The Road to Twelve in Twelve

The road to twelve in twelve, twelve countries in the first twelve months. A little update on our travels, how we’re getting on with it and preparing to travel again.

With my 28th birthday just around the corner, I’m excited to get back on the road again with Alex, Rio, and Inés. At just under 7 months old, this will be her third road trip as we power on through to reach our goal of Inés visiting 12 countries before 12 months. Knowing that after this one, travel will be quiet again for a while as I head back into working and going back to university! (If you’re a travel PR or hotel manager reading this though… we’re open to talk business! Ha!).

Did we settle for 12 countries though? I think most who know us probably had an inkling that we wouldn’t stop still at 12. Instead, this road trip will take Inés past her 12th country and will bring us some new countries too. Exciting!

I’m excited to see how this road trip will impact Inés’ development and milestones again. Every time we’ve travelled, we’ve seen huge leaps and bounds in her gross and fine motor skills and changes in her speech, understanding and all-round development. The new experiences, the new people, the new sights and sounds. They are all impacting her personality and development in arguably one of the most crucial years where a person does their most growth and learning in any other year of their life.

While traveling with a baby may seem like a daunting or pointless task, experts state that it can significantly boost development. Travel can expand a child’s world, making them more empathetic toward cultural differences and helping them become more resilient and adaptable to changing situations. Studies also show it does shape their linguistic development, even as early as babies.

According to the Department of Education, “recent brain research indicates that birth to age three are the most important years in a child’s development.” which paired with the above, is some of the reasons we have been so eager to travel and do as much as we possibly can with her. We intend to ensure she has the most exposure to the world, people and cultures in her early years, because even if she doesn’t remember it, the photos and the videos, plus the impact on her will be worth it. Can’t you tell we’ve both worked in education?

We think it’s especially important to do things in the now after the period of lockdown and uncertainty we all had.

I thought I’d share some of the highlights of travel for Inés so far.

Watching the lights flash on the hour at The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The fascination that radiated from her face is one that I’ll never forget. At 3 months old, she was spellbound by the EU lights on the Eiffel Tower. It’s the first time we’ve heard an audible “wow” from her little tiny voice. The tired whisper combined with the rubbing of the eyes was a magical moment. She looked at Rio briefly, before returning to be mesmerised by the lights. Once they finished, her nose nuzzled into my shoulder and she was ready for bed. Some things are worth staying up past bedtime for!

Watching the sea lions in Benidorm

Although a local experience, this is one I didn’t want to miss off. If you’re bringing a young family to Benidorm it’s worth stopping off and seeing the sea lions. Inés has loved chatting with the sea lions every single time we’ve been to Aqua Natura. Every time, she gets closer and closer to making the sea lions noises and gets louder every time. The sea lions always seem to chat back which is starting to really crack her up. Maybe she’s part sea lion?

Experiencing the fairy lights in Clermont-Ferrand

We hadn’t expected much from our night stop in Clermont, booking it solely as a respite between Montpellier and the tunnel. It was a good motorway stop off for Rio to get his worming tablet too, but it ended up being one of Inés’ personal favourites from that particular trip up. The lights combined with the chimes of the cathedral were timed perfectly.

Touching Gaudi’s artwork at Park Guell in Barcelona

You’re never too young to appreciates some fine artwork… apparently! The colours of Gaudi’s work is both stimulating and interesting to young eyes. The vibrant colour palette makes the artwork a stark contrast to the extensive green in the park. She particularly loved the dragon stairway.

Seeing snow for the first time in Interlaken

Seeing snow is magical for us all, whether that’s the first time or the hundredth time. Snow is an excellent opportunity for gross and fine motor skills, from throwing snowballs to manipulating and building. Of course, Inés was far too young for this at 4 months, but she smiled and giggled to Rio playing in the snow and snowballs being thrown. She was fascinated by the snow that melted in her hand. Tiny hands get cold very quickly outside, so she tried some of the snow inside the car.

Sitting in the porthole watching the ferry dock into Plymouth

The highlight for me seeing the ferry start to dock was knowing that a cream tea waited for me just the other side of customs, but Inés living in the present was just fascinated by the sea and the gentle rocking. 2 days before her 6 months, this was the first time she pulled herself to standing and balanced herself for a few seconds holding on to the kids play boat. Big milestone!

We are so ready to make more memories with her, especially as she’s well underway and doing so amazingly with her baby led weaning. She’s really enjoying munching on breakfast and dinner with us. At 7 months, she’s already tried an extensive range of food, so we’re excited to see how she responds to local foods on the trip. She’s also crawling around so we’ve tried to book places that allow her to explore and develop her gross motor skills on the trip. She’s getting great at walking, just holding one hand to stabilise now rather than both hands – perhaps she’ll be toddling about sooner than we think!

She is obsessed with Tangled, the Rapunzel movie, at the moment so we’ll have that downloaded ready to watch over and over. Coincidentally, it’s a movie with the moral to follow your dreams and step out of your comfort zone, plus, it’s a movie with lanterns being a reoccurring theme… LUCERNA! The perfect movie for our own little Inés Lucerna.

You really are never too young to travel and gain a knowledge and understanding of the world around yourself.

Here’s to reaching 12 very very soon.

Travelling to the UK from Benidorm Spain July 2021

It’s no real surprise that travel at the moment is a little different to what we’re used to. It takes more planning, more money and more preparation than previous travel experiences, but it can be done, as long as you research what needs to be done and safely follow the (hopefully short lived) rules.

drone flying over Leicestershire

It’s no real surprise that travel at the moment is a little different to what we’re used to. It takes more planning, more money and more preparation than previous travel experiences, but it can be done, as long as you research what needs to be done and safely follow the (hopefully short lived) rules.

Take an Antigen Test in Benidorm

Before leaving Spain, whether you’re a British citizen on holiday or an EU citizen, you need to take an antigen test to enter the U.K. This has to be taken within 3 days of entering British territory. It doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not, you still need to have this antigen to travel, whether by boat, plane or land. As we opted to travel through France, an Amber Plus country, it meant that we also needed to enter France within 24 hours of receiving the results, as I’m not vaccinated. Alex was able to enter with his EU Digital Pass. The good news is, as long as you still enter the UK within the time frame, there’s no need to take multiple antigens.

We had our antigen at the IMED Levante, where the results are returned to you within 20 minutes and all available online with a quick option to have it translated into English, Spanish, German or French. Although appointments are recommended, they do have a walk-in service. We opted to walk-in and within 10 minutes of walking in the hospital, we were walking back out again.

You’ll find the COVID-19 tests at -2 of the hospital and it is clearly signposted. There’s no need to go to the main reception. You can pop straight down and sign up at the COVID-19 reception desk. There are other places that offer Antigen tests to return to the U.K. like Clinica Europa for 19€, however they get booked up very quickly and are already booked for over a month in advance. Another known clinic is DAM Health. They are located near the Hotel Marina and offer next day results.

