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Monday, 16 October 2017

6 Things to do in Barcelona

We recently spent 4 days in the stunning city of Barcelona and absolutely fell in love with it! We thought we'd share with you our top things to see and do for your next visit!

things to do in barcelona

Go inside Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia must have been on top of every tourist's list for the past 100 years or so and it should be on tops of yours too! We had booked our tickets in advance (which we'd highly recommend doing for anything Gaudi!) and headed over to Sagrada Familia for our 9:30am time slot.

sagrada familia glory facade

The outside of the Basilica is unique and it's completely understandable why so many tourists flock to see this attraction each year, however we think it's much better inside!

sagrada familia stained glass window effect

sagrada familia ceiling
We were blown away by the interior! It is such a huge contrast to the outside and really is so worth the €15 basic entry fee. The basic ticket also includes the museum below the Basilica, we had no idea this was here so were pleasantly surprised to find it and it was absolutely fascinating! 


Stroll through Park Güell

park guell lizard mosaic

If you're wanting a fantastic view of Barcelona but don't want to travel too far from the city then Park Güell is the place to go. The park itself is free to enter and there's plenty to see! For a great view of Barcelona make your way to the cross on top of the hill.

park guell monument zone

If you want to experience some more Gaudi you can purchase a ticket to enter the Monument area and see the most beautiful part of the park up close. Tickets again are best purchased in advance and will only set you back €7.

See Barcelona from it's highest point 

If you want an even better view of Barcelona and don't mind the little bit of extra travel then we'd definitely recommend heading out to Sagrat Cor and reaching the highest point of Barcelona at the top of Tibidabo.

tibidabo amusement park barcelona

We headed out on the FGC from Catalunya to Peu Del Funicular and had a 30 minute stroll from there - it's not the most direct route up Tibidabo but it is a pretty cheap and simple way.

tibidabo amusement park rides

sagrat cor

Tibidabo really is an unusual area! First you're greeted by a pretty big amusement park with loads of rides (some of them look pretty scary) that should entertain people of all ages! Standing above the rides however are two churches, one on top of the other, topped with a large statue of Christ which you can even go up to for just a few euros.

Hit the beach

barcelona beach

Barcelona really does have everything! If you're feeling pretty tired after that busy morning walking up Tibidabo then why not hit the beach for the afternoon? As the week goes on it gets more and more busy so better to do this earlier in the week! Be prepared to get hassled by people selling drinks to but that aside it's so lovely to have a beach right next to the city - the water wasn't too cold either! 
Eat delicious food
We were given a couple of recommendations on the best places to get Tapas in the city and unfortunately the first place we visited must have just been shut for the week of our visit but maybe if you're in the city you'll have better luck with La Alcoba Azul - We weren't the only people wandered around desperately searching for it either!  
Our second recommendation however was so good we visited twice! Cerveceria Catalonia offers some delicious tapas and you have to stay and get the bread pudding for desert! Top tip here though is to avoid it like the plague at night! The queue is often over an hour long! Visit here for a big lunch and you won't be disappointed.

black remedy pulled pork sandwich barcelona

Somewhere else we have to mention is the coffee shop Black Remedy we went in here on a whim and ended up have the most delicious pulled pork sandwich possibly ever!
Perhaps the most unusual place to get a drink in the city is El Bosc de Les Fades, this hidden gem just off La Rambla is a indoor forest, complete with thunder storms and certainly an interesting place to stop for a rest! 

Get lost in the Gothic Quarter

barri gotic barcelona

Our absolute favourite thing to do in Barcelona was simply walk around and soak up the surroundings and for this there was no where better than the Gothic Quarter, Barri Gotic.

barcelona cathedral sunset

The Gothic Quarter is a maze of tiny crisscrossing streets with a myriad of unique shops and cafes. It's very easy to get lost in this very old part of Barcelona but there's often a gem hidden right around the next corner!

So that is our top 6 things to do when visiting Barcelona. We hope this will help you if you're planning on visiting the beautiful city and can't recommend it enough! 

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Monday, 9 October 2017

Race Roundup: CRUK Tough 10 Peak District

We took on the challenge of one of Cancer Research UK's toughest organised runs. Based out in Castleton, in the Peak District, the Tough10 trail run come fell race is definitely not one for the faint hearted but it's certainly a lot of fun!

