Walking to all of Barcelona’s Must See Sights

BARCA! You a special place in my heart. I didn’t have any expectations but a good time and a good time is forsure what I got. I was in Barcelona for about 6 days which was a great amount of time, a bit too long but also I didn’t do and see everything on my list. I stayed in the Urbany Hostel which I am so lucky because it was in walking distance to almost everything. I created this list so that you can also be in walking distance to everything. That does mean bring good and comfortable walking shoes. I normally do not complain about shoes but even I had to buy little sneakers for the rest of my exploring…Then it started pouring with rain so those little sneakers were soaking wet and I had to buy an umbrella. So be prepared for almost anything… oh and keep in mind the siesta time because they are not kidding…when it’s time to nap oh its time to nap! This just means that the little local stores and restaurants are going to be closed. I found that it tended to start around 3:30/4 and ended around 7:30ish and sometimes 9. So make sure that you have your snacks and water ready! I noticed that the chains like burger king and McDonalds were still open so there’s always that option so you’re not hangry in Barca! Also here’s a little tip Head to the supermarket- like carrefour get some snacks there is a ready to eat counter at most of them! Also you can eat your snacks at Parc Guell, on the beach at the Bonkers!

I organized the list in the order that flowed well with proximity ! I hope it helps!


Bonkers del Carmel – This is a great view point! It is quite a climb up and we did have to crawl over and under a few barriers. I’m not totally sure if this is a city approved location or just a local hangout but it has an amazing view of the city also a great place to watch the sunset or have a picnic.

About a 16 minute walk to…

Parc Guell MUST MUST MUST Get your tickets to see the mosaic benches a head of time! It just guarentees you a time to view them and you don’t have to wait in line. The benches are really pretty and they do give you a great view point of the parc and the entire city! But it is free to walk around the parc and go up the mosiac steps. If you do one thing in Barcelona it should be to see this park. Also if you post one pic on instagram from your time in Barca it should be from this park…it is just so picturesque! Good job Gaudi!

About a 24 minute walk to…

Sagrada Familia – Be organized and Buy your tickets online! From my experience you should probably book a few days in advance! The outside is really cool, like no other building I have ever seen before and of course pictures to ot do it justice for its beauty. I was not organized and did not get to see the inside but that is on my list for next time. The friends that I made said the inside was even more breathtaking than the outside.

About a 20  minute walk is a really great place for brunch at Firebug Restaurant! Such amazing and food that will fill you up for all the walking you’re about to do. The prices were very reasonable! And you can actually see the Arco de Triunfo from the patio of the restaurant.

About a 4 minute walk to…
Arc de triunfo –  It is very pretty and again great for people watching! I sat on a bench and journaled for a few hours. There is a big park that you can definitely walk around or have a picnic if the weather is great!

About a 22 minute walk to…
Casa Batllo – skeleton Balaconies – there is a museum to go inside – since I was on a budget I did not go through the museum – I came to barcelona for three reasons… the tapas, the nightlife and casa batllo. This building did not disappoint! Highly recommend that while you get your steps in that you walk past this beautiful place.

About a 17 minute walk to…La Boqueria – the most amazing food market – walk around check what there is and then walk around a second time – there is so much food, fresh food, enchiladas, freshly squeezed juice, crepes – bring cash – there’s a little atm right outside of it and one further down the street – don’t stress – you can get fresh juice from 1 Euro and like empanada for 3 euros and a full crepe that will need some help finishing for 8 euros. If you keep going along the street you will find…

La Rambla – Shopping !! Shall I say more! All the best european brands are steps away! Check out Stradivarius and Bershka some of the coolest clothes.

About 8 minute walk to…

Barcelona Cathedral – in gothic quarters – another great barcelona building that has so much beauty in a very gothic looking neighborhood.

About a 17 minute walk to…

Barcelonetta  – The beach!! This beach is quite a long one! Taking a long walk down it is the most relaxing and there’s benches to sit and be nostalgic! Be careful I’m gonna warn you…I did see a couple of rats sooo just watch your step 😉 There is also great people watching

Extras

FC Barcelona Camp Nou – book in advance too – I didn’t have time to do this but the friends that I made really enjoyed their time on this tour, they are also big soccer (football) fans. When I go back to Barca I will definitely put this near the top of my list.

