TRAVELS & PLACES

Volant, PA

Hello Guys! My apologies for not being constant with my postings lately. I’m currently truly, madly, deeply, busy but I hope things will start to simmer down in a few days soon. Thank you very much for your understanding and please check out my Instagram regularly as I’ll be posting more stuff there in the days to come.

As what I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been in a couple of trips lately and will still have to do more. For this particular travel log, I divided this down into two parts as I pretty much went to two sights in one day. Both are very nice and wonderful places to see.

 

volant pennsylvania

 

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to a little borough in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania called Volant. Actually, I planned to go and see Lake Erie and wanted to drop by somewhere to see an Amish village. I thought of going to Lancaster PA at first, but it’s really not on the way to Lake Erie and I only have a day to do both. Someone told me that there are few little Amish villages on the way to Erie, and one of them is Volant. In case you’re wondering why do I wanna visit an Amish town, oh well, I’ve always been curious and I wanted to take a break from the usual city life. It seems like a trip to a nice and quiet Amish town will be exciting. And of course, yeah, I’ve seen TLC’s Breaking Amish show. LOL.

Volant is about an hour away from Pittsburgh and is very close to Grove City where there’s outlet shopping. It’s also an hour and 28 minutes away from Lake Erie. I drove there and most of the road throughout the trip was pretty flat and smooth. I was nice to see the leaves slowly changing their colors to prepare for Fall. I went there early morning and the temperature is a bit cool and fresh. The sceneries during the trip were nice although I started noticing that my phone was losing coverage as I was approaching Volant. Suddenly the road started to get narrower and narrower and was getting windier and windier. There were lots of cornfields around and my phone’s signal was pretty much fluctuating until there was a point that I didn’t have any coverage for a couple of minutes. I started breaking out in sweat as I looked around, and all I see were vast and never-ending cornfields. I was like “oh no! I could die in here and nobody’s gonna know. I have no signal and there’s no car around. My body will be thrown somewhere in the field, or worse, could be used as a fertilizer to fatten those gigantic corns, dayum!” LOL. Excuse my imaginations, but anyhow, as soon as I got passed that Children of the Corn feeling, I reached an intersection and saw the quaint little town of Volant.

 

volant mills pa

 

The air was fresh and cool when I parked near Volant Mills, which I understood as the main attraction/store of the town. At the entrance of Volant Mills, I saw an Amish lady greeting people and the store had a very vintage feel. I really like it and I saw a lot of unique products that are composed mostly of Halloween/Fall stuff plus some handmade rugs, decors, curtains, candles, soaps, etc. I noticed that not all of the products were Amish-made, so I decided to pick up a few preserves that were locally made in Volant (which I assume were made by the Amish) and some wooden Amish figurines as souvenirs. Volant Mills has three floors, with the third one being more of an exposition/mini museum for a few traditional Amish clothing and memorabilias mix with a few gardening/decor products. If you don’t have cash, don’t worry, because the store accepts all major credit cards.

 

volant mills volant pa

 

volant mills, volant pa

 

After Volant Mills, I got hungry and realized that it was almost time for lunch, I saw that there were a few Amish ladies selling some preserves and baked goodies, and another group selling some delicious-looking Amish donuts. I wanted one, but I decided to venture into the full-service restaurant just across Volant Mills, called Neshannock Creek Inn. They also accept credit cards and since I don’t have enough cash to purchase those donuts yet, I decided to have lunch at Neshannock Creek Inn. I’ve read that they’re known for their Giant Cod Sandwich, so I ordered one and the sandwich arrived well-cooked and looking really delish with some fries and condiments. While the sandwich could have tasted better with more seasoning, I really enjoyed their fries and mayo. They’re so good, one of the best I’ve ever tried.

 

volant pa amish doughnuts

 

neshannock creek inn volant pa

 

I was already full by the time I got out of the restaurant and I sorta stopped longing for the donuts. Although, now that I think about it, I realized that I really should have tried one. Oh my, nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy. LOL. True, right? Anyways, at the back of the restaurant was an ATM which I used to get cash in order to pay for things I wanted to buy around. The area is full of little quaint houses that serve as shops for coffee, clothes, art, foods, etc. I went into a nice little store/house that sells antiques and it was really interesting and exciting while a bit creepy at the same time. There were lots of things to see and to explore, and they’re pretty cheap.

 

volant antique shops

 

volant pennsylvania

 

From the Antique store, I visited some other stores and had fun just browsing. There are also male and female public bathrooms in the area that you can spot immediately, as well as stores that sell Amish furnitures. As you all know, Amish people are known for their finely-crafted furnitures and I pretty much ended my Volant trip scouting for some stores that specialize in selling true Amish chairs, tables, and cabinets.

