Inspiring myself in Barcelona:)

I decided to take myself on a little trip to Barcelona.  And it definitely did not disappoint, in fact, it was nothing less than super impressive.  From appreciating the work of Gaudi and his masterpieces that are now world heritage sights, to enjoying history a plenty at different museums, fabulous restaurants and nightlife,  cafes, markets, and plenty of monuments.  There is a certain unmistakeable energy to the city, and something for everyone.  A few of the highlights for me on this particular ‘take yourself on a date day’, would absolutely begin with relishing in the work of Gaudi.

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IMG_4806His work was influenced by what were his passions in life,  Architecture, Nature, and Religion.  I am absolutely drawn to his style and flare, and all the beautiful colours he incorporated into his magnificent creations. Park Guell, constructed between 1900-1914, and was originally built as a commercial housing site, yet was unsuccessful, and is now a municipal garden.  It is astounding in its architecture and artistic beauty.  A perfect place to get some creative inspiration while appreciating Gaudi’s work.

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Another very interesting Gaudi piece is the Sagrada Familia, this was his final project, and what his last years were devoted too.  It is his personal rendition of Gothic Architecture. He was never able to see the project through, and it is still not finished, with the completion date expected to be 2026.  It just so happens to be the most visited sight in Barcelona.

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Of course after all this sightseeing, and historical time trip, I worked up an appetite! So off I went to the famous Barcelona market, ‘La Bouqeria’, and all its splendor.IMG_2050  Its colourful, packed with people, has endless wonderful, awe-inspiring things to tantalize your taste buds, and your eyes with.  Everything laid out so proud and perfectly, it’s a postcard in itself.

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There are plenty of little restaurants all over, where they prepare market fresh food right before your eyes.  Decisions, decisions.  I finally picked one, and it’s really because they had in impeccable selection of fresh mushrooms that caught  my eye. IMG_2058 I love mushrooms! Especially when they are sautéed in fine olive oil, and well especially when I am in Barcelona;) Not a bad backdrop to add to the culinary experience.  I ended up getting fresh sardines, mushrooms, and some bubbly to wine and dine myself with.  It’s always best to treat yourself just as good, if not better, as if you were treating someone else.  Yup that’s right, some of the best dates I have been on, are the ones I have taken myself on. IMG_2061

All in all, Barcelona is one of my favorite cities, and this was only ‘one’ of the magical days I was so fortunate to enjoy.  Happy sightseeing days! And that it was;)

Home is where my little Northern Heart is ❤️❤️ ;)

I love travelling the world.  Seeing and experiencing new things, connecting with people of all walks of life.  I always entice myself with thoughts of being once again immersed in a completely different culture, with a totally different language that I don’t speak.  It’s exciting, and a way to push myself outside the everyday box, and even sharpening my survival skills.  It becomes a part of you, something that runs through your blood, well the blood of someone who has been bit by the travel bug.

However, no matter how many continents you visit, and people you meet, and explorations you have, there is always that one place, that lifelong place that you call home.  Where your roots are.  Where everyone knows your name….. Well at least if you happen to be from a small town like myself.  I was privileged enough to spend this summer back home, in my beautiful little hometown in Northern Canada.  The longer I have travelled the more I have come to love and appreciate it.  It’s small, it’s beautiful, at times its buggy.  Yes sir-ee, there is a season for swarming, clouds of bugs that you may or may not ingest when breathing .  But while also being the land of the midnight sun in the summer.  Other times(say winter perhaps) its freaken COLD! Try well below -30 degrees Celsius and minimal hours of sunshine, during the  majestic, and blood chilling yet heartwarming winter.  Where you can bask in the spectacular show of dancing colors that the Northern lights spread across the sky.  Yup this would be my Hometown.

Welcome to Hay River.

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Named after the River that flows through it, right into the Great Slave Lake, which happens to be one of the 10th largest lake in the world.  There is a population of about 3500 people.  It boasts some pretty amazing scenery, if I do say so myself.  And no….. I am not just being Bias because I am from there:) But its kind of hard not to be.

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IMG_0960There is fantastic fishing in the summer, as well as plenty of water for you to play on and in.   IMG_1299There is the Hay River Campground right in town located beside the beach, if you feel like connecting with nature, and forgetting that you are still right in town.  Run by Lucy Benoit for over 20 years, she always keeps it so well run and maintained.  I definitely enjoyed some time there this summer. The town puts on a town event every year called Hay Days, with a weekend full of different events, and there’s baseball tournaments(that other northern communities participate in), town dances(as there are no bars really), great people, and beautiful wildlife.  Although, you always have to be cautious of bears. IMG_0881 Beautifully impressive animals they are, but also can be very dangerous.  Wrestling a bear isn’t recommended;) and well neither is going in for a bear hug.

 

 

One thing I really enjoyed this summer was visiting the Fisherman’s Warf, which is put on every Saturday during the summer in the Old Town.

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There you will find different vendors, selling their homemade baked goods, fried goods, grown goods, handmade goods, and yup, you got it, FISH! Fresh fried or grilled Great Slave Lake Whitefish.  One of the northern delicacies, which I never get tired of.  The Warf is a great place to go and mingle with other people from the community, a great way to support the locals, and enjoy the charming little ambiance it offers, while also soaking up some summer sunshine.

