1. Beach Towel // 2. Book // 3. Sunscreen // 4. Hat // 5. T.W.O. Bag // 6. Bathing Suit
T.W.O. was able to spend this past weekend with their entire family. We celebrated March and April birthdays, Easter and got the chance to spend quality time together. There were laughs, good food, sun and beach runs. Check out some photos that were captured this past weekend.
Like most weekends, T.W.O. likes to stay active and find new trails. This past weekend, T.W.O. ventured to Salt Creak Beach and ran the famous trail near the St. Regis and Ritz Carlton. The golf course and ocean views were spectacular. There is no doubt we will be running this trail again and will include a pit stop at the Monarch Cafe.
San Diego. A city filled with adventure, history, scenery, and most of all – great memories! After 10 years, a T.W.O. will be moving from San Diego. These past years has been great in that lots of life time friendships have been made, success stories for the books, wonderful opportunities and a decade filled with happiness. San Diego will be missed, but will be visited very often. If you have never visited San Diego – this is one city you will need to put on the list. Padre and Charger games, Del Mar horse races, beach days, pretty sunsets, delicious restaurants, scenic hikes – it was all experienced. Here is just a re-cap of the past 10 years… Cheers to memories and new beginnings!
If you haven’t already noticed, T.W.O. enjoys traveling. And like most people, we usually get a souvenir (well actually, we should say souvenirs) when we travel! One of those souvenirs has to be a hat. Yes – a hat. It’s an item that we will wear the rest of our trip and get to bring it back home to the States. Beach hat, winter hat, ball cap – doesn’t matter! Here are some of our favorite hats we got a long the way.
Next stop, Barcelona!! This city is the second largest city in Spain and capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Barcelona is located on the northeastern coast of the country, situated on the Mediterranean Sea. It is seen as a modern, but yet very old city where the new elements work to preserve and celebrate the ancient. T.W.O. enjoyed Barcelona very much and would highly recommend that this city be put on your “list of travels.”
T.W.O. stayed at the H10 Montcada Boutique Hotel, located in the “el Barrio Gótico,” next to the “El Born” zone. The hotel was clean, modern, and the staff was very pleasant and helpful. Upon arrival, T.W.O. was offered glasses of cava and complimentary drink coupons for the rooftop bar. T.W.O. definitely spent many evenings on the rooftop bar/lounge to enjoy the amazing views, wine, snacks and company. It was a great spot to write in the T.W.O. journal as well! T.W.O. was able to walk to many places from this hotel, which was very convenient. T.W.O. would highly recommend staying at the H10 Montcada hotel if you are planning a trip to Barcelona.
La Sagrada Familia
A tour of La Sagrada Familia is a must, if you are visiting Barcelona. This famous Basilica was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and is actually still being built. The expected completion date is 2026 as long as the donations continue to be made from private entities, including visitors. The style of the Basilica is considered to be a combination of Spanish late Gothic, Catalan Modernism and to Art Nouveau. T.W.O. highly suggests purchasing tickets online prior to your visit and book the audio and tower tours. It just makes the experience that much better!
Situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gracia district of Barcelona, Parc Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements designed by Antonia Gaudi. It is one of the largest architectural works in South Europe. Seeing that it is situated outskirts of the city, T.W.O. took the metro. On the way, T.W.O. picked up bread, cheese, turkey, and wine to enjoy during their visit to the garden. (Best idea ever!) Parc Güell is filled with many interesting architectural pieces and sculptures that depict the type Gaudi work. It has magnificent views as it overlooks the entire city to the ocean.
T.W.O. spent every afternoon at the beach in Barcelona. After a long day of walking and site seeing, relaxing on the beach was key. The beach was filled with a variety of people- from locals to tourists to even “secret” vendors. The water was warm, but not as warm as it was in San Sebastian. “Beachin’ it in Barcelona” is a must!
T.W.O. enjoyed some fabulous dinners in Barcelona. From tapas to paella, the food was gastronomical.
