Barcelona – The City of Dreams

As destinations go, Barcelona must be one of the most well known in the world. So find affordable flights to this fantastic place on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and have a blast!

Your visit should start at the Tourist Information office in the Plaça de Catalunya right in the heart of the city. Not only does this have all the maps and guides you need, but also has a lovely shop with items a bit more out of the ordinary than the normal tourist giftware. From here its just a few steps to the famous La Rambla, a long street lined with unusual market stalls which stretches right down to the sea. Be sure to visit the wonderful La Boqueria market about half way down – a real foody heaven and quite an experience if you haven’t seen one before. At the end of La Rambla you will arrive at the Port Vell area with yacht marinas, a fishing port and Maremagnum – a shopping mall and nightlife complex which also houses Europe’s largest aquarium (and unlike other shopping malls in the city, this is also open on Sundays and Public Holidays). From here it is possible to walk along the promenade, alongside the marvellous sandy beaches, to the Olympic Port. There are many restaurants all along this route.

arches, architecture, barcelona

Barcelona is of course famous for its Gaudi connection. Back at the Plaça de Catalunya, a short walk along the Passeig de Gracia will take you to Casa Batiló. You can stand and admire this amazing building from the outside, but for a fee it is also possible to visit the inside of the building. A little further away, still within walking distance (but you can of course use the metro if you wish) is the absolute must see Sagrada Família. This fantasy church, which was begun in 1882 and has an anticipated completion date of 2026, is breath taking. If you want to visit the inside, be sure to purchase your ticket in advance and so short cut the long queues. Another Gaudi experience is Parc Güell, a short way out of the city centre, which houses the famous lizard sculpture and serpentine seating.

Montjuïc is a hill on the south west side of the city and was the setting for many of the summer Olympics in 1992. As well as various attractions such as the castle, well kept gardens and Joan Miró museum, it is a pleasant place to walk and take in the magnificent views. You can reach the topmost section by cable car.

There are also of course wonderful shopping experiences in the city , with all the usual designer shops and many individual boutiques. With something for everyone, Barcelona lives up to its name – the city of dreams.

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Why You Should Learn Spanish

35O million people can’t be wrong and that is how many Spanish speaking people there are on the planet. Have you ever considered that you could be one of them? Learning Spanish can bring you many advantages. It will help you the world over, no matter what continent you travel to. In the US, in particular, the speaking of Spanish is becoming more and more prevalent. Then, of course, the whole of South America will open up to you in ways that you could only dream of now. Add that to the vibrant country that is Spain itself and even islands such as the Canaries and parts of the Caribbean. Here are some great reasons to study a new language and Spanish in particular.

Learning another language makes you smarter

It’s true, and what is more, it is scientifically proven. If you learn another language, you will be less likely to suffer from dementia as you get older. You will open up and exercise new parts of the brain. You will become more mentally agile, and your whole thinking process will be refreshed and stimulated. You will be smarter and less likely to suffer mental decline.

Spain, Granada, Alhambra, Village, City, Old

[Image courtesy of SabiSteg/pixabay.com]

Spanish is an easy language to learn

Many people can vouch for this. Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. One reason is that it is spelt the same way it sounds. As soon as you get used to one or two different ways of pronouncing certain syllables, Spanish sounds like it is written. The roots of many Spanish words share similar sounds and meanings with words in French and English. Spanish grammar is one of the least complicated to learn.

Learning Spanish will open your cultural understanding.

If you can speak Spanish, your understanding of the Spanish influence on the world around you will change. Everything from newspapers and media will be accessible to you. You will be able to read some of the masters of Spanish literature in their tongue. You will be opened up to the world that gave us such heavyweights as Goya and Picasso. The influence of Spanish food is huge in global cuisine. Imagine being able to walk into a restaurant in Buenos Aires or Barcelona and order off the menu!

Spanish will help your business.

The business world will open up to you. Learn Spanish and you will be able to converse easily with employees, business associates and fellow workers.  Being bilingual makes you instantly more marketable. Having another language at your disposal makes you an attractive proposition and your CV will look better.

When you speak a language like Spanish, a whole new world opens up to you on your travels and in your day to day business. You will be able to converse with hotel staff, cab drivers and enjoy museum shows and restaurants. As soon as you make the effort Spanish speaking people will open up and respect you. You will be made to feel welcome. At 350 million people it’s not exactly an exclusive club.  But you will be able to negotiate it easily as that rarity; a bilingual person who has made the effort.

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7 Reasons to Book a Lanzarote Holiday

Are you looking for somewhere to book for your next holiday, and have you considered a stay in Lanzarote? More than 1.5 million people visit Lanzarote each year, though it’s only been a popular holiday destination since the mid-1980s. Usually there are more tourists than locals on the island, with visitors generally booking to stay in a hotel or a villa.

What makes Lanzarote so popular? These are seven of the best reasons to visit:

The Weather

Year-round good weather is guaranteed to appeal to British holiday-makers, and tourists from other parts of Europe. Temperatures are typically around 20°c in the winter months and 30°c through the summer, which means that even a winter holiday can include visits to some of the island’s best outdoor attractions.

Lanzarote

[Image from telegraph.co.uk]

The Beaches

Whilst you’re thinking about outdoor attractions, take a minute to consider Lanzarote’s beaches. There are white sand beaches across the island, along with occasional black sand beaches which are a magical sight if you’ve never seen them before. Water sports are popular, and you can go diving off the coast.

The Vineyards

Given Lanzarote’s dry and dusty landscape, you might be surprised that its vineyards thrive. Fortunately they do, which means that vineyard tours and wine-tasting sessions can be included on your itinerary. Plan a visit to a vineyard early on, so that you can purchase high quality wine for the rest of your holiday.

The Volcanoes

Lanzarote is a volcanic island. It’s been a long time since the last eruption, but ash and dust still cover the landscape as there’s been very little rain to wash it all away. Tours can take you up to the volcano area where guides will visually demonstrate how hot the ground can be. You can dine on food cooked over a volcanic crater, or enjoy a camel ride through the mountain landscape.

The Food

Lanzarote restaurants are incredibly varied, and usually of a very high quality. You can enjoy authentic Spanish dishes and Canary Island specialities or visit a Chinese, Indian or Italian restaurant. There are also Irish pubs, mostly around the Costa Teguise area, where you’ll find comforting pub meals like the ones served in your local.

The Wildlife

Haria lizards are abundant on the island, but you’ll also see other wild animals on land and in the water. Boat trips will take you out to see the dolphins, though you might be even more impressed by the flying fish that dart alongside your boat. Egrets are another common sight on land and over the water.

The Water Parks

Lanzarote water parks are amongst the best attractions to visit, and are guaranteed to tempt you. Temperatures are consistently high on the island, and so you’ll find water parks within the grounds of some of the island’s most popular hotels. Aquapark in Costa Teguise is the only stand-alone water park, but with on-site shops and restaurants it’s somewhere that you can easily spend an entire day.

Do you agree with this list? Do you have any reasons to add? Comment, and let us know why you love to visit Lanzarote.

This post was written by Sarah Lee, a travel fanatic!

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