Long summer evenings allow for time basking in the park and having a picnic. Enjoying a rare bottle of wine in which one must hand write a letter to the owner to get some of his produce. Local sausages and cured meats and cheese from around Europe. This is the reward and the celebration of the end from enduring months of bad management and borderline bullying behaviours.
The “bordas” are typical rural buildings made of wood and stone, legacy of Andorra’s rural past. Bordas were used as haystacks, stables, refuges or to store farm implements. With the change in lifestyle, many bordas were abandoned and only recently converted over the years into hotels, houses or rustic restaurants.
Borda del Rector is in the entrance to Incles Valley, between Soldeu and El Tarter. It has been opened since 1968 and specializes in homemade Andorran cuisine.
Being in between Spain and France, Andorra has taken on cooking traditions from both these countries and has also developed and maintained some of its own, unique recipes, using local wild produce as much as possible.
In the extreme northwest of Andorra, in the parish of Ordino and adjacent to the border with France; protected by the top of some of the Pyrenees mountains, and chaired by the Tristaina peak (2,878 meters high), is a group of three lakes.
A 6.5km walk will take you through the three lakes starting with a steep initial climb which has a slope of around 300 meters. The first lake, “Estany Primer”, is at 2250 meters high. The third and highest, at 2330mts, is called the “Estany de Més Amunt”.
Start the walk early for two reasons. First, there will be a lot less people. And secondly, local knowledge says that the best weather is in the mornings, and that it is more likely to rain in the afternoon.
In each lake fly fishers try their luck. They can only take a maximum of 8 fishes of 22cm long as a minimum. Fish introduced a long time ago by humans as originally this glacier did not have any fish.
In Europe Andorra ranks in as the sixth smallest nation. It consists of 181 square miles and a population of only 78,000.
This tiny country has one of the highest human life expectancies in the world, the expected life span of a person is 82 years of age.
With no airports and no rail system it is a wonder that over 10 million tourists visit Andorra each year, mostly for the skiing. Andorra’s revenue is generated from all these visitors; it constitutes ~80% of Andorra’s GDP along with the finance sector.
This little country in the Pyrenees is divided in parishes. Ordino, at 1,298m high, has 4810 inhabitants and is one of the most beautiful Andorran towns. A nice place to stay with numerous restaurants to pick from
Gaudi’s most famous creation is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world with around five million visitors every year.
When the Sagrada Familia is fully built, it will have 18 towers to represent the twelve apostles, the four books of Jesus, the master tower for Jesus and another one for Mary.
Today only 8 towers are completed, four are part of the Nativity facade and four are part of the Passion facade. The Nativity facade was completed under the supervision of Gaudi himself in 1935.
Those with fear of heights can be at peace as there are no sudden drops or open spaces. The climb up is normally in a lift; though once you have checked out the views from the top, everyone must walk down approximately 400 stairs along a spiral staircase. For those brave enough make sure you step out into the little balconies and look up as well as down
This park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. It was originally planned to be a housing estate with big gardens and green spaces for around 60 villas but only two houses were actually completed due to a lack of interest. One of which Gaudí lived in, though designed by architect Francesc Berenguer in 1904.
The park’s design, as all of Gaudí’s works, is built with the natural environment on which it was situated, taking advantage of the mountain it sits in, rather than fighting it. The park is in 17 hectares and includes rounded forms, columns that look like tree trunks, animal figures and mimics nature’s shapes. Most of the architectonic elements are decorated with mosaics made from colourful ceramic pieces with a technique called “trencadis” which Gaudí is said to have invented. The technique is used to cover structures with colourful mosaic, normally in odd shapes and pieces of ceramic, glass or marble tiles.
The park owes its name to Eusebi Güell who commissioned Antoni Gaudi for building Park Güell. Back in those days, the mountain was called “Muntanya Pelada” (bare mountain) because it was so barren. It is almost impossible to imagine what that might have looked like.
El Mercado de la Boqueria is a 2,500 square meter market that sits on the site where the Convent of San José was founded in 1586. La Rambla became very popular and in the 1820s when the Monastery was destroyed by a fire, the market was transferred to this location.
The market is a labyrinth with more than 300 stands that sell food and produce from near and far. You can have lunch or dinner there trying all sorts of things, from razorfish to cuttlefish, snails to rabo de toro. And any type of ham imaginable.
Montjuïc hill is 173 meters high and next to the sea. It houses the National Museum of Art in Cataluña in the Palau Nacional; which was designed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition.
It is said that the word ‘Montjuïc’ comes from Mountain of the jews as there was a Jewish cemetery with medieval origins in the mountain. The other theory is that the name comes from ‘Monte Jovis’ as there might have been a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter.
The mount has historical importance not only for the events there occurred but also as the quarry that used to be there provided most of the stone for the historic buildings in Barcelona.
The easiest way to get here is by metro that connects to a 5 minute funicular ride. Advisable in hot summer days.
This building was added in 2003 to the Barcelona skyline. The tower’s name is Torre Agbar, Agbar being a made up word from the towers original owners: Aguas de Barcelona.
It is said that its architect Jean Nouvel was inspired by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and the Montserrat mountain in Barcelona. Might have designed it as a geyser rising into the air but the truth is that people see the tower and relates it to more common objects and has been named the suppository, the shell, the cock, the bullet, the cucumber and many more.
At 144 metres tall it is the third tallest building in the city and provides an imposing observation deck over the new Barcelona though it is not open to the public. It has a glass surface in which the colours of the Mediterranean (and many more) are reflected at night thanks to the 4,500 illuminated glass panels that serve as windows.
The tower has won prices for being a green building, one that harnesses solar power and groundwater to reduce energy consumption.
The tower has 32 floors, of which 28 can be used as office spaces. It is still unclear to me what the building is actually used for as the debate for a hotel license has taken years. It is true though that it is a good reference point and a spectacle by night.
Among the sand, on promenades, or in groups of tiny “villages”, are brightly coloured, shed-like structures that make the British coastline unique. It is estimated that there are at least 20,000 of these typical and iconic beach huts along England’s shores.
Local authorities usually stipulate colour schemes. Here in Hove, beach huts must be a specific iceplant green and dark cherry. Doors can be any single solid colour or vertically striped in multiple colours. Hut doors can now be constructed from either panelling or tongue and groove.
A licence fee for 2018/19 is £367.20 including VAT.
These huts are in not in Brighton but in Hove, actually. An important distinction between where is posh and where is not.