My Summer in Europe 2013

Travel Log - Part 3: My Summer in Europe 2013 - Sant Pere de Rodes

This is multi-segment travel log documenting my summer adventures in Europe last summer. I hope you will follow along and share in my memories and photos from the best summer of my life! Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them.

Part 3:

For my last day in Girona, my friend suggested a visit to the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. This former Benedictine monastery is located in the mountains overlooking Port de la Selva and Costa Brava.

The first known writing of the monastery dates back to 878 and it later became a Benedictine monastery in 945. It is said that it reached its maximum splendor in the 11th and 12th centuries before falling to decay in the 17th century.

The monastery has been beautifully restored and offers amazing views of the surrounding area. Walking through the Romanesque-style church, which was consecrated in the year 1022, was simply unreal. If only the walls could talk of the nearly thousand years of history that had passed.

My pictures of the Sant Pere de Rodes:

You can hike up to the pike of the mountain and the ruins of the castle of Sant de Verdera. We took this 45-minute hike and were simply awe struck by the view of the Costa Brava as shown in the panorama below.

The view of Port de la Selva and Costa Brava from above Sant Pere de Rodes.

Afterwards, I drove the 2 hours back to Barcelona for my last evening in Spain. The first chapter of my European journey was coming to a close. There is much to love about the big cities of Spain, such as Madrid and Barcelona, but there really is something special about these smaller towns. Especially those along the Costa Brava!

Next, Paris for an 11-day stay. Only 4 days into my summer trip and my home, NYC, and the time and effort I put into developing my career couldn’t be more happily removed. The beauty of travel!

Girona Trip Planning

Travel Log - Part 2: My Summer in Europe 2013 - Cadaqués and Figueres

This is multi-segment travel log documenting my summer adventures in Europe last summer. I hope you will follow along and share in my memories and photos from the best summer of my life! If you missed Part 1, click here.

Part 2:

Day 1 of my trip started in Barcelona. I've been there on several occasions, thus my travel partner from Barcelona suggested a weekend trip to an town 2 hours north called Cadaqués. I rented a car from the airport, pick her up, and we are on our way. 

Cadaqués is located in the province of Girona and is a two-hour drive north of Barcelona. It is a sleepy and quaint fishing village with a long and rich art history. Salvador Dalí spent time here, as did Picasso, Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, and several other notable artists and luminaries.

The small village with its hilly streets and whitewashed buildings hugs the rocky bay along the Costa Brava. As we wandered the hilly streets and walked along the sea, the charm and tranquility of the village washed over me.

Day 1 of my trip couldn't have started any better! If you are looking for a quiet place to visit outside of Barcelona, Cadaqués comes highly recommended. Some of my pictures from Cadaqués:

We stayed at a lovely and unique hilltop hotel just outside of Cadaqués called Mas Sa Perafita. Unique as the building is over 700 years old and is part boutique hotel and part winery. The grounds and the views of the surrounding countryside were stunning. Some of my pictures of the hotel and the view are included below:

With access to a car, there much to do and see in the area. Thus, on my second day we were off to Figueres to visit the Dalí Museum. As a fan of Dalí's art, this was an excellent opportunity to see more of his work in the town where he was born. Little did I know that Dalí actually designed the museum, worked within the space, and built exhibits specifically for the museum. The museum was a mix of the beautiful and the odd and was a bit of an overcrowded maze as the space was the art at times and couldn't support the large crowds.

After an amazing lunch at a locally-recommended spot called Can Punyetes in Figueres, we were off to check out some nearby vineyards. We stopped at Celler Espelt, but we were disappointed to find that they were not doing tastings. This is where it gets good.... a young, friendly gentleman drives up to the tasting room as we are leaving and speaks to us. Come to find out, he works with this winery and others in the area. We tell him we are looking to do some tastings and ask for a recommendation. Within minutes, he calls another winery, named Coll de Roses, and arranges a private tasting for us on the rooftop of the tasting room. Upon our arrival, we were greeted like family friends and taken up to a gorgeous roof terrance overlooking the vineyard, the nearby mountains, and the sea. And this was no tasting either as they basically started it off as a tasting and then gave us our preferred bottle to drink at our leisure on the terrance.

It's amazing how opportunities like these occur when you simply are friendly and show a genuine curiosity for a shared passion (wine in this instance).  Here's some pictures from the vineyard:

We did more exploring in the area on the subsequent days, but I'll end this blog entry for now. More to come in Part 3 in the near future.


Travel Log - Part 1: My Summer in Europe 2013

This is multi-segment travel log documenting my summer adventures in Europe last summer. I hope you will follow along and share in my memories and photos from the best summer of my life!

This time last June I was on my way to Europe. Spain to be specific. 

After 7 amazing years at ESPN, it was time for me to move on. However, before I jumped into my next job, I was taking a little time for myself. I had worked for 17 years post-college and I was taking the summer to follow my true passion... travel. As far as I was concerned, work could wait.

I decided in short order that I was heading to Europe on a one-way ticket. I planned to return, I just didn't know when. Prior to my departure, my first 3 destinations were determined, but the rest of my trip was a blank canvas. I would start in Spain with time in Barcelona and Cadaqués before heading to Paris and Sicily. I would figure out the rest later.

I recall how excited I was as I headed to JFK to catch my flight. I felt as if I was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime gift to put myself first and unburden myself from the daily grind of work. Furthermore, I was extremely blessed as my mother was set to join me in Paris and Sicily. It would be her first time out of the country and I had the honor and privilege of traveling with her aboard and showing her some of my favorite cities. An honor worth its weight in gold!

My departure was delayed and we taxied on the runway for over an hour, but that allowed me to take in one last gorgeous NYC sunset from my window seat on American Airlines Flight 66. I had never left the US for longer than 26 days. This trip would certainly be longer and hopefully the best decision of my life. Tomorrow I wake up in Barcelona!

No upgrade for me!

No upgrade for me!

Goodbye NYC and the US. See you when I see you.