The Avocado Festival. Peace, Love, and Guacamole!

We love a festival. We really love a festival dedicated to food. So we sniffed around and found the Woodstock of avocados where 3 Days of Peace, Love, and Guacamole took over Carpinteria, California… CONTINUE READING >> 

We love a festival.

We really love a festival dedicated to food.

Lucky for us the 2023 California Avocado Festival is coming right up October 7th through the 9th.

So while we get ready, let’s take a look back at our visit there a few years ago.

Throughout our travels we have learned that October is the king of the calendar when it comes to these feasting fiestas. So we sniffed around and found the Woodstock of avocados where 3 Days of Peace, Love, and Guacamole took over Carpinteria, California.

Harvest time has called for a celebration since humans first started planting seeds millennia ago, and while avocados may not have been one of those crops way back when, they certainly are now. This town has taken to seriously celebrating that change.

As the official fruit of the State, the alligator pear, butter fruit, or cheese pear as it is known in various far-flung corners of the globe, takes center stage in the Avocado Exposition tent at the entrance to the grounds, making this the obvious place to begin.

Veronica was feeling the love, so she had a quick kiss for the mascot before we stepped inside to learn almost all anyone could ever want to know about the awesome avocado.

They were introduced to California from Mexico about one hundred and fifty years ago and by the early nineteen hundreds had become hugely popular.

In fact, by 1935 Californians were consuming more than two pounds per person and even though Florida and Hawai’i began growing them earlier, California now produces about 90% of the nation’s crop.

The tent also gave us a chance to get our hands on a giant specimen. Each year the festival hosts the Largest Avocado Contest, and while we didn’t get to hold the four and a half pound winner, that  big boy gets auctioned off at the end of the competition, a three plus pounder weighing in as runner up was impressive enough.

Armed with a new arsenal of avocado information, it was time to hit the midway to taste the star of the show. The headliner appeared in all kinds of interesting culinary inventions.

It’s not every day that we get to see the world’s largest anything, so first stop was the planet’s biggest vat of… holy guacamole that’s one big tub of dip!

Unfortunately, not quite large enough, since by the time we got there it was almost empty.

No problem, we were happy to indulge in something a little more substantial anyway, and the “World Famous Tri-tip & Avocado Sandwiches” certainly looked to fill the bill.

Even though the avocado wasn’t the center piece of the dish, this was one groovy grinder.

Delectable as it was, what is a festival if not a chance to let our hair down and try something we may never see again? So we decided to let our freak flag fly and go for some avocado ice cream.

Pleasantly surprising might be the best way to describe it. The creamy consistency of the avocado worked very much in its favor and the end result was a refreshment that hit the spot on a warm autumn afternoon.

Several other delicacies were on hand, deep fried avocado, avocado brownies, and even an avocado chocolate truffle, but we simply couldn’t try them all.

Our frozen treat had us thinking beach, and Carpinteria has a gorgeous one, so we walked a few blocks from the festival for a look.

On our way back, we stopped off near the shore at the Island Brewing Company. The award-winning craft beer microbrewery caught our attention with a poster proclaiming Avocado Honey Ale.

No way we could pass that up and, like the ice cream, the smooth flavor of the avocado blended splendidly with the bee and brew combination.

In keeping with the festival’s Woodstock-esque theme, music plays a huge part in the festivities.  In fact the fest bill itself as “one of the largest FREE festivals in California with over 75 music acts on FOUR stages. “

As with the food, we couldn’t catch them all but our, and from what we could tell the crowd’s, favorite was the Beatles tribute band Sgt. Pepper.

These mop-top mimics didn’t try to copy the look or imitate the personalities of the fab four, but they were right on with the music.

They had everybody singing along with the classic songs and happily reveling in the rock, or should we say guac-n-roll.

Yes, we should.

Long live Guac-n-Roll!

David & Veronica,

Take a Trip to Lake Como from Milan

Lake Como has been called the most beautiful lake in the world, and even though we have certainly not seen all of the lakes on Earth, we are inclined to agree…

Milan is one of our favorite cities. It is very cosmopolitan and absolutely gorgeous with so many fantastic attractions like Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and the amazing cathedral Duomo di Milano.