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Located about 40km outside are 3 separate waterfalls, that are always beautiful sight to enjoy. And Yes. The water is brown. But fresh!:)

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Another summer tradition, one of my favorites!! Is floating down the river. ‘Oh, Heck Yes!’. IMG_4154Every sunny day there are groups of people who get together with their blow up rafts/tubes, a few beverages, starting up river, and floating down it for hours. Good weather, good company, good tunes. It’s just an awesome time, and super relaxing.

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Well the summers up here are spectacular, and pretty un-comparable, and I always feel so privileged to enjoy them.  Even though the winters are Long, COLD, and more night then day light, there are also so many incredible and very amazing aspects about it here then too.  But this article is for summer.  Winter can be talked about when that time comes.  It best to live for the moment;)

Here’s to another kick ass summer in the North, I love my home, its way up there for sure! So that being said…..

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Marketing It!!!

One thing I love is fresh produce, lots of vibrant colors, and knowing the quality of what I am buying.   Here in Palma there are lots of markets all over the place, to provide you with every colour of the spectrum!! From endless types of Fruit and  Vegetables, to Olives, Cheese,  all your tasty Mediterranean delicacies, the different cured hams that Spain is known for, not to mention fresh butchery’s if that is what you fancy, and fresh fish and seafood.  Happy Days with this beautiful array of endless fresh options!!  Well at least I sure think so…

Today we went on a nice little adventure to the  Mercat de L’Olivar, the biggest market in Palma, located just through the old town, well that’s not the only way to get there.  It’s really just nice to stroll through the streets of the old town, with the narrow streets, the very European building’s, all the shops and cafes…. You never know what you will find around the next corner, there are always things going on around Ptown.  Love it! That just means there is always some sort of little surprise excitement just waiting to be found, and I am always seeking it:)

After our little stroll, we arrived at the Market.

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It’s amazing how unimpressive it appears from the outside, and the drab looking day doesn’t help…. But just remember, ‘Looks can be deceiving’.  Just take a peek at what was awaiting us inside!?

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Immediately we were greeted with all those wonderful colors I mentioned earlier, just in time to give our eye’s a nice little massage.  How could you not want to take it all in??  I will admit though, the fact that I can speak Spanish really does come in handy in these moments, as not so many people here speak English.

But other then the language barrier the process is quite simple.  You walk up, tell them what and how much of each product you want, and they weigh it, bag it, and give you a bill.  Just like riding a bicycle.  Come here in the summer and its super packed, but another beauty of the winter is you have all the space in the world.

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Its just ridiculous, in such an amazing way, all the phenomenal things you can get there, your little heart will be so contentIMG_5262    IMG_5267  IMG_5261

So after we bought all the food we had came for(and a little more), of course we couldn’t finish off our market experience without trying some of the Sushi and Oysters from the seafood side.  Now that our eye’s are feeling thoroughly relaxed, it’s time to put our palette to work, and see if it awakens our senses even more.  First stop, we decided to have some Sushi! There are a few sushi stalls, but they weren’t all open, so with the art of elimination, and our keen sense of observation,  we narrowed it down, to the one that was open.  Bar del Piex.

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All of these little stalls make their sushi from the fresh fish from the market, and they are constantly filling up the display case.  You just need to walk up and pick out all the morsels you want, they are yours for the taking, at about one euro a piece.  We picked out a nice little selection, sided it with some edamame, and 1 wonton, that we intended to share, not knowing why we would share ‘A’ wonton and not just have our own… Sometimes though, one too many wontons, and you spoil the next course that you are looking forward to trying, Good ol’Oysters.  We decided though, it would be a good idea to wash our sushi down with a glass of the house white.  The wine was nice, and the Sushi was for sure good, but I wouldn’t put it down to the best I have ever had, but it was worth trying and did the job quite well.

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Next up, it’s time to slurp down some Oysters to finish off our little market adventure.  Conveniently located right next to the sushi stall, IS?? Well yes, you guessed it, it was none other than the oyster stall! You get a menu with a selection of 4 types of Oysters, and on the side you  have some lemon, tabasco, and pepper, to create your taste.  So you can either act like you know what you’re talking about and pick one confidently, or ask for assistance on choosing… However if youIMG_5285 actually are an oyster connoisseur, then just get in there! But before you do that you need toIMG_5276 order a beverage, and well, as its quite typical to have Champagne and oysters, we decided to wash ours down with some Cava.  Which just so happens to be a kind of Spanish version of Champagne, almost the same, but still a bit different, none the less, bubbly and refreshing, and its from an actual region in Spain called Cava.  Huh, who would have thought. Nothing like a good random fact;) This little combo, was delicious!

Is there even a way to make this look classy???

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Well now that we have had our fill of food sampling, it’s time to do some  more  meandering around, before heading home later and preparing a deliciously beautiful dinner with all these fresh ingredients.  Thank you Mercat de L’Olivar for a fantastic and fun filled afternoon!

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Happy Palma Days:)