Browsing Category

Spain

Activities Barcelona Europe Food Spain

Food Tours – The Key to Every New City

September 4, 2017

Having recently eaten our way through Catalonia’s capital with Devour Barcelona we talked with some friends who had never considered joining a food tour.  It was at that stage that we realised just how accustomed we’ve become to scoping out a new city (and it’s local culinary delights) by exploring its food!  If you’ve never been on a food tour, join us as we share the reasons we now seek them out in major cities around the world.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then food may just be the way to win a traveller over too.

In the last few years Nathan and I have started hunting down the best food tours in each of the major cities we visit and every time, we leave full – both with food and new-found knowledge.  We relish the opportunity to meet

We relish the opportunity to meet travellers from all walks of life, to learn more about the history of the region we’re visiting and to enjoy delicious food.  What’s not to love?

If you’ve never been on a food tour before, you’ll start by meeting your guide and the others in your group at a predesignated point – always in public and at an easily recognisable spot.  With introductions behind you, you’ll head off on your way towards gastronomic delight (via the first food stop of course).

From there, you’ll visit a range of restaurants, stalls, stands and markets, all on the hunt to find the best local produce.

If there’s one thing that food tours tend to do really well, it’s to connect tourists with authentic, local vendors.  Time and time again, we’ve been introduced to men and women manning stands that have been in families for generations, serving the same high-quality food to their own neighbourhood.  These are the kind of places that would be close to impossible to track down as a newly-arrived tourist into a city but with the help of a food tour, they suddenly become a lot more accessible.

As you trip around each mini-destination, you’ll be offered a selection of bite-sized portions (and sometimes full ones too!), allowing you to try the best food the city has to offer.  It’s amazing how little tasters can add up over the course of an afternoon as the treats and conversation starts to flow.

Every time we come off a food tour, we’re surprised by just how full we are and the number of new dishes we’ve managed to try that we’d never have thought to hunt out.

I’m also a fairly fussy eater whilst Nathan loves good cuisine – food tours work well for us in this sense as he’s served up a variety of exciting dishes (that I’d normally hold us back from ordering) whilst small portions mean that if one option doesn’t float my boat, there’s always another on the horizon.

Not headed to Barcelona just yet?  We can also recommend food tours in Reykjavik, Rome and Athens.

If you’re keen to give a food tour a go, we whole heartedly recommend joining your tour when you first arrive in a new city if possible.  Doing so will alert you to the best restaurants and foodie stops (because who doesn’t want to return to a new favourite?) and give you a taste of local flavours whilst helping you find your way around.

Happy munching!

What’s your favourite way to get to know a new city?  Share your tips and tricks in the comments below…

Barcelona Europe Reviews Spain Tours Western Europe

Bouncing Around Barcelona – The bike tour with a difference

August 4, 2017

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and the second most populous municipality in Spain, has many claims to fame – a world-renowned football team, impressive tourism figures and weather to make most jealous – but there’s something special about this incredible city that most people aren’t aware of.

It plays host to one of the best tour guides around!

Kris, the owner-operator of Bounce Around Barcelona is one of the most energetic, vivacious guides you could ever hope to meet.  He’s hard-case and finds the perfect balance between professionally and approachability.

With the option of private and group tours around the city, guests can get around either by foot or on Kris’ funky old-school bikes.  We figured the bikes would allow us to cover more ground so it was an easy choice for us.  Fortunately the city is incredibly well laid out for cyclists, being largely flat and home to countless cycle lanes.

Before departing, Kris sat with us to determine the key spots we wanted to visit, orientated us on the map and promised to take us to some of the local hideaways.  Our tour was custom designed for us, based on what we hadn’t managed to see yet.  In the end, it covered off all of Barcelona’s must-see spots and, as promised, delivered lots of gems that we’d never had discovered by ourselves.

Our tour really did have it all…

Food?  Check

Architecture?  Double check!

Natural beauty?  You bet.

Throughout our tour, Kris shared a wealth of information about Barcelona, the Catalan region as a whole and Spain itself.  I have no idea how he manages to retain the depth of knowledge that he has but there’s no doubt in my mind that Kris was absolutely born to do this job.

As much as we’d love to share our map and all of the top-spots Bounce Around Barcelona showed us, there’s no better way to see Barcelona than on one of their tours.  We were given the opportunity to skip over a couple of the locations that we’d already passed through but once we realised how much better it was seeing everything through Kris’ eyes we quickly asked for those spots to be added back in.  We didn’t have the back-story when we visited independently nor an understanding of the history but Kris of course changed that.

They have one motto and it’s something Bounce Around clearly live to their core – “Come as a guest, leave as a friend”.

Don’t take our word for it though – I dare you to visit Kris and his team and walk away with anything but the more positive things to say.

We’d bounce around practically anywhere with Kris!


Love Barcelona as much as us?  Pin this post!

Discover the best tour in Barcelona, Spain. Bounce Around Barcelona will plan an amazing itinerary and show you the best tourist sites in the city. From Gaudi to the best secret bar, this tour covers off all the highlights and then some!Discover the best tour in Barcelona, Spain. Bounce Around Barcelona will plan an amazing itinerary and show you the best tourist sites in the city. From Gaudi to the best secret bar, this tour covers off all the highlights and then some!