But it is also a very big city, second only to Rome in Italy, so sometimes we like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and enjoy some of the spectacular scenery of Northern Italy. That’s why we were thrilled to find an impressive variety of options for trips to Lake Como from Milan.

The lake has often been called the most beautiful lake in the world, and even though we have certainly not seen all of the lakes on Earth, we are inclined to agree. And it is close enough to Milan to make for a perfect day trip. There are plenty of guided tours that can help insure that all of the highlights are included even in only one day.

The captivating landscape of Lake Como comes from the way glaciers carved out the lake from the surrounding Alps. This led to a long, narrow inverted Y shape that creates scenes reminiscent of the fjords in Scandinavia. It makes sense, because they were formed in a very similar way.

Majestic mountains rise right up from the shore and are reflected in the crystal clear water, so no wonder the area has drawn the attention of the world’s rich and famous for over two thousand years. Many of them built the earliest of the numerous extravagant villas that have dotted the shoreline ever since.

Yes, these date way back to the Roman times, when Pliny the Younger first built the resorts Comedia and Tragedia. Before that Virgil, the legendary Latin poet, visited the town of Bellagio and wrote about the lake in his second book of the Georgics.

Over the many, many years since then dozens more of have come and gone along the lake, and it is still a very popular getaway destination for notables such as George Clooney, Madonna, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Branson, and Lionel Messi.

These day trip tours make a scenic drive along the lake shore, but also allow ample time to explore some of the towns and villages along the way. Perhaps the most picturesque of these is Bellagio, that we mentioned before.

This quaint town of a few thousand folks is often called the “Pearl of Lake Como” because of the phenomenal views spreading out in three directions from the city’s perch on the center tip of the “Y” that the shape of the lake forms. The town also features several stunning villas along the water, which add to the charm.

Another favorite stop is the dazzling village of Varenna. While there, a visit to Villa Monastero is a must. Way back when this was the site of a convent, but then, a little over five hundred years ago, it was converted to a private villa.

In 1936 it became a museum and now serves as an international conference center. But we are inclined to think that the incredible botanical garden, and its rare plant species, stretching out for about a mile along the lake is the main attraction for nature lovers and sightseers.

Many of the tours also include a jaunt over the border for a stop in the town of Lugano. Although it sits upon the shore of a different lake, and in a different country, Lugano is culturally very Italian. The language, cuisine, and culture are all very connected to Italy, but everything else about it is very much a part of Switzerland. We think it is a perfect companion for a visit to Lake Como.

After this exhilarating adventure into the Alps we can bet that the sophisticated urban vibe of metropolitan Milan will make for an exciting return to the city.

David & Veronica,

An Unforgettable Excursion to Oxford and Cambridge

The twin jewels of British academia, Oxford and Cambridge, beckon with a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and unparalleled intellectual legacy…

The twin jewels of British academia, Oxford and Cambridge, beckon with a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and unparalleled intellectual legacy. Wandering through their ancient cobbled streets, one is transported to a world where knowledge and heritage intertwine in timeless elegance.

Majestic spires, iconic libraries, and verdant courtyards resonate with tales of pioneering discoveries and illustrious alumni. Yet, beyond the hallowed halls, both cities offer serene riverside experiences, bustling marketplaces, and a vibrant cultural tapestry.

Embarking on this excursion is not just about visiting two cities; it’s about immersing oneself in centuries of academic excellence and absorbing the timeless spirit of discovery and enlightenment.

Types of Excursions Tailored to Every Traveller

Oxford and Cambridge, with their rich tapestries of history, culture, and academic prowess, beckon travellers from all corners of the world. To cater to the diverse interests and time constraints of visitors, an extensive selection of excursions has been thoughtfully curated.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or someone keen to experience the college life ambiance, both cities have something tailored for you:

Historic Walkabouts

Delve deep into the annals of history with guided tours that recount tales of illustrious alumni, ancient traditions, and architectural marvels. Walk the cobbled streets and feel the weight of centuries pass with each step.