Montjuic

Have an extra day – Fountain of Montjuic – check for fountain show times they do change them per the season

For Midnight adventures ! Just a heads up the Spanish start eating dinner at 9 and I’m sure you’re familiar with tapas so they keep eating till around 12 and then hit the disco! …They also don’t come home till about 6 in the morning (see why the siesta time is so important!) Ahah so what I did was eat dinner at 9, then sneak off back to the room and nap for a couple hours and wake up at midnight ready to drink my cervesa. I went to the club Opium, it is definitely one of the best clubs I have ever been to. Really good music (worldwide top 40’s), such a great vibe it was right on the beach (but be careful because I saw a girl’s purse get snatched while she was making out with a guy on the beach). I remember the cover being a bit expensive but it included your first drink so kinda evens out. Ten out of ten recommend!

A map just to glance at and help you when you begin to plan and organize your exploring!

Hope you enjoy this video of me and my friends having the best time ever exploring the streets of Barca! Hehe Just kidding… you millenials will remember its the hit some strut by the Cheetah Girls 2 Movie but notice a lot of the places I recommend in the video!

Tips for a Stress-free Flight

This year I have had my share of airplanes from 40 minutes flights to an 11 hour flight. I’ll be honest I’d rather be on an 11 hour flight than a 40 minute one. I find I get so much more flying anxiety when it comes to the short ‘up annnnnd now your down’ rides. I have learnt a few tips and tricks to help me stay calm, cool and collected during the whole thing.

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My 10 Packing Tips

Here are my packing tips for your next trip!! Most of my vacations involve a giant backpack, but these still work if a suitcase is more your style. I wish I could say I can afford to bring 3 suitcases worth of stuff (because that’s what I want to do) but I can’t, so I usually try and stuff it into a carry on! Hope these help you pack for your adventure 🙂

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Checklist for Victoria, British Columbia

I was in Victoria for little over a month, the first week I was there was all it took for the city to completely take my heart. The city has the country feel with city ambiance, it’s magical. My favourite memory is sitting on these steps between two restaurants(The Local and Darcy’s)  at Bastion Square, listening to a busker (Fintan O’neil) who’s there most Sundays definitely look him up urg amazing! Looking into the distance at the port where water planes are landing. It was a home away from home feeling. 

(Bastion Square- Finton O’neil busking)

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A Weekend in Vancouver

How a day trip to Vancouver turned into a weekend.

We went out the Friday night to Sticky Wickets, our favourite place in Victoria, and end the night earlier than usual but still at McDonalds. Because we were getting the first ferry out to Vancouver. We say goodnight and four hours later we meet back at the parking lot with a good morning.

That McDonalds was not enough for dinner, after bar snack and breakfast…so unfortunately we stayed in line for breakfast on the ferry the entire way and got mediocre eggs but filled bellies for tons of walking.

Off the ferry we get a day bus pass because we plan on seeing most of this city in the next 10 hours… Beginning with Granville Island. It was really cute. Reminded me of the distillery district in Toronto but surrounded by mountains and ocean. The food there was amazing. Grab some fresh bagels & smoked salmon, calamari, fish and chips and settle yourself a little picnic. SO delicious my stomach is growling writing this.

Next stop… we walked all around the pier. The 2008 Vancouver Olympics was an exhilarating time for me. I was old enough to understand and get the hype of the olympics plus they were in my country how could one not get hyped about it. So seeing the flaming torches was incredible and brought me back to my grade 8 excited self. Saw the huge cruise ships ready to doc to Alaska. It was a lovely walk, saw bridal parties, a hobo fishing for change in the fountain, lots of dogs… what a great stroll.

We then rented bikes from a store called Spikes, and rode them all around Stanley Park. I rode an old school bike and made the stroll so much better. It was a beautiful ride. Even my friend Maria, who is not into biking at all and really did not want to partake in this touristy activity, loved it. The ride was amazing and seriously so many spot for pictures and selfies with the group or by yourself. ALSO sooo many great spots for a picnic, literally anywhere. You can choose a spot with a mountainous view or a beach view, a great people watching view.. I may have seen a semi nude beach riding along.

**Still to this day when I’m bored I think to myself ‘’man if I were living in Vancouver I’d be riding my bike around Stanley park’’**

We went around for an hour, returned our bikes and all took a little siesta in a patch of grass in Stanley park. Ahah living that tourist life, nap wherever you can. We then went to Ladurée, the famous Macaron store, but the only one in Canada. MMMmmm it was definitely what I was waiting for. That salted caramel sweetness. Ate dinner at Milestones, ahah I know not to local but it was right there and we were hungry. After a great meal took our buses and trans back to the station.