Race Roundup CRUK Tough10 Peak District


Ahead of the Day
Despite having this on our radar for quite a long time we didn't actually sign up to do the event until one week before it (Slightly put off by the high entry fee). You sign up online which is a pretty simple process and easy to do for multiple runners too, however one niggle that annoyed me slightly was receiving the link to a "Just Giving" page that they automatically set up for you before you even receive confirmation of your entry - I understand that it's a charity but it seemed a bit pushy. Our race packs arrived within days of signing up and contained our numbers, a bag drop off label and our chips. The accompanying letter didn't explain that much about the event so it was better to get information from the website

CRUK Tough 10 Peak District


On The Day Organisation
Upon arriving in Castleton the route to the free car park was marked out with a few marshals guiding the way. Parking was about a 10 minute walk from the start line. Around the starting area there was various stands set up; a bag drop, a help and information desk and a coffee stall. There were toilet facilities available but the queue was huge and meant a slight delay in the race start time. Information about how the start would work was constantly being told over the speaker system for everyone to hear. The start was staggered into three pulses based on your usual 10km times; pulse one for sub 45minutes, pulse two for sub 55mins and pulse three for the remainder. The route was well marshaled and sign posted  - with information signs to show the elevation gained on climb sections, a nice touch!

#tough10
 
Atmosphere
 The turn out was pretty good with around 215 runners taking part in the event. There was plenty of support at the start line and especially for the final 25 meters before the finish. Along the route itself there was pretty much no spectators although plenty of hikers were out who would kindly step to the side and offer some encouragement. 

Castleton tough 10 race finishers

The Course
The circular route begins on Hollowford Road and heads straight towards the centre of Castleton, marshals were on hand to stop the traffic on the main road to allow all the runners to pass through. After crossing the main road it was straight on up to Cave Dale, where the trail part of the run truly began - this was a 220m climb through a mixture of stream, rocks and mud! After reaching the top of Cave Dale just after the 2km marker the hill begins to give way to a flatter section of the run, it's along some more mud here until you reach the road at around 3.5km.



The road takes you nicely to the 5km* mark where it's back to a climb and back onto tougher terrain, here you tackle the hill the leads you to the steps up to Mam Tor. Climbing Mam Tor itself is much easier as the route follows paved steps to the highest point of the run. After you've reached the top, from here it's undulating hill along a paved path. At around 8km the route turns away from the path and into a steep downhill mud bath! This was by far the trickiest km of the run and had many people slipping and sliding all over the place! At the bottom of the hill it's one final push back along the road to the finish line.
The course had a complete mixture of terrain including road, field, rocky paths and a lot of mud. You definitely need a pair of trail running shoes for this event!  

Tough 10 Peak District Elevation

*Note: We found some discrepancy between our watches GPS km calculations and the official markers along the route. We think this might be due to the course being measure flat from above and not bringing elevation into the equation. In total this gave us an actual run of around 10.4km.  
 
The Goodie Bag
At the finish line participants receive a medal, bottle of water and protein bar. You can also collect a print out with your chip time and position (due to runners still coming in the position is relative to when you finished so this may be different to the final results)

Tough 10 Peak District Medal

Although you don't get much (considering the entry fee) it felt like a lot had been spent on organisation and we were happy to pay a little more so the excess can go towards Cancer Research UK
 
Key Stats
Entry Fee: £25
Atmosphere 3/5
Race Organisation 4/5
Course Difficulty 5/5
Goodie Bag 2/5
Overall Score 4/5   

Key Stats explained
Atmosphere rating (1-poor, 5-excellent) based on other runners, the crowd and general feeling of the event.
Race Organisation (1-poor, 5-excellent) based upon key information being communicated ahead of time, race information including number arriving in plenty of time, speed of response from organisers on requesting information, facilities available along the route and ease of starting the race. 
Course Difficulty (1-very easy, 5-extremely difficult) based on gradient of the route, running surface eg. Road or trail, obstacles along the route and ability to stay on the correct route through markers or marshals.
Goodie Bag (1-none available, 5-best goodie bag ever!) based on prizes given out post event such as medals and t-shirts.
Overall Score (1-Would not recommend, 5-would recommend to everyone) based on all factors above to give an overview of how good the event was. 
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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Runnging Gear: Women's Trainers

running gear women's trainers

Back in June we shared with you James’ running shoe collection (which you should definitely check out) and thought it was about time to follow up that post with part 2, women’s trainers and Rachel’s collection.
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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Race Roundup: Meerbrook 15

race roundup meerbrook 15

Bored of entering 10km races? Fancy kicking it up a gear but a Half Marathon just seems too out of reach? Then boy do we have the race for you! We completed the Meerbrook 15km road race this weekend (Saturday 29th July 2017) and have to tell you all about our experience.

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Weekend in Porto

a weekend in porto

Last weekend I headed to Portugal's second largest city and what's been voted The European Best Travel Destination 2017 - the beautiful city of Porto. 

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Running for weight loss

running for weight loss

When I started running last year I had one goal and that was to lose weight, after a year I've learnt a lot about what works and what doesn't as well as what my expectations should be and now I have completely different goals! Here’s my running for weight loss journey.
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Race Roundup: Offerton 10km


Last week we ventured out to tackle a midweek 10km event (come heavy rain shower or shine) hosted annually by local running club the Stockport Harriers, here's what we thought...

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