Architectural Wonders Tour

For those with an eye for design, tours focused on the stunning architectural feats of both cities are a treat. From the towering spires to the intricate stonework of colleges, marvel at the craftsmanship of bygone eras.

The Scholar’s Route

Experience a day in the life of a student. Attend lectures, explore the vast libraries, and perhaps even partake in a lively debate at one of the student pubs. This excursion provides an authentic taste of university life.

Riverside Retreats

The serene rivers of both Oxford and Cambridge offer a unique vantage point. Opt for a calming punt tour or rowing excursion. Glide beneath historic bridges and past verdant banks, capturing the essence of these cities from their tranquil waters.

Customizable Adventures

For those who prefer a personalized touch, custom tours can be arranged. Combine elements from different excursions or focus on niche interests, ensuring your journey is uniquely tailored to your preferences.

Must-visit Spots From Collegiate Glory to Hidden Gems

Oxford Highlights

    • Radcliffe Camera: An iconic building that’s a delight to both bibliophiles and photographers.
    • Bodleian Library: One of the oldest libraries in Europe, holding a mesmerizing collection.
    • Oxford Castle & Prison: Dive into the city’s darker history.

Cambridge Highlights

    • King’s College Chapel: A testament to English Gothic architecture.
    • Fitzwilliam Museum: Art and antiques from across the globe.
    • Botanic Garden: A serene escape from the academic hustle.

Activities to Immerse Yourself in the Vibe

Attend a Lecture or Seminar: Oxford and Cambridge often have guest lectures open to the public. Check the universities’ calendars for schedules.

Dine in a Historic Pub: Experience traditional British cuisine in establishments where famous alumni once dined.

Tip: The Turf Tavern in Oxford has seen the likes of Bill Clinton and Stephen Hawking.

Practical Tips for a Flawless Excursion

When embarking on an enlightening journey to places as historically rich and culturally profound as Oxford and Cambridge, it’s crucial to ensure that the trip goes smoothly. With that in mind, here are some practical tips to optimize your excursion experience.

Travelling Efficiently

Travel Light: The ancient streets and college corridors can sometimes be narrow. Carrying only essentials will make your mobility much easier.

Public Transport: Both cities have efficient bus networks. Considering a day pass can save both time and money.

Etiquette and Respect

Dress Appropriately: While there isn’t a strict dress code, modest attire is appreciated, especially when visiting historic and academic institutions.

Stay Quiet: Some areas, particularly libraries and study areas, require silence. Respect the students’ space and the academic atmosphere.

Staying Connected

Local SIM Cards: For international travellers, local SIM cards can be a cost-effective way to stay connected.

Offline Maps: Download maps for offline use. This can be a lifesaver in areas with limited connectivity.

Dining and Refreshments

Hydrate: With all the walking, remember to keep a refillable water bottle handy.

Local Delicacies: Don’t miss out on traditional British snacks. From scones in quaint tea rooms to pies in historic pubs, indulge in the local culinary scene.

Money Matters

Cash & Card: While most places accept cards, having some cash can be handy for smaller establishments or tipping.

Student Discounts: If you’re a student, keep your ID handy. Many attractions offer discounted entry fees.

Stay Informed

Local News: Check local news outlets for any events or possible disruptions. This ensures you’re always one step ahead.

Weather Forecast: The British weather can be unpredictable. A quick check can help you dress accordingly and plan your day.

Best Places to Dine

In the historic heartlands of Oxford and Cambridge, gastronomic delights await as eagerly as their architectural marvels and academic legacies.

Amidst the backdrop of centuries-old colleges and picturesque riverbanks, both cities boast a culinary scene that’s as diverse as it is delicious. From traditional British fare in timber-framed taverns to contemporary global cuisine in chic bistros, there’s a plate for every palate.