I know this post sounds unbelievably gushy but we really were blown away by Kris’ zest for life and obvious passion for what he does.  To date we’ve only met one other guide that left us feeling like we walked away more as friends than guests (Bessi, we’re talking to you!) and we figure, you’ve really got to celebrate the good guys.

We were invited to put Bounce Around Barcelona through their paces and as always, all thoughts are our own.

Europe Expat Life Spain Teaching Abroad Travel Western Europe

An Introduction to Teaching in Southern Spain with Sonja

March 4, 2016

Welcome to the first of (what will hopefully be many posts) featuring teachers from around the world.

For people with a love of travelling, teaching is sometimes seen as a way to see the world whilst drawing a steady income and immersing themselves in the local culture.  Teaching can of course be a fabulously fulfilling vocation, but at times, it can also be challenging.

Some people fall into the trap of thinking that just because they can speak a language, they’ll be able to teach it, whilst others underestimate some of the strain that teachers often face.  There’s no doubt about it, teaching is not the easiest of jobs.

With that said, if you go into international teaching well informed and realistic expectations, you may just find yourself having the time of your life!  I consider myself very fortunate to have a job that’s often varied and allows me to spend so much time with both adults and children (not to mention the fact that I can live and work almost anywhere thanks to my profession).

Some of you will already be teachers, with a good understanding of what a day in the classroom might look like, whilst others may being considering taking the leap – either way, these posts are written in the hope of giving you a genuine, unbiased look into what it’s like to live and teach abroad.

Without further ado, I’ll hand over to Sonja from Migrating Miss

What does a ‘normal’ work day look like for you?
I work part time as an English Language Assistant at both a primary and secondary school in southern Spain. Each day I have anywhere between 2-5 hours of class, with school being scheduled from 8.15am-2.45pm. If I have breaks between classes I have breakfast in the teacher’s cafeteria or work on my blog. I have private lessons with students for about 5 hours a week in the evenings.

Why did Spain appeal to you? Were there any other countries you considered (or have previously lived in)?
During high school and university I studied abroad in the United States and Canada, and after finishing university I moved to Australia and then the United Kingdom. Spain appealed because I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish and live in a country where English wasn’t the first language. A friend of mine was in the Auxiliar de Conversación programme so I looked into and decided it was for me! I had been to Spain once before and loved it, plus I love being back in Europe!

FullSizeRender

How does living and teaching in Spain compare with the life you left back home?
All my previous jobs have been full-time and office based. I’m so happy to be doing something different! I’d been a tutor part time at university and have always loved helping others to learn so I’m really enjoying the teaching and working in a different environment. Being part time helps too! The lifestyle is really relaxed and I love coming home in the afternoon to relax before I have more evening classes. I earn significantly less than I did in Australia or the UK, but I also work a lot less and I have plenty to cover my day to day expenses. Extra travel means careful budgeting or dipping into my savings, so if I planned on staying a long time I’d want to try and secure more work to build up some savings. I’m happy working less and enjoying myself at the moment though!

What are the main advantages of living and teaching in Spain?
As above! I only have to work part time here and I have enough to live on, so in my spare time I can explore the city and Spain, and concentrate on learning Spanish and blogging. I love the food in Spain and living in Andalusia means tapas with drinks which I will definitely miss when I leave! People are really friendly and I’ve been able to meet people at language exchanges and through the school.

So far I’ve been exploring a lot of the Andalusia in the south of Spain, but I’m planning on branching further out soon. I have every Friday off and there are a few long weekends, plus a week break over Easter to take advantage of. The only issue is budgeting so I can survive travelling the whole summer too! Some people pick up more private work over the summer and stay, but I’ll be basing myself in Edinburgh and doing some more travelling in Europe.

PampaneiraStreet

Exploring Pampaneira Street in Las Alpujarras, Spain

Are there any significant disadvantages?
Where I live in Spain isn’t the easiest place to travel from, but places nearby are. This turns into an advantage for me as because less people here speak English so I’m constantly pushed to try and speak Spanish and improve. Plus I’ve travelled a lot in Europe before and my job doesn’t run through the summer which means I can travel all summer long!

What were the deciding factors that saw you go into teaching in general?
I was sick of working in office jobs and teaching English had always been a dream of mine. The timing was right since I was looking for a way to come back to Europe to live, and the programme in Spain worked really well.

What is required (in regard to education) to teach in Spain?
For the Auxiliar de Conversación programme you need to have a Bachelor Degree, or be in your last year of study. I’m not aware of the requirements to teach at a private school, but I imagine at the very least it would be the same plus a TEFL qualification if not more.

What advice would you give to someone considering a move to Spain?
Do it! Spain is a really amazing place to live. The living is fairly cheap and the lifestyle is good. Check out whether your country had an Auxiliar programme as a good starter, or look into private teaching if you think you have the qualifications.

image3

Thanks so much to Sonja, a fellow travelling Kiwi for sharing her personal experience of living and teaching in Spain – I hope you enjoyed reading her thoughts as much as I did!

To get in touch with Sonja, feel free to leave a comment on this post or contact her through her Facebook page or on Instagram or Twitter.

Read more here about teaching English in Spain!

%d bloggers like this: