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Lake Erie

A couple of months ago, I did an amazing trip to Volant, PA, a borough well-known for its Amish community. You can read about that trip HERE. The same day of that trip, I didn’t only decide to see Volant, I also went to Lake Erie for the first time. I’ve heard amazing things about this place and I wanted to see and experience it for myself.

 

Presque Isle State Park

 

Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake in North America and is situated between Ontario Canada and some of the East Coast States, namely: Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. It’s about an hour and thirteen minutes away from Volant by car, and if you’re coming from Philly, it’ll take about six hours and thirty minutes drive to get there. If you’re from Pittsburgh, then it’s closer, which will take about one hour and fifty minutes drive, give or take. Before I reached Lake Erie, I stopped at the Grove City Outlets, which is about 17 minutes from Volant, in order to get some snacks, stretch my legs, and also to check out some good deals. I probably stayed there for about an hour or so, and then I continued towards Erie. The drive there was pretty smooth on a temperate afternoon. As I was approaching Lake Erie, I was amazed by how familiar it looked even if I actually had never been there. It had that sort of Santa Monica California vibe. There were small shacks and rows of seafood restaurants lining down the street, and you could see some rental canoe stores and stuff you’ll need to do a complete water adventure. You could see some parts of the lake peeking through as you approach the Presque Isle State Park, which was my main destination. In those tiny entrance corners of the lake, there were families with kids splashing around and playing around. There were also some people with swimming gears. As I continued towards the entrance of Presque Isle Park, which is a peninsula that overhangs out of Lake Erie, I saw that it’s actually gated and it looked very much like a peaceful sandy park surrounded by this vast body of clear water. There weren’t a lot of people in the park, but there were a few that drove around or had their cars parked along the road to enjoy the view of the lake. I went through a narrow windy road where you could see some boats close to the shore as the view of the lake unfolds.

 

Lake Erie, PA

 

Lake Erie

 

I was looking for a nice view where I could stop by and take some photos. I continued driving towards the long windy road where I saw a sign that warned me to be careful with wild animals crossing, and that’s when I almost ran over a group of wild turkeys slowly making their way across the road. Oh, my heart leaped out of my chest. Thank God, I managed to stop the car on time and everything was fine. The turkeys took their time to cross while I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought I would have an early Thanksgiving, lol.

 

 

Presque Isle State Park

 

Lake Erie

 

As I continued, I saw a really nice view of the lake where it almost looked like I was on the beach; complete with all the sands, the waves, and the sun. There were people strolling there, some barefoot, and some were just trying to fly their kites. I decided to park around there and took a nice long stroll. I pretty much like the area, it was nice to hear the waves roaring again as it reaches the shore. I have not seen the beach nor the sea in a very long time, so a nice large lake like this would certainly do for me. I love the peacefulness and the serenity of it all and photographing the sandy lake never disappoints.

 

Visit to Lake Erie

 

Lake Erie Review

 

It got pretty chilly later on and I realized it was almost very late in the afternoon. So, as soon as I finished my stroll, I decided to keep driving around the lake until I reach the way to turn back. Before I reached the exit, I stopped again looking for a restroom and decided to take one last stroll within the park. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite like the restrooms in the place; they weren’t very sanitary, especially the portable ones. I suggest you use the designated restrooms close to the very exit whenever you visit this place, as it’s a lot cleaner even though you may have to bring your own toilet paper. Apart from that, the grounds of the park looks really clean, and the lake is well-preserved as well. It’s a quaint and magical place to be. The park seems peaceful and quite romantic. There were a lot of birds to see and I think you could probably do some fishing (with a license) as well.

 

Lake Erie Pennsylvania

 

I didn’t feel like leaving the place so soon, I was really enchanted by its unique beauty, but as I looked at the time, I decided I’d better get back since I’ll have a long drive ahead of me. I decided to have a quick dinner before driving back and had looked for a restaurant to dine at. I found this Japanese restaurant just right in front of Presque Isle Park entrance, called Samurai Kitchen + Sushi. Its got really good reviews on Yelp, so I decided to go there and I got seated immediately. Oh well, much to my dismay, the food took too long to arrive and the taste was just ok, given how much they cost. So I don’t really recommend it. I suggest you find someplace else to dine around there, and if you’re from the area, please send me an email as to which restaurants around are great. I do plan on coming back pretty soon.

 

Presque Isle Park

 

Driving back was funny and scary because I noticed a gazillion of these weird bugs reflecting my headlights and smashing down my windshield, to the point that I had to turn my wipers on because they were staining the glass and obstructing my view. I thought they were mosquitoes. I honestly had no idea what they were and thank God I did arrive home safe very late that night. Days later, I found out that they’re called lovebugs. 

 

Lake Erie Review

 

Overall, I really love my visit to Volant and this trip to Lake Erie just sweetened the deal. I highly suggest that you visit this place especially if you’ve never been here before. It’s such a beautiful, serene, and magical beauty of nature. I could imagine myself strolling or running along the lake, taking photos and being able to enjoy the calmness of it all or to even just listen to the birds. If only Lake Erie is nearby.

 

To read more about Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park, click HERE

 

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 folks 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.

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 are also no restaurants if I’m not mistaken again, and there’s very low cellphone coverage, especially 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 are 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, there’s an old but charming Catholic Church nearby and from what my relatives said, it still conducts 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. 

 

ulla spain church

 

The Church’s ground is very pretty with simple plants and trees. It is in itself very medieval-looking, stoney, and ancient. 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, 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 ambiance, 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 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.

 

 

 

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