We get to the station and the machines aren’t working, they’re not letting us buy a ticket to the ferry to Victoria. We go to the counter and ask to buy a ticket with the attendant, and she replies with ‘’it’s gone’’… that’s all she says. She looks up and realizes our blank stares, ‘’the last ferry is gone, it left at 9:30’’. We turn to each other, AHAH WHAT! There is 6 of us, how did that tiny bit of information slip all of our minds. We immediately start brainstorming. What do we do…

We are on the phone for about an hour until we find a motel in West Vancouver. Thank gosh. Our other option was to sleep at the airport. Now our next mission is to get to the motel before our day bus pass runs out. There we go take two trains, two buses, telling everyone on our way how dumb we are and how we’re in this situation now. Everyone just courtesy laughs. I mean we’re those crazy strangers.

We get to the motel, but on the phone we said there were only two of us soo the rest of us have to sneak in. Just our luck our room is two doors down and directly across the front desk.. So we really have to sneak in. This little room was not bad.. Although with all of our smelly shoes, leftover food, and sweaty bodies the room was not smelling so nice. But for a motel was not to bad, have definitely stayed in worse… don’t ask.

We wake up at 6am and get the first ferry back. Oh man we were all in moods. But it was just the cities way of telling us that one day is just not enough.Lesson learned always check the times, no matter how many there are of us.

~stay tuned for videos of this crazy weekend! ~

XOXO

Jac

My Top 5 Things to do around Victoria

Victoria has my heart! These are my top 5 things to do in my favourite place. As you will notice by the end of this post, yes they are all outdoorsy things. If you’re not an outdoorsy person push yourself to go on at least one of these because the view and the Insta pics are worth it!

1.Sooke Trails

This is one of the best hikes I have ever been on. It’s got tons of inclines, tones of tree roots to climb over. It has amazing classic BC views along the way. Bring lots of water and snacks! The beach is a great end point. We stopped and ate lunch with an amazing view of the snowy mountains across the ocean in Washington Park. 

2. Sooke potholes

This is by far the coolest place on the island… well that I’ve seen. You’ll need to be quite adventurous for this place. There’s a hole in the fence that you have to climb to go through. Climb down a rocky hill and you’ve found these pockets of water between rocks and some have little cascades and waterfalls. If you climb around you can jump in. Most places are deep enough to jump, but just a warning check the pothole before you jump!! There are rocks everywhere so be careful! I could spend every weekend there if I could.

~I didn’t bring my phone or camera for pics because knowing me I would have left with water damage to both… but soon there’s a BC video so stay tuned for those vids! ~

3.Mystique Beach

Definitely worth IT! I would say this was a highlight of time in BC. It was a bit out of Victoria, a 2k hike, with roots and inclines but don’t stress. I didn’t get the memo that we would be hiking to the beach… I thought we were just having a beach day… so that’s what I wore…flip flops and jean shorts but it was still fun. There’s a beautiful suspension bridge and huge trees. The beach is like no other. It was simple picturesque with a rope swing… which is way harder than I thought. A day well spent. When we were packing up I saw many people getting their camping gear ready so I’m assuming it’s a great place to camp as well.

4.Town of Duncan

This town is small, very small. We stopped for an hour on a Sunday and that was all we needed.There’s 80 totem poles around the whole town, with beautiful architecture. It has a large First Nations population and it is definitely apparent in the boutique stores, very cute stores. (The ones that are open on Sundays)  

5.Goats on a roof – Town of Coombs

This was interesting… very interesting. There’s grass on the roof tops so that the goats can feed off of. It’s a lovely little street with ice cream and souvenir shops but goats on the roofs… like how? What? I woke up from a nap when we arrived and thought everyone was just fooling me. But no there are goats on the roofs of the stores. They are so cute.

~ my BC video will be out soon where I show the really cute little goats on a roof! ~

If you check out any of these places don’t forget to tag @thebrokegirlsofficial so that I can see all the awesome adventures you went on

XOXO

Jac

Must Try Pubs and Restaurants in Victoria!

Food is always one of my favourite things to do on vacation…well in my everyday life too. But I mean while on vacation checking out new restaurants and local specialties is one of the most exciting things about the trip. During my time in Victoria, BC I tried to go to as many local places as possible. Most of these places are well in the student budget and I guarantee will fill your belly for more exploring and walking!

