Placa de Catalunya-
For many people, Placa de Catalunya is the center of Barcelona. It is where many cultural events, as well as many protests, take place. Many tourists will feed the pigeons there, so watch out for the after effects falling from the sky.
Passeig de Gracia-
One of the most beautiful streets I have ever walked, Passeig de Gracia leads from Placa de Catalunya up to the Gracia area.
Located on Passeig de Gracia, Casa Battlò is a beautiful building. It was designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and was formerly a home to the Battlò family. It is an icon of Barcelona, and is decorated with roses for Sant Jordi, the Catalan equivalent of Valentine's Day. Tours of the building are offered, but in my opinion the best way to get the most bang for your buck is to go for one of the summer concerts. For one price you can get the augmented reality tour of building (that highlights some of Gaudi's inspiration), a drink on the rooftop, a rooftop concert, and beautiful sunset views overlooking Barcelona. This building holds special significance for me because I visited it on the night I got engaged to my wife, and we were fortunate enough to catch a view of some of the fireworks from La Merce from the rooftop as well.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)-
Another one of Gaudi's masterpieces is Casa Mila, or as it is more commonly known, La Pedrera (meaning "the stone quarry"). I was able to take a tour of the inside on a field trip with the school I was teaching English at in Vilanova i la Geltru. Some of the rooms of the unique building are still being rented as apartments, while others have been converted to things like a gift shop, cafe, and offices. Like Casa Batllò, La Pedrera also hosts a rooftop concert series.
For watching English language movies (Original Version) in the center of Barcelona, it doesn't get much better than Yelmo Comedia. While not one of the more impressive movie theaters I have visited, it is very economically priced, and extremely well located. I caught Marvel's Infinity War and Endgame there, among other films.
I was able to visit the Egyptian Museum during a night when they offered free entry, but in retrospect due to the hour+ of waiting in line I think it would be worth paying the €12 entry fee. The museum, while not as big as the Egyptian museum in Turin, does have some interesting artifacts and was a very nice place to check out.
I stopped at the Apple Store in Barcelona after my iPhone was stolen. While I was unfortunately was unable to locate it, I was able to do a mobile wipe of the data.
If you need to pick up phone chargers, cables, or other electronics, FNAC is a good place to look. It is a store similar to Best Buy that sells a variety of electronics, as well as things like books and comics. There is one centrally located in Barcelona next to Placa de Catalunya.
Where I ate and drank:
The main Satan's Coffee location is in the Gothic Quarter, and is an OG of craft coffee in Barcelona. They have since opened up a spot inside the hip Casa Bonay hotel near Plaza de Tetuán. The beans they use are roasted by Right Side Roasters in Castelldefels just outside of Barcelona and they offer a small food menu as well. Also located in Casa Bona is Libertine cocktail bar, which serves some of the tastiest cocktails I've ever had, and in a cool, relaxed setting.
Bacoa Burger Universitat-
Bacoa has a few locations in Barcelona, and they offer quality burger (and veggie burger) options, as well as limited craft beer options.
Appearing as a barber shop from the outside, Bobby's Free does not actually cut hair. It is instead a quality speakeasy that serves excellent drinks and offers live music on select nights.
Flax & Kale à Porter-
With a few locations in different areas of Barcelona, Flax & Kale offers some delicious, healthy food and drink options. One of their locations is actually inside an H&M clothing store at the intersection of Passeig de Gracia and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. The cafe there on the 2nd story offers views of the pretty fountain in the center of the intersection.
Located around the corner from Placa de Catalunya, Milano offer quality live music and serves up excellent cocktails.
Dow Jones Bar-
Like its namesake drink prices at the Dow Jones Bar fluctuate based on how many people are purchasing them. When a particular drink is purchased, its price goes up. If a drink is not purchased for a while, its price goes down. It is a fun little gimmick, but wouldn't be a great place to find any craft drinks.
Woki Organic Market-
Similar to a very small Whole Foods, Woki Organic Market offers food to eat in its cafe as well as groceries to take home.
Hammock Juice Station-
If you feel like sitting in a hammock while eating tasty, healthy food and drink, Hammock Juice Station is the place to go. For those that tend to feel unstable in hammocks, they do offer some more stable seating options.
Les Gens Que J'Aime-
If you are looking for a quite place to chat and get a good cocktail, Les Gens Que J'Aime is a nice place to check out.
The Growler has some excellent craft beer options.
