Barcelona: Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia and sandwich lunch at Praktik Bakery Baluard

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Hola!

Just back from a long weekend in Barcelona with my best friend from home, Emma, I’m dying to share it all with you. The restaurants and the sights. So let’s start off where we ourselves started; with Park Güell.

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We both arrived late on the Friday night so didn’t see anything of Barcelona then, but we stayed up talking long into the night. After breakfast on Saturday we took a taxi to Park Güell as it was all across town from our hotel.

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We walked around the huge park for a good hour and a half taking in the different ‘rooms’ and enjoying the magnificent views. It’s a good mix of Gaudí quirkiness and greenery. And it feels very exotic with palm trees, oranges trees and cacti a plenty.

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There are lots of buildings (and some lived-in houses!) all in very different styles but because the space is so large and different it fits!

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It’s a real oasis bang in the city and although many people visited when we did it never felt crowded because of the vast green spaces.

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For us, not being all that crazy about Gaudí’s style, this was a great way to explore it in a an accessible way.

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Although not my style at all, I find these gingerbread houses adorable!

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And the views – breathtaking!

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Park Güell is free to visit, although one area requires a ticket). We were happy to just walk around the free part of the park. And although it has lots of hills the bigger paths are all wide and accessible (as the daughter to an occupational therapist I notice these things). It’s not the kind of park where you bring a picnic or sit on a lawn but there’s a restaurant and other vendors if you get thirsty or peckish.

Park Güell, 08024 Barcelona, Spain

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Our next stop was La Sagrada Familia, but we didn’t go in. For us it was enough to view it from the outside. There is such a thing as too much culture. Plus we were hungry and needed a sit down.

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But it’s pretty incredible.

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Amazing details.

La Sagrada Familia, Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

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We stopped for sandwiches at a lovely bakery in a hotel for lunch, that we just happened to walk past. I had read about the Barceloneta branch of the bakery so knew it would be nice! And it was.

I had a crusty baguette with jamon and tomato (so good!)  and Emma had one equally nice with manchego and sundried tomatoes. And to finish off the meal we shared a lovely tarlet with strawberries and raspberries (chocolate crust, crème pâtissière and fresh sweet berries) .

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Everything in the bakery looked super fresh and inviting, and the seating area was light and airy; the perfect place to enjoy a quiet sandwich lunch.

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Praktik Bakery Baluard, Calle Provença 279, Barcelona, Spain

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Zetas trädgård, a nursery near Stockholm

 

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On the Saturday morning of our Stockholm weekend, we travelled (by metro and bus) to a lovely nursery called  Zetas trädgård, near Kungens Kurva. My keen gardener mother was very excited to come here, but dad and I could also see the appeal. It’s a beautiful nursery, an oasis, with lots of plants and decorative things to buy. Plus a lovely café with seating both inside and outside serving still warm cinnamon buns straight from the oven, nice sandwiches and soups. That’s where we hung out while mum walked around looking at plants!

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Dad and I first shared a cinnamon bun and had a hot chocolate each and then we had lunch with mum a bit later.

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The ham and avokado crème on rye was really nice, just like the sourdoug baguette with local washed-rind cheese and fig jam.

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A lovely spot for a café, don’t you think?!

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We had a lovely few hours here, and although we were mainly for my mother’s sake I still had a great time, and even found two nice vases to buy.

Zetas Finsmakarens Trädgård, Blombacken 2, 141 70 Segeltorp (Kungens Kurva), Stockholm

 

Danish sandwiches at Copenhagen Airport

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When I go home to visit my family and friends in Sweden, I actually fly to Denmark as Copenhagen airport is the closest international airport. The train to Sweden takes only 12 minutes (over that famous bridge) so it’s very easy to get there.

I find myself spending a fair bit of time at this airport and although I have always liked certain things about it (the dark wooden floors, the hand luggage trolley and the shopping) the food selection has never been that great. This has changed in the last couple of years though and on my last visit, in January, I noticed that the well-known smørrebrød restaurant Aamann’s had opened a sandwich bar here that I just had to try.

I love the elaborate open-faced Danish sandwiches (smørrebrød) with more topping than bread and this one with steak tartar, tarragon mayo, capers, crispy onions, pickled red onions and cornichons was wonderful! It was also so filling I only managed the one (I will have to try the other ones another time) and very good value for money too at only DKK 65.

There are more places worth visiting for food at Copenhagen airport; Lagkagehuset and Joe and the juice have been around for a while now but I saw that Gorm’s pizza opened recently as well. It’s come a long way since the awful (and overpriced) sandwiches from a few years ago when the only safe option was a hot dog.

 

A day in Copenhagen

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A day trip to Copenhagen with Maria, Daniel and toddler Otto during the summer feels like a well established tradition by now and I hope we keep it up for many years to come.

Despite heavy rain as soon as we stepped out of the car we had a great day in the Danish capital. Luckily that was the only shower that day. 

We started, like last year, with an early lunch at Wanna B and we can confirm that their burgers are still nice. Otto agrees and he especially liked the dressing. 

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After a walk and some shopping (mainly at Companys, & Other Stories, Cos, Hay and Notre Dame) we were in the mood for fika and wanted to sit down and found a nice café in the Main Library in the city centre near the pedestrian street (i.e. not the Black Diamond / Sorte Diamant) called Democratic Coffee Bar.

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Daniel the coffee connoisseur was very pleased with the coffee and Maria and I liked the Danish with cookie dough filling. My organic juice drink was really nice too.

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Then we headed to Copenhagen’s answer to Borough Market; Torvehallerne. Finally! It was my first visit here so we systematically hoovered the place from side to side so as to not miss anything. 

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There are plenty of nice shops selling pantry product as well as fresh produce, restaurants and take aways, Compared to Borough Market Torvehallerne feels very fresh and organised and it is a lot more spacious. But Borough Market is more well-stocked and offer more than one seller selling a similar product so you can compare and choose. 

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Luckily the weather turned and we had a sunny afternoon and evening. Perfect for a break and a glass of cava at the Cava Bar outside in between the two food halls. 

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We decided to get a takeaway since we had trouble choosing food and settled for a weird combination of smørrebrød (Danish open-faced sandwiches) and sushi for dinner.

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The smørrebrød from Hallernes Smørrebrød were really nice and pretty too! We had one with marinated salmon, one with plaice and remoulad, one with roast beef and fresh horseradish and one with eggs, prawns, cress and lemon zest. 

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The rolls from Sushi Lovers were all amazing and super fresh. I will definitely come back here both to shop and eat. Thanks for a lovely day, guys! 

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Wanna B, Kompagnistræde 4, 1208 København K, Denmark

Democratic Coffee Bar, Krystalgade 15, København, Denmark

Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K, Denmark