 

volant pa kester's alpaca

 

Oh, and did I forget to mention that I saw this cutie on my way out of Volant Mills? Meet Al, the Alpaca, LOL. His owner was selling some Alpaca-made scarves and I purchased some while taking a few pics of Al’s cutie face. He was looking at me seriously, I bet he was getting ready to spit on my face. Oh my, he would have ruined my Dior foundation, jokes.

I really enjoyed Volant, it was like stepping back in time and it was very peaceful. Even though I didn’t see a lot of Amish people, I still enjoyed the simplicity and beauty of the place. The people are friendly too. It’s so nice to get away from the city life and experience simple living from time to time.

I really like it there and I’m thinking of going back sometime soon. Perhaps even make a trip to the nearby village of New Wilmington and take a tour to see the Amish way of life.

 

That concludes part 1 of my travel log guys. Stay tuned for part 2, which is Lake Erie.

 

Follow on Instagram: @reviewsandotherstuff

 

 

Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona

Hola Bon Dia!

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been to Barcelona several times. I’m no longer a stranger to the city since it’s one of my European connection and my third home. Every year I visit this city, yet every time I come here it’s always different. There’s always something new and interesting to see in Barcelona. In fact, it seems like this city never runs out of anything new. Oh and I did I mention that there’s always this excitement in the air whenever I come here. It must be sun, or the friendly faces, or it could be just the beauty of this place. But I truly think that it’s all of the above.

 

passeig de gracia Barcelona

                                 

I’ve been to a lot of tourist spots in Barcelona and they’re all breathtaking. Yet there’s one place that I always visit. Can you guess it? Yes, the title says it. Passeig de Gracia, or Paseo de Gracia in Spanish. Take note that Catalans have their own dialect apart from Spanish, but they can definitely understand Spanish as well without a problem. And a lot of people around Passeig de Gracia can speak and understand English perfectly. It’s a very touristic place obviously, and don’t worry, there’s always Starbucks nearby. So if you get lost, just locate the nearest unofficial US Embassy and sanctuary for those who are lost in translation, “Starbucks”. Hahaha!. So back to Paseo de Grace as what I like to call it. (P.S. I know more Spanish than Catalan, so don’t be surprised). It’s the ultimate shopping place in Barcelona. A lot of upscale brands and some local or even Europe-only brands. From Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel to Stradivarius and Zara, this is the place to be if you wanna shop hardcore. Me, I like to look through the windows and glass walls of these shops and literally drool! So what? they don’t know me anyway, LOL. This place is posh and expensive but if you’re non-European, well, you can always get a tax-free. So it kinda soothes the guilt a bit, if it helps, hehehe.

 

shopping passeig de gracia Barcelona

Starbucks passeo de gracia Barcelona
If you get lost, don’t worry, just look for Starbucks. The unofficial US embassy and sanctuary for those who are lost in translation. LOL.

 

Apart from being a shopping haven, Paseo de Grace is full of countless authentic Catalan, Spanish and European Restaurants. Catalans love seafoods, so if you’re a seafood lover like moi, this is the place to be. Of course, there’s always gonna be the everlasting and eternally muy delicioso Jamon Serrano or Pernil. But I really suggest that you try their Crema Catalana for dessert. Oh and don’t forget their Paellas too. The restaurants along Passeig de Gracia can be slightly more expensive because it caters to “tourists”. Although I was hearing a lot of raves about “El Nacional”, an impressive and well-restored building that’s beautifully-designed with lots of different restaurant inside that caters different kinds of foods, whether Italian, Spanish, etc. It’s also frequented by locals, local bloggers and fashionistas-alike for selfie and smizing at their retro-style bathrooms. But there are very good and slightly cheaper-priced restaurants if you’re willing to go a bit farther or away from Paseo de Grace, which aren’t really that far anyway.

 

Barcelona architecture passeig de gracia

passeo de gracia Barcelona

With all the shopping and restaurants that Passeo de Gracia has to offer, I’ve always marveled at the beautiful architecture of this place. It’s grand and majestic, it’s well-designed and well-built. In this long and beautiful street, you’ll see the work of the famous Catalan Architect Gaudi in some of the buildings. I still wonder how he could create those fantasy-like designs and structures on his buildings while having such amazing details.

 

streets passeo de gracia Barcelona

It’s never a boring day at Passeig de Gracia. There’s lots of friendly people, lots of shops, lots of very mind-blowing architectures, lots of sun, and lots of very scrumptious unforgettable foods. I wouldn’t mind chillin’ here all day and all the time. Oh I can’t wait to come back soon.

Barcelona passeig de gracia street

For places to visit and things to do in Barcelona, click HERE.

