Mar
17

The Dogs of Barcelona

So, this is a diversion from the type of posts I usually write, but I must tell you all about the dogs of Barcelona because I just can’t get over how strange I find the dog culture here!

There are ALOT of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, purebreds, mutts. I have never seen so many pet dogs in a city before. And there seems to be a dog park around every corner. We continuously come across them when we are out and about exploring the city. People here must really love dogs.

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Now comes the part I find fascinating. All of the dogs we have seen are SO well behaved. I’m not talking dogs that are nice and friendly, I am talking about dogs that completely ignore everyone but their owners. Dogs that walk past other dogs with barely a sniff. Dogs that walk past people without a glance. We have yet to have one single dog come up to us in greeting. They stick to their owner’s side and they mind their own business.

Now I don’t know what dogs behave like in your neck of the woods, but we are used to dogs coming over to say hello, having a sniff, checking out other dogs, and maybe even a little misbehaving.

And the strangest thing of all is that I would say about 40% of the dogs we have seen are off leash….IN THE CITY!

There must be one heck of an obedience school business in Barcelona.

Have you been to Barcelona? Did you notice the well-behaved dogs?

Mar
14

The Beautiful Buildings in Barcelona’s Gothic District

Barcelona’s Gothic District is breathtaking. For our new-to-Europe family, we are amazed the by the quantity of beautiful, old, intricate buildings, the vast squares filled with cafes, and the amount of art that greats us around every corner.

Think narrow alleyways, grand gothic churches, boutique shops, cheesy tourist memorabilia, and beautiful buildings one after the other. There are so many beautiful buildings in this district that every single one deserves to have its picture taken. I wish my pictures did it more justice…I am not a photographer, I am a point-and-shoot iPhone kind of family travel blogger! Ha!

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Mar
11

Exploring the Famous Parc Guell

I have had a bit of a fascination with Parc Guell. Ever since we decided to spend a month in Barcelona I have been seeing pictures of the iconic Gaudi architecture of Parc Guell showing up in my social media feeds. It is easy to feel inspired by fellow family travelers when that is the sort of media you surround yourself with!

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Mar
08

Barcelona’s Free Museum Days

On the first Sunday of each month, many of Barcelona’s museums offer free entry. Once we learned this, we knew that our family needed to take advantage of this offer! We decided to see as many museums as we could in a single day. Most of the museums are concentrated around the touristy Gothic District so we took a bus from our Airbnb into that area and then we were able to walk to each museum. We managed to see four of them and by the end of the day were completely exhausted!

We figured that our family of four saved approximately 160 € by taking advantage of Bacelona’s Free Museum Day! There is no way that we would have had the budget to see all of these museums so we are so grateful for the free entries. We have also learned that there are many museums in Barcelona that have free admission every Sunday from 3pm to 5pm. We have decided that we will take advantage of this offer as well, seeing one museum on each Sunday that we are in Barcelona.

Tips:

  • Pack a lunch or go to one of the cafes that has ready made sandwiches and pizzas for cheap. Don’t waste time on lunch!
  • Take transport! While we have been trying to walk to our destinations if it takes less than an hour, on this day we took the bus. We knew it would be an exhausting day and did not want to waste time or energy.
  • Go to the most popular museums first. Free days are VERY popular and many museums will give you an entrance time that can be hours away. Plan accordingly so that you can see the less popular museums while you are waiting for your admission start time.
  • See as many museums as you can and save your Euros to travel more!

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Mar
06

Playing Minotaurs in Labyrinth Park, Barcelona

Parc del Laberint d’Horta is now our favorite park in Barcelona. Well…we’ve only been to two parks so far but this park is well worth the small effort it takes to get to it. The park is outside of the main city but it was totally easy for us to take the #45 bus to the bus stop closest to the entrance and then walk the rest of the way. You can also take the metro, but for where we are staying in our Airbnb, it was easier to take the bus.

The kids (and adults!) were pretty darn excited to check out a real labyrinth and we were not disappointed. The park is actually the former estate of the Desvalls family, who must have been pretty loaded. The cost to enter was 7.10 Euros for our family. Well worth the price!