Travelling by Car to Irun

Cavalier King Charles laying on bed

Irún is located on the Spain/France border in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community. The journey is around seven hours by car, so we chose to leave the same day as our COVID test results came in. This allowed for maximum time to cross the France border. There are very few restrictions now in place across the country, but each autonomous community might have their own restrictions in place. In the Valencian Region, there is currently a 1:00am until 6:00am curfew, however, if you have proof of an onward journey, you are still permitted to travel within these times.

breakfast coffee two orange two pain au chocolate two croissants and bread cheese and ham breakfast at ibis

We stopped at the Ibis Irún, which offered free secure parking and a cheap option for a motorway stop with two dogs. The room is as you’d expect in an Ibis chain, but for the location and value, it was excellent. You can opt to have a good breakfast in the morning, which we chose to eat in the room. On nice days, you can sit outside and have meals or drinks in the restaurant, but the rain in the North continued to pour. Signs of weather to come!

Travelling through France

Like Spain, France has now lifted most of its restrictions. We didn’t have any difficulties crossing the border and masks are only compulsory indoors. There isn’t a curfew and we didn’t need to provide a reason to travel or provide any documentation.

The day travelling through France was long and tiring, I imagine even more so for Alex who had to do the 10 hour drive. Making regular stops for me, 7 months pregnant and two dogs meant that the journey through ended up being around 14 hours in total.

We spent the night at the Ibis Coquelles right next to the Eurotunnel. The hotel again had parking which was free and a cheap option with the dogs, charging only 7€ per dog. The hotel meant that our 9am crossing on the Eurotunnel was easy and stress-free, with us being a mere 5 minutes drive away. We found the room to be basic, as you’d expect an Ibis to be, but comfortable. The only complaint is there is only one plug in the hotel room, so be prepared to only have one device charged overnight.

route from benidorm to irun to coquelles

Entering the U.K. Preparation

Within 48 hours of entering the U.K, you need to have your locator form and coronavirus test package booked. All this documentation also needs uploading to the Eurotunnel account, so we needed to do it either the night before or the morning of the crossing. Conscious of time and documents being checked, we opted to do it at night, even though we were tired!

First things first is you need to book your coronavirus test package. Currently, France is on the Amber Plus list, so even if you are fully vaccinated, you need to book the day 2 and day 8 test package and undertake 10 days quarantine. You do have the option of paying for a test to release on day 5 to shorten the quarantine time. We used the Regenerative Clinic who had an offer for the day 2 and day 8 package for £119 each. If you are an expat booking these tests, be aware that it asks for your “home address”, which in a tired state of mind, we obviously put the Spain address. It took some phone calls and emails to get this changed to our quarantine address! Once you have paid for the tests, you’ll receive a reference number which you can add to your passenger locator form as proof you’ve booked your tests.

The passenger locator form is done online and is a relatively painless task. It will ask simple questions about where you have been prior to entering the U.K, if you have any symptoms and your vaccination status. It will also ask for your reference number for the coronavirus tests and where you’ll be quarantining. If you are fully vaccinated by the NHS and only travel. to an amber country (not France!), you only need a day 2 test and no need to quarantine. This also includes children under 18 travelling with you. If you were vaccinated by the EU, you currently need a day 2 and day 8 test plus 10 days quarantine. However, after 2nd August at 4am, EU citizens will be able to travel to the UK without quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, again, this currently doesn’t include France. You need to be out of France 10 days prior to entering the U.K to avoid quarantine.

Crossing the Tunnel

an empty eurotunnel

If there was ever an experience of what the tunnel would look like during a zombie apocalypse, this was it. The crossing was a solemn stark contrast to the busy, but socially distanced, service stations, hotels and life in Benidorm that we had got back used to. Instead, we drove in to a completely deserted car park with everything closed, except Starbucks. We arrived at 8am, so I’m not too sure if things were opening later on, or if this was the reality of travelling from an Amber plus at the moment and the spanner in the works this government u-turn made so last minute. On our crossing, there was a handful of other cars, no more than 5.

We couldn’t fault the Eurotunnel. The experience was stress-free and the staff were friendly and helpful. We were given the option to get on an earlier train which we opted for. We had checked both dogs in at the pet reception which had also been a positive experience. Both dogs were required to have a worming tablet 1-5 days before entering the U.K, which they had taken in Benidorm. Rio travelled with his EU passport and Marley travelled with his EU medical certificate, which is now required for each trip to Europe following Brexit changes.

Which leads us to now. Over half way through our ten day quarantine, considering whether to invest in a test to release for around £200, or to just wait it out. We have received multiple negative tests so it does feel very frustrating to still be quarantining, especially with Alex being fully vaccinated. We have the excitement every day of the track and trace staff calling us to check we are still quarantine and understand the rules and implications for breaking them and the takeaway Starbucks, Costa Coffee and McDonald’s breakfasts that arrive once a day.

Rio is having a blast playing with Marley and you’d really think they were brothers, or at least related in some way. Two, not castrated, male dogs who just love each other so much. They’re constantly playing together, or cuddling in the same dog bed or kissing one another. You’d really believe they’d grown up together.

We’re really looking forward to the baby shower and visiting some friends and family that we haven’t seen in a long time, as well as hopefully doing some travelling in the U.K. We’d love to take Rio up to Scotland, to Liverpool and also down to London, but we’ll see what happens!

We’re home. Our last trip before our little one arrives. Wish us luck!

PR TRIP. Weekend Away at VILANOVA Costa Dorada

An oasis in the woods to escape the big city embracing nature in its finest is what you can expect on your next holiday to the Costa Dorada, Spain, with Alfresco Holidays.

sitting outside mobile home at Villanova park Barcelona

An oasis in the woods to escape the big city embracing nature in its finest is what you can expect on your next holiday to the Costa Dorada, Spain, with Alfresco Holidays. It may be situated away from tourist hotspot nightlife, but you needn’t worry about getting bored when there’s a range of sports, pools, indoor spa and entertainment on site. The best thing? You can be in the heart of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, appreciating La Sagrada Familia or leaving footprints across the sand of the Park Güell in less than an hour. That’s right, family fun mobile home holidays that you know and love combined with an easy visit to one of the most beautiful and cultural cities in Europe.

Regular mobile home holiday lovers will appreciate the range of facilities onsite at an Alfresco Holidays resort, gone are the days of searching around for somewhere to eat or trying to light a fire for the BBQ, as on site you have access to a Finca style restaurant with stone washed walls and good value food and a BBQ outside. After I finished chatting to you all on Facebook live, I spent some time just looking around. Sitting on the decking with a glass of wine, I couldn’t help but focus my attention on all the dads doing their BBQ’s for their families. It felt kinda like home. Seeing all the kids run around playing, whilst the mums all pottered around and the dads were busy cooking. It was pure bliss to just sit there and take it all in. The smell of a BBQ cooking is just the epitome of summers gone by to me.

mobile homes inside Villanova park Barcelona kitchen area and living room wooden floor oven utensils

It was the Saturday night that really let me appreciate the Vilanova Park. Although we had a few mishaps on arrival, we’re putting it down to experience! After all, we’re all in strange times and although we visited before the new restrictions came back in, it was evident that they were working on reduced staff so things were a little hectic.