The vibrant markets offer fresh, local produce for those seeking an authentic taste of the region. Whether you fancy a hearty pie after a day of exploration or a delicate pastry with your afternoon tea, these cities promise a dining experience that’s as memorable as the sights themselves.

Exclusive Deals to Enhance Your Journey

While you’re planning this trip, don’t forget to check out the Black Friday deals. For accommodations and more, you might find unbeatable offers at Such promotions can make your excursion more affordable and luxurious.

As the sun sets over the spires of Oxford and Cambridge, we come to the end of our enlightening voyage through these bastions of knowledge and culture. The fusion of history, academia, architectural wonders, and culinary delights ensures that these cities stand tall as must-visit destinations.

As you reflect on your journey, remember that the true essence of Oxford and Cambridge lies not just in their majestic buildings or delicious dishes, but in the spirit of discovery and learning they inspire. Until your next visit, may the echoes of their rich legacy continue to resonate in your heart.

Time to Plan for those Fall Festival Favorites

As autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival…


The view from the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift.

As the Autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival.

Over the years we have frequently found ourselves in the midst of many of these autumnal classics, usually by accidentally stumbling upon them in our travels.

However we discovered them, here are five of our favorites, plus a perfect bonus celebration… the Pumpkin Fest!

Bean Fest!

Speaking of competitions, the Annual Arkansas Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Races could be the best of the bunch. You might say it’s a gas!

The festivities, as with every gathering in Mountain View, begin with live bluegrass and folk music.  No wonder Mountain View is known as “The Folk Music Capital of The World.”

Then the events kick off with the Beanie Weenie Dog Show while the cooks set up their giant pots for the main event. Each cauldron is filled with water and fifty pounds of dry pinto beans to soak, then at the crack of dawn Saturday morning fires are lit under the pots and the cooking commences.

After the beans are served it’s off to the races. These aren’t your average outhouses, oh no, these are high performance porta-potties.

This year (2023) the 41st Annual Bean Fest & Championship Outhouse Race takes place on October 27th and 28th.

Salmon Fest

For a different kettle of fish, we found a fascinating annual phenomenon In the Seattle suburb of Issaquah. Each autumn thousands of salmon fight their way through the town in Issaquah Creek in an unstoppable trek to the hatchery where they were born. This event spawned the beloved Salmon Fest. The 2023 festival is October 7th & 8th.

For over forty years, hundreds of thousands of people have come to celebrate the return of the salmon.  Five stages scattered throughout downtown feature music, while we humans satisfy our urges through feeding frenzies at the food vendors.

The 54th annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival will be held October 2nd & 3rd, 2021.

Sheep & Wool

Another event that has been going strong for more than four decades is the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Each year the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Growers’ Association throws this baaaa-sh in October.

Folks come from all across the Hudson Valley to witness sheep shearing,  yarn spinning,  and parades of llamas, alpacas, and cashmere goats.

But for us it was the dogs that stole the show. While the canine frisbee demonstrations were impressive, we couldn’t get enough of the border collies doing what they do best, even better than catching plastic discs, herding.  We couldn’t help but think of the movie Babe.

The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival will be October 21st and 22nd this year (2023).

Crab Fest

While crabs might not be the first thing we think of at this time of year, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles had us rethinking that.  On the northern coast of Washington, this is definitely the place to be for any decapod chowing seafood lover. 

We tried our hands at crabbing in the Grab-A-Crab Derby, and were rewarded with the steamed outcome of our catch.  For those who don’t want to fish for their supper there is also “The Famous Crab Feed” where a whole Dungeness Crab is served up with corn, coleslaw, music and beer.

The 2023 Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will be October 5th through the 8th.


Lastly, but certainly not least, for the ultimate October celebration we went to the source, North Central Illinois, and the Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. Eighty percent of those big orange squash come from this area.

We kicked off the merriment down to the courthouse for the Lions Club Giant Pumpkin weigh-in. Here the giants are measured and judged, as are the thousands of Jack-o’-lanterns  that adorn the  lawn.

