If you happen to travel in the North of Catalonia, make sure to pop by in Empuriabrava, the town of channels. If you check it in Google Maps, you will see that this place has as many channels as streets 🙂 It seems also that it has as many boats as cars 🙂
If you don’t own a boat, it’s ok. You can always take a touristic boat ride, or stroll along the main street and the biggest channel, watching the houses by the water, the boats with a mountain backdrop – and dream about spending a summer here … or about whatever you want to dream of :))
Palamos is a small and colorful town on the Costa Brava, the northern coast of Catalonia. It is a bit more classy and less touristic than other towns. It is not easy to access it from Barcelona, there is no train, only buses along the curvy roads – so the tourist masses choose another destinations, while Palamos enjoys some peace 🙂
While I am still enjoying Norwegian summer in Oslo, I wanted to share some colorful images from Catalonia. Partly, due to the lack of up-to-date photos 🙂 I forgot for a while about photowalks – though I relived my Instagram. I stopped using it last summer and was pretty happy without it. But now I felt like opening it again. Maybe, because the life in Oslo is much quiter than in Barcelona, and I miss the daily dose of being bombarded by impressions :))
Or maybe, because sitting down and writing a thoughtful post feels like more work than sharing a photo with almost no text to it. I like to use Instagram as my visual journal, though not daily and without getting too obsessed this time (@marina.exploring is my name there, if you feel like visiting). And since I’ve started teaching again (I teach the language course of Norwegian in my old school), I have so much of self-expression during the day, that there is no need left to express myself in pictures and words. I do it every day, in pictures, words and exaggerated body language :))
So, let me take you to this colorful and peaceful paradise on the Mediterranean coast!
The last weekend saw us flying to Seville for the bachelorette party of my dear friend. Most of them came from Oslo, some flew in from Amsterdam and Brusseles, and the two of us came as the last ones from Barcelona. While we were sitting on a late night plane, the crowd was already partying and bonding with another bachelor party from England. My friend said that they were cute and funny, but their minds got blown when asking “So where are you guys coming from?” She says, they were lost in the second phrase already.
“So, they are from Belarus and we are from Ukraine, she is from Venezuela, and he is Columbian. But we live in Norway. And he lives in Amsterdam. While she lives in Belgium. But the wedding is gonna be in Italy because the groom is Italian”. Are you still with me? :)) And then they asked the bachelor party: “What about you?” – “Well, we all are from UK, the bride is British, and the wedding will be in Britain”.
We arrived later from Barcelona. Otherwise we could also add to the mess: “We are Ukrainians, one lived in Netherlands, one lived in Norway, but now we are living in Barcelona”. And this is when I realized that this my normal life and this is my tribe. The international crowd who lived here and there, and then they moved – and possibly they still don’t settle. Maybe, you will find them in new places soon. And this is totally normal in my world.
But I wanted to write this post sharing my love for Seville, actually. This is why I started it. I didn’t take photos this time – and I even didn’t intend it in the heat of the weekend. But I went through my old images of Seville and found some pretty things.
If New York is a Big Apple, what is Barcelona? I would go and say it is a Big Strawberry. It is full of flavor, it’s colorful and juicy. Or there is this tasty Spanish word for “raspberry” – frambuesa. La Grande Frambuesa, that sounds good for this city, doesn’t it?
I have spent some time here now, and maybe some of you are wondering why there is no mention of it. I must admit, the longer I stay, the less I feel like mentioning anything 🙂 This city has swallowed me into its emotions, noises, flavors and colors, it has filled me with impressions which I still work on processing.
It is called the Great Enchantress, this city, it is known to have passion. And today I felt like the right color to describe this place would be Red, the color of passion. I have seen it everywhere recently. Even though these images are kind of old, some dating 2 years ago. But they still do the job – so why not? 🙂
There was this one winter when we did a road trip in Andalusia, Southern Spain. Driving from Malaga to Cadiz through Marbella, visiting the towns around like Sanlucar de Barrameda, then Sevilla, then Granada, and back to Malaga to fly from it to Oslo. It was late December. In Norway it was all a black and white winter tale. While in Sevilla, lost on just another hidden plaza, we were sitting on the bench and I was tilting my head up and back. Looking at the orange trees above my head.