Due to the current climate, the representatives aren’t as easy to find as pre-covid times, with the cabin next door the mobile homes being closed. Having never visited before, it took a while to click that this was a staff cabin, so if you do go, there’s a number stuck to the window to get hold of the rep. We were greeted by an enthusiastic and welcoming member of staff who showed us around our mobile home. It was relatively basic accommodation but it did the job for a couple of days break. There were very narrow doorways and steps leading up to the mobile homes so do keep this in mind as it isn’t accessible for wheelchairs.

Please bare in mind that the accommodation at Vilanova requires taking some short steps leading up to the decking of the mobile homes, which are visible on the photos. It’s worth knowing as well that the site itself is quite hilly. There are disabled toilets on site and the following areas on the site are wheelchair friendly:

  • Bar
  • Pool area
  • Reception
  • Restaurant
  • Sanitation blocks
  • Shop

What was a major plus for the mobile home for us was the beautiful surroundings in the heart of what felt like the woods in the midst of nature and a gorgeous decking area which was perfect for BBQ’ing and alfresco dining. There’s nothing quite like sitting out with only the sounds of birds singing, faint sounds of the entertainment being carried by the wind and shrieks of laughter of the kids playing. Friday evening weather wasn’t great, but Saturday evening, although it was cold, was ideal for sitting out in a hoodie just chatting away.

Disconnecting from electronics is something we can all benefit from now and again, so you’ll be pleased to know that we did manage to have some down time from our screens. With no WiFi or TV, we had to put our phones and iPads down to appreciate the surroundings. Listening to the rain hitting the mobile home roof is a pleasant and relaxing sound that we sometimes take for granted and blur out.

drinking a coffee looking outside through mobile home window

I think we can all appreciate that after the last 12 months, we’re all taking time to reset and just be. Sometimes, we forget that the little things are some of the most important moments in life. Just sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning listening to the sound of the trees blow, watching your other-half laugh over the BBQ, smiling at the family across the way. The past twelve months have taught us to appreciate every single moment. Stepping away from the iPads and phones was a welcomed escape from the never-ending Teams meetings and online activities. Being able to physically see people, even from a distance, is something we won’t take for granted anymore.

We did take a stroll around the Vilanova park too which was beautiful. With entertainment, pools, an indoor spa area and bars and shops, there’s plenty to do to keep the kids and the adults occupied. Unfortunately, due to the time we visited, the weather combined with the current climate, we were unable to make use of most of these facilities. Fortunately, we have a lot of followers who were keen to share their experience with us at the park, so I thought I’d pass on their lovely messages.

sunset over the pool at vilanova Barcelona

One of our followers vouched for just how lovely the ice cream parlour is onsite, which unfortunately was closed. Another follower shared how the pool is a perfect depth for relaxing and just at the right temperature. Another followers shared that their kids loved visiting Barcelona on the bus, however, did say that they’d recommend having your own vehicle access with young children as their own experience meant they ended up getting a taxi back (which of course wasn’t cheap!). With the dance club going on (socially distanced), it was refreshing to see bits of normality and finding ways to adapt to our new rules and regulations. It was so welcoming to see people dancing and having fun by the main stage with the Vilanova entertainment team. We were also informed by another follower that the children’s club was the major highlight of their kids holiday and they loved the activities that they did.

Conveniently for us, Barcelona was only a short drive away, so we were able to head into Barcelona to explore a little. Our fourth visit to the city was quiet and different, but just as enjoyable as it has ever been. We’ve never had a bad experience in Barcelona and always found it to be a city filled with culture, adventure and architecture to make your jaw drop. Standing looking up at La Sagrada Familia never ever gets old and you have to take a moment to just breathe, take it in and appreciate it fully. We had the most wonderful of times following the footsteps of Antoní Gaudi and appreciating his fine artwork. The beauty of the Vilanova park meant we were in to Barcelona city centre in less than an hour.

Barcelona sagrada familia

If you are without a car, or don’t fancy driving whilst you’re on holiday, there are good transport links between the park and the city centre. We were told by another follower that there’s a regular bus that takes guests to the train station which connects you to Barcelona. They also let us know that the nearest beach is quite a trek away and didn’t look the sort of walk we’d have fancied doing, but there’s also a regular bus from the park to the beach, too.

On the whole, if mobile homes are the sort of holiday you love, then Alfresco Holidays is a great choice for family fun. There’s plenty of entertainment and facilities on site to keep the whole family entertained.

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Al Fresco Holidays offers a seven-night holiday at Vilanova Park on the 12th June 2021 for £284.90 (discounted from £353.50) and based on a family of six sharing a two bedroom Standard mobile home including air conditioning. (OFF-PEAK)*

Al Fresco Holidays offers a seven-night holiday at Vilanova Park on the 24th July for £1200.85 (discounted from £1263.50) and based on a family of six sharing a two bedroom Standard mobile home including air conditioning. (PEAK)*

*See terms and conditions 

All parks have a range of entertainment and facilities. Travel by ferry or flights can also be arranged by Al Fresco Holidays. 

For more information or to help find the perfect park for you and to book, please visit www.alfresco-holidays.com or call 0161 332 8900

Al Fresco Holidays is one of the largest mobile home operators in the UK, with over 16 years’ experience as European specialists in mobile-home holidays, offering a wide range of the best quality 3-5 star camping resorts.

Vilanova Park is a large and lively campsite offering plenty of activities for the whole family. There’s sports, an indoor spa, a children’s club and live shows to name but a few, as well as a bar and restaurant. And yet with vibrant Sitges, PortAventura theme park and even Barcelona only a short trip by public transport, there’s plenty off-park too, to keep everyone amused.

 

Reasons Why You Need to Travel to Vietnam

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“El mundo es un libro y aquellos que no viajan solo leen una página.”

This Spanish travel quote translates to, “the world is a book and those that don’t travel only read one page.” If you’re looking to expand your worldly horizons, here are several reasons why the next page of your travel journal should be all about Vietnam.

Legendary Street Food

Perfect charcoal-grilled chicken, authentic Vietnamese pho at ridiculously affordable prices, and grilled oysters with more than 20 sauces to choose from – these are just some of the street food you can expect to find in Vietnam. From the streets of Ho Chi Minh city to the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, for which Culture Trip wrote a comprehensive travel guide, there’s absolutely no shortage of gourmet-level cuisine that can be found on this country’s roads and other major thoroughfares. In Vietnam, cheap, healthy, and filling eats are a national tradition that continues to improve and evolve.

