Monday, April 30, 2012

Titanic – The Exhibition

I finally went! The day I was supposed to go happened to be a Sunday, and I learnt that a Sunday is not necesarily a good day to go to a museum or an exhibition in Barcelona. Very crowded. The queues went on for a couple hundred metres, opposed to when I went on a weekday, and we could enter directly, no queues at all. 

 
My expectations were turned up high from reading about the exhibition, and I knew I had to see this. I remember the movie from 1997 so well, with the most handsome Jack Dawson, and the most beautiful romance with Rose DeWitt Bukater. It was all so captivating and touching and stong and terrible. 

And it is terrible. All the poor people who died in this tragedy. An audio guide is included in the entrance fee and takes you out on this journey, from picture to picture, telling the story of many of the passengers onboard The Ship That Could Not Sink. Almost 200 original objects from the Titanic and passengers are displayed, as well as a couple of rooms built just as they were. There is a model of the ship as it was, and another model of the ship as it is now, at the bottom of the sea. Here, a first class cabin:


The model of the Titanic, open on one side so you can see rooms, cabins etc. 

 First class:

 Third class cabin: 
It was not allowed to photograph so I've borrowed photos from here

All in all, it is a very good exhibition, and you won’t leave untouched.  

The exhibition is at Museu Maritimo de Barcelona until the end of September. And if you can, go during the week. It would be a shame to see this when it's very crowded and you'd have to waiti in line to have a look at the objects, models etc. Website of the Exhibition here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Snails anyone?

I am so sorry, Spain, but I can't seem to get my stomach to agree on this. But I have tried! A couple heartfelt, honest intents. 

The snails are very common tapas in Spain, unlike Norway where it's not really eaten at all.  When we found this little restaurant in Cordoba filled to the brim with loud locals enjoying their snails however, a last intent was in order. 


Really inexpensive and I will admit that it was smelling rather nice! 

A glass like the one on the picture above was just 1 euro. For bigger ones and spicy ones 2 euros for a plate, and a beer to accompany it at just 1,20. 


Great ambience and supposedly great snails! Actually this restaurant is said to serve the best snails in Cordoba since 1965. I really can't judge that, but it might be worth a visit if you're up to trying Cordoba style snails!

The restaurant is called Caracoles la Magdalena and is located at Plaza Magdalena in Cordoba.

Can one learn to like snails? Tips would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dia de Sant Jordi

23. april is a special day in Barcelona (/Catalunya). It’s like Cataluya’s own Valentines Day!
So what’s this about? Well, it’s about Saint George/Jorge/Jordi (English/ Spanish/ Catalan.) Apparently a big romantic! San Jordi is also the patron saint of Catalunya. 

But what is so special you might wonder. And that’s what I am here to tell you. This day the city overflows with roses and books. Women receive a rose from their special someone/family/friends, and men receive a book from their special someone/family/friends.

And if I said Sunday at the Fira de la Terra was crowded, well, then this was just insane. The streets in the city centre were completely full of people, everywhere. Here, Las Ramblas:


There were people selling roses everywhere, and book-stands all over the place as well as stands where authors came to sign their books. The queue for Carlos Ruiz Zafón, famous author of “Shadow of the wind” and other sucsessful books went through several blocks! A teeny bit chaotic you could say.



Do you like the smell of roses? Well, then you would like this day. The wonderful soft smell of roses was hanging in the air in the centre of Barcelona. If I didn't love the crowds, I loved the smell and the positive, happy atmosphere! 

I heard on the radio Monday morning that they were expecting to sell about 6 million roses for Día de Sant Jordi. The roses (symbol of passion) has to be accompanied by a ribbon with the catalan colours (Stipes in yellow and red, symbol of Catalunya) and a spike of wheat (symbol of fertility). 

I don’t know how many books were sold, but an other year about 400 000 were sold on this day, which is half of the yearly book-sale in Catalunya!




How did this tradition originate? It’s said that the tradition of the roses goes way back, to the 15th century. Women used to attend the official mass at the Capilla de Sant Jordi on April 23 in the Palacio de la Generalitat de Catalunya and they were given a rose. 


The book thing is newer however. Apparently a bookshop started to promote this special day in 1923 to honour two great men of literature: Miguel Cervantes and William Sharespeare who both deceased on april 23, in 1616. Barcelona is said to be the publishing capital of the Spanish-speaking world and they quickly adopted this new punch of love and literacy. I think it's a nice tradition!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Random Sunday in Barcelona

I love how Barcelona keeps surprising me with fabulous stuff. Like yesterday, the plan was to go see the big Titanic – The Exhibition at Museu Martitim de BarcelonaSounded like a great Sunday plan if you ask me. Well, as luck would have it we weren’t the only ones with this plan. The queues for the ticket office went along the museum, around the corner and up the street on the outside. About 200m long. That kind of queue is not for me. But no worries, can always come back to see it some other day! 