Later we joined in the Pie Eating Contest and then ghost stories at the cemetery.  The weekend culminates with the big Pumpkin Festival Parade.

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival will be held October 25-29, 2023.


Most likely the first thing that jumps to mind when we mention October and festival is the German tradition of beer-based festivities. The Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest in New York certainly is worthy of the name.

Hunter is a ski resort, so for a fantastic view of the fall foliage we started the day with a ride on the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift. The top of the mountain can get a little chilly this time of year high in the Catskills.

But beyond the scenic setting, the authentic food, music, and dancing had us believing we might be in Bavaria while the keg rolling, krug carrying, and the masskrugstemmen, which means beer-stein holding, contests kept us cracking up while we competed.

The 2023 Octoberfest will be on the 5th.

David & Veronica,

Your turn: tell us about your favorite Fall Festivals in the comments below.

Things to do in Bordeaux

There is an exciting array of things to see and do in Bordeaux, history, architecture, culture, and of course, wine. Bordeaux has all of these and more…

As we have traveled around the world we have learned so many amazing things about history, architecture, and cultures. While in France, we discovered that the city of Bordeaux has all of these.

There is an exciting array of things to see and do in Bordeaux, so we suggest beginning a visit with a tour. We used to try exploring on our own most of the time, but now we have come to understand that a good tour is best way to get acquainted with a city when visiting for the first time. With this in mind, we are happy to say that we found Free Walking Tours Bordeaux.

Their tours are a great way to get to know the city with a knowledgeable, friendly and experienced local Guide. And guess what, it’s free. Just tip your guide if you feel like they did a good job, and we know you will. There’s just no better way to see the highlights of the city.

After meeting at the Monument aux Girondins, a soaring tower dedicated to the Girondins as martyrs of liberty, take a stroll through the historic center of Bordeaux and get to know some of its secrets such as its special gastronomy, monuments, and of course, the main attractions. Many of these surround the fabulous Place de la Bourse.

Perhaps the most famous of these, the Miroir d’Eau or Water Mirror, is also one of the newest. This unique reflecting pool is made a layer of about an inch of water spread over dark granite slabs. This creates a giant mirror-like pool covering almost forty thousand square feet. If you’re like us then you will need a frame of reference for that size, it is about an acre, or nearly the size of a football field.

The surrounding plaza has become one of Bordeaux’s most recognizable places and is lined by such great examples of eighteenth century classical French architectural that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.

Not far from the square is the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. This theater, which dates back to 1780, is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux and the Ballet National de Bordeaux.

Now we know that there are many of us who love to see the cathedrals throughout Europe, well it just so happens that there are a couple great ones nearby.

The Église Saint-Pierre, or Church of St. Peter, is a fine example of a Gothic church from the 15th century with wonderful stained glass. But the main church for the city is also very close, the Cathedral of St Andrew of Bordeaux.

You really can’t miss it because the spires can be seen towering over the city from almost anywhere in town. The church was founded way back in the year 814, but construction of the current incredible Gothic structure began in 1305.

Walk straight toward the Garonne River from the church and the Porte Cailhau will be directly in front of you. This is the gate into the city at the oldest bridge in the city. The impressive tower remains almost unchanged from when it was built way back when Columbus was sailing around the New World.

But there is more to Bordeaux than historic architecture, the name of the city and surrounding area is basically synonymous with wine. So you might want to check out one of the wonderful wine tours that Free Walking Tours Bordeaux also offers.

You will stroll through the wine merchant streets while learning about the different grape varieties in Bordeaux, the important wine regions in in the area, and how to read a wine label like a pro. And don’t worry, there is definitely some wine tasting. Enjoy glasses of four classic Bordeaux wines, along with a delicious platter of assorted cheeses. The tour also includes a visit to Cité du Vin, the world’s largest wine museum.

So now you can see why we find tours like these are such a great way to get introduced to a city. We also find that it helps plan for returning to take a more in depth visits to some of the places we see and learn about. This is why we always suggest that the tour should be early in your visit if you are staying for more than a day or two.

