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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Fun, Food & Family Travel: Why we should all be #inCostaBrava right now.

Followers of my blog will know about my undisputed love for Catalonia, and especially, Costa Brava. Thanks to having found a family home here and learning the language in virtually a few weeks, I have since felt deeply attached to “les meves terres catalanes” – my Catalan homeland. From planning creative travel projects around Catalonia, to speaking at Girona University, to thinking of living and moving here for a while: Everything seems possible with people as nice & warm-hearted as the Catalans.

 

When you fall in love, love is everywhere you look. And more so when you travel and find yourself at home at once. Like it happens #inCostaBrava.

This time round, let me tell you of my recent summertime day trips around Costa Brava & Pyrenees. Starting out heading east from the city of Girona, it takes less than an hour to reach the fantastic little “pobles” (historic villages) of PalsMonellsUllastret, or Begur. That’s if you wish to feel some of the region’s typical, historical charm, very much alive in small villages such as these. It’s enough to walk around, to ask for a “tallat” (short milk coffee), and to have a chat with friends & family, to time travel for the day in a picturesque setting such as this one.

Off we go travelling #inCostaBrava, proud home of the Catalan nation and identity ...

Off we go travelling #inCostaBrava, proud home of the Catalan nation and identity …

 

... feeling the charm of its quaint little villages, such as magnificent Pals here ...

… feeling the charm of its quaint little villages, such as magnificent Pals here …

 

... meeting the locals in Ullastret ...

… meeting the locals in Ullastret …

 

... focusing on quirky little details in places such as Palau-Sator ...

… focusing on quirky little details in places such as Palau-Sator …

 

... and finding peace in passing time with your friends and loved ones ...

… and finding peace in passing time with our friends and family …

 

... such as these ones: Love you my dear

… such as these ones: Love you my dear Núria, Andreu, Francesc, Núria, Gemma, Arnaud, Carles, Albert, Marc & Mireia (from left to right).

 

And wouldn't you trust them, too?! Fun-filled moments with the Catalan friends around Costa Brava !!

And wouldn’t you trust them, too?! Laughing with tears every time I come to visit .. Fun-filled moments with the Catalan friends around Costa Brava !!

 

So where exactly are the places we are describing here? Check out my travel map of all the places we’ve visited this time:

 

Now I have a very special tip for you, based on what my friends have organised for me. At one Saturday morning, we all got up at 5.30 in the morning, only to get ready and leave the house in time to make it to sunrise on the beach at precisely 6.44 a.m. that day. WOW.

I might never have seen any sunrise quite like this one! One more – yet another! – reason to fall in love #inCostaBrava.

6.30 a.m. the magic unfolds ...

At 6.30 a.m. the magic unfolds …

 

... following my dear friends as the know exactly where to go: Platja Illa Roja, down the city of Begur.

… following my dear friends as they know exactly where to go: Platja Illa Roja, down the city of Begur.

 

Can't get enough of the colour display in front of our eyes ...

Can’t get enough of the colour display in front of our eyes …

 

... as my talented Instagram friend Albert, who loves to publish tremendous travel photos around Costa Brava as @rouge1979 : Go check him out there!

… just as my talented Instagram friend Albert Roca, who publishes tremendous travel photos from around Costa Brava as @rouge1979 : Go check him out!

 

Finally, at exactly 6.44 a.m., the sun rises over the horizon. WHAT. A. MOMENT ...!

Finally, at exactly 6.44 a.m., the sun rises over the horizon. WHAT. A. MOMENT …! Don’t miss out on your next trip here, as there are plenty of little cafés and restaurants that do nice breakfast afterwards to compensate the early morning walk.

 

No trip to Costa Brava would ever be complete without its magnificent food & wines. As a #foodlover #winelover traveller, I must therefore insist you eat …

… at least one fresh fish out here, caught the very day you arrive. Order a nice, big Paella that the Catalans like to call “Arros” – just to be different. (Remember: “Catalonia is not Spain ..!”). Go to a local’s home for nice, home-grown Ratafia herbal liqueur (more about that later!). And head over to La Vinyeta winery, a wine estate that truly stands out for its quality of both white and red wines. Or go and do the same, combining it with an “Enocaiac” or “Herbocaiac” kayaking trip. You see, Catalonia – and especially Costa Brava – really are full of surprises!

The port city of Lllançà, in Cap de Creus Nature Park ...

The port city of Lllançà, in Cap de Creus Nature Park …

 

... is home to a wonderful place for (foodie) travellers: Alberg Costa Brava.

… is home to a wonderful place for (foodie) travellers: Alberg Costa Brava and their famous, local Paella (Arros).

 

Check out what I've written about "my family home" here #inCostaBrava : A place you don't want to miss on your next travels here !!

