Hello! It’s been a while…

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Almost two months have passed since my last entry. I just didn’t find it in myself to sit and write… I was busy finishing my master thesis… and well, let’s be honest, also busy with important summer responsibilities such as sun-bathing and swimming! ;)

Jokes on the side, I don’t know why, but I wasn’t much in a blogging mode. And to be true, neither was I on a growing mode… of course, I have been caring for the plants in the balcony, and I will tell you it has not been easy, summer here is quite hot so I have spent quite the time carrying water in reused bottles from the kitchen tap to the balcony!! But what I haven’t done is planting new things… and I have to admit I even have three or four empty pots lying around!

I wasn’t very surprised because, it happens to me some years that with the start of summer I kind of become more laid back and kind of chill out of the things I usually do, and then I come back from my holidays with a lot of energy and big plans of the thousand things I want to do that year!

So here I am with my growing-blogging-crafting energy back at the top! Already with many ideas in my head… and thinking about what could I grow this autumn… suggestions anyone? :)

Jara

Minimalist photo display

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Hi there! Don’t you love having pictures hanging around your home? I really do, and sometimes I like walking around the flat just looking at the different photos we have around. Just the  other day as I was doing so I realized that there weren’t many photos of Sergi and me. We do have photos with friends and family but not photos of only us two.

Since our bedroom walls are also quite empty I decided to make something to hung in there. I wanted it to be as minimal as possible, because we like the bedroom to be a relaxing place, and so I came up with this display for the photos with black fabric strips that gives all the prominence to the pictures and it is not very attention-drawing.

First of all you’ll need to choose the pictures, I chose this four shots and then realized that they looked quite good together because all have this green and black colour combination in common, so all the better! You will also need some sort of fabric strips, tape and scissors.

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Want to know where those black fabric strips are from? These are those strips that clothing shops use to get the clothes stay on the hangers, I always save them to use them in crafts. Of course if you want to make your display more fun and eye-catching you can also use coloured or patterned fabric strips.

Then decide in which order you will arrange the pictures.

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Do this kind of loop that you see on the first picture, so you can hang it on the wall to a nail or with a thumb tack.IMG_1812

Then attach the fabric strip to the rest of the pictures with the tape.

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Now  every night I go to sleep with a smile after seeing these pictures hung on the wall next to our bed… :)

Hope you liked the craft, have a nice day!!

Jara

 

La Vall de Boí – Recommendations

Yesterday I shared with you some pictures from our getaway to la Vall de Boí. Today I wanted to give you some recommendations on what to do in the valley :)

First of all, I want to recommend a small restaurant in Erill la Vall called La Granja. It is part of a rural bed and breakfast called L’Era de Ferro. They have this great garden/terrace with relaxing music and the owners, a young man and his sister were really nice and friendly. The food is a combination of local products, such as beef from the valley, but cooked in a modern way, and the deserts are crazy good. I had a brownie of Snickers with raspberry ice cream… so delicious!! Find the directions of this place here.

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Also, if you want to do a hike you should to do the one that goes from Planell d’Aiguestortes to Estany Llong. You can see the photos on my last post, there are so many nice sights during this hike… and plus, it is not a hard hike, there were many families with kids and people of all ages walking there. According to the official guide of the Valley, this hike takes about three ours to complete (1.30h to climb up and 1.30 to climb down). Sergi and I took a little longer to get to the Estany Llong, about two hours I think, because we were stopping all the time to admire the landscape and take photos :)

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However is very important that you know that since this area is inside the National Park of Aiguestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici it is a protected area!! And it is not permitted to get up to Planell d’Aiguestortes with your own car. You can either start walking from the authorised parking at Palanca de Molina, and then you have to add a couple of extra hours to hike up to Planell d’Aiguestortes and two more hours to get back down to the car or take one of the National Park taxis. (I guess all this I am saying isn’t easy to understand without a map, so download this one here. These places I am talking about are right in the middle of the map ;) )

We chose the second option because we were worried that if we started walking from Palanca de Molina we would get tired before getting to Estany Llong. I would recommend you to do the same if you do not feel capable of walking 7h because the best part of the hike is from Planell d’Aiguestortes upwards.

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This taxis can be taken from Boí or from Palanca de Molina and drop you at Planell de Aiguestortes. Then to get back you have to go to were they dropped you and you’ll find some taxis waiting for passengers. As of today, the cost of this service is 10,2 €. Find here more information about the services and a contact telephone number.

Finally, I also told you about the amazing collection of Romanesque churches that can be found in this valley. To enter them you have to pay, but they are totally worth it! Specially those where you can climb to the top of the bell tower, it is a bit scary to climb up those steep wooden stairs but it is a magical feeling to be up there in a tower that was built hundred of years ago… We visited four of them, and I specially loved Sant Climent church in Taüll and Santa Eulàlia in Erill la Vall, and in both of them we went up to the bell tower.

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You can also find more information about all this and other hikes and things to do in the valley on this website.

