20 January 2015

Olite - A beautiful castle surrounded by wineries

A few weeks ago we went to Pamplona and on the way back to Barcelona, we stopped in a small village called Olite, 43km south, which has a stunning castle, we called it Kingslanding, the main castle of Game of Thrones, in case you’re wondering.

In the beginning of the 20th Century the castle was pretty much destroyed and it was rebuilt in 1937 to what it looks today. The castle is empty inside, don´t expect to see the throne or the ball room but it has patios, towers, an inside little garden… it has charm and it totally transported me  to my childhood, because it was in places like this that princes and princesses used to live… at least in my imagination. I think the 3€ fee it’s totally worth it.

Besides the castle, this lovely little village with stone narrow streets has several wineries which can be visited. We didn’t have the time to visit any, so I guess I officially have an excuse to return.

Which places took you back to your childhood?

12 January 2015

Weekend Getaway: Pamplona, Spain

Since I came to live to Barcelona that I don´t have a car, first because I’ve been living in the city center, so I don´t really need it, and second because I have other priorities for my money, nevertheless I miss having one every time I feel like leaving the city.
When one of these days some friends, who own a car, invited us to make a road trip to Pamplona we didn´t hesitate on saying yes!

Pamplona is a city in the North of Spain and it’s mainly famous for the festival of San Fermín, which Hemingway helped making famous worldwide in his novel The sun also rises, and consists basically on bulls running on the narrow streets of the old town until they reach the bullring. There’s more to it, but not only we didn´t go during the festival, also I’m not a big fan of this traditions involving animals, so let me tell you what happened in Pamplona that weekend: We ate, we drank and we had loads of fun.

Usually I research exhaustively my next destination whether it’s a 3 week trip or just a weekend because I don´t want to miss anything interesting, but this time I didn´t have much time to google Pamplona and the only time I did it I was quite impressed, it looked really pretty… and it is!
Nonetheless there was a thing we all knew we would find in Pamplona and we couldn´t wait for it, Pinxos!!! It’s the region’s tapas and famous for being one of the best in Spain, so after the five hour drive, we dropped the bags and off we went for some pinxos!
It’s not difficult at all to find bars/restaurants with pinxos, but getting inside might be and getting a table, well… good luck with that, I guess this is also part of the experience.  One thing is guaranteed, most likely you won´t repeat pinxos because almost every bar has its own specialties. It’s an entire experience itself, so if you go there, don´t miss it!!!

The small old town center, with its narrow streets, beautiful old and colorful buildings and shops really gave us good vibes. Because it was autumn, there were people selling roasted chestnuts in almost every corner with cute little cars. Glorious chestnuts, I love it! 

The city center is the Plaza del Castillo, with a bandstand in the center and surrounded again by beautiful building with arcades, most of them with terraces and Cafes, including Hemingway’s favorite, the Café Iruña which opened to public in 1888. It is totally worth the visit because it’s very beautiful and it has a delicious Caldico, another typical food, you should try it.

It is believed that Pamplona origins dates back to 74 a.C, so yeah, it’s pretty old and although we didn´t see any roman ruins we saw the Ciudadela, which is a fortification with a star shape built in the 16th Century and it’s still in a very good condition. Now it’s a park inside and has some exhibition rooms, so if you took a tiny bit too much sidra, a typical alcoholic drink from the region, and need some fresh air  this is the perfect spot. 

Pamplona it’s quite a small city but it was really a pleasure to wander its streets and I totally recommend it for a weekend getaway.

Have you ever been to Pamplona? If so, what did you love the most about it?

3 January 2015

New Year's resolution 2015 - Ana by the sea 2.0

When I decided to start the blog I read a bit about it and the golden rule was “be yourself”, I would read that everywhere, but still I decided to be someone else. I guess all my life I wished to be someone else, I wished to be the girl next door, a girly girl, the queen of the kitchen but that’s just not me and I thought I had overcome that but the prior blog showed me that I still have some inner struggles to work out, so I shut it down.

With the end of the year and after surviving a couple of tough and emotional months, I’m back and this time what you’ll see is what you’ll get.

I will only keep the categories of Travel, Barcelona and Photography because that’s who I am, a travel and photography sucker and as a traveler I always wish I could feel the places more like a local, so that’s what I’ll try to give you, a local’s guide to Barcelona.

Also, I’m leaving behind the Spanish translation because writing a blog it’s not as easy as it looks, plus working full time there’s no time to translate the blog to several languages, so I’ll just keep the English first because I feel more comfortable writing in English and second because it’s still the most spoken language in the world.

There’s already so many things that I know for sure will happen this year, that my only resolution it’s to keep up with this blog.

Happy New Year people!