When I need to work on wifi, ImaginCafe was one of the places I tended to go. The food and drink are good, but not amazing. However, there are many places in ImaginCafe to work or even have meetings, and the wifi was good.
Unfortunately Wer-Haus has closed down, but it used to be one of my favorite cafes in Barcelona. It also double as a clothing/home goods store, and was an excellent place to get great craft coffee and tasty, healthy food. Their website says "Be back soon," so hopefully they will reopen again.
Set in a beautiful building, Chocolates Brescó offers delicious artisanal chocolates.
Sporting an amazing name, Billy Brunch offers some very quality brunch options.
Bar Centro offers some great craft beer options as well as some tasty sandwich options.
Part of a small chain of restaurants that also includes Milk in the Gothic Quarter and Marmalade in El Raval, Firebug offers a very similar menu to its sister restaurants. My favorite part of their menus are their brunch offerings.
Bonavida is a hip, stylish place with great cocktails.
Their motto is "craft beer and crazy food," and they live up to that. The drink options are great and the food is very tasty.
Started by Catalans that went to university in the US, CocoVail is a beer hall that is my favorite place in Barcelona to watch things like NFL games, college football games, or NCAA basketball games. They have about 40 craft beers on tap, as well as some good food options and a fun environment.
Other Places I visited:
Granja Petitbo- good food options
La Esquina- good espresso drinks and good food
The George Payne- I watched my first Eurovision there
Super Coffee & Food- some good healthy options, but most are microwaved
Somewhere Aragó- I had a nice "menu del dia" there
Perluo Cafe- craft coffee and tasty treats
Where I stayed:
St. Christopher's Hostel-
My first time in Barcelona I stayed at St. Christopher's Hostel. It was very nice and clean, but did not have the same community feel I have felt at other hostels. That being said, it is typically very well priced and very centrally located. Also, there were curtains on the dorm beds and sizable lockers.
What I did and saw:
Basilica de la Sagrada Familia-
The Sagrada Familia is still the most impressive building, and it is still not finished yet. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026, but it remains to be seen if it will be finished on that schedule. Designed by Antoni Guadi, who is responsible for many of Barcelona's famous landmarks, the building is impressive in both its size and its detail.
Teatre Nacional de Catalunya-
The Teatre Nacional de Catalunya is a theater and event space. I visited it when it played host to the All Those Food Market, which featured a number of local restaurants, cafes, vendors, and artisans. It was a nice way to get a sampling of a variety of interesting food and drink items all in one fun place.
Mercat dels Encants-
Located around the corner from the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya is the Mercat dels Encats. It is essential a very large flea market where a very wide variety of different products are sold at low prices.
Arc de Triomf-
Built for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair, the Arc de Triomf is a beautiful gateway that leads towards the Parc de la Ciutadella. It is also the site of various festivals, and there are often street performers active in the area.
Where I ate and drank:
Three Marks Coffee-
In a city with a number of great cafes that I love, my favorite cafe in Barcelona is Three Marks Coffee. They offer excellent craft coffee and some tasty and healthy snacks. I would often get a nitro cold brew or just a batch brew and work (the wifi is good too), read, or chat with friends.
Run by the 2019 Spain AeroPress Champ, Jianit Cai, you would be hard-pressed (pardon the pun) to find a better cup of AeroPress in Barcelona. They also serve some tasty snacks and offer good wifi.
The best Chinese food I've had in Barcelona was at Chen Ji, right around the corner from the Arc de Triomf and the Estacio del Nord bus station.
The best taco place I have been to in Barcelona is La Taqueria, just around the corner from the beautiful Sagrada Familia. The food is super tasty, and there is a specialty Mexican market across the street if you want to try recreate the deliciousness at home.
Cal Marius 449-
If you are looking for an inexpensive pastrami sandwich, Cal Marius 449 is a good option. They serve sandwiches not typically found in Barcelona.
La Bona Pinta-
Although it is not a large place, La Bona Pinta has an excellent selection of craft beers.
For next time:
Next time in the Fort Pienc/Sagrada Familia area I would like to check out Monk Station, which is said to have an excellent selection of Belgian brews.
The following episodes are all live! You can find links to listen to them on your favorite podcast platform on the Podcast page.
Here is a synopsis of the first three episodes:
Ep 1: ACBC— Our first international trips, Anna-Lise’s 1st trip to the USA
On this introductory ACBC episode, Billy & Anna-Lise talk about how they met, why they each decided to move to Barcelona, their first international trips, some of the traveling they did growing up, and the cultural differences Anna-Lise noticed her first time in the US.