So we needed a new plan. We decided to just step into Barri Gotic and see where the streets would bring us.We moved on through to Born. Passed by my fave bakery and picked up some macaroons, awed at Santa María del Mar a little, before continuing up Passeig del Born. Some great great street musicians entertained us for a while with the most soothing music just at the back of Santa María del Mar. 



By the way, I  think anyone who's read the historic novel, Cathedral of the Sea just can't pass by Santa María del Mar without thinking about the story. I think it has possibly given the church more life. (To me it has anyway) It's beautiful.

..."Let's head to the park!" Allright by me, Parc de la Ciutadela is a great Sunday spot. But WOW! The park was a lot more crowded than normal. 


There was a big event going on! Fira de la Terra. (Fira= Fair in Catalan, Terra= earth in Catalan)


A good mix of alternative. Alternative people, if that’s a term. Alternative stands, with alternative information, for example Club Catala de Naturisme,


stands with all sorts of alternative therapies and treatments such as aura readings, massage with didgeridoo, chakra cleansing etc.

Then Passeig de Lluis Company (the promenade from Arc de Triumf to the entrance of the park) were just as crowded ...


...and tempted us with all sorts of alternative delicious looking and smelling food, ecologic food, raw food, food from all around the world... Cocktails Brazilian style with fresh fruit anyone?


Or Cuban food, one of my absolute favorites. Arroz con frijoles con mariquitas (platano macho frito) mmmm!


Stone oven baked pizza or bread ...


tea-"houses"...



Ever tried sugar cane juice? They made and served it here. Natural or with rum!



And as if this wasn't enough, there was a whole lot of stands with ecological (?) artwork!



They say that it's when you don't plan too much that the greater things happen. I don't know about that, but for sure am I happy the Titanic exhibition was too crowded, if not I would have missed all this!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sponsored post: Win a trip around the world! (For readers in Norway)

Have you heard of “See the world with Spar”? I hadn’t, but was excited when I was contacted about it and very happy to be able to spread the word from my little space here on the web.

Do you like to travel? Do you like to learn about other cultures? Are you adventurous and like to soak in impressions and beautiful places? Well, have a look at this video then! See, Spar is searching for a “reporter” to go explore the world. The lucky winner gets to travel the world for free, all expenses included while being  a “reporter” for SPAR. Through video and photo updates the winner will share his/her adventures from at least twelve countries spread out over four different continents. Ah, and the winner also gets a travel bag filled with handy travel goodies such as digital gadgets and travel equipment. Not bad at all if you ask me!

Does this sound like something you would love to do? Well go on then, have a go at it! I always try going after things I dream of doing, give it a try and well if it doesn’t work out, at least I tried. Instead of always regretting things I wanted to do, but never dared trying. Well, basically that’s why I am now living a very good life in Spain! 
Good luck with becoming SPAR’s reporter to travel the world!

And I am sorry – I wish this competition was available for the whole world, but unfortunately it is only for readers in Norway.


Sponsored

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lunch Norway vs. Spain

I have come to really, I mean really appreciate traditional lunch the Spanish way. It's very common to eat out for lunch here, there's a lot of food at a good price.

In Norway, this is a typical lunch...



Sandwich, milk and a piece of fruit via
When I look at it now after having gotten used to more Spanish ways of eating I am not at all wondering why I was always so hungry at work! Just a few hours after eating I was wondering how I'd make it till after work to finally get some dinner. 

Let me show you what typical lunch looks like in Spain! This one from one of my favorite restaurants, La Taberna Gallega, located just by the beach.

When seated something like this is put on your table: 


This is the most typical Catalan tapas: Pa tomaca/pa tomaquet. Bread with tomato. Yummy delicious. Toasted bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and extra virgen olive oil. 

Then a little something (appetizer) is put on the table while you look at the menu: 


Your first plate could look something like this: 


Then we move on to main course, which is always a kind of Paella for me. Absolutely LOVE paella, it tastes of sun and summer, mmmmm! And of course wine is on every table. In Norway we drink milk or juice with our lunch, here it's a bottle of wine shared between two people! (Haha I love Spain!)


But we're not done yet! (At this point I am about to burst, but there's more coming...) Postre! Time for dessert... Cake, pudding, fruit of the season, ice cream....

I love fruit and looove piña, so that's also an easy choice for me


Then it's time for coffe... And with the coffee comes a little plate with chupitos (a digestive liquer, I think we need it!) and some delicious nut cake. 