Sustainable Travel Culture

Vietnam’s abundance of gorgeous, natural landscapes such as the Hang Rai coast in the Ninh Thuan province and mountains like Fansipan and Pu Si Lung have led to a culture that’s highly protective of its priceless and natural wealth. Over the years, the Vietnamese government has implemented sustainable travel practices in a bid to become Asia’s most sustainable national travel and tourism industry. Most recently, this has manifested as the Green Travel initiative, a special section in the government’s official website collating all the sustainable travel options in the country. You can actually support international sustainable travel initiatives by simply visiting Vietnam.

Awesome Gaming Culture

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Forever welcoming travelers, Vietnam also has a strong culture of gaming, gambling, and casinos. In fact, ExpatBets’ Vietnam travel guide notes how the country has in recent years become more open to gambling activities, even passing a decree that now allows qualified citizens to enter brick and mortar casinos which were previously only open to foreigners. Just make sure to be mindful of the rules before and during your visit to these casinos.

Meanwhile, Statista notes how mobile gaming is a booming business in Vietnam, pegging it as one of the strongest mobile gaming markets in Southeast Asia. In short, if you’re looking to play, Vietnam’s ready to deal.

The Most Beautiful Temples in the World

To call Vietnam’s temples intricate would be a massive understatement. About 9km from the municipality of Da Nang, the Marble Mountains are home to some of the most awesome religious architecture not just in Asia but in the world. This breathtaking place is a celebration of both Vietnam’s natural landscapes and its deeply entrenched cultural and religious roots. In Ho Chi Minh City, the Chinese temple of Chua Ba Thien Hau and the Hindu temple to the Goddess Mariamma are impressive tributes to the different cultures that share this beautiful land.

These are of course just a handful of the hundreds of other reasons to visit Vietnam, which is why Vietnam is on mine and Alex’s list of places to visit when travel is able to resume properly again. If you’ve never been to Asia before, I’ve heard this country is the perfect place to start the journey.

Desenzano del Garda Travel Guide

The most beautiful thing about Desenzano del Garda is that you don’t need to know anything at all about the area to still be awed by it

desenzano del garda travel guide small harbour with boats docked

The most beautiful thing about Desenzano del Garda is that you don’t need to know anything at all about the area to still be awed by it and have the best time. Without having any plans at all, Desenzano del Garda will be a truly wonderful place. The relaxed atmosphere, the way the mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop on the lake and the lazy feel around the old town, it was one of our absolute favourites on our road trip from Benidorm to Leicester.

desenzano del garda travel guide sunset over lago di garda

Desenzano is a relatively small town located on the southern shore of Lake Garda in Northern Italy. The town is in the Lombardy region and is easy to get to from Milan airports, Verona Airport, or like us, by car.

The area of Desenzano is fairly flat making it an ideal place to stay for those who prefer light walking and flatter grounds. Without having to battle with steep hills and constant inclines, the area of Desenzano is perfect for those with reduced mobility too. It’s a great base to see other areas of Lake Garda, like Sirmione, which is accessible by boat or car.

desenzano del garda travel guide lauren standing in front of boats at the small harbour

Desenzano del Garda has beautiful winding historic streets situated between the castle and the lake. The inland small peaceful harbour is an absolutely wonderful place to enjoy a latte or a pasta dish whilst watching the ducks float by and the small boats sway.

Quick Guide:

Time Zone: GMT + 1

Plug Socket: European

Currency: Euro

Language: Italian. English was widely spoken.

Climate: Summers are hot and sunny, but there are also quite frequent thunderstorms. Winters are quite cold and there is a moderate amount of rainy days, even though winter is drier than the other seasons. The best times to visit Lake Garda are spring and early summer due to its pleasing temperatures.

How long to stay: We only visited Lake Garda for one night and it definitely wasn’t enough. Although we were able to see everything we set out to see, we’d have loved to spend longer on Lake Garda and exploring the surrounding towns. We’d have also liked to have had a few more days just wandering around the lake. When we return to Lake Garda, we’ll be doing two nights minimum. If you’re looking to explore the surrounding towns then I’d say three nights is a good call.

Where to stay in Desenzano del Garda

beautiful sunset over desenzano del garda travel guide

Hotel Oliveto: We stayed at the Hotel Oliveto which is located on Via Tito Malaguti, 2 Desenzano DI Garda , Lago Di Garda, 25015, Italy. It was a comfortable four star hotel which was an excellent choice for location, comfort and pet friendliness. It was also a fantastic choice thanks to its free parking outside. The hotel balcony provided wonderful views over the lake, which looked absolutely stunning at sunset and the hotel location meant it was a pleasant walk into the old town. The hotel was comfortable and clean. We paid 137€ for the night which was the double room on the top floor with a jacuzzi in the bedroom. We also had breakfast included in our room rate.

hotel oliveto desenzano del garda travel guide

What to do and see in Desenzano del Garda

A trip to Sirmione: We absolutely loved wandering around the cobbled streets and stunning castle in Sirmione. There were some beautiful boutique shops and quaint restaurants which we’d have loved to have spent more time in.

desenzano del garda travel guide sirmione castle day trip

Take a boat trip: You could pair this off with a day trip to Sirmione, but if we had more time in Desenzano del Garda, we’d have definitely loved to have gone on a boat trip to somewhere else on the Lake.

Eat Pasta: Can you go to places in Italy without gorging on pasta and pizza? I don’t think so! There are lots of lovely bars around Desenzano del Garda where you can relax and enjoy Italian cuisine (the best cuisine in the world, am I right?). We ate at Bar Pizzeria Gelateria Cristallo, I had a lovely pasta with tomato based sauce and Alex had a lasagna which were both tasty and quick to be served.

desenzano del garda travel guide dinner in garda pasta and wine

Relax around the lake: Holidays need those moments are pure relaxation and around the lake you’re sure to find it. With the dramatic backdrop of the mountains and the soft sounds of the lake running over the pebbles, it’s a beautiful place to just sit and chill.

Water sports on the lake: With the exact contrast, if you’re not down for chilling and more of an adventurous sort, there are plenty of water sports that were on offer during the summer months.

Explore the old town: With plenty of boutique shops, the castle and interesting corners to discover, a walk around the old town is sure to be a lovely past-time.

We absolutely loved Desenzano del Garda, and I know for a fact that at some point we’ll be back. If you get the chance to visit, I recommend it.

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Our Road Trip Map Route from Benidorm to Leicestershire

A few days before quarantine was implemented between Spain and The U.K., we embarked on our road trip heading to the U.K.

A few days before quarantine was implemented between Spain and The U.K., we embarked on our road trip heading to the U.K.

Travel during coronavirus is much different, and at times much more stressful. On the other hand, if you’re following all the rules, taking extra precautions and keeping updated, it’s been one of the best times to travel.

Below is the map of the route we took. We made a few stops in places that we fancied seeing, like Sirmione in Garda and Saint Tropez on the way to Monaco.

Day One

Our first night was at Toulon, France. We had to stop multiple times for toilet breaks, mainly for Rio and a food stop. We also had to stop in Girona to pick up a first aid kit as these are compulsory to have in your car in France.