Ep 2: Kristi Couchenour— Semester abroad in Australia, Summer Eurotrip
This episode features I talk with my sister Kristi talks about her semester abroad in Australia and our month traveling in Europe.
Ep 3: Logan & Laura Part 1— Love on the Camino de Santiago (Northern Spain) and in Costa Rica
This episode is part 1 of a 2 part episode with my friends Logan & Laura, and on this episode they talk about meeting each other on the Camino de Santiago and the beginning of their Central/South America trip in Costa Rica.
Also, check back for a new blog post and a new podcast episode next week!
Welcome to the Healthy Explorer Blog. If you like travel stories have a look around my blog and check out my podcast— maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.
The past couple months I have been interviewing some guests for podcast episodes. I wanted to give people a place to share and listen to travel stories and travel tips. With the podcast I hope to inspire you to see, taste, and explore more of the world by sharing my experiences as well as the anecdotes of other travelers I have met along the way. As with this blog, if you like travel stories check out my new podcast and maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.
Here's a link to the trailer:
The past year has been rather eventful. I lost my English teaching job after the Spanish government closed the program I was working for, which prevented me from renewing my visa. I got engaged to the woman of my dreams. I took a course to earn my CELTA certificate. I found out I will need surgery on my shoulder. I married the woman of my dreams. Coronavirus happened, throwing a significant wrench in any travel plans. I haven't made any posts here for the past six months.
However, this has allowed me to do some things I otherwise would not have been able to do. And there is a lot to look forward to. I was able to see many family and friends that I had not seen in a while (prior to the coronavirus) and connect with more family and friends virtually. I am going back to weekly posts here on the blog (up next are some posts on the different neighborhoods of Barcelona). I am also starting a podcast with new episodes every week. And, as different locations begin to open up again, I hope to do more traveling again soon. Whether you are reading this blog (or listening to the podcast) simply for enjoyment, to remember past trips, or to find inspiration for future travel, I hope you find what you are looking for. To use the words of T.S. Eliot, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
Rail Europe (which used to be known as Loco2) is a great app for buying train tickets in Europe. I have used this app to travel from Paris to Barcelona, from Barcelona to Valencia, from London to Bristol, from Milan to Venice, from Venice to Florence, to Andalusian cities like Malaga, Granada, and Seville, and to other English cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester, and Nottingham. Here are my thoughts on the app after using it:
The app's old name, Loco2, refers to its environmental friendliness. Trains use less carbon dioxide than other methods of travel, so the Loco2 name is a play on words for both "locomotive" and "low CO2." Although it has changed names, it still has kept its environmental conscious mission.
Easy to use-
The app is very easy to use. First, you pick your starting point and you destination, which can be general or specific, such as "any station in London" or "Victoria Station." Then you can choose the date and time and click search, and it will give you a variety of different options.
Multiple transport methods-
Although the main focus of Rail Europe is obviously train travel, it will also search some bus options. This makes it a great place to start regardless of the method of travel you are planning on taking. I used the bus option when I was traveling in Andalusia, as there are not great direct train routes there.
Rail Europe uses something called "Pricehack" for many train routes that helps to reduce the cost of train tickets. When you have to connect trains and purchase directly through the train company, sometimes you will be charged more. However, with Rail Europe they will combine the cheapest possible fares, resulting in a cheaper price. This has helped me get cheaper tickets multiple times.
Whether you use the website or the app, Rail Europe is a great resource to use when traveling in Europe. It is the first place I check when looking for train or bus travel. If I need to get from city to city in Europe, the only site or I use as much as Rail Europe is Google Flights. I highly recommend checking out Rail Europe if you are traveling in Europe.
I have had the opportunity to explore quite a few different cities in the world so far, and with the year 2020 coming up, I thought I could share my 20 favorite cities so far. Here is my Top 20 for 2020 Countdown-
20. Cadaques and Portlligat, Catalonia, Spain:
19. Prague, Czech Republic:
18. Bristol, England, UK:
17. Malaga, Andalusia, Spain:
16. Valencia, Spain:
15. Valletta, Malta:
14. Plakias, Crete, Greece
13. Montreal, Quebec, Canada:
12. Brussels, Belgium:
11. London, England, UK:
10. New Orleans, LA, USA:
9. Austin, TX, USA:
8. Jerusalem, Israel:
7. Miami, FL, USA:
6. Jaco, Costa Rica:
5. Boston, MA, USA:
4. St. Petersburg, FL, USA:
3. Rome, Lazio, Italy:
2. Lisbon, Portugal:
1. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain:
Barcelona is an absolutely beautiful city. With the influence of architects like Gaudi, the city has a unique feel to it. His works such as Casa Batllo and La Pedrera make Passeig de Gracia one of the most beautiful streets in the world, and the Sagrada Familia is the most impressive building I have ever been in. Barcelona also has a great food scene and is influenced by famous chefs like the Adria brothers. The city also has an emerging craft beer and coffee scene, lending to a nice mix of traditional and innovative. There are also a number of quality food markets throughout the city. Barcelona is extremely walkable (as long as you don't get pickpocketed) and has a relatively good public transportation system. You can walk from medieval buildings to a beach in a matter of minutes, and while the beaches in the city aren't the nicest, there are beautiful beaches to be found on the outskirts of the city. While there are distinct seasons and the temperature can touch freezing for a day or two in the winter, the Mediterranean coast keeps the climate relatively moderate.
In many cities in Europe there are some great Christmas markets during the Christmas season. They usually offer mulled wine, various foods, and sell a variety of different things. Many of them will have bands playing Christmas music and other events going on. Here are a few of the Christmas markets I have had the chance to explore:
Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market)-
Germany is famous for its Christmas Markets. They sell a variety of trinkets as well as food and drink. It was fun to walk through the market and see the Christmas decorations and different stands. Also, when buying "Glühwein" you are served in a nice mug. If you return the mug you will get your downpayment back (of a couple euros) or you can just keep it as a souvenir! I was also to try the currywurst at the market.
Prague Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square-
I was able to explore Christmas markets in Prague's Old Town Square and in Wenceslas Square. The Old Town Square is the most prominent square in Prague. It has a large historical significance and dates back to the 1100’s. Some of the major sites in and around the square are the Church of Saint Nicholas and the Astronomical clock. During the winter the Old Town Square plays host to a Christmas market. The namesake of Wenceslas Square, Saint Wenceslas is the patron saint of Bohemia and the inspiration for the “Good King Wenceslas” Christmas carol. It is also the site of many demonstrations. Some of the most famous demonstrations took place during the Velvet Revolution, also known as the Gentle Revolution, when power was transferred from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to the Czech Republic through non-violent means.
Brussels Christmas Market-
The Brussels Christmas Market was outstanding. It is very large and is full of stands with delicious food and drink. They have delicious treats such as shaved beef and mulled wine. It is even great just to walk through even if you aren't buying anything.
Ghent Christmas Market-
During the Christmas season Ghent puts on a wonderful Christmas Market in their city center. It contains a number of different food stalls as well as places to buy gifts for others. While at the Christmas market I was also able to see both the Korenmarkt and the Saint Nicholas Church. It is a beautiful and festive place to walk through, and they even had things like a goose parade.
Bruges Christmas Market-
The Christmas Market in Bruges is a beautiful and interesting place to walk through. They had an ice skating rink and numerous stands with tasty food and drink, along with various other items.
Berlin Christmas Markets-
Berlin, like many other German cities, has some great Christmas Markets. While some of them had closed for the season before I got there, some were still open, and they were great to visit.
Cologne Christmas Market (Heunarkt)-
I was in Cologne after Christmas Day, so the main Christmas market in Cologne in front of its famous cathedral was closed when I was there. However there were still other Christmas markets open in the city. One of the open markets was in the Heunarkt area, and it was a great Christmas market in its own right, complete with some great food, drink, and even an ice skating rink.
Caga Tió, Caganers, and Los Reyes Magos-
Although it has become popular in recent years, traditionally Christmas (or at least the version with Santa Claus) has not really been celebrated in Catalonia. They do, however, celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6th, and they celebrate something called “Caga Tió” on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Caga Tió, which roughly translates to “Pooping Dude,” is a magical cut tree stump with a face and a Catalan hat traditionally worn by farmers or people living on the countryside. Often parents will take their children to a forest to “find” Caga Tió , then they bring him home and place a blanket behind him. The children then feed Caga Tió in the days leading up to Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, depending on the family. When the day arrives, children beat Caga Tió with sticks and sing a song saying things like “Poop hazelnuts, don’t poop fish, they are too salty, poop turrons, they are tastier.” At the end of the song, the kids will command the tree stump to poop and the blanket will be pulled away revealing the presents that have been “pooped.” Also, in the month of December “caganers” will be on sale throughout Catalonia. They are a good luck symbol because it is believed that Catalan farmers had a big harvest after using their own feces as manure. They are now commonly featured in Catalan nativity scenes, and many celebrities are “honored” by being made into caganers. A wide variety of celebrity caganers can be found, but some of my favorites are R2-D2 and C3P0, who poop nuts and bolts.
