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Tag: travel

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Bosnian Thug Lyfe: Sheep Balls and Liquor

…Need I say more? I have to admit, this title holds little relevance to the actual experience I will soon tell, but I will keep this title simply because I think it’s funny and awesome. Saying “thug lyfe” no longer reminds me of 2Pac or gangster rap, but of cold beer, bitches and barbecues. Wait, that didn’t come out right… On with it.

The part of the title of this post that DOES hold relevance, is the Bosnian part. And the sheep balls and liquor. Good thing, because if this title was completely irrelevant, well, that would just be ridiculous.

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Bah-Bah Blacksheep, Roasting Away…

Since my lover happens to be from Bosnia, I get lots of chances to delve into his culture and experience fascinating things. This day of May 1st, which also happens to be an international European holiday (May Day), was one of the most interesting Bosnian experiences thus far. We had a great start – Lots of friends and family in the Spanish countryside, with a whole roasting lamb and lots of beer. Good start, indeed.

As the first of us gathered there early that morning, around 10 am, we enjoyed some Italian grappa in the surprisingly hot sun, lounging in the grass while the fire started to smolder. One of my favorite things to do while fairy-like frolicking amongst the green, is make daisy crowns. I feel really old-school, like a hippy badass from the Dazed and Confused movie, or something. My hope for fulfilling that cliche was totally ruined by the fact that my daisy crown was a total fail. Honestly, the daisies were too small. And my hands were sweaty. I was drunk. Blah.

A convenient water fountain for the alcohol. Yay.

A convenient water fountain for the alcohol. Yay.

After getting over my hippy poser-ness, by moving to the next cliche and smoking cigarettes, quietly, in a somewhat-of-a-corner with my hands in my pockets, I was ready for some Bosnian action. In this case, by action, I mean food action. When these guys cook, they don’t mess around. We had the hardcore, old school men, manning the fire and slicing up every part possible of the little  bah-bah blacksheep. Waste none! When I say every part, I mean two very specific parts: The liver, and the balls. Yep. Balls.

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That would be a sheep ball.

Now, I don’t know if it was the early morning grappa and beer, or the aroma of culture in the air, but something strange came over me at this moment. As the first parts of the lamb were being served onto the rustic picnic table, I nodded to my fellow senorita, and decided: This is the day, I will try lamb liver and lamb balls. And that’s exactly what I did. I started first with the liver, which I have never tried before, and I found it rather off. Ok, it was nasty. Just not my thing. Feeling brave and oh-so culturally sound, I picked up a slice of the fire-roasted ball, and ate it. I wish I could say I enjoyed it…but…it was intensely odd and not so appetizing. The texture was really soft and chewy and…Ok, I’ll stop there. I started describing this to people and they almost punched me.

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Finished Products. Almost.

This very unique taste-testing experience was probably the highlight of my day, the most outrageous, anyway. When the lamb was eventually roasted, I did give it a try, although I wasn’t a huge fan of that either. I am generally not one for meat, or weird meat at that. I thought ahead and brought myself a faggy little salad I made at home. As I say that, one meat dish that is very native to Bosnia comes to mind – Chevap. It’s basically pork, beef and spices in the form a little sausages. They are amazing and definitely one of my favorites.

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Chevap Sausage – Yum!

Other than eating and drinking lots of beer (conveniently stored in the water fountain, for optimal freshness), the day was spent hanging out in the grass  in the hot sun. I had more than a sunburn on my shoulders, I guess that will teach me for refusing sunblock in an attempt to “burn, then tan”, as the Swedish do. Not such a wise choice. I  have yet to mention, we were picnicking at a beautiful monastery, and since we were deep in the country, it genuinely looked like a scene out of The Godfather I. The mountains and never-ending green, with the semi-exotic tress, just like when Al Pacino was rippin’ it up in Sicily. That’s what I thought, anyway.

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See my Godfather/Sicily reference?

At some point, the fun had to end and the sun had to set. We eventually piled into the car before our last cigarettes, strapped ourselves in and prepared to return back to reality. This wonderful May Day created new friends, new experiences and some tender sunburns. But it was well worth it!