We stayed at: Ibis Budget Toulon Centre which was located near the Rugby Stadium. It took us around 7 minutes to walk into the main touristic area of Toulon. We had to pay for the car parking and the pet fee (5€) on top of the daily rate. It was a small room, but pleasant enough. It was definitely a budget hotel but was perfect for a late check in and early check out place to rest our heads.

Day Two

watching sunrise from hotel columbus monte carlo monaco

After staying in Toulon, we left at around 9am for Monaco. We stopped off at St Tropez for breakfast and lunch in Cannes.

We stayed at: Hôtel Columbus Monte Carlo, a spectacular three star hotel which definitely is more like a 4 or 5 star. It was beautifully situated outside of the main hustle and bustle of Monte Carlo and had spectacular views from the room. We had a room service breakfast which was outstanding value with a beautiful view of sunrise. Our dog had dog bowls, a treat and a Hotel Columbus blanket, which we ended up paying for (€25) to keep as a souvenir. Parking was additional but it was a secure car park. We could not fault the hotel, it was beautiful and the staff were lovely. We also had to pay an additional cleaning fee for Rio.

Day Three

smiling on the castle of sirmione lake garda lombardy italy

Leaving out relatively early from Monaco, we set out for Desenzano di Garda, which we had been told by google would be a 8 hour drive. Instead, we followed the route along as if going to Genoa which made the drive much quicker. Usually, Google maps will insist you pass through Turin, which takes around 4 hours longer. So we put in Genoa and then stopped off at a service station before the turning to change it to Garda.

We stayed at: Hotel Oliveto which was a four star hotel located in a relaxing area just outside of the main old town of Desenzano. The hotel room had a great hot tub in the corner, but the only issue we found was the speaker didn’t work in one side. The views from the top floor were spectacular of sunset. It took around 15 minutes to walk to the old town where it was truly wonderful. We’d definitely stay at this hotel again but for a few more nights. There was no additional pet or parking fee.

Day Four

wearing a swimsuit looking out the window at bellagio italy lake como

We stopped off at Sirmione before heading for Bellagio, Lake Como. The drive to Bellagio is rather stressful and probably one of the most difficult drives Alex did throughout the entire road trip. The roads are narrow, even by our standards living in Spain, and the route is a bit treacherous. However, the views are absolutely wonderful and Bellagio has become one of my all-time favourite places (even if we did have a minor hiccup with a flat tyre there too!), so we’ll definitely be returning time and time again, I’m sure.

We stayed at: Hotel Excelsior Splendide, which was very old fashioned and, I suppose, authentically Italian. The parking in Bellagio is crazy so be prepared to leave your car around 10 minutes away from any hotel just in the street, so make sure you take everything in with you to the hotel. The view from the hotel was stunning. In fact, it was breathtaking. So much so it made me cry and anyone who knows me knows that takes an awful lot! You’ll be able to sit watching the boats on the water and see the people wandering the streets. There’s truly no place like it for me. There was an additional pet fee. The hotel is very central, you’ll walk out the main door and be right in the heart of Bellagio and all the restaurants.

Day Five

sitting looking at chapel bridge in lucerne switzerland

The next day was another country crossing. This also required picking up two vignettes. One for Austria and one for Switzerland. Our Switzerland vignette is valid for the year, regardless of when you buy it and the Austria one is valid for the length of time you pay for. We chose a 10 day vignette as we are only crossing through to get to Switzerland.

We had intended to leave relatively early for Switzerland, but due to a tyre blow out that made a huge delay. Due to being a Sunday, we nearly ended up staying another night in Italy with the car insurance. This meant we didn’t get to Switzerland until around 9pm. Nonetheless, we had an amazing time in Lucerne, which ended up being another favourite of ours.

We stayed at: Hotel des Balances, and how this hotel isn’t a five star baffles me. Especially after staying at a few 5 stars later… If there’s one hotel you should definitely stay at when doing a road trip, it’s this one. Spoiler alert for the return journey: we book to stay here again for two nights. That’s how much we loved it. The room was perfect. We had L’Occitane products inside which is one of my favourite toiletry brands and everything about the hotel was beautifully Swiss.

We had scrumptious nighttime chocolates laid on our pillows at night with goodnight decorated in English and German. The hotel was perfect for location and the views were fantastic, overlooking the Reuss river, Chapel Bridge and the Jesuit Church. The comfortable balcony furniture meant that relaxing on the balcony was perfect. We also had access to water and ice, plus teas and coffees. The only complaint was the downstairs restaurant were a little disorganised, so we ended up eating out where the value was better and the service was better. We couldn’t fault the other members of staff though who couldn’t do enough for us. We had to pay an additional valet parking and pet cleaning fee.

Day Six

walking the streets of munich road trip germany

Leaving Switzerland was definitely sad so we knew that we’d have to return for longer on our return journey. We left mid morning and headed straight for Germany. We stayed for two nights in Munich meaning we got to have a much more relaxed pace.

We stayed at: Hilton Munich Park which was a complimentary stay in return for some social media and blog coverage (thanks so much!). The hotel was perfect for a relaxed change of place. Located out of the centre of Munich, you’d definitely need to take public transport or make use of your car if you’re on a road trip. The sophisticated hotel lies beside the famous English Garden, a 14-minute tram ride from Marienplatz (main centre of Munich). It had stylish rooms and a modern lobby. The staff were fantastic and very welcoming from start to finish. When the weather is fine, you can eat breakfast outside on the terrace which was perfect with our dog. The breakfast choices were really good. It’s definitely worth staying at the Hilton Munich Park to recharge your batteries a little. The park is a great place to get some fresh air and go for walks, especially if you’re with a dog and the beer garden inside is fabulous. We ended up eating there twice with our dog! Dogs carry a cleaning fee and the private parking onsite is additional at 28€ per day.

Day Eight

cavalier king charles asleep on the chaise lounge next to mum in hilton cologne

Driving through Germany was rather treacherous with lots of road works and traffic on the motorway. We had booked for one night in Cologne, but ended up asking the hotel for an extra night to be able to rest a little after Alex had done a much longer drive than anticipated. Especially as we were planning to cross the tunnel straight after Cologne.

We stayed at: Hilton Cologne which is a four star hotel right near to the Cathedral. The hotel was pretty and centrally located, but due to the current climate it was difficult to be able to judge the hotel. All the cleaning protocols were in place and it felt very safe, however, pretty much everything was closed in the hotel. We did enjoy the breakfast downstairs, which Rio was able to join us in the lobby. We had a very spacious room which was ever so comfortable. The staff were all welcoming and polite.

Day Ten

girl wearing long dress in maastricht netherlands blog post road trip

We booked our eurotunnel for 5pm, 24 hours after Rio took his worming tablet to enter the U.K.. We left Cologne at 10am and stopped off at Maastricht for breakfast. We travelled through Belgium and the north of France to make our Eurotunnel crossing before carrying on straight up to Leicestershire. The road trip was absolutely fantastic and we certainly won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

In the next blog post, I’ll share the route and where we stayed on our return journey, which we stretched a little longer having learnt from our mistakes on this trip. If we were doing it again, which I hope we will do something similar, I’ll be sure to make the Lakes in Italy two nights and spend longer in Switzerland again. I’d also like to include Belgium, The Netherlands and Austria, should we do it again. I think if we were to do Germany again, I’d like to spend more time around castles and small German villages.