¡Que aproveches! I'll just roll home...
What do you eat for lunch?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The monkeys at Gibraltar

It’s time to tell you about the monkeys at Gibraltar!

They are Barbary Macaques, a tailless monkey specie. As they have no tail, they are often mistaken for apes, and are locally known as Barbary
Apes despite the fact that they are monkeys, Macaca Sylvanus.


They are the only wild monkeys in Europe and to me it was the highlight of the trip to Gibraltar. I’ve never seen wild monkeys before and they made quite the impression on me. 


As soon as we parked the car, one of them jumped onto the car! We managed to close the window first...


I didn’t want to bother them in their peacefulness, but they let me walk by at a meters distance without really taking notice. They were so funny, and so relaxed! Look at this one here, just sitting watching life go by...and all those strange tourist staring at him and his gang.



They are used to people, as this is one of the top tourist attraction at Gibraltar, but they are still wild animals and will bite if they feel threatened. The increased contact with tourists made the monkeys dependant on humans, and led them to forage in the town which resulted in damages to buildings and vehicles. Therefore it’s now illegal to feed the monkeys and you’ll be fined if caught.


Monkey spa deep clean:



When we were headed back to the car, I took a plastic bag from the trunk to bring into the car. A monkey who was close by suddenly sped up and ran over to me and grabbed my leg! He sat there, holding my jeans, looking at me with the most adorable little face. He was one of the bigger ones and I was hoping he wouldn't climb me! But he just kept pulling my leg, like a baby asking for my attention. Then some guy came over and said it was illegal to feed the monkeys and I would get a fine of £50 if I did. I was all, "What?? Feed him?" I was just enjoying the closeness to the monkey, but apparently the monkeys connect plastic with food (food containers) and he thought he was getting lucky! The guy was one of those who keep an eye on the monkeys and he ushered the little guy away and I could get into the car. The monkey was still looking at me though, from outside the car,  begging with his eyes! Ah!


Sources:  Wikipedia and the informative plate where the monkeys live.  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Found a great page on Barcelona!

A friend of mine told me about this great, great old bar in Barcelona that I simply had to check out. It was called the same as a French city and that helped me remember the name so I could look it up when I got home. 

I Googled "Bar Marsella" and was directed to a website, not the website of the bar, but a page which opened up a new little Barcelona-universe. Barcelona-life.com.

So, I got to read about this old bar, actually really old, it opened in 1820!! According to this site it is said to be the very first bar in Barcelona, and that the likes of Picasso and Hemmingway used to frequent it. And apparently Woody Allen chose to shoot a scene from this bar in the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona. There’s lots more to be said about the bar, but since I haven’t been there yet, I’ll refer you to the page. If you’re interested, click here

After having read about the bar, of course I had to keep snooping around and this site is actually really informative and quite the complete guide to Barcelona, so if you are looking for Barcelona-information, it being bars, restaurants, or entertainment, this site covers it really well! I will be using this page to look for inspiration for things to do and where to do them!



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gibraltar

Hope you all had a lovely Easter holiday, mine was great! Since I still have lots to tell from my Andalucía-holiday I'll pick up where I left off and today I'll tell you about this curious little place called Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is located at the south end end of the Iberian Peninsula, and is British overseas territory. 


It’s so strange, you are in Andalucía in Spain, you pass through yet another little village, and suddenly you cross a border (with a passport control) and you’re in Britain, just with Spanish weather and landscape. There are red British phone boots and Royal Mail postboxes. Everyone speak English, not just in that they know English, but English is the official language. The currency is Gibraltar Pounds (with the same value as the British Pound Sterling) and what you can buy in the supermarket are British products. Fabulous! (As I love British supermarkets and all the goodies you can find there. Read chocolate, biscuits, cake etc.) 

It’s small, with only 6,8 square kilometers, and about 30000 inhabitants, and is often referred to as “The rock” due to the big rock/mountain of 426m height which is quite the landmark of Gibraltar. 


What's most spectacular about the rock (to me), is that it is home to about 250-300 monkeys, the only wild monkeys in Europe! Very exotic and so cool. Apart from the monkeys, big parts of the rock is a nature reserve and houses tunnels and a fortress, today museums.



From the rock there are several places with great views, and on a clear day you can see Africa in the distance. The straight of Gibraltar is just 15km at the narrowest.


A post on the monkeys is coming up, I fell in love with these cute cute creatures! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm back in Norway for Easter...

....and this is what I'll be looking at for the next week or so.


Peace and quiet. Lots of chocolate. Fireplace. No internet. Board games.
Reading books. Writing. Quality time. 

I'm headed up to the mountains and disconnecting in 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0-------

 Wish all of you a lovely Easter!