Tag Archives: beach

One last hurra! at Costa Brava

My last weekend in Spain just passed (the end is near!!! wahhh). I arrived in Barcelona 5 pm of 26 July. I visited my Colombian friend Oscar, who is now doing his internship in Barcelona. He fetched me together with his girlfriend Elly at the Barcelona Sants station.

We roamed a bit in Las Ramblas by late afternoon and had dinner at the Plaza Real (Plaça Reial in catalán). We had a stroll at the Barrio Gótico at night. Being the Gothic architecture lover that I am, Barrio Gótico is one of the tourist attractions I like in Barcelona. I wasn’t able to take photos because I don’t have a camera. Or at least a good one that could take night photos. I had my flatmate’s camera with me but that is mostly for daytime use.

 

27 July, Saturday.

Oscar, Elly and I, took the train leaving Barcelona Sants station at 7:46 am and we were at Girona by 9. Oscar’s uncle Gus, who lives with his family on the next town of San Feliu de Guíxols, picked us up at the station

We then dropped by first at his uncle’s flat to get some things and to get her wife, Clara, who was waiting for us at the house. Their little boy, Pau, is an adorable child. I’ve only seen him before in Oscar’s photos in Facebook but now I’ll be spending an entire day with him. 🙂

Costa Brava is this stretch of coast in northeast of Spain that faces the Mediterranean Sea. Oscar was telling  me we are going to a nice beach where there are not so many tourists. I was thinking, hmm.. Let me see to believe. Spain is the beach capital of Europe during the summer and a beach hidden from northern European tourists? I wasn’t too sure about that.

We had a lunch of hamburgers, fries, and my summer drink sangria by a chiringuito, an open air restaurant by the beach. Our conversation circled on life in general, with Oscar’s uncle Gus pitching in what life is like in your 30s and 40s.

 

Here is Pau making sure I don’t get burned. So cute this kid! And speaks straight too at 2 1/2 years old.

We arrived at a little before 11 am. There were not much people then but by the afternoon, the beach lovers started pouring in. There were quite a few Germans, French and English.

Me with Oscar, one of the good friends I’ve made during my stay in Spain.

 

We were back in Barcelona by 10:30 pm. We have free entrance to this popular beach side club called Opium. We were in the guest list to come in before 1 am. Elly and I were able to get in before 1 am while Oscar was waiting for Christian, his flatmate and also our classmate at our MBA, to get dressed. We waited for them in the club.

I borrowed one of Elly’s high heeled shoes. I came to Barcelona only wearing flip flops, didn’t know we were going to a bar. Even with my aching feet I still enjoyed my last night of clubbing in Spain. 😉

The following day, 28 July, my bus leaves at 11:30 am for Madrid. We arrived on time at the train station. But the wrong one! I forgot that my bus leaves at Barcelona Nord and not at Sants!

The train prices are horrible. 110€ for a single trip. Had no choice but to go by bus and the only bus schedule that still has available seats leaves at midnight. Gahhh!! I was wanting to sleep Sunday night at my room so I’ll be fresh the next day to pack my luggage. No choice, leaving at midnight and arriving at 7:30 in Madrid.

 

As they say in Spanish, no hay nada mal que por bien no venga. In English there’s no literal translation but the meaning is “every cloud has a silver lining.” I know that Barcelona has an Arc de Triomf and I haven’t seen it yet. The Arc is a five-minute walk from the Barcelona Nord station and since I missed my bus and will be taking the night bus, I could now have a photo taken with it. 🙂

Here’s my summer song 2013. It is the soundtrack for a tv ad of Estrella Damm, the beer from Barcelona.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd32xY6_90c

I’m gonna miss Spain, lots. Can’t help but cry a bit seeing this video. This is not the last Spain. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Cádiz

The puente in Madrid from 1 – 5 May didn’t end with just a trip to Granada. Me and Dita traveled further south where the beaches are – Cádiz.

From Granada we took the 10 AM bus that leaves for Cádiz on 3 May. We got there by around 3 PM and this is the scene of the main plaza that greeted us. Instantly gave me that beach-y feel.

After the cold we experienced in Granada, we were grateful of the 22 C° weather with plenty of sun.

 
Walking to find our Airbnb accomodation for the night, passed by this bar.

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I never understood what it was exactly.

After checking in to our room, we grabbed a menú del día at one of the restaurants nearby and set off for the Torre Tavira.

Torre Tavira, which was once a watch tower, has been converted into a tourist attraction with the installation of a Camera Obscura. This camera provides a 360° panorama of Cádiz at a precise moment. You can even see clothes hung out for drying moving with the gentle breeze and people walking below. It was quite entertaining, with the guide explaining each of the important buildings along with a few jokes.

After the 15-minute presentation, one can go at the top of the tower to breathe in the view.

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Back down, we went in search of the nearby beaches. This is because the whole day of the next day, we’ll just be lying down by the beach sunbathing.

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After checking out the two nearest beaches, we had an idyllic stroll within the casco antiguo – the city centerThat was pretty much what we did to pass the time.

 

4 May.

While there are plenty of beaches to choose from, the following day, we were quite lazy to go beach-hopping. The nearest beach from the city center is the Playa de La Caleta, Caleta beach. It was about a 10-minute walk from the room we rented and arrived at past 10 AM. We stayed there for four hours, grabbed lunch by 3 PM and went to the train station to catch our train for Madrid leaving at 4:35 PM.

 
The sand was fine and what I would consider on the whitish side. I dipped in the water too, it was cold but became manageable after a while.

 

Cádiz

 

I actually left my jacket in the closet of the room we stayed in. Realized this while we were almost done with lunch and me telling Dita that I’ll be changing clothes since it may be colder in the train. We headed back but unfortunately, the owner was out. I left Cádiz with one jacket less.

Me encanta San Sebastián

Welcome to the famous beach destination north of Spain: San Sebastián!

 

 

I spent the day with my Colombian classmate Calex and her visiting cousin Juli.

 

I was psyched to see what San Sebastián has to offer and why people were always raving about it. I took in its sight of fine sand, people out and about by the shoreline, people playing having a good time; it has every vibe of a great beach destination. Not breathtaking (at least for me maybe because of the virginal beaches I’ve seen in the Philippines) but pretty indeed. When the Singapore girls come here in two months’ time, they’ll surely love it.

 

The weather wasn’t so nice though. There were occasional drizzles throughout the day, the sun was always going in and out of the clouds and sky was almost always overcast.

 

Separating the beach front from the rest of the city proper is this wall barrier that also has a park. I love the parks here in Spain!

Some artists sketching away. I was thinking they might be gypsies.

 

But before heading down to the beach we strolled by the town center in search of a souvenir Calex wanted to buy. She was recounting that in her first week in Spain she went to San Sebastián with one of our classmates and now she is finishing her masters, she has visited it a second time. Soon she will be leaving for Barcelona where she will be doing her internship.

 

She and Juli eventually found their souvenirs. It was 4pm and we were hungry. Time to hit the bars for something to gobble.

The pintxos are heaven! I devoured four con mucho gusto! I don’t know if I was just really hungry I was able to appreciate the pintxos more but I think the pintxos here are better than Pamplona’s.

 

Stomachs filled, we marched towards the beach front to just sit and relax and let the time pass.

 

Calex and I decided to wet our feet with the waves hugging the shoreline. Brrr.. ¡Qué frío! Those in the water must have skin made of stone to be able to dip in. It was 16 degrees and windy too.

 

Juli took this photo as I was wiping the sand off my butt. Me totally unawares.

 
The Beach Scene.

 

Allotting enough time before our bus for Pamplona departs, we dropped by this bikini shop we passed by earlier on the way to the beach. The shop is called Goiuri (t’s in Basque language  with most words containing 3 – 4 vowels all strung together). The bikini designs were quite unique that Calex and I wanted to try some on. The owner was very good in establishing customer rapport. He asked me where I was from and when I said I’m from Filipinas, he showcased me what he knows about my country. He knows the language is Tagalog (the Spanish pronounce this as Tagalo because they have trouble pronouncing the g at the end of a word), knows about José Rizal and even told me of the impresionante crocodile that was in the news a  year ago. I was also impressed of his know-how which is actually a good way of making small talk especially since a lot of tourists in the area are foreigners.

 

As I was paying the bikini I asked if they are made here in Spain. He replied: from here.
In my mind I was thinking “yes here in Spain” and then it hit me! I am in Basque Country and they don’t consider themselves part of Spain. I quickly said my lo siento (sorry) and told him that yes there’s a difference.

 
This is one conversation that stuck to me and have been telling everyone this. I had my taste of Basque patriotism! How cool is that?