If there’s any questions you have about road tripping then do get in contact and I’ll be happy to help if I can!

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What it’s like to travel on the Eurotunnel during COVID

What it’s like to travel on the Eurotunnel during Covid

Spending time in Maastricht with our dog

As some of you may already know, we recently embarked on a road trip from Spain to the U.K., stopping off at France, Monaco, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Liechtenstein. All of these countries were placed on the safe list for travel to England when we were travelling.

Unfortunately, Spain is no longer on the safe list but as we left long before quarantine was implemented we are not subject to quarantine in England. Anybody who leaves Spain on or after July 26th however is subject to quarantine.

I’ll post more about our road trip including the route and different bits and pieces in due time, but there has been a few requests to talk about the eurotunnel experience and what it’s like to stay in hotels in different countries at the moment so here we are!

We arrived at the Eurotunnel on July 31st 2020 at around 4pm. We had travelled directly from Cologne, Germany but did stop for a drink in Maastricht, Netherlands. It took us 6 hours to do the drive from Cologne and we made sure we had left plenty of time to arrive and check in. We couldn’t get on a train before 5pm to ensure that the 24 hours had passed since Rio had taken his worming tablet from the vet in Cologne.

Safe travel on the Eurotunnel

Travelling by the Eurotunnel was relatively similar to it has been in the past. When we arrived, we first had to check in Rio at the pet centre. It was a drive through process. We handed over his pet passport which showed his worming tablet and up to date vaccinations which are required to enter the U.K. He was also scanned to ensure he had a chip. This then provided us with a hanger to put up to show that we had a dog onboard.

We then drove round to the French customs. We didn’t need to do anything at the French customs and just drove straight through. You then drive straight the way into the British customs.

We had filled in our visa and immigration form 24 hours before travelling. As soon as we booked our Eurotunnel crossing, we completed the enter the U.K. form. This is compulsory for everybody entering the U.K. regardless of whether you are British citizen, resident or tourist. On this form, we had to fill in where we would be staying in the U.K., what time we would be entering the U.K., where we have stayed in the past 14 days, our booking confirmation for the tunnel and other personal data like passport information and emergency contact information.

We didn’t need to show this form at customs, but it does say you need to have it downloaded or printed in case they ask to see it. The customs desk did open our form on their computer and double checked when we’d left the various countries. He said we were exempt from quarantine as everywhere is a safe country and travelling for tourism is allowed. He did have to double check that we left Spain before quarantine was imposed.

During customs, we had to take our masks down so he could check our faces to the passport.

We then drove straight round to the waiting area. Inside, there was takeaways open, Starbucks, WH SMITHS and the toilets. There was still a lot of shops and restaurants closed in the Eurotunnel waiting area. There was hand sanitiser when you walked in, masks were also compulsory and social distancing stickers were placed in the shops that were open and it was a one way system. You were able to enter through one day and exit through another.

Rio cavalier in the pet relief in Eurotunnel

Due to the current situation, there was a lot of delays at the Eurotunnel. The trains were all full and it was very busy. Although, like us, most people just stayed and waited in their cars. We took Rio into the pet relief garden where he had a little runaround. You had to socially distance in the pet area.

Our train was delayed by around an hour. After we were called, we drove straight round to the Eurotunnel embarking area. The staff were wearing masks but we weren’t required to do anything at all other than queue.

Once we were on the train, we had to follow the same procedure as before. Have windows half open, hand break on and engine off. Everybody had to remain in their vehicle at all times.

The experience with the Eurotunnel was pleasant and not stressful at all. We opted to travel by car as we feel this is the safest way to travel at the moment. We didn’t need to have contact with anybody at all during our trip across the Eurotunnel, except the customs desk where we remained in our car at a distance.

Lauren x

Lisbon – The Lost Diary

Lisbon rooftop view

Back in 2016, during the October half term, I booked a trip to Lisbon as a birthday present for Alex. We spent two nights in the Portuguese capital and dashed between place to place trying to see as much of Lisbon as we possibly could. And there was a lot we wanted to see.

I couldn’t really remember much of Lisbon, other than the obvious sitting on rooftop terraces, visiting the Belem Tower and climbing up the hill to see the spectacular red rooftop views. I also remember eating a Nandos style chicken, which we ate at twice!

So, as we are planning our trip back to Lisbon, I wanted to know where we stayed before. Although we knew Rio probably wasn’t allowed there, it gave us a good idea about the area we’d like to stay or the distance which is good for walking into the centre. A quick search of Lisbon on my emails and it popped up. Along with another email, from myself.

Apparently, I was already getting into this travel blogging business back in 2016, I’d kept a digital diary that I emailed to myself, so today I thought I’d share it. One, so the Lisbon diary will never be lost again and two to see how my style of writing has shifted.

I’m leaving it in all it’s glory. Everybody, meet 2016 me. The stuff in italics will be what I’ve added in or any comments I’ve made. I feel like I’m evaluating my own work here!

Lisbon 18 – 20th October 2016

3:30am – We’re and ready to go! I remember being so excited about heading to Lisbon but the early morning flight was not fun. The best bit about them though is at least you’re in your destination with the full day to spare. One day surviving on copious amounts of coffee is acceptable for travel.

3:45am – We’ve arrived at Luton airport and have parked the car. We’re waiting for our shuttle to take us to the terminal! It’s freezing!

Frankie and bennys breakfast

4:00am – Who doesn’t love an airport early morning breakfast? Breakfast time at Frankie and Benny’s. I can’t get over how tired and young we look in these photos! Madness that it was four years ago!

7:30am – Boarded and Ready! We got to the airport so early! We would definitely leave out about an hour later nowadays and enjoy the extra hour’s sleep!

11:30am – The last time I wrote the time! The private car is here to pick us up! I remember organising a transfer with Travel Republic and it being pretty economical. We ended up being picked up by a private car and dropped off again by a private car. It wasn’t too far from the airport to the city centre and I remember the driver being super friendly and practising his English on us!

Main plaza Lisbon yellow archway

Dropped our bags off and heading into the city! We can’t check in at Lisbon city hotel until 2pm! I don’t think this would’ve been a problem for us, I’m just over enthusiastic with exclamation marks. I remember we did loads of walking and lingered around the plaza where there were loads of Dortmund Football Fans waiting for the match.

We walked around A LOT!!

Starbucks coffee in Lisbon

Much needed break at Starbucks! Now, I’m pretty sure when we return to Lisbon, we’ll try and do local coffee places instead. Much like we do here. But, if the opportunity arises and a cafe mocha is on the cards, I can’t guarantee that I won’t be back in Starbucks again! I love local coffee, especially when in Portugal it’s normally less than a euro, but I’m also a sucker for Starbucks.

