My beloved city of Barcelona was targeted in a senseless terror attack yesterday. I have no words, only tears. I was in Barcelona just six months ago and walked along Las Ramblas many times. The atmosphere was always lively, filled with people, with lots going on in the food markets, shops and restaurants that line the avenue. Yesterday’s events are simply too much to comprehend. I’m so devastated to see what this world has come to now. To the beautiful people of Barcelona, stay strong as you move forward. Your city will always have my heart. Sending love and prayers to everyone affected.
Barcelona is the city that forever has my heart. I have so many stories and so many ideas for future blog posts about that special place but for today’s post we’re going on a virtual trip to this Mediterranean gem of a city to explore some of the architectural details that make it so unbelievably beautiful. Walking through the different parts of Barcelona such as El Born, Eixample and Gracia, you see a myriad of stunning doors, windows, balconies, roofs and facade details. If I had all the time in the world and I could stand and appreciate each apartment block in the city, I’d walk away very happy.
When I arrived in Barcelona just over a week ago, I couldn’t believe I was finally here again. Almost every day for the past four years I had spoken about my deep desire to return to the Catalan capital and after a long 22-hour flight from Australia, I was finally on European soil once again, and it felt good!
There’s something about Barcelona that just lights up my soul and makes me unequivocally happy. When I walk its streets, I feel at home. When I think about where I am right now, I’m filled with so much zest for life. Barcelona brings out the best in me and I can’t wait to call this place home one day. The locals, the architecture, creativity and culture of this city all make Barcelona a shining beacon of light in my eyes. No other city in the world quite compares.
If I could have it my way I would never stop travelling. Being a 19-year-old student on exchange in Germany really ignited this passion I have for discovering new countries and experiencing different cultures. I cannot be more thankful for having had that opportunity in my youth. Now, eight years on I decided to capture some snapshots of the sort of travel souvenirs I brought back home with me and have created a physical photobook of these and more.
I always try to buy a magnet from the cities I visit and now the fridge is decorated in colourful little fragments of my adventures abroad. I always try to send a postcard home also as there’s something really satisfying about finding an old postcard from a beautiful city you’ve visited years ago, with your handwriting on the back describing that place and a nostalgic stamp in the corner. I love snail-mail!
For this post I’d like to share with you some of the things I have bought from various countries that I’ve visited. Please feel free to leave comments about the sort of things you like to bring back from your holidays.
Dutch Clogs – Amsterdam
I remember the day perfectly. It was February of 2009 and it had just started to snow on the canal-lined streets of the Dutch capital. I was walking along a street that led straight to the main train station when I saw this large souvenir shop. It was every tourist’s haven! I picked up these symbols of Holland to always remember my visit by. They’re only miniature as actual clogs would never have fit in my suitcase after 8 months of life abroad!
Mainzelmännchen from Germany
The city where I studied on exchange was Mainz and I couldn’t come home without the symbol of this charming city on the Rhein – Mainzelmännchen. They are the symbol of the ZDF broadcasting company located in Mainz. I’ve got my extra Euro coins in there now!
Mozart Figurine – Salzburg
I was in Salzburg on a day-trip from Munich. It was winter so it was dark by around 4pm. I remember being so scared about being all alone in a foreign city as night fell but still had some time before my train departed back to Germany. I found this tiny shop to kill time at and couldn’t resist buying the symbol of Salzburg in his birthplace, just a 5-minute walk from the building he lived in. This small figurine of Mozart is one of my favourite souvenirs to date.
I remember being in such a hurry that day because I was confined by time to get on my booked train back to Pisa, where I’d be staying. I probably spent about 2 hours in Portofino altogether but every single second was worth it. This place was a dream come true and an adventure I’ll never forget. I entered a small gift shop in the main square, where all the buildings are colourful and the millionaire yachts dock, and bought this shell necklace to wear and think about my whirlwind trip to this beautiful part of Italy.
Adorable Doll – Prague
My first trip out of Germany was to the beautiful Czech capital, Prague. I had always wanted to go there and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I found this beautiful doll in a gift shop just behind the castle on the hill of Old Town. Prague was magical to me.
Venetian Mask – Italy
The memory I have about this mask is that after buying it, dad and I went on a photoshoot around Venice with me wearing the mask and posing in all sorts of silly ways. This was one of my big purchases and even though it cracked a little on the way to Melbourne, I’m so glad to own it.
