Tagged: tourism

Carcassonne – France

Although at this point of our holidays I’ve seen more medieval villages than I was hoping for, Carcassonne was the place I was most looking forward to visit.

I love medieval history and crossing through the Pont Vieux (old bridge) to go to La Cité, the Walled Cite, was breathtaking. It felt so special that I wished some of my closest relatives and friends were here with us to share this amazing experience.

The 2 days that we spent in Carcassonne were very relaxing thanks to the hospitality and great vibe of the locals, the beautiful food and the perfect sunny and warm weather.

I could picture this City full of horses, pigs and chicken running everywhere, the peasants, the joiners, the soldiers and royal family, the markets, the costumes and the traditions.

This crusade stage is nowadays a host for tiny shops full of artisan soaps, moisturisers and craft, patisseries, boulangeries, wine bars, restaurants and coffee shops, fromageries, a Cathedral and a Castle.

I can still smell the sweetness on those alleys that leaded us to the place where I bought some Oreillette, a fried dough sprinkled with orange blossom flavoured sugar.

After so much walk, we sat on a courtyard of a bar, watched the sun setting, had a bottle of a local rose and some local fromage. Time seems to have stopped for a while.

In the restaurants that we chose for dinner, the waiters couldn’t understand a single word in English. Not a surprise at this stage and honestly, it feels good to get around using the basic French vocabulary that we’ve learned back in Sydney.

On the way back to the hotel in our last evening there, we were walking on that same bridge and I was telling the hubby how glad I was for the last two days.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than that, I realised a big light was arising from behind the silhouette of the Walled Cite.

It was past midnight and apart from the two of us and the cats (yes, French people love their cats) , there were maybe another couple or two crossing the bridge at that time.
I couldn’t believe it. We sat down, waited for another 5 minutes and we had the most memorable and exclusive scene that we could possibly have from that spot: the Carcassonne fortress under a full moon.

The Walled City of Carcassonne – the largest medieval city in Europe – has been in the UNESCO Heritage List since 1997 and can be now crossed from MY wish list (but only with a fine print saying that one day I will be back).

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Barcelona – Goodbye Spain

Time flies and we are now in Barcelona, our last stop in Spain before heading up to Provence in France.

Barcelona from the of Plaza de Toro’s rooftop

We stayed close to La Boqueria Market, a fresh market dated from 1200 that is a touristic place on itself. The freshest seafood, organic wine, fruits from everywhere in the world, bakeries, spices shops, meat, handmade sausages, jamon and other specialties that come from and through the Mediterranean every day. A great place to buy some fresh tropical juices in the morning before starting our daily pilgrimages.

La Boqueria Market

But it is not only the markets that are colorful in Barcelona: the architecture here is amazing and the mix of the medieval walls from the Gothic Quarter with the modernist buildings from Gaudi, makes Barcelona a fascinating place to visit.

This is a culture that reminds me a lot of Brazil and the way I grew up, people that are so friendly that made us feel home, a culture that will leave some great memories.

La Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi

Park Guell by Antonio Gaudi

Camp Nou Stadium – Barcelona (0) x Deportivo La Coruna (0)

A day trip to Montserrat

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Madrid – Spain

In Madrid, the capital of Spain, I was overwhelmed by the variety of cuisines that we surprisingly found. In fact by the time I got here (and it probably will sound a bit weird), I was craving for some Japanese food and it was no difficult to find some authentic restaurants around the city.

It was also in Madrid, at a tinny arroceria called El Ventorrillo Murciano, where we had the best paella of our holidays.

In between our feasts at fresh markets, tapas restaurants and wine bars, we managed to squeeze visits to some impressive touristic attractions such as Puerta del Sol, Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Botanic Gardens, City Hall , Gran Via as well as a wonderful day trip to Toledo.

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