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Spain, Everything Under the Sun – Barcelona

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Barcelona, also famous as Barcino during Roman time, has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town. It is the second largest city in Spain and 48th most densely populated city in the world. Situated on the plains, which rise gradually from the sea to a range of wooded hills, Barcelona is Spain’s most cosmopolitan city. You will always find restaurants and bars packed and beach crowded.

After completing my trip to Lisbon to celebrate my Portuguese holidays, a visit to Barcelona seemed like its continuity. The core center of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona, while the beaches the city was built upon provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.

From Portugal to Madrid, to Ibiza and now to Barcelona, my journey has been really long but there is something in the air which makes me want to see more around. I took a ferry from Ibiza to Barcelona, I wanted to see the port of the city, as it is known as one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean.

Reaching here you will realize the town speaks a totally different language, Catalan. It is very much dissimilar to Spanish, but close to Italian, Portuguese and French in some ways. That’s why a proud Barcelona guy will say it is not a dialect but a different language. Most signs are indicated only in Catalan, announcements in the Metro train are also made in Catalan.

I don’t think I have ever been to so many beaches in such a short time. Though I am not bored yet, but still I wished to see something towards the inland and so I decided to visit Parc de Guell.

It was a bit out of the way from other sites in the city, but the trek is worth it. Park Guell is another venture of Antonio Gaudi and, in fact, he lived in one of the two homes that got completed. The intent of Eusebi Guell, the owner of the land, was to have 60 homes developed. Gaudi developed the serene park between 1910-14, as part of the motif to entice people to live here. Eventually, the park that was intended to replicate an English garden became a visiting place for the locals to get away from the grime and crowded city center.

Park Guell Barcelona
Park Guell, Image taken by Johannes Breunig

There are a variety of shapes and designs throughout the park, beginning with the sitting arena with thousands of mosaics imbedded into the concrete, the irregular and rough terrace walls and bird nests appearance, columns holding up an upper portion, and winding road 7 trails to the top. The mountain used to be flat on top, and it is now simply a place for bench rest. It is about half a mile from the main entry to the top. Entry to the park is free, but the fees for the small museum is 2 Euro.

Another wonderful attraction was the Las Ramblas, the street that certainly is the heart of Barcelona. It is a lovely tree lined pedestrian walkway that extends 1.2kms from the Placa de Catalunya down to the Christopher Columbus statue at the port.

Las Ramblas Barcelona
Las Ramblas, photo taken by Juan Salmoral

Barcelona’s most famous avenue, la Rambla, is also its liveliest. The centre part of this tree-lined avenue is pedestrianised, allowing for cafés, kiosks, mimes, florists, tourists and pickpockets alike to take advantage and to keep this circus-like thoroughfare busy around the clock. The avenue officially runs from the Mediterranean shore all the way up through Eixample to Avinguda Diagonal. However, the most celebrated section of la Rambla is the lower part, starting from Plaça de Catalunya to the port. Numerous historic buildings line la Rambla, which trace the shape an old filled river bed. In fact, the avenue’s name is derived from the Arabic world ramla which refers to the sand in a dry seasonal river bed. Over time, the river bed was filled to become what we see today. Along this part of la Rambla is also some creative architecture as well as a few famous old-world shops with Art Nouveau details.

If you are in Barcelona, and even if you have seen all the beaches, shopped from all the shops, ate in all the restaurants, you haven’t seen Barcelona if you haven’t visited Nou Camp Stadium.

Even if you’re just a little bit interested in soccer, then you should take the trip to the Nou Camp stadium and visit the museum of the FC Barcelona. It was good to see their cups, medals and photos. There was a section on the history of the club with all the sports they play, not only soccer but also FC Barcelona basket ball and rugby.

Nou camp stadium barcelona
Nou Camp Stadium, photo taken by  Sam Hancock

Another section showcased the famous players of the team, their shoes and jersey. I could see the jersey of  the legendary Bernd Schuster and Diego Maradona. What I really liked in FC Barcelona museum was the old soccer memorabilia – an old ticket booth, the dressing room, a sports pub, old soccer magazines, board games, balls and other equipments. The best of all is of course the view from the president’s seat in the stadium. When you look at the stadium from his seat, the only word that came into my mind was ‘magnificent’! You could see how huge the stadium was. The stadium has an exciting atmosphere even with nobody but a few visitors around. It gives you the shivers thinking about 100,000 FC Barcelona supporters singing and cheering and just 22 guys playing on the pitch.

nou cmp stadium dressing room barcelona
Nou Camp Stadium Dressing Room, photo taken by Will Palmer

If you have seen this stadium and if you are also a fan of Barcelona, then I am sure your trip to Barcelona will start from Nou Camp and end at Nou Camp. Same was the feeling for me. It felt as if I have seen everything. But as I told you, Barcelona is not just about Soccer. Watch this space or subscribe to my feed to follow me to different places I go.