Collections from the French Riviera
My dad, sister and I were holidaying in the south of France back in the summer of 2012. When I saw the notebook with the three roosters arguing I just knew I had to buy it. We didn’t argue with each other, mind you, but we all had different plans for our 10-day stay. The little lavender doll I bought in the perfume capital of Grasse when I visited there all by myself and the mini duck statuette was from a beautiful homewares shop in sunny Cannes. Until this day I have no idea what it actually says on it in French!
Candy Box – Barcelona
I spent many amazing days in Barcelona and have since longed to go back pretty much on a daily basis! I bought this candy box from the Sagrada Familia gift shop after having just been inside what can only be described as one of the most awe-inspiring interiors of my life. The candies were absolutely delicious too and I wish I could have written down their name before devouring them in front of Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece.
Guardian Angel – London
When I travelled back to Europe in 2011 to live in London for two years I never thought I’d miss home as much as I did. I found this precious angel at a Wilkinson’s in Watford, where I lived, and sent it home to Mum during Christmas time. My family hung it up on the tree. Nowadays, we always bring her out during the holidays, hang her on our tree and I get emotional every time I look at her because in this small figurine lies a story. My travel story.
Followers of this blog will know that I have a deep and meaningful connection with the capital city of Catalonia. There was something so special about being in Barcelona that both times I visited the vibrant and lively city, I felt at home so naturally. My fascination for Barcelona has already been covered briefly in previous posts but this time I wanted to delve further under the skin of the city that has given me so much happiness.
I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the locals of Barcelona. Most of the time people were friendly, helpful and polite. An old man spoke to us as we rode up to ground level with all our suitcases from a Metro stop at La Rambla. He was so curious to find out about where we came from, what our story was and where we were heading. Although he started off by speaking Catalan to us initially, he quickly switched to English the moment we said we don’t understand him. We were pleasantly surprised! At the end he said “bye bye” and went on with his day. This moment in the lift always makes me smile because just when we least expected to chat to someone, there was a man of 75 – 85 years talking to us extremely well in English.
Catalans appreciated when we put in the effort to at least speak in Spanish but most of the time when our Spanish reached its limit, people could easily speak in English.
As an interior design professional I’m also deeply connected to architecture and the beauty of buildings, both old and new. Barcelona is without a doubt heaven-on-earth where architecture is concerned. On every street corner something suddenly surprised me with its simplicity, intensity and overall effectiveness. I was always left wanting more.
Yes, Barcelona is my all-time-favourite city in Europe and this post is an ode to some of the hidden street corners, tourist attractions and locals that inhabit it.
If you’ve read my post about the last time I visited Barcelona (you can read it here) then you probably know that I am madly in love with that city. Each time I visit it seems to welcome me with open arms and give me more and more reasons to stay there more permanently. For an interior designer, Barcelona is pure heaven and I love everything there from its beaches, parks and architecture, right down to the food, people and climate. It’s a fantastic city and I can’t wait to go back there.
This time I saw much more of Spain with a train ride to its capital, Madrid. I have to say that I was very impressed. I could see why it’s the capital and yet it was extremely easy to walk just about anywhere in the city centre. In Madrid we visited what might just be my most favourite park ever, Park Retiro. My photos just don’t do that park justice. If you’re ever in Madrid you have to go to this park and spend at least half a day relaxing there. It’s gorgeous there!
Spain is an amazing country and every time I leave it, I hunger for its sights, sounds and tastes again and again. I’d love to live there some day 🙂
Anyone who has ever been to Barcelona would’ve without a doubt left it feeling pretty impressed with the sights, architectural marvels and seaside views. Last week I visited Barcelona for the first time in my life and was so captivated by this city that I was almost in tears when it came time to leave it! Barcelona was a place that stole my heart right from the first second.
Entering Gaudi’s still incomplete Sagrada Familia Church was an experience that I will always remember. Such beautiful forms, colours and craftsmanship in the detailing just have to be seen to be believed. Walking in that space was like entering a giant forest, whimsical and playful at the same time. I loved living very close to the clean, sandy beaches that make up the city. Watching the waves roll in one after the other is a truly relaxing activity, and one that I’ve certainly missed. A definite highlight was watching a typically Spanish Flamenco dance and exploring Gaudi’s other gem, Park Guell. The city was extremely easy to navigate on foot and the public transport systems were extremely safe, cheap, clean and convenient.
Barcelona was incredible and I can’t wait to return! Enjoy!