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Sunday, April 9, 2017

France and Spain



Park Guell, Barcelona.

Recently Ryan and I were able to take an amazing week-long vacation to Spain and France. The trip wasn't something we planned on. We've tried to travel as much and as cheaply as possible but it can be difficult when flying out of a small airport in the Midwest so when we saw a crazy flight deal from Omaha to Barcelona on The Points Guy we jumped on it.


El Ciclo, Barcelona.


Barceloneta, Barcelona.

We flew into Spain and met our friends Katie and Tyler for the weekend. I was able to spend some time in Barcelona when I studied abroad in 2012 and so had Katie but neither Ryan or Tyler had been to Spain. It was fun to revisit some of the places with fresh eyes and to explore the winding streets with no plans or expectations. 

Our main goal was to relax, eat and drink in all the vibrancy of Barcelona. We started out by visiting La Sagrada Familia, grabbing our first tapas and Sangria and heading to Park Guell my favorite place dreamed up by Gaudi. 

Park Guell, Barcelona.


Bodega La Palma, Barcelona.

We continued our tapas adventure and visited the La Boqueria where they had everything from fresh fruit juices to recently caught seafood. In the evening we had my favorite meal at Bodega La Palma per the recommendation of our awesome host, Flor. Highly recommend her cheap and well located Airbnb in the Gothic Quarter.



Gothic Quarter, Barcelona.


Gothic Quarter, Barcelona.

Our second day we brunched at Milk and then followed the sunshine. We rented bikes from El Ciclo, a bike shop where the owner makes unique pieces of art from upcycled bike parts before heading to the beach.

I loved everything about this day. It was fun and relaxing and even though Katie and I haven't seen each other in a while it always feels like no time has passed when we do. There we all were giggling our way through the city and drinking cheap wine in the sand. It was awesome.




Barceloneta, Barcelona.

So began our next adventure to France. It's no secret I love the process of planning trips. For this trip, we mostly winged it. Looking at a map we found the cities closest to the water and accessible by train but away from the crowds.


Sete, France.

I adored the first town we went to, the seaside fisherman town of Sete. Canals ran through the peninsula and our Airbnb there had a private table overlooking the water on a quiet side of town.



Sete, France.


Sete, France.

 We spent the day at the local market, exploring and eating fresh .90 baguettes, croissants and drinking espresso. Sete is known for their freshly caught seafood so we had to have a big seafood dinner. Seriously, food vacation.


Sete, France.


Sete, France.


Our next stop was Aix en Provence where we would spend two nights. It was much more bustling than the laid back fisherman town of Sete. We loved getting lost in the narrow streets and visiting all the shops with local Provincial goods.


Aix-en-Provence, France.


Aix-en-Provence, France.


Aix-en-Provence, France.


Aix-en-Provence, France.

We planned to take a half day guided tour through the tourism office to Cassis about 45 min away (we didn't have a car) to visit the Calanques by boat and see the national park. When we arrived the tour guide was a no show and they cancelled our trip. We were super bummed but we still wanted to go so we decided to get there ourselves.



Cassis, France.

 After a two hour bus ride we went to a local market and stocked up on bread, cheese and meats for a beach picnic. We ended up taking a long boat tour into the Calanques (best translation is narrow coves) and had time for a private tasting and visit at a local winery. In the end we got to spend a full day instead of a half, saved money on our tour and had a memorable adventure of our own.


Calanques, Cassis.


Calanques, Cassis.


Domaine du Bagnol Winery, Cassis.



On our train ride back to Barcelona we were able to squeeze in a little time visiting the city of Montpellier during our stopover. We were definitely sad to leave our little paradise but our trip was better than we could have hoped for and I can't wait for the next.



Train views, France.









A map of our route:





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