So, even though we still love to go off and explore on our own, a good tour and guide can certainly make a visit to a city like Bordeaux a much better over all experience.

David & Veronica,

Pursuing the Perfect Pub Food

Eating while traveling doesn’t have to be fancy. We have found pubs to offer outstanding tasty morsels of wonderfulness that can be regionally enlightening and really help us connect to a place… CONTINUE READING >> 

We are huge fans of street food. These tasty morsels of walking wonderfulness really help us connect to a place while we travel.

But sometimes weather, or tradition, don’t always allow for eating on the run. We have found pubs to often offer outstanding alternatives that can be just as regionally enlightening, and with pub gift vouchers they can also be very affordable.

Short for public house, these neighborhood watering holes have served as thirst quenching gathering places for centuries. They also have traditionally fed patrons with quick, hearty, and locally unique meals.

In the British Isles, pubs date back nearly two thousand years to the arrival of the Romans. When the centurions left some five centuries later, the Anglo-Saxons continued to operate taverns. Over time the pubs became a focal point in many communities, as people frequented their “local” near home or work.

For us Ireland springs to mind when the word pub is mentioned, and there is good reason for that since it is home to some of the oldest. So Dublin is where we will begin this look at our experiences with pub grub.

We sought out M.J. O’Niell’s in the Temple Bar district because it came highly recommended, and happily we found they lived up to their reputation.

The location, in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, has been home to a pub for some three hundred years.

Lamb stew and a slab of corned beef, both served with plenty of Irish potatoes, seemed like the right orders, along with a couple o’ pints. It is a pub after all.

Picking our poison was no easy task at O’Neill’s, since they pour forty-five different brews on tap, and a bunch more in bottles, from all over the world.

But when in Ireland a Guinness is always a good call.

The next day we returned to the Temple Bar section for a meal at the Turks Head. This eclectic establishment opened in 1760 and features decor that wildly mixes Turkish Bazaar with corner bar.

The Beef and Guinness casserole, along with the fish & chips, was classic Irish fare. For a change of pace we tried a Bulmer’s Cider to wash it down.

Great Britain also celebrates pub culture. While the number of pubs in London has been declining in recent years, there are still a solid thirty-five-hundred of them across the city. Believe us, finding one wasn’t hard.

Since we were staying by the Paddington station, Dickens Tavern was our “local.” Their menu is packed with great British pub food standards, including iconic dishes like hand-battered fish and chips, pie and mash, and our choice, steak & Ruddles Ale pie, which rocked.

Pudding for breakfast and pie for lunch, we learned to like it… a lot.

In our experience, great pubs are not confined to the big cities. We also found stellar fare in Salisbury, where classic fish and chips with mushy peas at The King’s Head saved us from succumbing to jet lag. The sustenance was enough to give us the strength to make it to Stonehenge a few miles away.

The town also seemed to be the home of quirky pub names. The King’s Head struck us as a little off beat, but right across the street we saw The Slug & Lettuce, and a bit later the Wig & Quill. Got to love it!

In Cornwall we found pub and street food intertwined as the pasty, pronounced pass-tee, was almost everywhere. They are so emblematic that they have been given Protected Geographical Indication status.

Traditional pasties consist of a sturdy crust filled with beef, potato, swede (also known as turnip in Cornwall) and onion. They are designed to be hand-held, as in hand to mouth, but will appear on a plate with gravy when feeling fancy.

Even though we may not have as long of pub history here in the U.S.A., the Brits definitely brought their love of taverns with them to America. Then we took the idea and ran with it.

No doubt the most famous and wide spread American addition to pub food has to be Buffalo Wings.

These tasty little morsels are said to have been invented by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. This is where the name came from, not that somehow bison sprouted new appendages.

We made a pilgrimage to the source and found the bar awash in fanciful decor celebrating the achievement. Why not? They should be proud.

Their story behind the creation of the original hot wing appetizer back in 1964 is that Teressa’s son and some friends came in for a late night snack. With nothing handy to feed them but chicken wings, which were considered superfluous soup bones back then, she decided to fry them up.