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Travel

7 Travel Safety Tips You Should Know

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aircraft flight travel packing

Travelling can be enthralling, but have you ever asked yourself what if you get robbed? What if you get kidnapped? Or you get lost? 

Leaving the comfort of your home to explore a foreign country can be an exciting experience. However, several worst-case scenarios can make you anxious when travelling overseas. From losing precious items and getting injured to theft or kidnapping, a lot can happen abroad. 

The first step is to acknowledge that bad things can happen, which is part of the adventure. With these safety tips below, you can protect yourself as a traveller and have peace of mind.

 Conduct Sufficient Research 

Research and gather a lot of information. Travel safety starts even before you board that plane. Google about your destination and know the common risks and prevalent scams in that country. Get to know the safe and unsafe neighbourhoods. 

Ensure you read reviews in the places you’ll visit or the hotel you’ll be staying in. Check if your rent property is in a safe environment. Read blogs from travel bloggers to find if there is anything written about your destination. You can watch videos on YouTube to learn a few things. You can listen to the accent, see attraction sites, and what the landscape looks like.  

TripAdvisor is also a great platform where you can search your destination before travelling. It’s great for hotels, restaurants, local attractions, and tour companies. Read reviews to get valuable information from previous clients. 

Doing research helps you feel confident and comfortable when travelling. 

Buy Travel Insurance 

A vacation isn’t a vast investment, like buying a car or house, but you still need a lot of money. Buying airfare, paying for tour guides, and accommodation needs tons of cash. The travel insurance cover protects you from lost or damaged items. 

It can be expensive to replace items like electronic devices, clothes, and medication. You might also get hurt or sick while in a foreign country. If you get hurt or sick before travelling, you’ll have to cancel your trip. With this, you’ll lose the full cost. In such a scenario, the travel insurance will reimburse the amount used. 

You may also need to get evacuated from a danger zone, and using helicopter transport can cost you a fortune. This is where travel insurance comes in. Early returns or losing a family or friend are other incidents that should motivate you to get insurance cover. 

However, ensure you get a comprehensive cover that will cater to almost every bill you might incur. Choose a reliable insurance provider to give direction and offer the necessary help. Check the reputation of the said company, their insurance packages, and don’t forget to read reviews. 

Share Information with a Reliable Friend or a Close Relative

Travelling is marred with uncertainties. Anything can happen when in a foreign land. That’s why you should let those close to you know about your whereabouts. 

In case of an emergency, you might not manage to communicate specific details. The insurance may require you to call before going to the hospital. They can help you find a reliable hospital nearby. 

It is always advisable to scan and print important documents and upload a digital cover of the insurance package.

Keep Your Money in Various Places

Never travel with all of your money in the same place. Stash emergency money throughout the luggage just in case you lose some. You can also place cash on your body but in different pockets. 

You may wear a money belt beneath your clothes or have a handy bra pocket to keep your credit cards and cash. Invest in an excellent zippered passport pocket that can hold a phone and a passport. This way, even if you get robbed, you’ll still have some cash and cards tucked away. 

More so, be mindful of purses and pockets when in a crowded place. It’s too easy to get pickpocketed in a crowded subway or bus. Criminals know their target pretty well, but you can give them a hard time trying to rob you. 

If you get into a crowded place, keep your hands-on any pocket that has your valuables. If possible, tuck the purse underneath your arm to ensure it opens towards your body and hard to access. Ensure the purse can be zipped, covered, or fastened. 

Avoid keeping stuff in your back pocket as it’s an easy target. Also, it’s recommended to ditch the purse and wallet altogether. 

Lock Your Bags

Locking your luggage can deter thieves. Zip your wallet and purse and lock your bags as well. A determined thief goes for easier targets. They know travellers carry tons of valuable items, and that’s why locking your luggage during transit is a great security measure. 

You can use non-TAS travel locks as they’re hard to break, unlike the universal TSA lock. However, you may use a TSA-approved travel lock for added security and peace of mind. 