Hope this has been useful, and be sure to let me know if you get the chance to go to La Vall de Boí ;)

Jara

Weekend getaway to la Vall de Boí

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A couple of weeks ago Sergi and I went on a much earned (and looked forward!) weekend getaway. We went to La Vall de Boí which would translate to something like Boí Valley and it is located at the north west of Catalonia at a four or five hour drive from our home.
There are two main attractions that make this small valley so interesting: on one hand, the National Park of Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici with its amazing landscapes, ponds, lakes and rivers; and on the other hand the incredible collection of Romanesque churches, scattered around the villages in the valley that are considered World Heritage by UNESCO.
This is the first trip Sergi and I have gone to since we bought our Canon 600D, and between this and that all the valley is amazingly photogenic, we took like 500 pictures in four days!! But don’t panic, I have been able to reduce that to a smaller selection to share with you all here ;)
The first day we went hiking into the National Park of Aiguestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici. We started our hike at Planell d’Aiguestortes and went up to Estany Llong.  The landscape is amazing isn’t it?
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We even got to see a frog!! You should have seen us urbanites so super excited watching the frog :)
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The town of Boí.
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The town of Durro, this church is called Sant Quirc.
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The church of Sant Feliu in Barruera.
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This photo is from the top of the bell tower of the Santa Eulàlia church in Erill la Vall. In many of the churches you can climb up to the top of the bell tower, to me it was a bit scary because I am scared of heights but the views are great and also it was quite trilling to be up there on a tower that was made hundreds of years ago…
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The second hike we did was bordering the dam of Cavallers and then following up the river that flows into it.
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This is the village of Taüll. All the villages in the valley maintain a traditional aspect. Stone houses, cobbled narrow streets. And the beautiful mountains around always present.
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These four days were amazing. We were able to breathe, relax and recharge batteries to come back to the routine energised :)
So what do you say? Willing to pay a visit to la Vall de Boí? ;)
Jara
PS: Find out more about this beautiful valley here and here :)
PPS: If you are in a travel-blog reading mood you can check the posts about my last trips to Sweden and to Madrid.

Short trip to Madrid

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A few days ago I had to go to Madrid for a job interview.

Madrid is about 700 Km from Girona, but since a couple years ago we have a high velocity train that can get you there in four hours. Even so, to be there around 11am, and safely get to the interview in time I had to catch a really early train. And so I decided to go the day before, this way I would be more relaxed and rested for the interview, and I also got to do some visiting.

Although technically I had already been in Madrid two times, I can assure you it was like I had never been there. The first time I went it was in a high school trip when I was sixteen, during which I was so distracted with my friends I almost don’t remember anything of the city. And the second, about a month ago, when I went there for work, but this time I did not even get to see anything because I they kept me busy all the time.

This is the first time I have done tourism on my own… I was a bit excited about it, as I think is always good to try new things. And a two day trip was perfect to have a small peak on travelling alone. And what I have found out from this small taste is that visiting alone is not precisely my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun, and for sure that next time I have to travel alone for work or stuff like that I’ll do the same thing and try to do some tourism on my own. But I have seen I like better travelling accompanied. I was all the time sending pictures though whatsapp to my boyfriend and my brother and sister. And I think it is because I like sharing the experiences, giving opinions on everything I see… I guess I am the sharing type… :)

So here you have a few pictures from my day rambling around Madrid… Sorry about the quality, they were taken with the phone. :)

This first picture was taken on the gardens next to the Royal Palace.

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La catedral de la Almudena.

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I loved the signs for the street’s names…

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This market, called Mercado de San Miguel, wasn’t a common market, the stalls instead of raw vegetables and groceries, sold tapas, beers and cups of wine that people had standing up or seated on some stools scattered around..

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The ambiance inside was amazing…

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I asked to be taken a picture on the Plaza Real… obviously a perk of visiting alone is I don’t have my personal photographer (a.k.a. my boyfriend Sergi) with me ;)2014-06-08 15.30.00 2014-06-08 15.31.06

Of course I walked by Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s most famous spot.

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The receptionist on my hotel had recommended me to get into the El Corte Inglés (a mall chain that is very famous in Spain) in Gran Via and get up to the ninth floor where there are various bars from which you get this amazing views of Madrid city center.

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One of the things I liked the most was the several pedestrian streets there are in the centre, very pleasant to walk by and filled with tourists and locals alike.

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La plaza de Santa Ana.

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The second day, after the interview I had three hours left to wait for my train and since the train station was very close to the Parque del Retiro I even got to see the park. The funny thing is that I was already carrying my suitcase (small one of course), and dressed up in my interview clothes so I guess must have been looking quite crazy strolling along the park like that. :D

 

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This last pic is inside the Atocha train station, where to my surprise there was this kind of “jungle” with like a thousand turtles!!

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All in all a great trip, and a nice experience! I am now crossing my fingers while waiting to know about the interview… but if I don’t get the job, we’ll at least the trip will have been worth it ;)

Have you ever travelled alone? Did you like it? I would love to know you thoughts about it…

Jara

The fruity balcony

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After days of lust-watching the white flowers turn into green strawberries… about five days ago we were able to pick the first one! We were so excited… You should have seen us, sharing ONE small strawberry among two, and then go like “ohh this is so good, so much tastier than the one’s we buy!” because guys…I swear: it was sooo much tastier! :)

After the small tasting, the rest of the strawberries did not take much long though and yesterday we were able to pick up this “bunch” you see on the picture. Not a lot, but at least more than one per each of us haha

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Tomatoes are taking a little bit longer… and are still looking super green… on the bright side though, there are lots of them, so when they mature we’ll have plenty! :)

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PS: Wanna see the planting of the tomatoes or the strawberries?