Pretty Monastery. Get your prayers on!

Pretty Monastery. Get your prayers on!

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Summary: In A Dark Paradise

After what seems like two full weeks of rain (an exaggeration, of course), I am really starting to feel like I am living in London again. It has been dark, wet and dreary in, what is usually, sunny Barcelona for the past five days, and according to my iPhone weather app, today will be the last of it. I can only hope, anyway! I try to look on the bright side and remind myself that Barcelona, on average, only gets about 55 days of rain a year, so without days like today, we could have a real water crisis on our hands!

Since the weather here has been anything but lively this last week, I find it very hard to stay motivated when it comes to writing. I guess my brain just kind of slows down. That, and I guess it doesn’t help that it’s Monday, which usually makes no difference to me but it was quite a hardcore weekend of socializing, drinks and dancing around the city.

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Rainy Day = Empty Streets in Spain

I don’t want to classify myself as one that would have a “Case of the Mondy’s”, so I have decided to turn Monday into a continuation of “Sunday Funday”. Of course, my responsibilities return amidst the beginning of a new week, unlike that of Sunday, but in spirit I am choosing to make Monday a Funday. While I’m at it, I may as well do the same for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It’s all about your perception and attitude, right?? 🙂

So, because of my sudden shift in attitude (which literally occurred while writing this), I have decided upon a new Monday blog tradition: Summarizing my weekend! It makes great sense since I really do not write on Saturday or Sunday, and my weekend are usually pretty eventful. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Friday

The favorite day of the week for many, Friday is when people shake the stresses of the week, whether that means relaxing at home or having some drinks with buddies. Me? I tend to go for the second option, and this Friday was no different. The rain was definitely coming down hard that night, but with a cozy flat and some great people around you, that fact is soon forgotten! Oh, and how could I forget, lots of cava, beer and wine :). This Friday was not a typical one, as I managed to go home relatively early in the hopes of a fresh start Saturday morning.

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Party Time, Excellent!

Saturday

Impressed with my early-to-bed decision on Friday, I was up  at a decent hour on Saturday morning. Of course, the weather was in no way impressive however did not want to use that as a reason to stay in all day. After some relaxing and a good (late) breakfast, I headed out with my partner in crime to hunt down an awesome dim sum spot in the Borne area of Barcelona. I was really excited for this, since I hadn’t had dim sum for quite some time. We arrived in good time, an hour early for the start of dinner but that worked out well, as this place is seriously busy after 7pm. A few wines and beers later, while translating all the dim sum dishes from Spanish to English, we had worked up quite an appetite (and a bit of a buzz!). Let me tell you, this dim sum, was amazing. To make this place even better, they have an extensive list of expensive import beers that were dirt cheap. No wonder this place is so popular! You are probably wondering what this place is called, and don’t worry, I won’t leave that out. The place is called Mosquito and it’s located  at Carrer Carders, 46, Barcelona 08003. If you live in this great  city or are planning to visit, this is definitely a pit stop you should be making! It has a great atmosphere, unbelievable food and great beer. If you venture to this hole-in-the-wall, I strongly recommend the duck (anec) dumpling!

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Best Dim Sum Everr

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I think these were my eel dumplings, but you never can tell…

As you can imagine, I left feeling full and a bit drunk, and the night was only getting started. While I didn’t realize how late it was when I went for dim sum, I quickly realized when I had to head out to meet some friends at 9 pm… and go eat Mexican food. Oops. I was convinced that I was not going to eat anything after my dim sum feast, but that changed after we waited for our table for an hour, with a few more drinks in hand. The food was great at Rosa Negra, I would definitely recommend the pineapple and chicken quesadilla, but stay away from their shrimp cocktail… It was a huge disappointment. I guess it’s worth mentioning that Rosa Negra’s claim to fame is there €3.50 mojito. It’s strong and seriously good! The restaurant has a great atmosphere and authentic decor as well, which always makes the experience a little better.

