Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nit de Montjuic

It amazes me still how a city can have something going on every weekend and many of these events or festivals being free to the public. This past weekend there were three different festivals going on at the same time in Barcelona. There were fiestas mayores de Raval, fiestas mayores de Poble Sec, and Nit de Montjuic. In Barcelona, during the summer, each neighborhood has a festival to celebrate their neighborhood. So this weekend, the neighborhoods of Raval and Poble Sec had their own parties. These neighborhood parties usually last from a weekend to a week long. There are bands playing, several stands that serve food and alcohol, and people celebrating all night long in the streets.
Nit de Montjuic was on Saturday night. It is an event where around 20 different bands play all in different parts of Montjuic (even the castle all the way up top and the olympic stadium) starting at 8pm and ending at 4am-- oh and all for free. It was one of my favorite events held in Barcelona, definitely exceeded my expectations. 
After visiting la fiesta del Raval for a little and seeing an amazing view of Barcelona from a hotel bar in Raval, we headed to Montjuic around 1200am. We went straight to the castle after walking to MNAC. We admired the views from the castle, heard a flamenco band inside the castle, and then walked outside to see hear and dance to amazing techno/dub step DJ's. We danced all night listening to fun music. I could have not asked for a better night!! 


I remember loving Portugal when I went with my parents three years ago. This time I decided to visit the north of Portugal to experience more. The food, people, and different neighborhoods make this country so special. Porto was much smaller than Lisbon making is very easy to get around and explore the city. Before arriving we checked the weather and saw that the next four days were supposed to rain consecutively- we weren't too trilled about this, but somehow got lucky and saw the sun for the majority of the trip. We stayed at a great hotel in the center. We ate incredibly well- tried bacalao (codfish) four different ways (fun fact: there are over 300 ways to make bacalao in Portugal), drank delicious Portuguese wine, and went wine tasting at the Oporto vineyards. 

Highlights of the trip: 
  • The Ribera (quickly became my favorite spot of they city) is the typical neighborhood of Porto, it is on the lake with the view of bridges and houses on the mountains and across the lake are the Oporto wineries.
  • The wonderful food: we loved the Bacalao, different wines we tasted, the pastries (pastel de belĂ©m was a favorite, and cheese pairings. 
  • A day cruise along the Ribera through the 6 bridges-- it was so nice, especially in the beautiful sunny weather. 
  • Going wine tasting in the Oporto wineries to try the sweet Oporto wines (we also got a free tour of the Croft winery). 
  • Riding the funicular through the city and seeing the pretty views from above.
  • Experiencing the busy nightlife in the center. 

La Ribera

Bacalao Feast