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Girona and Dali's Figueres

Girona with its rich history, is one of the most interesting cities in Catalunya. Walking all along its medieval walls and the Força Vella (Roman Foundation) you will be immersed in its more than 2000 years of History. You can’t miss the Jewish district, el Call, a labyrinth of narrow streets still in perfect condition, that will bring you remains of the past.

Figueres is at 40km from Girona. Well-known ciy thanks to Salvador Dali and his Theater –Museum, built in XIX and considered the bigger Surrealist object. Same artist, Salvador Dali, was in charge of the construction. He lived his last days in the buiding and ordered to be buried in there.

If you want to enjoy this route, you can do it with Catalunya Bus Turistic, one visit around Girona and the Surrealistic Universe of Salvador Dali in Figueres.

On Catalunya Bus Turístic you will be informed in different languages. Also you will get brochure with detailed information about places to visit, maps and several discounts for places of interest, restaurants and shops.

Departures from Barcelona.Prices: Adult: 73 €/ Child (0-7 years old): 0 €

Picture from Luidger

 

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Milan fashion by Curium

We are Carlos and Sophie, designers and creators of CURIUM (a line of leather accessories for men) and THE BOX (a second line of accessories for women).

We live in Barcelona but constantly travel to different cities in search of inspiration. Milan is one of the global capitals of fashion that we visit regularly. Besides stores selling the most famous brands, Milan is also home to smaller establishments with their own character and personality.

One such place is Corso Como 10, a concept store where you can find a fantastic selection of photography, art, fashion and perfumes that ranges from dresses by Christopher Kane to jewellery by the North American designer Eddie Borgo.

For those of you on a tighter budget, the 10 Corso Como Outlet, in a somewhat hidden away back yard at 3 Via Tazzoli, sells clothes and accessories for men and women at knock-down prices with discounts of up to 70%.

Another of the places you simply must visit in Milan is Wok Store Apparel Art – an eclectic multi-purpose space where you can enjoy music events, visit a good exhibition or be daring with some of the latest creations from English, Swedish, Italian and Japanese designers; Opening Ceremony, Henrik Vibskov, Comme des Garçons – a real temple to creativity!

Daad Dantone can be found in a kind of passageway that connects Corso Vittorio Emanuele with Corso Matteotti in the historic centre of Milan. This is a family business that started out as a tailor’s in 1960 and now stocks such indie Italian brands as Antonio Marras (before they become enormous flagships). They are currently fascinated by the Japanese darkness: Mastermind, Number 9, Undercover; an alternative to Italian design. (*they have 2 stores: 24A Via Spirito and 25 Via della Spiga).

If what you want is to get away from the crowds, the place for you is Antonioli. You’ll find this place in the Canal Navigli district (deserted during the day), at 1 Via P. Paoli. There is absolutely no sign whatsoever that any kind of multi-brand store lies behind its doors but that is exactly what the owner, Claudio Antonioli, wants. You’ll find designs by Rick Owens, Martin Margiela, Raf Simons and Balmain, among others, or end up buying a scented candle by Mad et Len.
By the way, they open every day of the week!

The best way to end your day is to visit Pane e Acqua, the domain of Rossana Orlandi at 14 Via Mateo Bandello, where you’ll enjoy Mediterranean and haute cuisine in surroundings that recreate an industrial aesthetic with a certain air of romance about it.

By Sophie Pastor

Why not take a trip to Milán? Have a look at our flights here!

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Shopping in Ventimiglia

By Michael Shuermann from Easy Hiker

I still remember the first time we came into contact with Ventimiglia market – without even knowing that such a thing existed. We were boarding the local train from Nice to Menton, eastwards down the coast of the French Riviera in the direction of the Italian border. We were amazed to find it packed to the rafters at around 11 am on a Friday. From other trips on that line, we had been used to having a choice of seats on a weekday morning, but on that day, it seemed as though the entire population of the Cote d’Azur was on the move.

We did not find out until much later what was going on, but all these crowds were going to the Italian border town of Ventimiglia – the last stop on that line – for the popular weekly Friday street market.
The market mainly offers clothes, handbags and other leather goods – of mixed quality, it must be said, but occasionally, you can find well-crafted products at large discounts.

One of the market’s attractions apparently has something to do with the fact that – whisper it – the Italian police is less strict than its French counterpart in pursuing brand counterfeiters, so the French customs occasionally stop people on their way back from the market, asking them where they bought their shiny and new “Louis Vuitton handbag”. Be forwarned.

The market also features a section where farmers offer domestic food products. You can buy specialties from all over Italy here – Calabrian sausages, Parmesan cheese, olive oil – but also local produce such as sun-dried tomatoes and home-made pesto sauce, one of the things for which the province of Liguria (which includes Ventimiglia) is famous.