The night continued on after our Mexican fiesta, into a few more bars and pubs, sipping on some quality wines and vodka. Nothing overly note-worthy happened so I will not go into details, however I did meet a really cool Canadian girl who was travelling here, and she ended up hanging out with my friends and I.

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Yummy Mexican – And I want this tablecloth!!

Sunday

If you live any sort of lifestyle like mine, you can probably guess my Sunday wasn’t very eventful. And  you would be right, it really wasn’t. Slept until 12pm, neglected doing any laundry and lounged on the couch watching Kitchen Nightmares. It wasn’t in any way exciting but it was definitely what I needed – Some final relaxation at the end of the weekend. As much as I love fun-filled party weekends, I think this next weekend I am going to step away from the booze and spend some time adventuring around my lovely city. Next Monday you will likely read a very different weekend summary, so I hope you look forward to that, like I look forward to writing it!

Thanks for reading this filler article-turned article tradition! Have a great Monday and a great week! I have a feeling I will feel very differently about Monday after tonight, as I have to go to IKEA (my least-favorite place in the world). Maybe I will save my IKEA rant for another day, though. Peace out, party people!

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The Summer Diet for Liquor-Loving Women

Ahh April! The month where every woman rushes to lose the winter weight so they can look like sexual chocolates in their skimpy summer clothes and eeny weeny polka dot bikinis. Of course, I am speaking for myself but I am sure many others can relate!

As I gather the courage to sign up for my local gym and promise myself to go everyday, I realize sweating my ass off on the treadmill (high incline, naturally) is not the only component to this rapid ‘get fit’ challenge of mine. So, I now muster up the will to eat extra well and decrease the portion size. In my experience, all goes well for the first 24 hours, and then the potential results of this fit challenge become cloudy in the deprivation of carbs and alcohol. Does this sound like you?

If you’re like me and certainly enjoy a cocktail (or 5) as well as food aside from just steamed veg and cucumber water, then you are reading the right post. I have come up with some useful strategies to keep you enjoying your summer without the shame of too much alcohol and late-night munchy weight gain. You’re welcome.

1. Real Fruit & Boozey Smoothies

There is nothing I enjoy more than a delectable fruit cocktail while tanning in the sun, listening to some rock n’ roll. If you like the same kind of simple treats, you may opt to buy the pre-mixed daiquiri or pina colada mix – which, in case you didn’t know, is filled with sugar (the bad kind) and empty calories. This is sure to stop you dead in your tracks when trying to keep a good shape in the summer months. Not only that, but it is straight-up bad for you. Maybe if you just had one, that wouldn’t be so bad, but come on, no one ever has just one. My solution? I stock up on loads of fruit, the best being pineapple, mango strawberries, raspberries, banana, coconut, throw them in a blender with some vodka and ice, mix er up, and bam! You’ve got yourself one wicked cocktail! You have all the yummy natural fruit sugars, paired with a low-calorie alcohol like vodka. This tantalizing mix gives you no shame when your downing the fifth cocktail. 😉

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Pineapple Mango Vodka Smoothie! Mmm

2. Smoked Chicken

This is something I have only recently discovered, and it is truly amazing. Apologies if you are vegan/vegetarian, as this won’t appeal to you, but if that’s not the case, you’re in luck! Smoked chicken is a great item to keep in your fridge, as it is already cooked and can be eaten cold in a colorful salad, or heated up quickly with a yummy stir fry. Because it is smoked, it can be kept for longer the raw chicken, which comes in handy if your having a lounge day on the beach or stumble in at a late hour, craving something quick and filling (ah, we’ve all been there!). Last attempt I have in convincing you this treat is a must-have, most importantly, is the taste! The flavor is much better than if I were to cook the chicken myself, and the calorie content is also low since it was smoked and has no added oils or butter. I wish I was being sponsored by a smoked chicken brand, because I am clearly a passionate advocate!

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3. Healthy Beach Snacks

This tip is a no-brainer, but maybe can be made a little more tasty and less like rabbit food. Personally, I love vegetables, raw, steamed, cooked, whatever. Veggies and fruit are a great snack for when you are basking in the sun, simply because it is light, and eating a heavy kebab on the beach will probably put you into a coma (speaking from experience). Take some time before you head to the beach and prep some veg in a tasty way, check out my friends vegetarian blog (in Spanish, so just Google Translate if needed) for tons of great recipes for anything-but-boring veggie snacks. If you can manage to keep it cold enough, why not bring some of my boozey fruit smoothies with you as well!

4. V-v-v-vino!

Ohh, how I love my vino! Cold, refreshing and low-calorie, this is yet another great beverage to have on those hot summer days. Yes, I am sure I sound like a straight-up alchy, but the summer is for drinking and I personally give myself props for doing it in the healthiest way possible 😉 . Generally, a glass of vino is a mere 80 calories, so a great choice for a summer drink (or year-round!). They way I see it, when you’re out in the sun, you are sweating a mass amount of calories anyway, so this can’t be of any great harm. On the contrary, I am going to sound like my mother and remind you to also drink lots of the H20 to keep yourself hydrated (if only wine did the same!).

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5. *Fun* Exercise (Yes, I said fun!)

I swear, it exists. I am a true fountain of energy myself and get quite bored just laying in the sun all day, so I like to  keep it interesting. At the beach? Bring a volleyball or paddleboard and have some game time with your friends (especially after some drinks, this is a great time). This will obviously burn some calories and keep yourself alive throughout the day, not to mention give you an excellent tan. If you don’t happen to like sand sports, go for a nice swim in the sea! This will just as much keep you energized, while also being a great way to cool off. If you prefer the pool to the sea, play Marco Polo!!! Ok, I sound like a 5 year old but seriously, so much fun. If you’re not familiar with the game, just look it up, it’s easy. Marco is ‘it’ and must close their eyes while saying ‘Marco’, and the others have to answer ‘Polo’, and if Marco touches you or catches you out of the water, you are now the Marco. Simple enough! If you doubt me, try it, then tell me you didn’t have a blast! 😉

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While many of my ideas are not the most original and some, quite obvious, actually doing these things make a mile of a difference when it comes to keeping fit in the summer months. How can you debate ideas that are so simple, fun and utterly tasty? Maybe as the summer goes on I can come up with some more creative ideas, but for now I think this is a great start. Further more, summer is meant to enjoy so don’t stress about having the best bikini bod on the beach, just stay healthy and drunk, and you will have a kick ass time!

What did you think of my tips? Would you try them, or do you have any to add to the list? I would love to hear so comment below! And, of course, have a rockin’ summer!

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Top 5 (Tourist) Things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona; The city of art, history, beauty, (seasonal) warmth and great Sangria. On your visit here, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with what to do, see, eat, and how many types of Sangria they have (50+ kinds – true story). So, as a travel enthusiast and minor Barca expert, I am fulfilling my foreign duty to the masses, by telling you exactly what you should do when you get to this Wonderland. Top five, Let’s get started…

 

La Sagrada Familia (church) – Calle Mallorca, 401  08013 Barcelona, Spain

Close Up Church

 

Beautiful church by Antoni Gaudi that is a must-see and maybe one of the biggest tourist destinations. Its construction started in March 1882 by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar where he then, in 1883, commissioned Gaudi to continue its construction. Gaudi worked on this masterpiece until 1926, where he then passed, and to this day is being finished my architects and students, alike. After all, Gaudi once said, “The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made ​​by the people and is mirrored. A work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people”.

 

Not only is it amazing from the outside (front and back), but the inside is even better. Entering the church will usually require you to wait in the queue however it generally moves quickly, and costs about €15 for the basic tour, which can include a headset with audio, overviewing the background of this historical gem. If you are going to take the time to venture inside (which you should!), I strongly suggest you go after 2pm, so you can travel up the towers. Just the basic inside tour will allow you to see the amazing stained glass work and eccentric internal architecture, quite possibly being the most amazing thing you have ever seen!

 

Park Guell (park) –  Carrer d’Olot 5 08024 Barcelona

Park Guell

 

Centered at the top of the city, past the wonderful district of Gracia, is Park Guell. Also one of Antoni Gaudi’s works of art, this is a park you should go to and get lost in for a day. Being at the top of the city, you can expect fantastic views of the city, right down to the Balearic sea. Entrance is free, however I recommend bringing some coins as you will see many local performers that are unlike the most typical.

 

Walking through the park reminds me of a certain classic Disney film – Alice and Wonderland. You are surrounded by greenery, beautiful plants, amazing Gaudi architecture and sculptures. If you want to relax with a drink, soaking in the beauty, there is a cute outdoor cafe where you can sip Sangria!

 

Port Olimpic (The sea!)

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I don’t think I need to say this, but if you are planning a trip to Barcelona, the beach is somewhere you just have to go! As a tourist, most people will think to go to the main city beach, Barceloneta. Although very nice, it is incredibly packed when the warm weather sets in, with both other tourists and the many peddlers (If you hear “Agua, cerveza, beer”, do not make eye contact). When planning a day at the beach, you should definitely bring an umbrella, water, snacks, beer, and of course, cava (Spain’s version of champagne – and better!).

 

Once you are packed and ready to go, you can either take the train or, much easier, a cab. If you take the train, try your best to take it from the yellow metro line (L4) which is accessible from most areas, specifically the core of the city, and get off at Port Olimpic. The beach is not far, and to be honest, the easiest thing to do is just follow people who have umbrellas and beach gear! This beach, allbeit still busy, is much better than the main city beach, also being cleaner. This is a great spot to tan your day away, with the glorious Balearic sea only steps away.

 

Montserrat (mountain)

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Described by many as the “sight of a lifetime”, Montserrat is Spain’s first National Park and comprises a multi-peaked mountain, specifically three main ones. It’s most often described, visually, as “pink peaks”, as the peaks are slightly pink (duh?). This is definitely a full-day trip if you want the real experience, so keep that in mind.

 

The easiest way to get here, is to take a train from Plaça de Espanya. You can then take the rack railway, which would mean you get off at Monistrol de Montserrat. Or, you can go the adventurous route, and take the cable car by getting off at Montserrat Aeri (don’t do it if you are afraid of heights!!).

 

The mountain is truly unlike many things you have probably ever seen, like a thousand natural sculptures with a spectacular view of this great city. Convinced? 😉

 

Las Ramblas (street and market)

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For a resident of Barcelona, the last place you may want to go to is Las Ramblas if you’re agitated by pushy shop owners, a fast walker, or generally dislike massive groups of people. If you haven’t caught on yet, I am a bitter beotch when it comes to tourist areas like this one. BUT, don’t let my negativity influence you – Las Ramblas is a must-see street that you need to visit while you’re here.

Where do I start – Street performers, gorgeous flower stands, music, art, you name it, it’s probably here. Take an hour and just travel down this yellow brick road, you may not be in the market for overpriced souvenirs, but it’s worth it. There is also a fresh market on this street (I can’t give exact number) but if you ask, someone will point you in the right direction. In my opinion, the market is a must!

One last piece of advice: Keep your pockets empty, your bag closed and around your shoulder, and don’t let the street peddlers distract you. It is not as scary as I make it sound, however these are just the best precautions. Pickpocketing here is an art, and it will happen without having a clue, so just be careful!

 

This list of Barcelona sights is very much like my visits to Las Ramblas – Short and sweet. It would certainly be impossible for me to give you every go-to spot is Barcelona in just one blog post, so let this post me the first of many more. I have only covered the most popular landmarks of the city. I haven’t even started on the restaurants and bars! Stay tuned tomorrow for my next post on some more area-specific top visits!


Ciao, ¡salud, Peace & Kitties!

 

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More Onesies Less Elevator Noise

That’s right. A self-reflection article should have a clever title that makes people think, and this title is exactly how I am feeling right now. I am someone who gets very overwhelmed by all the choices and amazing things around me. The realization that I need to focus and tune out is much overdue, and on this sunny and enlightening Friday at precisely 11:09 am, I start here.