Adding some hot sauce and dressing, next thing you know the Anchor had a taste sensation on their hands. The rest, as they say, is history.

We can testify that they are near the top of the list of the many, many, many, many wings we have consumed.

And perhaps any pub food we have ever found.

David & Veronica,

We are always looking for good things to eat so let us know your favorite pub food in the comments below.

This post may contain sponsored links.

Going Back to Barcelona and Seeing it for the First Time

We are going back to Barcelona this Fall, but this time we will be balancing returning to our “must-see” favorites with trying out some new things…

We are going back to Barcelona for our forth visit this Fall, but with a slightly different twist because this time we will have a family member traveling with us who has never been there before. So, we will be balancing returning to our “must-see” favorites that we want to show our new visitor with trying out some new things.

We think that the old classics will be even more fun to see again this time because we will have the excitement of viewing them through the new eyes of our companion.

Many of these sites are within walking distance of each other, so are planning a bit of a walking tour. By starting by the bay at the Christopher Columbus Monument, which stands on the spot where it is said that Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the New World, it is easy to walk toward the city center on La Rambla.

The Main Street of Barcelona

We have come to think of this as the Main Street of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. The shady, tree lined pedestrian boulevard leads from the waterfront to Plaça de Catalunya, with several great things to stop and see along the way.

We love to stop off at the Plaça de George Orwell to soak in the surroundings, and it is a great place to enjoy a quick bite and refreshing drink away from the hustle and bustle of the boulevard.

But we also like to wade into the crowd for a visit to the Boqueria. It is Barcelona’s main market and dates back to 1217, when an open-air meat market sprang up near the city gate. These days it is the city’s main market and a fantastic place to find almost anything from fish, meats and cheeses, to bread, fruits and vegetables, and even flowers.

La Rambla is also where the Teatre Poliorama is located. Built inside the Real Academia de Ciencias y Artes in1899, this is one of the theaters where Gran Gala Flamenco performs. The other theater is the nearby Palau de la Música Catalana, which has a more classic opera style.

Finding the Best Flamenco

For us, seeing Gran Gala Flamenco at either theater will be a new experience that we simply can’t miss. We are eager to have an introduction to the different styles while enjoying the best flamenco show in Barcelona.

And even more so because we are planning to see the show at Palau de la Música Catalana, which includes a tour of the theater and a behind he scenes peek at rehearsal, along with tapas and a drink, with the ticket to the show.

Barcelona has deep roots in flamenco and is considered to be where the unique strumming style for the guitar was originated.

The Center of the City

But flamenco is not the only show in town. La Rambla is well known as one of the premier places to watch street performers anywhere in the world. Many perform as human statues, remaining perfectly still until the clang of a coin dropping into their tip jar brings them suddenly to life. It can be quite surprising!

The number of entertainers seems to grow as you get closer to end of the road at at Plaça de Catalunya. This plaza is considered to be the city center and the dividing line between the old Gothic Quarter and the new city. And even with all of this to see and do along La Rambla, the entire walk is less than a mile.

Sagrada Família

About another mile to the north and east of the plaza is what we like to call “the most incredible building we have ever seen,” Sagrada Família. This imposing cathedral is undoubtedly the pinnacle of architect and designer Antoni Gaudí’s exceptional career.

While there are numerous examples of Gaudí’s work throughout Barcelona, this is the masterpiece. It has been several years since we last saw it, and as we said, our new companion has never had the pleasure, so this will be an exhilarating experience for all of us.

We understand that the work has advanced significantly since our last visit and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to see the progress that has been made.

A perfect example of going back to Barcelona and seeing things for the first time.

David & Veronica,

Main Reasons to Travel as a Student

Young people often dream of traveling. Indeed, it seems like a great hobby to have, considering all the benefits and advantages of traveling as a student… CONTINUE READING >> 

So many young people choose to travel these days. It is easy to see why. Traveling offers rare educational and personal growth opportunities that can’t be replicated in a classroom. On top of that, traveling can be a great stress relief for tired students who just want to have a fine time and make meaningful memories. Indeed, traveling can be an enriching and rewarding experience that offers numerous benefits beyond the classroom. Here are some main reasons why students should consider traveling while still in college.

