IMG_2789 IMG_2794 IMG_2788 IMG_2792 IMG_2797 IMG_2798 IMG_2801 IMG_2803 IMG_2805 IMG_2808

Our train to Madrid. First time in a sleeper car!
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On to the next adventure!

Barna Barna Barna

IMG_2225Barcelona is an amazing city with different neighborhoods to explore and experience. We were staying in the newer part of the city which was further away from the gothic neighborhood, but closer to Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. 

This was the view from our room.IMG_2226

We enjoyed going to Verdaguer Cafe across the street from our hostel and the metro it was a convenient cafe. Good food and nice staff.

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Small cafes are everywhere. We tried pastries and ‘iced’ espresso.IMG_2229 IMG_2230 IMG_2231

I don’t like Ham, there I said it.  However, I do love Jamon.

The Ham in Spain is out of this world. The pigs are well cared for and the pigs get to roam the country side and stuff themselves on hazelnuts.

We went to the Jamon Experience. It is located on Rambla de les Flors 88-94.

They have cava for 12 a bottle and you can try the different jamons and then order one to eat. It was honestly a mind blowing experience. That was the night that I fell in love with jamon. 

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The friend that I traveled with is a huge FC Barca fan, because of this we went to the Camp Nou Experience. It was really fun and I encourage all to go who have the time. Like with most attractions you should get there early as possible, the later it gets the more people arrive.

IMG_2247I drank so many shandy’s in Spain.  They have a different name in Spain obviously but I can not remember it. Sometimes I would ask for beer and lemonade and that would work as well when ordering.
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Night time trekking in the Gothic District.IMG_2257 IMG_2258

Mercat La Bouqeria. A must see for travelers. Come prepare to buy and eat!IMG_2260 IMG_2261 IMG_2262 IMG_2264 IMG_2267 IMG_2268 IMG_2269 IMG_2270 IMG_2271 IMG_2272 IMG_2273 IMG_2274

Gaudi’s first work once he graduated. IMG_2275 IMG_2276 IMG_2277 IMG_2279 IMG_2287 IMG_2288

Tile work by Miro.IMG_2289 IMG_2290 IMG_2291 IMG_2292 IMG_2293 IMG_2294 IMG_2296 IMG_2297 IMG_2298 IMG_2299 IMG_2300 IMG_2301 IMG_2302 IMG_2304 IMG_2308 IMG_2309 IMG_2312 IMG_2319

We also took a day trip to Girona, it is a pretty town with great architecture.  Give yourself time to explore.  From Girona you can hit a nice beach after a 40 min bus ride. 

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Park Guell is worth the 7 euros to go inside. My recommendation is go as soon as it opens, the crowds are so few this early that you can obtain great photos and really see everything. When we were leaving there were tour buses of people entering and it was getting crowded. 

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Sagrada Familia is beautifully fascinating . The fact that they are still working on it decades later is very interesting. The stained glass windows are probably the most beautiful I have ever seen. 

Near Sagrada Familia on Avinguda Diagonal ( #303)  is a really great Colombian restaurant called Restaurante Mi Rincon.

The story of Gaudi is fascinating I highly recommend learning about his life. We went on a ‘bohemian’ walking tour (donation based) where our guide discussed the artists and writers that made Barcelona their home and left their mark on the city and country. It was a couple hours well spent.

IMG_2359 IMG_2361 IMG_2363 IMG_2365 IMG_2366 IMG_2367 IMG_2368 IMG_2369 IMG_2372 IMG_2373 IMG_2375 IMG_2376 IMG_2377 IMG_2378The metro in Barcelona was easy to use and we solely used the metro except for after 2 am it shut down so we had to use  a taxi but it was under 10 euro to get from the gothic neighborhood to where our hostel was.

Primavera Hostel

Mallorca 330, 

Barcelona,Spain

Near our hostel there was a restaurant and bar called Loria. The address is Roger de LLuria 35 – they have amazing cocktails. I would recommend going there. It was a fun atmosphere with beautiful decor. 

I mentioned previously about the donation based walking tour and I want to give you a bit more information on it. They meet everyday at the Travel Bar C/de la Boqueria 27 in the Gothic Neighborhood.  The tours were informative on history and current day events. It is a fun way to learn about the city you are visiting. We found these in most cities we visited. 

The gothic neighborhood is full of crooked alley ways and it is easy to get lost. We found a favorite bar while we were there. Nevermind 2.  Its a great divey bar where they give you free popcorn or you can purchased 2 euro hamburgers – talk about a deal. The drinks are delicious and the beer flows easy. This was a fun place to go and if you are in Barna you have to check it out.