Author: Juna

A Tranquil Getaway to Ibiza

After moving houses within Barcelona recently, I was craving some relaxing weekender somewhere close and sunny. I spontaneously booked flights to Ibiza for a weekend in April and an all-inclusive hotel (yes, you read correctly!) close to the beach. That this would turn out to be the best idea and one of the most relaxing holidays I’ve had so far, came as quite a surprise to myself. Ibiza had seen a good amount of rain before I arrived but my luggage remained optimistic so I got in that holiday mood packing bathing suits, my espadrilles and a beach hat for the weekend ahead. And neither me nor my luggage were disappointed. Ibiza welcomed us with soothing sunshine and a comfy hotel. The Marble Stella Maris hotel might not be my cup of tea during summer but in off season it turned out be an excellent accommodation. The food was decent, the rooms stylish, the pools many and the beaches close by. Before heading to the beach (after relaxing by the pool), I made a quick …

Roaming Rome – A Slow Winter Escape to the Eternal City

My first solo trip of the year has come to be one of those big places I haven’t managed to see before. 2 years ago Paris, last year Budapest and now it was about time to pay Rome a visit. You know I’m not a big fan of classical sightseeing but you can hardly go to Rome without passing by a whole repertoire of staggering architecture every 5 minutes. At the same time, staying in the artists’ quarter Trastevere right across the Tiber gave me all the opportunities to just roam around and soak all the buzzing city life in. I’m normally not a person who changes her mind constantly but I struggled a bit with the choice of my hotel. In the end, I decided for the lovely Residenza Doria Pamphilj. The old building was situated in a small yard within the nooks of Trastevere, had an absolutely beautiful garden and modern, spacious rooms. As it was both in Trastevere and directly located at the Tiber close to the centre, it was the ideal …

Travelling through the world and the cosmic space of my own four walls 2017

2017 has been a year full of travels for me. And that not so as to escape home. After all, I live in magnificent Barcelona and it has been my first full year in this city. I think it’s the constant need and lust to explore, to be surprised, to live deeper that has had me hop on airplanes and roads much more often than ever before. So I’m putting together my travel highlights of this year and some plans for the next. Maybe there is some inspiration for your bucket list among them. January – Budapest, Hungary My first city and solo trip this year would take me to -20ºC Budapest. I had always wanted to visit this place and was absolutely amazed by all its morbid beauty, coffee scene, fin de siecle architecture and ruin pubs. February – Palermo, Sicily Without a doubt my top destination this year! I imagine whole Sicily beautiful throughout summer season, but Palermo in winter was an unexpected highlight. Fresco-like architecture all around, gelato, arancini, street food, enchanting …

The Big Journey – Returning Home for the Holidays

There is this one big journey you probably take at least once a year no matter how far you live away from that destination. I’m not talking about an extensive retreat or adventure trip at the other end of the world here. I’m talking about that kind of flight on which anticipation meets a sudden queasy feeling. I’m talking about returning home for the holidays. As much as I travel – far, close, alone, with others – visiting my native town, my home, my old children’s room is always one of the biggest challenges in the travel cosmos. So here’s a little unusual and not so serious piece (or call it survival guide) on the 5 phases of going back where you come from. 1 – The “It’s actually all not too ugly” phase So you come back and see everything with completely different eyes as they say. Enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be long. It’s this phase where your up to now unconscious nostalgia comes through and you put a shiny filter …

Berlin in the Cold

There are places that have this yearning melancholy to it. Berlin has always been that place for me. And so I returned to the German capital to pack some of my last belongings when that feeling of melancholy is the strongest: in the crispy cold with small snow flakes falling down on the grey city. An also grey but incredibly cosy shelter from Berlin winter was my studio in Prenzlauer Berg. I arrived late at night at the airport, so I enjoyed falling into that supersoft bed just the more. The next day the temperature dropped to 0ºC and so a coffee and waffles at The Barn Coffee Roasters were overdue. Warmed up, I made my way to Kreuzberg to visit Markthalle Neun. I’ve always loved the regular food market here but now in December it got even better: it had turned into a Christmas food and hand-made gift market. The perfect place for my pre-Christmas trip! Over the Spree and through the heavy cold, I went further down to Friedrichshain to stroll the organic …

