30 September 2015

Road trip in Spain - Day 1 - Ávila and Segovia

Since I can remember that I do road trips with my parents. First in Portugal then in Spain and when they started to master the international language A.K.A mimics to make themselves be understood, we ventured to the rest of Europe. 
Each year in the summer we would take two or three weeks to discover new places and new cultures. We had and still have a van and it would always go full with family or friends.
The first time we left Iberia was in 1995 to go to Paris, I was 15 years old and despite on the pictures it looks like I was bored to death (teenage years, what can I say)  I was really excited and loved every bit of it, so much that I started to help planning the next trips and eventually I became the main copilot, reading maps and road signs like a pro.

When I came to live in Barcelona I decided it was time to get to know other continents, so I stopped doing these family road trips and started to use my vacation days to get into planes to the other side of the world, nevertheless road trip love is forever.
This year we spent a month in Asia, which I'll tell you all about it another day, so when the opportunity came to make a small road trip with my family again we didn´t hesitate in joining them. We went from Portugal to San Sebastian, Spain, in 5 days, visiting Ávila, Segovia, Burgos, Vitoria, Bilbao, Guernica and San Sebastian. Yes, we visited all this in 5 days, so I cannot make you a route or anything for each city, but I'll share with you an overview and my impressions over these places. Let's do it chronologically:

Ávila

I've been there 20 years ago and the only thing I could remember was the outside walls so I was pretty curious to see what was inside because I simply couldn´t remember. As soon as we arrived there, we stopped in the Cuatro Postes where we could see the city, from there we crossed the river and went to check what's inside. We found a charming little old town with the typical Spanish plaza where the City Hall is, several churches and the Cathedral. 
We roamed the little streets while eating Yemas de Santa Teresa and then went up the wall from the Casa de las Carnícerias to the Arco del Carmen, it's around 1 km and I think it's worth the 5€ because there are several viewpoints of the city. We ended up our visit eating a typical Chuleton de Ávila, which is a  veeeeery big veal chop.

As I said, we didn´t have much time in each place to fully explore it but Avila, in case you don´t know, it’s a World Heritage Site, so do I need to say more?



From there we went to Segovia, which is an hour away and for the second time in Spain I felt I was arriving in Kingslanding.

Segovia 

The Old city and the Aqueduct of Segovia are World Heritage Sites and I could totally understand why when I got there. The Aqueduct was built by the Romans almost twenty centuries ago and it's still standing and incredibly well preserved. I recommend you to see it both day and night at Plaza Días Sanz where the aqueduct reaches 28mts height.
The main square of the city or Plaza Mayor, has a lovely bandstand and the gothic style cathedral,  besides several nice terraces under arcades to have a cold drink in the oh so hot summer days. But the first thing I saw when I arrived was the Alcazar of Segovia, impressive! Like a fairytale palace, stands high on a hill, surrounded by vegetation. I couldn´t wait to go inside and although I was a bit disappointed because clearly we could only visit a small part of the place, it was still worth it. The visitors have access to several rooms, the arms Museum and Juan II tower from which there are amazing views.

I must confess that I fell in love with Segovia, not only the monuments are amazing but also every little street and the surroundings go from lush vegetation to mountains to "Toscana" like sights. Loved it and I will surely return!

25 September 2015

Brunch in Barcelona - Avenue bar


The concept of brunch is relatively new in my life and I guess in Barcelona. I've tried a couple of places but honestly, none has convinced me. In case I didn't mention before, I'm a bit stubborn and I really want to find a place to have my late Sunday breakfasts A.K.A Brunch.
I'm going to share with you my finds, only the ones worth mentioning. This is not a sponsored post, this is my Brunch Quest!


Let's start with Avenue Bar. It's a five minute walk from Fontana subway station in the Gracia neighbourhood and it has a very interesting and peculiar decoration. From vintage to kitsch to art museum or kids room, you've got a bit of everything and the service was very good, especially for Barcelona standards!







About the food, I tried the San Francisco scrambled eggs and the Benedict eggs, both come with fried potatoes aside. The San Francisco scrambled eggs were good but to be really tasty and yummy it needed a bit more seasoning, I putted salt on top, but it's not the same as when you season it while cooking. 
About the Benedicts eggs, I was pleasantly surprised, the muffin was nice and soft, the eggs were just perfect, the bacon not too greasy and the hollandaise sauce had a good texture. It comes with more sauce and watercress on the side.



Why did I put this place on my list? Because I feel like coming back and try more things and I guess that is a good sign.

Info:
Avenue Bar
Carrer del Torrent de l´Olla, 159
Barcelona
Subway station: Fontana (line 3 green)
 
Neighbourhood: Gracia

Do you know any brunch place in Barcelona that I should check?

7 September 2015

Patrick Swirc - Le Theatre de la Photographie et de image de Nice


Close by to where we were sleeping in Nice, there was the Theatre de Photographie et de l'Image de Nice. When I saw it on the map, I immediately went to the internet to see what it was and what exhibitions it had. It had only one of Patrick Swirc, which I had never heard of but then later I recognized a couple of portraits. 



This place is in the city center, in an old building. Inside it has a really beautiful theatre, hence the name I suppose, and lovely small rooms where the photos are displayed.


  
Both the flyers and the poster outside of the building made me believe his work was based on portrait, apparently famous people portraits, but then I was pleasantly surprised with the rest of his work. It had some interesting portraits, but what excited me most were the other works that I didn't expect at all. First it had these under exposed melancholic photos, which with the light focus on it, it kind of brought them to life, and then there were images that look like travel diary ripped pages, which reminded me a lot of Peter Beard's work.
The last room had a work on death, like a melancholic romantic from another time.
There was a fashion work as well though that didn't feel very right to me, I mean the photos were amazing, but it's more of a question of my beliefs and principles.

But anyway, when I left the exhibition I couldn't wait to research more on this photographer and now that I did, I really recommend it.




Which photographer do you recommend me?


Disclaimer: This post is not an art critic, it’s solemnly my opinion and how I feel about the artistic work.

All images

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