Don’t Bring with You Your Precious Items

It’s easy to have items disappear while in transit. It could be a scarf you left in a park or sunglasses fell in the water as you were surfing. When packing for air travel, leave anything that will break your heart if it gets stolen or lost. 

For instance, leave your precious jewellery at home. Carrying education or property documents is risky. Bring cheap items like a travel-friendly necklace or wedding ring, an older smartphone, or inexpensive clothes. 

Watch Your Drinks 

When in a foreign country, you become an easy prey. No matter the circumstances, ensure you watch over your drinks. Make sure you see what’s being poured so someone doesn’t spike your drink

It would also be best to avoid getting drunk. If you usually take six drinks, reduce to two. If you didn’t travel with a buddy, go everywhere with your drink, even to the washroom.

Every day there is news of travellers who have fallen victim to several crimes while travelling. This should be your huge concern in taking the necessary measures. Don’t be too naïve or optimistic to think it can never happen to you. 

But don’t allow anything to stop you from having an enthralling vacation. Follow these travel safety tips, and you’ll enjoy a peaceful trip. 

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A unique perspective of Jamaica

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Over the last years, Jamaica has become one of the most visited destinations by tourists in the entire world. This beautiful Caribbean island with its stunning beaches, rich nature and delicious gastronomy has everything you could wish for in a holiday destination. However, if you want to experience Jamaican culture in a unique way while interacting with nature hand in hand, there is a place you can not miss during your trip: Yaaman Adventure Park.

The most original holidays

Jamaica is famous as a beach holidays destination. And who can really blame those that choose to visit the country because of this? Its white sand beaches with crystal clear waters and jungle right next to the shores make out for some breathtaking views. However, Jamaica has so much more to bring into the table. A good example of this can be found in the famous tours in Ocho Rios offered by Yaaman Adventure Park.

Ocho Rios is known as the most touristic area on the entire island. And in an area with such a wide catalogue of activities focused towards tourists, we can find Yaaman Adventure Park. Formerly known as Prospect Plantation, Yaaman Adventure Park original placement used to be an 18th Century agricultural property with a lot of history and cultural points. Yaaman Adventure Park offers its visitors the opportunity to interact hand in hand with nature in a lot of adrenaline filled adventures that will make out for unforgettable experiences. 

Do not limit yourself to simply laying on the beach, discover the beautiful island of Jamaica and its culture in a fun and original way. 

The perfect activities for everyone in the family

There are as many types of holidays as there are types of people in the world. Yaaman Adventure Park is aware of this, and that is why they offer a wide catalogue of activities in Ocho Rios that will adapt to everyone’s needs. Your age does not matter, there is the perfect activity waiting for you at Yaaman Adventure Park. Yaaman Adventure Park has a lot of fun activities that will allow you to interact with nature, as well as some more relaxing ones that will help you understand Jamaican culture better. Some of their most renown activities include:

Bird aviary tour

An activity that everyone in the family will surely love! In this aviary, you will be able to interact with exotic and local birds while they freely fly around you. The aviary is a tropical heaven for the birds that live there, and will make you feel like you have been transported to a fairytale world.

Swim with dolphins

Dolphins are some of the most beloved sea animals in the world. And in Yaaman Adventure Park you will be able to swim with dolphins in their unique shore excursions in Ocho Rios. These loving creatures are very smart and love interacting with the visitors. During these excursions, you will be able to swim with them and even hug and kiss the lovely dolphins. 

Cook genuine Jamaican recipes

Jamaica has one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Their traditional colourful dishes are full of unique flavours that will not disappoint your palate. On the cooking tour offered by Yaaman Adventure Park, you will learn how to prepare the traditional “Jamaican Fare”. The famous chef Irie will teach you all the secrets of this dish consisting of festival, Steamed Callaloo and chicken. All of this while you enjoy some breathtaking views 1100 feet above sea level.

But these are only some of the activities you will be able to enjoy at Yaaman Adventure Park. From Mud buggies tours to tours across near stunning rivers, rides on the back of camels or a jitney ride, the possibilities at this park seem endless. So if you are looking for a fun and original alternative for your next holidays, then look no further, Yaaman Adventure Park is the perfect place to go.

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How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?

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malaga andalusia spain

There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?

Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?

Spanish cities where to live cheap and well

In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.

The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries. 

In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run. 

Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors

I have already decided on the place. Now what?

Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?

Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.

To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.

And remember: a move is always a new beginning.

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