Día de Sant Jordi-
As Valentine’s Day is historically not celebrated in Catalonia, the biggest romantic holiday in Catalonia is Dia de Sant Jordi. The legend of Saint George (Jordi in Catalan) goes like this: A dragon was pestering a town, and a person had to be chosen to be sacrificed to the dragon. When the name of the princess was drawn, Saint George killed the dragon— saving the princess— and a rose grew out of the dragon’s blood. The Day of Sant Jordi (April 23) is also a prominent day in the world of books. It is known as World Book Day by UNESCO, and it is the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Miguel Cervantes, whose Don Quixote has been translated into more languages than any book other than the Bible, died one day before on April 22. Traditionally on the Day of Sant Jordi, males would receive a book and females would receive a rose. However, now females will usually receive a book and a rose (males will still typically only receive a book without a rose). Also on this day, Casa Batllo in Barcelona is usually decorated with massive amounts of roses.
Las Comparsas, La Merengada, Carnaval, and La Mona-
Also most of those celebrating it do not know why they are celebrating, the beginning of Lent and the Easter season are one of the biggest celebrations in Catalonia. For Las Comparsas, couples will link arms and dance throughout the city. While I was in Vilanova i la Geltru, Las Comparsas culminated in a fun, massive candy battle in one of the main city squares that left anyone who walked through La Plaça de la Vila with sticky shoes for days. In the same week in Vilanova i la Geltru, children from the town will take merengue and have a massive food fight in the
Plaça del Mercat. These will lead up to Carnaval, which many people spend the whole year preparing for by building floats, choreographing dances, and designing costumes. Usually they will go from town to town participating in parades on different days, one of the biggest taking place in Sitges. About six weeks later on the day after Easter, Catalonians celebrate by giving elaborate cakes— known as “La Mona”— to children. The cakes are usually chocolate with chocolate figures on top, and are usually given from godparents to their godchildren. On this “Dia de La Mona,” extended families will usually get together and share a big meal.
Festa Mayor and La Mercè-
Most small towns throughout Catalonia will each have a town festival, usually in the summer, known as Festa Mayor. The biggest of these is La Mercè, which is a multi-day festival with a firework finale on September 24. One of the highlights are the parades and dances of the “Gegants i capgrossos,” which are giant paper mache figures that are worn similar to the way someone wears a mascot costume. There will also be “Castells,” which are human towers that can go so high that sometimes there are double-digit people stacked on top of each other. Another main feature is the “correfoc,” or fire-run, where festival goers will run under the sparks and fireworks shot by dragon mascots and other costumed people with spinning, spark-shooting contraptions.
Calçotada and Food and Wine Festivals-
There are numerous food and wine festivals throughout the year in Catalonia that I have had the opportunity to attend, such as the Temp de Vi in Vilanova i la Geltru, the Cava Festival in Vilafranca, and the Tast a La Rambla, All Those Food Market, and Time to Eat Fest in Barcelona. One of the biggest food festivals I was able to enjoy is known as a “Calcotada.” Calcots are a Catalonian vegetable similar to a scallionor spring/green onion that are in season in the spring when the Calcotadas take place. The calcots are usually grilled and wrapped in newspaper (and sometimes roof tiles) to keep them warm, then peeled and dipped into a romesco sauce. They are usually accompanied by grilled meats like butifarra (a Catalan sausage), cava or “vino tinto,” and family and friends.
What I did and saw:
Towers of Bologna-
Pisa is not the only city with a leaning tower. Bologna has a pair of leaning towers in its city center, the Asinelli Tower and the Garisenda Tower. Known as “Le due torri,” they were built in 12th century. They have seen a variety of uses such as a prison, a watchtower, a lighting rod, and scientific testing. They are believed to be the inspiration for the construction of the twin towers in New York City, and they have been written about by authors such as Dante and Charles Dickens. We were able to go up the 498 steps of the Asinelli Tower, which is the taller of the two and offers some unique views of the city.