A Hygge Holiday

You would think that a cancelled holiday would mean a little (travel)heartbreak to me. And indeed, it was not easy for me to call off the planned getaway to a cosy cabin in the midst of the Mallorquin countryside. But I had fallen sick some days before and was in no condition to step on a flight. And to be quite frank, I think it was not the worst thing to happen. As much as I enjoy travelling, I have been on the road so often this year that it felt good to slow down for a few days, pick up a book, take care of myself, prepare lots of breakfast and hop on a train for a relaxed day trip. But it all started with me being pretty sick, so the first days meant bed, sofa, bed, tea and some reading. My taste in books is pretty highbrow… except for the Christmas season. This is when I fall for all those kitschy single-girl-owns-a-quaint-bakery-fights-the-evil-company-chain-Christmas-is-almost-ruined-but-then-all-is-merry-after-all-plus-snowflakes novels. I’m quite sure they did help me recover though. So …

Drifting through Fez

With living so close, I have come to be a regular Morocco traveller by now. Hardly any other destination can put one into a whole new setting within not even a 2-hour-flight. It’s this compelling chaos that takes me back again and again. Fez is often recommended as a first stop in Morocco and yet it took me some Marrakech and Tangier as well as Essaouira trips to come here. Once the country’s capital and with one of the biggest medinas in the world, Fez has a lot to offer. Yet it has kept in my opinion more of its original tradition and pace. It’s less touristy, less entertaining than Marrakech and at the same time less rough than the coastal cities Tangier and Essaouira. The 2017 edition of Lonely Planet Morocco describes its medina as rather rundown and ragged. Arriving in Fez, I experienced quite the contrary: Initiatives to let the medina shine in new splendour have already brought out a visible effect. I arrived in Fez late in the evening and was directly …

Mountains, Medinas and Mezquita: Heading south to Córdoba and Granada

When the August sun stood the highest in Barcelona, I decided to head south to Córdoba and Granada – at 42ºC. So let me take you to the magnificent south of Spain where siestas are long, food comfortingly heavy and conversations heated. The train took me from Barcelona to Córdoba in four and a half hours. With its white and yellow facades, beautiful architecture and candid people it reminded me much of Sevilla. Yet the city has so many Moorish influences, unique cuisine (Salmorejo! Flamenquines!) and tranquil vibes that it easily stands out. The Urban Vida Stays apartment in Córdoba’s old town was the perfect basis to explore the city. After a refreshening shower I went out to stroll around and had the city almost to myself due to the unbearable heat. If there is one must-do in Córdoba, it’s the Mezquita. And I failed to go in. Summer opening times didn’t play into my hands, so at least I know I need to go back soon. What I did see and love was the Judería. The …

My Bars, my Boutiques, my Barrios – A Barcelona Neighbourhood Guide to Indulge in

Barcelona is unlike many other cities in Europe a master of understatement even though it is overflowing with culture, architecture, artisans, bars, restaurants and nature. The good thing is: There is no such thing as the restaurant to go to. Which is why I always recommend to avoid the big venues – whether it be for dining or shopping. Barcelona’s gems can be found in the midst of the winding alleys of Gótico, on the casual placas of Gràcia, in beautiful El Born and pretty much always just around your corner. That said, I understand it’s not always easy to locate future favourite places among a great offer on a 4-day-city-trip. And so it happens that more and more fellow travellers and friends ask me for my insider tips. As I have created such lists from scratch every single time anew, I thought it was finally time for a post with my personal Barcelona insider tips. This list is neither complete nor to everyone’s taste but might give you a guiding lead. And as you …