Check out what I’ve written about “my family home” here #inCostaBrava : A place you don’t want to miss on your next travels !!

 

Besides, great (mountain) food forages are possible in places such as Camprodon, this time in the Pyrenees near the French border ...

Besides, great (mountain) food forages are possible in places such as Camprodon, in the Pyrenees near the French border …

 

... (and yes, it can rain here too!) ...

… (and yes, it can rain here too, though it’s very rare during summertime!) …

 

... out on the way there, you must go and visit beautiful Castellfollit ...

… out on the way there, you must go and visit beautiful Castellfollit …

 

... sitting high atop a volcanic mountain outcrop, with stunning views over the surrounding forest landscape.

… a historic little town sitting high atop a volcanic mountain outcrop, with stunning views over the surrounding forest landscape.

 

... thank you, my dear Carles, Gemma & Arnaud for taking me there!

… thank you, my dear Carles, Gemma & Arnaud for taking me there!

 

Last but not least, there is something I really want you to try. It is called “Ratafia”, and might not evoke much at first. But boy, you wait till you get your hands on “the Ratafia Brotherhood”: They will teach you why drinking Ratafia is like pouring the landscape from a jar.

“Evarist, let’s meet again! I really enjoyed our ‘herbocaiac’ algae tasting kayak tour together last summer. Are you free any of these days I am back #inCostaBrava ..?” Well, yes. There goes the “let’s-make-it-happen” mentality of my dear Catalan friends and family: “Sure! Oh and do you mind if your friend Nicole Biarnes joins us for a Ratafia tasting & learning how to make it ourselves …?” How could I. What is more, Nicole, a very talented travel writer publishing on her German blog “Freibeuter Reisen”, has since literally exploded with creativity describing her experience of making Ratafia #inCostaBrava. It was a wonderful gift to share this experience together – and here is how you, too, can explore more of it on a half-day trip organised by Evarist & his company called “NaturalWalks” together with the “Confraria da Ratafia” in Santa Coloma: http://naturalwalks.com/en/.

Beautiful Ratafia, is a typical herbal liqueur from Costa Brava that has green nuts as its base and opens up the creativity for combining local herbs to everyone.

Beautiful Ratafia is a herbal liqueur from Costa Brava that uses green nuts as its base and opens up the creativity for combining local herbs to make up an individual mixture in each jar. As a rule of thumb, leave the herbs soaked in alcohol for 40 days and 40 nights before drinking.

 

Earlier that same morning, Evarist NaturalWalks takes us out and up into the heart of Monseny Nature Park, at Masia Buxaus.

Earlier that same morning, Evarist NaturalWalks takes us out and up into the heart of Monseny Nature Park, at Masia Buxaus.

 

Here, at yet another emblem of proud Catalan regional identity ...

Here, at yet another place of proud Catalan regional identity …

 

Evarist, who besides being botanical advisor to the world famous Catalan restaurant "El Celler de Can Roca", teaches us all about collecting the (right) herbs ...

… Nicole and I go collecting herbs & flowers for use in our Ratafia together with Evarist, who besides being botanical advisor to the world famous Catalan restaurant “El Celler de Can Roca” …

 

teaches us all about collecting the (right) herbs

… teaches us all about collecting the (right) herbs (and flowers) …

 

... for making Ratafia in a town called Santa Coloma, the "epicentre" of modern-day Ratafia in Catalonia ...

… for making Ratafia in a nearby town called Santa Coloma, the “epicentre” of modern-day Ratafia in Catalonia …

 

... as demonstrated by the so-called "Ratafia Brotherhood" ...

… as demonstrated by the so-called “Ratafia Brotherhood” …

 

... who has since put a mark of quality development on all things Ratafia: From (inter)national tastings, to town parties and annual

… who has since put a mark of quality development on all things Ratafia: From (inter)national tastings, to town parties and events: Gràcies Josep & Evarist, for receiving Nicole & me that morning in Santa Coloma!

 

Head over to Nicole’s blog for a more detailed description (and recipe) as to how to make your own Ratafia (I left mine to mature in the Catalan sunshine with my friends & family #inCostaBrava .. let’s see what comes out of it in 40 days & 40 nights from now!).

“So now it’s your turn … To go, create, and celebrate. Around the world or around the corner: Wherever the experience of creative travel will take you.” Let me conclude with a quote from my own book, The Creative Traveler’s Handbook this time, as I am looking at exploring even more such active culture experiences #inCostaBrava next year. Moltíssimes gràcies – Thank you everyone, for always helping me on and making me feel so much at home here with you.

All my travel photos from being #inCostaBrava this time are published here:

 

Disclaimer: Thank you for inviting us to, and organising our creative tasting visit, at Santa Coloma Ratafia Brotherhood, Evarist March – NaturalWalks. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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