Ria de Vigo
Ria de Vigo is a great restaurant for its views and paella. T.W.O. wanted to at least eat one dinner overlooking the beach with some delicious paella and Ria de Vigo was perfect for it. T.W.O. ordered manchego cheese, the famous “Pan de Tomato” and seafood paella. And yes, T.W.O. was stuffed after this meal, so they walked back to the hotel.
This tapas bar is a must if you visit Barcelona. T.W.O. stumbled upon this place one night and thought they would give it a try. Little did they know that the food was amazing and is rated to be one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. T.W.O. ordered burrata cheese with tomato and basil, padrón peppers, and skirt steak with a garlic cream chimichurri sauce. Wow. It was one of the most gastronomical dishes T.W.O. had during their Spain trip.
France for the day? Why not!?! T.W.O. took a day trip from San Sebastian to Biarritz to check out Europe’s Surf Capital. This luxurious French beachtown is about forty-five minutes from the border of Spain and is located on the Bay of Biscay. Biarritz is filled with tourists and surfers of all ages. Here are some of the highlights of T.W.O.’s quick visit!
T.W.O. took the Alsa bus from San Sebastian to Biarritz. It was a great way to see all the small towns and experience “crossing the border” from Spain to France. As soon as we crossed the border into France, the bus stopped and the French police came on board to check our passports. Good thing T.W.O. brought those with us!!! En route, we saw the French coastline, two different campsites filled with retro looking trailers, beaches, bakeries, road bikers and a bountiful of hydrangea plants.
City of Biarritz
Biarritz is a great place to shop, eat and go to the beach. T.W.O. strolled around the city, stopping in stores along the way and bought linen snow-leopard scarves to keep warm. It was overcast in the morning and the summer attire T.W.O. was wearing was not doing it for them. FRENCH SOUVONIEUR…CHECK! T.W.O. noticed that a lot of people didn’t speak English and T.W.O. doesn’t speak French, so there was some communication issues. Au revoir, not hasta luego! Just kidding….T.W.O. got the feeling that people didn’t want to give them the time of day sinceT.W.O. was not speaking French. Other than that, T.W.O.‘s France experience was great!
T.W.O. stumbled upon a framers market in the center of town. The market was divided into two sections: one section with fresh produce stores and bakeries and the other section with fish and meat stores. The fish and meat side was smelly, so T.W.O. spent less time there! Farmers markets in different countries are so amazing. The produce, baked goods and deli selection are very different from what you would find in the US. The cheese display in Biarritz was plentiful and it was hard to walk away from the sample section. T.W.O. probably ate about ½ pound of cheese in 20 minutes. Any opportunity T.W.O. gets to go to a farmers market, even if it is just to look around, T.W.O. will go out of their way to make the trek.
Fresh Salads and a view! After about 2 hours, T.W.O. finally found a restaurant that had an English menu and a great view. (Good things take time, right?)
The beach in Biarritz was filled with travelers from all over the world. T.W.O. met some new friends from Scotland. They travel to Biarritz every year for a long weekend to enjoy the serenity and small beach town atmosphere. The water was on the colder side, but refreshing to cool T.W.O. down from the hot sun. Yes – the clouds burned off and T.W.O. was able to get their tan on!
The Famous Farmers Market Tote
T.W.O. was in search for the perfect farmers market tote and the mission was accomplished in Biarritz. Down the street from the farmers market, there was a cooking supply store (like a Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, etc.) that had a ton of the market totes stacked up in all different sizes and colors. Once calmed down from the excitement, T.W.O. happily purchased the tote that was dreamt about for months. (More on this tote in a future post.)
You can’t go to France without getting a baguette and pastry, so T.W.O. ended the day trip with these two things. T.W.O.enjoyed their snacks in a small park, while waiting for the bus back to San Sebastian.
Au Revoir Biarritz!!!
Southern California has some of the best outdoor activities in the nation year around. One of T.W.O.’s favorite activities in SoCal is to hike Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla, California. There are 8 trails at the reserve and range from ½ mile to 1 ½ miles. Each trail has magnificent views of the ocean and coastline. Take the “Beach trail” if you want to get down to the beach (hence the name!) and walk the sandy coast of SoCal. This hike is a great way to start your day, end your day or fill in some time you have in the middle!
Cheers to being healthy, active, and happy!