For the review of El Nacional, click HERE.

 

Adéu moltes gràcies a tots

 

L.

 

For more trips and adventures and makeups, follow me on Instagram: @reviewsandotherstuff

 

 

Ulla Girona Spain

ulla girona catalonia spain streets

 

Last November, My family and I took a trip to Barcelona Spain. I’ve been to Barcelona several times before, so it’s definitely not my first time to the city. We have relatives there, in fact, a lot of them, so we usually visit them at least once a year. They don’t exactly live in the center of Barcelona, so from BCN airport, it would take around 45 minutes to an hour to get to where my party people are. From there, we usually visit different cities and villages outside Barcelona, like Besalu, Pals and Girona. Take note that these are some of the places where several scenes of the HBO series Games Of Thrones were filmed. These places are known for their medieval sceneries. It’s as if you stepped back in time. Or just imagine seeing Dungeons And Dragons cartoon in real life. 😆 I swear I thought I saw Drogon when I was there, Dracarys! Rawr 😂

From our latest Spanish sojourn, I’d like to take you to a village in Girona, called Ulla (Uol-lya). Now, the Catalans have a tricky way of pronouncing that place, but as a foreigner, I suggest you pronounce it with the best of how you can. Not a big deal. Ulla is a very small village which is 1 hour and 41 minutes from Barcelona Airport. It’s so tiny that most probably it won’t take you 30 minutes to roam around by foot. It’s like a one or two block neighborhood, if I’m not mistaken. Getting there is tricky because there’s a couple of roundabouts, tiny streets, fields, turns, etc. You might need a local to get there, or have a map or gps and rent a car. I’m not even sure if there’s any hotel there, but you can definitely find some around Girona. There’s also no restaurants if I’m not mistaken again, and there’s very low cellphone coverage, specially when you’re in roaming mode for sure. Basically it’s a place to unwind and disappear a la Gone Girl, 😆 . Or let’s just say, to go off the grid or lay low for a while. But there’s people living in this quaint village and they seem to live a stress-free life. My kind of life, our kind of life. 😉

 

ulla girona spain Catholic Church sundial

 

From where I stayed, which is a family vacation house, (not really mine, I’m not that important 😆) there’s an old but charming Catholic Church nearby and from what my relatives said, it’s still holding mass from time to time. I did hear the Church Bells ringing one early morning. But I didn’t see any churchgoers nor the priest inside. Too bad, I had a lot of sins I wanted to confess, LOL.. 😂 (one of them is hoarding makeup and beauty products, for sure, 😂)

 

ulla spain church

 

The Church’s ground is very pretty with simple plants and trees. It is in itself very medieval-looking, stoney, ancient and all. I particularly love the picturesque sundial located at the top side of the Church’s building.

 

ulla girona spain

Apart from the one and only Church that this village has, the tiny streets of Ulla are simply exotic and beautiful. You could sense the authentic and rich Catalan history while glancing at their ancient but tough-looking doors and terraces. The place is always sunny and simply breathtaking.

ulla spain street

Depending on where you’re looking at, you might be able to see some of the neighboring hills from Ulla. The houses and streets are of course also made of stones, cements, gravels and bricks. As with any places everywhere in Spain, soccer is a big passion. So you might find kids playing it from time to time. As with the Catalans, it’s always Força Barça!

 

Restaurant Can Bach Sant Feliu de Boada

 

Since I mentioned that there’s no restaurant within Ulla, our relatives took us to the nearby Sant Feliu de Boada, another province of Girona but within 13 minutes drive from Ulla. We went to Restaurant Can Bach which serves Spanish, Mediterranean and European food. The restaurant itself has a very nice ambience, the food is affordable and delish. I recommend their Botifarras and Pan Tomaquet with Jamon Iberico de Bellota. I also suggest that you walk around the grounds of the restaurant because it’s so traditionally unique and romantic. There’s also a place for kids to play. P.S. I love the photo of the grandpa (not mine 😆 ) sitting near the restaurant on a late afternoon siesta above. Such is the Spanish Life!

 

ulla spain residence

 

Ulla is a small and laid-back village with an old-world feel. It’s simple yet interesting and the houses and streets are well-kept and well-preserved. The weather is always exciting to behold, full of blue skies and lots of sunshine even throughout the winter. The people are low-key, kind and friendly. Not to mention the food which is always superb. You may feel like there’s not much to do in there because there’s not a lot of stuff around, but the village is already a sight to see, and you can always visit some other neighboring villages nearby, but if you visit Ulla at least once, it’ll be a visit worth remembering for a lifetime.

To visit Barcelona, click here

To visit Girona, click here

Too book a hotel in Girona, click here

For restaurants near Ulla, click here and here.