In a modern world such as the one many walk on today, year 2013, we are blatantly forced to consume multimedia messages, day in and day out. Thousands of images on Facebook telling us what we ‘Like’ so we can save the world, support religious culture and of course, the most grumpy cat on the internet. Technology moving so fast, you could leave the modern world for a mere week and when you return, you’re considered part of the stone-age. So many choices on what food to eat, from which restaurant, following which food trend of the moment. No wonder we often can’t make decisions quickly enough to keep up with our fast-paced society.

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The Next Grumpy Cat??

If what I am describing is any relation to how you feel on a weekly basis, you are not alone. I believe there are millions of people, in our modern-world bubble, racing against their minds and our so well-developed culture. I also believe, as amazing and predominate the human species is, we are going in the wrong direction. Completely.

The faster we run as a modern human race, the faster we consume, the faster we dispose and ultimately, the faster we lose our minds and the world in which we live in. Ironically, losing our literal minds is not such a loss, as there are robots being developed as we speak (by modern-day humans). As I know everyone has read on Facebook or somewhere of the sort, we are destroying our world and ourselves. I am not here to preach to you, just put it into perspective. The fact that, yes, we are overwhelmed by messages from every direction, allows us to forget the most important one of all. We can’t live the glorious lives we do, without the use of the planet we walk on.

Wear more onesies and you eliminate one extra choice you have to make during your compounded day. Block out the elevator noise and pay attention to what really matters (whatever that is, in your mind).

Source: dexikas.blogspot.com

**article was inspired by not knowing what to wear on the first spring warm day, and trying on clothing choices for too long until I realized how much of a waste of time it was. Then, I put on a onesie and life seemed so much simpler and the clothing choice was made. Secondly, knowing how much I need to better focus on my tasks at hand, I decided to block the elevator noise.

 

FIRST POST!! And Barcelona Is My Girlfriend

Ahhh, how refreshing it is to write on my personal blog again. Its been about 2 years and 3 countries later, but I have now decided to start documenting my thoughts and daily life on the internet. This could be a huge mistake, but I guess we’ll see…

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Walking To The Beach! (In October)

Its been 2 months since I have moved to lovely Barcelona, Spain from London, UK and I must say, I really love it. London was a place I thought I would never leave, but when I had the option for sun and beaches, well I guess the decision was easy!I have heard a weird story of some lady marrying a building, so do you think its possible that I marry a country?? I can’t say that would be ‘good’ publicity for my reputation – Or would it??

Considering this is the ‘first’ post of my newly transformed blog, please don’t hate on the fact that it has no structure or flow to it – Honestly, I am literally just rambling and spitting my thoughts out through my finger tips. I promise, next post wont be so scattered 😉

Let’s get to something interesting, I will give you some highlights of Barcelona, thus far…

Great Bars/Restaurants!

I have been to quite a few by now, both cheap and expensive, and I have to say, only about 1 disappointment (out of probably 60). The food is amazing and drinks, cheap, so it is very easy to have a great afternoon or night with friends without spending too much! There are some expensive clubs that are a great place to visit, however definitely more of an ‘indulgement’! I will be sure to highlight specific places in the near future!

Barcelona tapas

Barcelona Tapas

Great People and Atmosphere!

I have met some great people through friends or randomly, and it has been a very pleasing experience. People, in general, are very warm, and that makes a newbie like me feel very welcome. The laid-back environment of basically everywhere in this city is very catchy, even for city folk like me that can’t stand walking so damn slow on the walk ways (I either go with it or plan my fast paced route ahead!). However, I must say, the drivers are basically insane here and use their car horns as their own cursing device.

I have much more to say however its getting to be siesta time and I should really be getting to the local cava bar for some €4 cava (Catalonia champagne 😀 ). Life is hard!

I hope my scattered first entry was bareable for those who took time to read (Thank you!) and I promise to give you lots of interesting material (including pics and videos!!) – so stay tuned! Will also add my social media links as well!

And of course, comment below! Cheers and Adios!

 

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