Museo Della Specola-
Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna, which was founded in 1088. The influence of the school is prevalent throughout the city, and there are opportunities for learning all around the city. For just 5 euros we were able to get a tour of the Museo Della Specola and see the original instruments used by past astronomers. It was very interesting to see the old maps, and to learn about the construction of telescopes. Also, the tour concluded on the rooftop terrace, offering nice views of the surrounding city.
Luigi Cattaneo Collection of Anatomical Waxes-
Another example of an interesting learning opportunity is found at the Anatomical Wax Collection. Past students used the models to study anatomy and pathology in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a small museum, but it is free, unique, and interesting.
Botanical Garden and Herbarium-
Located next to the Luigi Cattaneo Collection of Anatomical Waxes is the Botanical Garden and Herbarium. Like the Anatomical Wax collection, it is also free to enter (tours cost €5). They have a nice space to walk through and a wide variety of plants to check out.
The largest plaza in Bologna is Piazza Maggiore, and it is surrounded by impressive architecture. The Basilica di San Petronio and the Fontana del Nettuno are both located next to the plaza in the city center.
Where I ate and drank:
BrewDog Bologna, Il Punto, and Beer for Bunnies-
Bologna has some nice offerings for craft beer at BrewDog Bologna, Il Punto, and Beer for Bunnies, all located in the same area of town on the western side. The area also features a some cool graffiti.
Tigelle are small, round breads local to the Bologna/Modena/Emilia-Romagna region. They are sliced and filled with you choice of sweet or savory items. Zerocinquantino (which means 050), serves tasty tigelle and quality wine for a wallet friendly price.
Salumeria Simoni and Tamburini-
If you are looking for deli meats or cheeses, Salumeria Simoni and Tamburini are both good places to go. They have a nice selection of Italian food to get to go. Tamburini also has a few tables and offers meat and cheese plates and wine if you want to try something there.
Cafe Cocoa is a cool cafe with good cocktails and espresso based drinks. They also serve wine and beer. I had one of the best Negronis of my life while I was there.
Although Italy is an espresso country, it is possible to find good filter coffee in some places. I had a good Chemex at Pappare, close to the Two Towers of Bologna. However, the service was extremely slow, it took over 20 minutes just to get my coffee. I was unimpressed by the food I had off the lunch menu, but the breakfast menu looked like it had some good options.
Trattoria dal Biassanot-
Bologna is home to many foods many people think of when they think of Italian food, such as lasagna, ragu, and tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth). I was able to try all three of these tasty foods at Trattoria dal Biassanot. Also, right next to the restaurant is the “Finestrella,” which is a window to one of Bologna’s canals.
Stefino Organic Gelato, Cremeria Mascarella, Cremeria Santo Stefano, and Gelateria Galliera 49-
I am a big fan of Roman food and Roman gelato, but I think Bolognese gelato gives Roman gelato a run for its money. They offer some tasty and unique flavors like a turmeric cinnamon black pepper gelato at Stefino Organic Gelato, egg custard pine nut and chocolate pear grappa flavors at Cremeria Mascarella, and theobroma, a chocolate and orange flavor I had with speculoos gelato at Cremeria Santo Stefano.
Where I stayed:
The staff at We Bologna was super helpful when I had to adjust my reservation to teach an English camp. The facility itself seems to be a mix of college dorms and a hostel, but in a non-obnoxious way. It was a very nice place to stay, with nice common areas and a nice shared kitchen.
How I got around:
I arrived in Bologna on a train from Florence, and left on a train to Turin. While in Bologna I walked to get around and see the sights (and make more room for Italian food).
My favorite thing:
The food in Bologna was very good, but my favorites were the gelato from various places and the tigelle I had at Zerocinquantino.
My least favorite thing:
In August in Bologna much of the cities shuts down, so many of the places I wanted to visit were closed. Also, I had a few eye problems (due to something that happened prior to Bologna) that hampered my time there a bit.
For next time:
As mentioned above, many of the places I wanted to explore in Bologna were closed while I was there, so I would like to get a chance to check them out and to try more of the Bolognese food. I would also like to see the Santuario Madonna di San Luca on the outskirts of the city. Additionally I would like to visit Modena, another foodie city in the Emilia-Romagna region.
Welcome to the Healthy Explorer Blog. If you like travel stories have a look around my blog and check out my podcast— maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.