Standing  by yellow wall Lisbon

Time to get my Lisbon pandora charm! I was very much into making sure I had my Pandora charms at this point. Now that my bracelet is nearly full, I’m not too fussed. I love being able to look back on the places we’ve been though!

Looking at 24 de abril bridge

Off to the river to see the 24 de Abril bridge. I remember we loved the bridge. It was like a mini Golden Gate Bridge, and apparently designed by the same people. We ended up spending ages one evening just sat watching the sunset over the bridge and it was just such a perfect spot. The river waves crashed on the shore and the bridge reflected the light to give a gorgeous glow. I remember thinking Lisbon was one of my favourite places and I wasn’t keen on heading back to reality.

Next, we headed up to the outside of the Castell. I had completely forgotten about the Castell. We climbed the hill and wandered around the castle. There were flags of Portugal and I had to grab a photo or two. We’d got used to Lisbon offering so many rooftop views that we almost took the castle views for granted.

Dinner at bonjardim Lisbon

Best chicken ever! With yummy cheese but not yummy wine! (Red ugh!). Obviously I wasn’t a fan of red back then either. Who knows how I ended up with red because I’ve always hated it! Perhaps I’d tried to give my Duolingo Portuguese a try. Either way, the chicken we’ll be going back for… the red wine? I doubt it.

Headed back to Lisbon City Hotel. IT’S BEEN A LONG DAY. You can say that again, I’m tired from reading again what we did in a day!

19th October 2016 (Lisbon)

Early morning breakfast before heading out into the city. I always find a breakfast at the hotel to be so convenient. It saves time looking for somewhere and you’re up and ready, but at the same time, usually breakfast places are nicer out of the hotel and if you’re lucky you can get some gorgeous views too. Catch22!

View from Belem tower

Straight to the metro for the journey to Torre De Belem. The Belem Tower was the place I was most excited for. It’s a little tower that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney book. When we arrived by tram, it takes you to this little style of village. I remember looking around at all the gorgeous tiles and the trams and the parks and just thinking wow.

Princess at Belem tower Lisbon

Being the princess locked in the tower. This makes no sense to anybody except me and Alex so I’ll give you some context. So, back in 2016, I was already on the “gotta get good photos for the gram” wave. I’d have my hair put into plaits for photos and we’d look for photo spots, so yeah, since having a blog that hasn’t changed. When we finished looking around the Belem, we noticed that there was a window that was at the top of the tower and you could see the people below queuing to get in. We thought it would look cute if I sat in the window and Alex ran downstairs (he wouldn’t be able to enter again) and I’d do some Disney princess style photo. It took me ages to spot Alex in the crowd as there were loads of people queuing to get in – anyway we got the photo! And then I had the panic of how do I actually get out of this tower? Anyway, we made it.

Headed to Monastrey in Belem. I had to google what this is because honestly I don’t remember. Okay, after googling it I still don’t remember. We must have just looked at the outside because I’d definitely remember somewhere as beautiful as that! The outside seems to jog a memory though.

Tram to Lisbon centre! Time to find the viewpoint and lost in espalada bar. We had googled rooftop bars and Lost in Espalada was one of the top rated ones. I’m so pleased we went as it was a lovely bar situated on the top of a hill. It had gorgeous views and was such a laid back atmosphere with hammocks and stuff. I hope when we go back with Rio that they accept dogs!

Couple with red houses Lisbon

View from the mirador. Just a short walk from the bar is the Mirador with the same view.

Coffee with a view. This was in Lost in Espalada bar and I remember loving it. We spent ages sat there. They also have beds which you can sit on, but that was a bit much for me haha!

Girl and pink street Lisbon

Off to find pink street! It’s called R. Nova de Carvalho for anybody wondering. The street is so peculiar and cool. We’ll definitely be heading back there to get better photos this time! I’m not sure what I thought I was doing on these photos. Why did I feel the need to be on the floor? You can walk and see the floor!?

Crammed on tram 28 Lisbon

Crammed on famous tram 28. Who hasn’t crammed on that tram only to find out that it’s pretty much the same as all the others? It passes through all of the popular districts and I’m sure if you could actually see a thing it would’ve been cool. We were stood in the middle of this tram with quite clearly more than maximum capacity thinking… really? It’s a tram that dates back from the 1930’s and the route that it takes is gorgeous. But, going on it mid afternoon was not a good time. Like I said, we didn’t see a thing. I’d suggest riding the tram super early or super late to appreciate it. A single ticket on the tram is 3€ per person, and for the places you visit on the way it’s worth it (if you get a view!). It’s busting with original charm so taking the tram is a must do (but hold on tight, the brakes were SHARP). I’d also like to point out alex is leaning around people to take this photo and people had just got off the one stop before ours which is why the photo doesn’t look as busy.

Tram behind me in Lisbon

Time to explore the castle and its views. It’s a steep walk from the tram stop to the castle but it was here that we finally visited the castle inside. It was a beautiful place and I’m glad we saved it for last.

Couple at castle Lisbon

Chicken again at BomJardim. This time with a nice bottle of white wine!! So good we went twice. We’ll definitely go back again this time, though this time I think I’ll be on the rose. I had to google to make sure it still exists, because the disappointment if it didn’t! It’s open 12-11pm everyday. It’s famous for its spit-roasted chicken and peri peri sauce. It’s a cheap downtown restaurant and it’s supposed to be one of the original inspirations for Nando’s! We watched sunset at bridge around this point!

Sunset at 24 de abril bridge

Off to bed! Car is coming at 7:20. We didn’t spent any of the 20th in Lisbon. It was just the day we left. Looking back now, we’ll have more time in Lisbon this time than we did last time, so I’m sure we’ll fit lots in! Plus, Rio isn’t allowed everywhere, so we’ll be able to cut out some tourist attractions. As we’ve already seen them, it doesn’t bother us!

Obrigado Lisboa ❤️🇵🇹


It was kind of funny looking through my old notes, and I’m so glad I found then on my phone. I’ve always loved keeping diaries of travel, as it means we can always refresh our memory. I love even more that I have this blog to document it on as I can always just google and it comes up. I’ve got lots of other little travel diaries dotted around the apartment and I intend to make them digital at some point.

It’s so lovely to have something that keeps together our memories nice, neatly and easy to find. I’m so excited to revisit Lisbon, and what content I’ll create, how I’ll write it and to just enjoy being in some new and some old places on the way. I’ll be creating a newer diary for absolute sure.

I think I got the idea from my Mum as she wrote out all of our Disney holidays in the photo albums so that we’d know what we did and when as the holiday just gets crazy very quickly. It’s always nice to look back and see what we did, what the weather was like and everything else when we were there.

What about you, do you keep travel diaries?

The Best Quotes about Travel in Spanish

I can travel anywhere but I prefer to stay with you

spanish quotes about travel

We all love to be inspired by a good quote now and again. They motivate us and push us to be what we want to be. Not forgetting that they are just sometimes that aesthetic little post that we need to see to double tap on Instagram or pin to Pinterest.