Have a coffee in one of the many charming little coffee houses around the 1930s municipio, the City Hall. You are only 15 km away from the French border town of Menton, but you will already feel a marked difference in the general liveliness (and noise levels) of the street life.
On market days, there is also a particularly large number of ambulant traders around who are walking from cafe to cafe peddling key chains that glow in the dark, small novelty household items and the like.

We have gone shopping many times at Ventimiglia market, and often, what we have bought from the peddlers turned out to be our most unforgettable purchases. What would our lives have been without the cicada fridge magnet that starts to sing when somebody approaches it?
You can reach Ventimiglia conveniently by local train (TER) from Nice. Trains leave frequently, generally every 30 minutes throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring a valid ID!

By Michael Shuermann from Easy Hiker 

Why not take a trip to Nice? Have a look at our flights here!

 

 

 

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Experience the Wild

Cantabria’s mining past remains alive in the 750 hectares of reddish landscape which is home to the Cabárceno Nature Park. Situated just 15 kilometres from Santander, its proximity is inversely proportional to the feeling of being in a wholly different part of the planet. Here, around one hundred animal species from the five continents roam in semi-freedom, including African elephants, gorillas, the ankole-watusi, the addax, llamas and sea lions.

The open-air tracts of land are spacious and immensely beautiful. The flora lives out its natural cycle during the four annual seasons, so you see a different park in the spring, summer, autumn and winter. The structures left behind from the area’s mining past have been re-used to appoint the various enclosures in Cabárceno. Animals are kept on land which resembles their natural habitat as closely as possible, as here the terrain is accommodating. A number of lookouts bring home the immensity of the panoramic landscape and allow visitors to spot herds of Somali asses, water buffalo, Grevi zebra and ostriches. The karst relief characterised by water’s fickle erosive force makes for fascinating observation and enhances the act of animal spotting.

Nature is allowed to run its course in the park. There are fights between members of the same species, the rutting season unfolds and dominant males abound. Man only intervenes in the event of illness, wounds, a life-threatening situation for some specimen and to feed the animals. That is when the park provides its Wildlife Visit. From 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon, a single vehicle seating 4 occupants drives through various areas inhabited by rhino, bears and giraffes. The tour costs €400, which includes a brunch in the park restaurant. Escorted by a ranger, visitors can get to see certain animals close up, as well as touch and feed them. This contact enables them to learn the traits and curiosities of each animal or species.

That is how you discover the three elegant giraffes that come running up to you because they see you arriving with a bag of carrots. All three are male and they get along well precisely because there are no females. Or you learn the amazing story of Jums, a 39-year-old African elephant that came from England and recognised one of its offspring that had been living in Cabárceno.

During the Wildlife Visit, guests are told about the rituals and training sessions conducted with some of the animals to get them accustomed to the presence of people for the sole purpose of enabling a vet to treat a wound or give them a medical check-up whenever necessary. This is a difficult task as wild animals retain their survival instinct and are thus wary of people, but it is gratifying to see how the staff’s daily work and their affection for the animals can work a miracle, as can an apple or a carrot!

The animals’ daily routine is not affected by the fortunate participants in the Wildlife Visit – book ahead, as there is a waiting list – and regular feeding times are strictly adhered to. The only enclosure where visitors are not allowed to get out of the car is that of the brown bears. However, a group of bears can be comfortably observed munching on a piece of bread or chicken through the car window just a few metres away. There are around 70 specimens in a 35-hectare space, which gives you some idea of how big the park is.

The Cabárceno Nature Park is dotted with natural lakes, and the 14 resident elephants relish bathing in waters up to 8 metres deep. The hippo enclosure here, rumoured to be the best in the world, is sited in the Lago Sexta, and a cableway is slated to run above this lake as of March 2016.

A one-day admission ticket to the Cabárceno Nature Park costs €25, and €15 for small children. However, we recommend you check out all the various types of admission, as there are discounts for families and “friends of Cabárceno”. Your ticket allows you to drive around the 20 kilometres of tracks in your own vehicle through all the areas. But, you are urged to observe the speed limit and safety precautions. Unfortunately, this unaccompanied drive-through does not allow you to touch or feed the animals; firstly, for safety reasons, as you will not be escorted by a ranger to guide you and, secondly, as each species has a specific diet at regular hours. A map is given to visitors at the entrance – the routes are clearly marked and you can download a mobile app which provides information on what you are seeing at all times. Park facilities include picnic areas for you to have a packed lunch at your leisure, and there are also cafés, restaurants and gift shops. Your ticket permits you to leave the park and re-enter later on. You are also allowed to make the tour in a camper van.

Your day trip will fly past as you observe the antics of fallow deer, red deer, gorillas, camels, displays of birds of prey and their types of flight, and sea lions cavorting about. (Don’t let them catch you calling them seals with ears – they don’t take kindly to being confused!) Whatever your age; if you like animals, this is where you will have a whale of a time!

Make haste to discover all this wildlife. Check out our flights to Santander here.

 

Text and images by Planeta Dunia

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