Global Perspective

Traveling provides a firsthand understanding of cultural differences and people’s diversity. Travelers (min you, it is different from tourists) have no choice but to immerse themselves in new cultures and experience the life around them as it is. Such experiences allow young people to foster a wider worldview and develop a broader perspective on international relations and global issues.

Being open and versatile in different cultures makes you a more open-minded, empathetic, and tolerant person. Students will learn to accept people for who they are, having a better understanding of where they come from. They learn about different customs, traditions, and social norms and accept those nuances in people’s behavior, manners, and attitudes. These can be some of the best lessons a student masters at such a young age. 

Learning Opportunities and Inspiration

Visiting historical sites, museums, and cultural landmarks can deepen their understanding of various subjects, including history, art, and anthropology. It is not like checking if essayshark scam reviews are reliable or not. Here, students obtain more practical skills and witness many lessons they might have otherwise only heard about in a classroom. After all, witnessing the Acropolis of Athens is different from reading about it in a history book. 

Personal Growth and Individuality

Traveling pushes students out of their comfort zones and challenges them to adapt to new situations and environments. This fosters personal growth, self-confidence, and independence. It also exposes students to various ideas and lifestyles, encouraging them to embrace their own individuality and identity as they compare and contrast different ways of living. These experiences can shape their interests, passions, and future goals, adding to their personal growth and development of their individualities. 

Networking and Social Skills

Travelers have no choice but to work on their communication skills. Interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures is a part of the whole package. Such social opportunities can help students develop strong interpersonal skills and build a wide, global network of friends and acquaintances. Plus, such interactions will surely boost their confidence regarding social speaking opportunities. 

Exposure to Career Opportunities and Advantages

Having travel experiences on a resume can make a student stand out to potential employers. It demonstrates adaptability, cultural awareness, and a willingness to embrace new challenges. Thus, travel can actually benefit your future career. These experiences give you an edge, so needed in a competitive job market. 

In addition, traveling can help students broaden their take on the job market and showcase new professional opportunities. Traveling may expose students to career choices they hadn’t considered before. For example, volunteering or interning abroad could open doors to unique professional paths that were not obvious to you people before.

Appreciation of Nature

It is hard to travel without noticing or spending time in nature. Students often visit numerous natural wonders like great mountains, national parks, caves, etc. Though, they also appear to be big fans of beach vacations. Hence, travel provides a great opportunity to connect with nature and explore our planet’s vast and beautiful natural diversity. 

Overall, travel educates us about appreciating nature and the need to protect it. Plus, being in nature is beneficial for physical and mental health, as you tend to stay active and more present at the moment. It is hard to worry about school when you see immense beauty and tranquility all around you.

Stress Relief

Being a student is a full-time job, which can also be very stressful for young minds. Fortunately, travel can serve as a powerful stress relief. Indeed, students should look at the travel experience as their chance to break free from academic pressure and recharge after an inflexible school routine. Students can also read reviews like at and entrust the remaining homework to the hands of the professionals, so they can fully let go of school responsibilities. 

Being in a new place can completely refocus your attention by concentrating on positive impressions and new experiences. Not only will such a change reduce school stress and pressure, but it will also help you feel energized and rested afterward. Thus, it’s fair to argue that travel can benefit students’ overall well-being and health.

Adventure and Fun

Finally, let’s not forget that travel is about fun and adventures. Indeed, sometimes, you don’t need any other reason to travel in your 20s other than having a great time abroad. Many travel destinations for students offer exciting, unique activities, culinary experiences, outdoor adventures, and much more. It is the perfect age to explore the world as you approach it with an open mind, extreme curiosity, and no fear. Traveling is an adventure in itself. It can be a perfect way to create the most cherished moments of a student’s life and fulfill your dreams.