After the success of one of my old posts: Top 5 Spanish Disney Quotes; I noticed that it’s one that people loved to see and that it would be fabulous to create another to tie in with the travel aspect to my blog.

I have compiled some of my favourite travel quotes in Spanish that give the sense of wanderlust and desire to see the world. I created my own for number 10, so if I got it wrong, feel free to correct me, I’m still learning and still make mistakes every day! (every hour). 

I’m very aware every day that my Spanish isn’t good enough. I make mistakes all of the time and creating these posts is my own little creative outlet to practise my Spanish, I like hearing that it helps you too. Little by little, my Spanish improves. But, I’m nowhere good enough as I’d like it to be and I love reading and translating quotes so what a great way for us all to practice, so without further ado, here are…

The Best Quotes about Travel in Spanish:

 

1. A veces perderse no es una perdida de tiempo

spanish quotes about travel

Sometimes, getting lost is not a waste of time. 

2. Si no escalas la montaña jamás podrás disfrutar del paisaje

If you never climb the mountain, you never get to enjoy the view

3. El mundo es un libro y aquellos que no viajan solo leen una página

el mundo es un libro y aquellos que no viajan solo leen una página

The world is a book and those that don’t travel only read one page

4. Un viaje de mil millas ha de comenzar con un simple paso

A journey of a thousand miles has to start with a simple step

5. No todos los que deambulan están perdidos

spanish quotes about travel

Not all those who wander are lost

6. Viajar es descubrir que todos están equivocados sobre los otros países

Travelling is discovering that everybody is wrong about other countries

7. Viajar es la única cosa que pagas y te hace más rico

viajar es la única cosa que pagas y te hace más rico

Travelling is the only thing that you pay for that makes you richer

8. Piérdete en el mundo y encuéntrate contigo mismo

Get lost in the world and find yourself at the same time

9. Tenemos que descubrir el mundo

We have to discover the world

10. Puedo viajar cualquier lugar pero prefiero quedarme contigo

puedo viajar cualquier lugar pero prefiero quedarme contigo

I can travel anywhere but I prefer to stay with you

I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my favourite Spanish travel quotes!

Hasta luego,

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spanish quotes about travel

 

A dog-friendly Barcelona

If you’re looking what to do in Barcelona, then this should give you some information on some dog friendly bucket list ideas in Barcelona. We only had 22 hours in Barcelona but we got so much done.

Who knew Barcelona was so dog-friendly? When we announced we were in Barcelona with our dog, so many people messaged to ask what we could even do with him there. Well, the answer is, pretty much anything!

If you’re looking what to do in Barcelona, then this should give you some information on some dog friendly bucket list ideas in Barcelona. We only had 22 hours in Barcelona but we got so much done.

Parc de Ciutadella

King Charles cavalier travelling to Barcelona Spain with a dog

The Parc de Ciutadella is an idyllic green oasis in the metropolitan Barcelona centre. It is a great place for long walks which dogs and humans will love.

Walking through, so many people are relaxing and chilling out, sitting and chatting with friends, sharing a picnic and rowing boats on the boating lake.

Our dog loved walking through, it was also shaded so it was a great place to take him first. There were plenty of dogs for him to get to know and get to know his new surroundings.

The park is also home to Barcelona Zoo.

Las Ramblas

We then took our dog to the famous Las Ramblas. You can walk your dog along the length of Las Ramblas finishing at the port.

For me, it felt eerie. You try not to let past events bother you and you try to carry on. But, when all you can think of is the people who were doing the same as us, walking along enjoying their trip for their life to be cut short, it’s hard to not let it consume you.

We decided to leave Las Ramblas.

There are plenty of bars and cafes lined along Las Ramblas that are more than happy for you to sit with your dog. As long as you’re outside, most places have no problem at all with a perro joining your table.

Magic Fountain of Montjüic

King Charles cavalier travelling to Barcelona Spain with a dog

The Barcelona thing I’ve wanted to see. Third time lucky, isn’t that what they say?

Who knew this light spectacular is completely dog-friendly? If your dog is anything like ours, he’ll be in complete awe of it.

The show started at 21:30 but we got there at 20:30 to get a good view. Our dog sat just in front of us and loved the attention that everybody gave him before the show. We were prepared to leave in case he didn’t like it. But instead, he loved the entire thing.

We sat just in front of the fountain but be aware because people will stand up and completely block your view, so getting as close to the front is best.

Our dog loved watching the lights dance on the water and it’s definitely something I’ll never forget. Sitting with your best friend watching the lights and soaking up the atmosphere makes Montjüic top of my dog-friendly bucket list experiences in Barcelona.

Park Güell

Here’s my top tip, enter Park Güell before 8:00am and you won’t have to pay. Yep, you heard it here. Did you know that because I certainly didn’t!

When we’ve been to Barcelona previously, we’ve paid the entrance to Park Güell and had to be at monument for a certain time. But this time, we had complete freedom of the park.

Better still, Park Güell is dog friendly. Even in monument. All around Gaudi’s art, our dog was able to enjoy it with us. I mean, I’m sure he didn’t appreciate where he actually was, but we definitely did. Plus, it makes for some pretty unique photos.

Watching sunrise from Park Güell was one of my favourite Barcelona moments. We loved walking around Park Güell with our dog.

La Sagrada Familia

Okay, so I’m not saying you can wander in to sagrada Familia with your pooch and climb the steeple. But, you can get some pretty cool photos from the outside and the park across the road.

This was our third time to Barcelona and we’d already been inside Sagrada Familia so we wasn’t too fussed about going in. However, if we were, one of us would have waited with our dog and then swapped dog duty.

The surroundings of Sagrada Familia are now pedestrianised. There is also a beautiful little park across the road where you can get great instagrammable photos with Sagrada Familia as the backdrop.

We ended our Barcelona trip at Sagrada Familia.

We had a great time walking around Barcelona with our dog. We stayed at Hostal Coldika in Barcelona which was a dog-friendly accommodation closest to the city centre within our budget. The place was clean, we had our own bathroom and a shared kitchen so we were able to pick up pasta from the nearby supermarket. It also meant we were able to have eggs for breakfast the next day.

The only complaint is not being told about the parking. We were told we had parking at an additional charge. But, we were told it was a public parking. It wasn’t until we’d already paid 25€ that we found out that staying at Hostal Coldika have a discount so you only pay 25€ for 24 hours with unlimited entry and exit to the car park. Instead, we had a 50€ for 24 hours parking charge. Not quite a budget car park so if you do stay, make sure you ask for the parking card as they didn’t mention it at all except to say it was public parking!

I guess you always have to get robbed somewhere, this time it was from our accommodation!

If you do want to book to stay at Hostal Coldika, or anywhere else in Barcelona, you can get a 10% discount after you stay by using this affiliate link: 10% discount code

Hasta luego,

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