And then at last I concluded: “This is my favorite type of winter. When there are oranges in the skies”
So often when we talk about a country or a culture, it seems that we compare it with another one and come to conclusion that sums up to: “I’ll stick with this one, no matter what” – or “No, thanks, I’ll go for another one”. It sounds like we choose all the time. But why choose only one? Can we take (and make) both?
I have noticed that my life comprises mostly of the people who come “from here and there and a bit of everywhere”. There are few (or none) 100% Norwegians, or 100% Ukrainians, or other pure nationalities in my life. Maybe, because that’s my natural tribe, reflecting my life choices. I am not amazed, for example, that I, born Ukrainian, communicate with my native Catalan husband in Norwegian language, not native to either of us. It once suprized a couple of Norwegians though.
I can understand them, they didn’t expect to hear the language of their little proud country in some tapas bar in Barcelona somewhere around midnight. Especially coming with heavy Spanish accent and sweet Eastern-European accent, used to discuss a love relationship between those two. Why Norwegian?? They seemed to be falling from their chairs, breaking their backs to turn and see who these two were, using their language in this place.
In those times when I used to live more on the social media (now I don’t, and phew, what a relief :)) – I liked to post photos from my trips, even if they were the old ones. Especially on the dark autumn and winter days when I couldn’t find any inspiration in Oslo – I would go for my old pics. And the people who met me seldom would say: “You travel so much. Always photos from the trips”. But these are the old ones, people (and I wouldn’t usually hide that fact).
Today I want to share the photos from our last year’s trip to Catalonia. When we visited a small town of Besalú, hidden between hills and mountains. So that someone can say – on meeting me randomly – “But gosh, you travel so much!” 🙂
Last Monday I posted a guessing game of doors and windows – and here is the right answer to it: a city in the South of Catalonia with a pretty name of Tarragona. I was surprised of how fast the right answers popped up in the comments – and of the smart strategies some used to find out 🙂
Tarragona got my heart and I cannot keep silent about my love. The town is only a 1,5 hour away from Barcelona and is a perfect destination for a day-trip from the Catalan capital. So when you are in Barcelona and want new horizons to explore – go to Tarragona! In a way it resembles Barcelona – but it also has its own distinct history dating back to Romans, its own style and atmosphere. So you get some kind of deja vu, but Tarragona has its own power to enchant you. Here are my reasons to visit this pretty place.
The winter sun is a seldom visitor here in Norway, thus more precious. I try to catch its few rays whenever it’s possible. While my memories take me back to a very different February. Last year we spent some weeks exploring wonderful Catalonia. While Barcelona is its jewel, there are so many more hidden treasures.
As I browse through my old pictures, I get carried away. If you want to get carried away too, follow me in this mental journey. Let’s go to a little town by the seaside which is full of light on a regular February day. Let me present to you Canet del Mar, not famous but charming little place. Let’s walk its narrow streets, take notice of its modernist details and imagine living in its small houses. If I were a painter I would come here with my painting set and study the art of Mediterranean light which is so lovely in winter.
We happened to come to Barcelona just in the middle of the historical events. But that didn’t happen by chance. My man is Catalan and born in Barcelona, he wanted to come for voting in the referendum. There has been a long process leading to this moment, both for him and for his country.
On Saturday, a day before referendum, we went to Salou, a tourist town close to Tarragona, for the celebration of the wedding anniversary of his friend. Saturday night was spent in eating, laughing and dancing. Sunday morning the alarming reports started to leek in. The police were closing the stations. The government was closing the systems for registrations. But then it became possible to vote in any place. So we searched for a school in Salou and found a crowd of people outside, but the voting was not possible because the system was down. We got directions for another place, but decided to drive back to Barcelona and do it there.