1. El Furniture Warehouse – @elfurniturevictoria

This place is awesome! Whether you’re on a low budget or want to feast on many things! This place is your place! EVERYTHING on the menu is $4.95… yea EVERYTHING! I had french onion soup on the side of a grilled cheese, but let me tell you about this grilled cheese! Oohh it was like the Joey, a friend we made in Switzerland who fed our pour asses made us dutch grilled cheese! This grilled cheese had goat cheese, white cheddar and cream cheese, urg so good my mouth is watering thinking about it… and the cost.. Did I mention it was $4.95!!! Also they’re open till late.. Like 2 am! So yea I know they have these everywhere but when you’re travelling why not eat somewhere to save a few extra coins.

2. Red Fish Blue Fish (best food truck in Victoria)

This is a Victoria must… fish and chips from a food truck… looking at the water.. I don’t need to say anymore other than it’s really good.

3. Bard and Banker @bardandbanker

THIS PLACE IS A MUST! I walked into this place every time I passed by. It’s an old bank from 1885, that in 2008 got turned into a pub but they left all the original staircase and lights. It has a Gatsby ambiance that makes you want to stay for hours. They serve lunch, dinner and amazing drinks! Also live music every night! It is an older crowd but definitely worth a visit! SO much Fun!

4. The Sticky Wicket Pub & Restaurant- 919 Douglas St

Oh dear this place! The first couple days all our friend decided to go here. When I called to confirm the where everyone was I understood it as Sixteen Witches, so there I was going up to anyone on the street asking for directions to sixteen witches and every local was like ‘oh no that must be new’… which is why I though maybe thats why it  wasn’t on google maps… nope just my brain.

So eventually we figure it out after about an hour, but seriously every town should have a place like this. It has an amazing rooftop patio with heating lamps (those are important) and and AND a volleyball court! The downstairs portion has a great big bar with tones of seats and then in the back… a dance floor that turns into every into a hot, sweaty Shakira. So this place has really got it all.  

5. The Local – 1205 Wharf St.

This place so yummy! Patio food with Insta story worthy patio pics, facing the water.

6. Milestones – 812 Wharf St.

Oh man my favourite restaurant! Monday nights girls nights! Seriously the view from this place is like no other! Right on the boardwalk port! Facing parliament!

7. High Tea at The Fairmont Empress-721 Government Street… But it’s really expensive if you still want the experience of high tea in Victoria find a sugar daddy … maybe you’ll have better luck than me! But I hear it’s an amazing place to feel bougie ! Maybe one day!

8. Darcy’s Pub-1127 Wharf St. 

OOOOOoo yea ! Again this is just beside the local and is your basic pub but with an amazing view. At night they have live bands and great people walk in, definitely a lot of opportunity to make some friends.

9.Chocolats Favoris- 1010 Government St.

Ah-Mazing place for a little sweet craving! I recommend getting the smallest size because it can be so rich and that’s coming from me! I love sweets! So you can pick your ice cream and then what ever flavoured chocolate you want it topped with. My go to was chocolate ice cream with s’mores chocolate coating! mmmmm Mmm mouth still watering.

10. The Joint- 1219 Wharf Street 

This has the best pizza in the city. Best for mid day snack touring around or midnight snack after a night on the town. Right beside the restaurant to the right theres a window… that sells mac and cheese and it is beyond amazing. Sometimes if you go at the right time, they may give you a free one… also fun fact BC is very eco friendly so their forks are wood…adds flavour.

~A video of my Victoria Adventures are to come!!~

XOXO

Jac

Saving that vacation $$

Most of us know that travelling is one of the best experiences you can have. It allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures, learn more about other parts of the world, gain independence, and have a lot of fun. However, it is not usually the cheapest thing to do, and as a broke girl sometimes the thought of affording a trip seems unrealistic. I’m going to share with you guys how this broke girl saved her butt off to afford a 2 week trip through Europe with her girls. This is going to be a documentation of personal experience, but hopefully you can relate it to yourself and use some of the tricks I used.

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Living ‘the life’ in the African Safari

We drive from Cape Town for about an hour and half to the reserve. We enter the gates and drive down this long dirt road for probably a good 15 minutes. Our white rental car is no longer white. Right when we walk in the wood chalet looking house, were given warm toilettes, ok yes this is the life. It get’s better, we’re then greeted with ‘sangria’, yup ok I’ll stay here for the rest of my life.

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