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Mar
04

A Walk In Barcelona

Our first day in Barcelona was rough. It started with getting totally ripped off in the taxi ride from the airport to our Airbnb and it ended in projectile vomit. Our eldest fell sick that first night and barely made it off the couch the next day. Luckily we are here for a month so, while we were ACHING to go exploring, I was able to make the most of a home day by catching up on work.

On our first day of explorations, we decided to just walk and see where the day would take us. We walked. And walked. And walked. We found so many incredible buildings and statues and a beautiful park. We also found a lot of graffiti (it is EVERYWHERE!) and garbage in some areas…just so you know it is not all lovely!

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Feb
27

Explorations in Rainy England

The day we landed in England was a complete write-off. Only our youngest managed to sleep on the plane (for less than an hour) the rest of us had not a wink. Our captain had warned us that we would have a very bumpy landing. Winds were over 50 mph for the last half hour of our plane ride which jostled our plane around quite a bit. Being very prone to motion sickness, I did my best to hold down my cookies.

When we finally landed we could not get off the plane.  The crew was having technical difficulties getting the bridge to attach to the plane and we were literally stuck on the plane for about 30 minutes! Our Uncle, who was picking us up at the airport, was beginning to worry that our family had been detained. But passport control was a breeze, we had a very friendly and chatty agent welcome us to England. Then it was straight to our Uncle’s and straight to bed for all of us.

Jet lag only took us two days to get over. That is the fastest we have ever gotten over jet lag. It helps that England is only 8 hours ahead of our time zone. When we go to Thailand the difference is 13 hours which seems to take longer to get used to. The first morning we woke up at 4 am for the day and then PUSHED ourselves to stay up until 8 pm. Then we slept from 8 pm until 10 am and felt right as rain! Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
21

The Night Before Take Off

Tomorrow we fly to London.

I wonder if it ever gets easier. This traveling the world thing. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we set off on another great adventure, I am always completely stressed out with high anxiety before each and every trip. On our very first international trip with children, I had an anxiety attack on our first night in Hong Kong. Ugh. Traveling can be hard.

There always seems to be those last minute unexpected circumstance.  We have had ear infections, sprained ankles, the flu, and strange rashes 24 hours before departures. This time around one of our sons woke up with a mild grade fever and a sore throat. Here is to hoping he gets better by tomorrow and the rest of us fail to catch the evil germs.

We are now tucked away in our hotel room for the night, eating our reality of staying on budget for three months in Europe. What does that mean? It means a pre-hotel stop at a grocery store to purchase frozen dinners and an easy breakfast. Spending $60 on a meal out is not in our forecast if we can help it. On the up side, our frozen curries weren’t all too bad and the kids have had their first introduction to Pizza Pops. Errrr. Maybe that is not a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
10

Creating Community At The Family Adventure Summit

If you have been following me on Facebook you may have seen that I have been involved in a really amazing project, the Family Adventure Summit. I am SO excited to be on the organizing team to bring this opportunity to traveling families and those who aspire to travel.

What is the Family Adventure Summit?

If you have not heard about it yet, the 2017 Family Adventure Summit is a three-day event being held in Penticton, BC, Canada from September 1st to 3rd, 2017. It is a gathering for families who have already created a traveling lifestyle as well as for those who are just starting out on their journies. It is an opportunity for families to connect in person around the topics of long-term travel and location independence, remote income, education, community, life fulfillment, and more. We’ll be discussing tips and tools, the ups, the downs, and everything in between.

There will be inspiring speakers,  hands-on workshops, informal discussions, and the incredible opportunity to meet like-minded families, all in a beautiful location with fun games and activities for all ages. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan
16

Travel Planning and Our Europe Itinerary

Travel planning. Maybe it sounds fun and exciting but in reality, it is a lot of work and quite a bit of stress.

Since we purchased our tickets to London we have been spending hours on the computer every day researching our options and making plans. When we started planning, the only thing we knew for sure was that our first stop was London (this was the cheapest place we could get flights to). We have family a few hours outside of London so we knew we would spend some time with them before heading to the mainland. Our only other plan was that we wanted to spend one month in Budapest. Mike’s father was born in Hungary and we have always wanted to go there. (And how cool is it to show our boys where their Grandpa was born!)

Our research began as a marathon. Where would we go? What would we do? How could we stay on budget?

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