Alternativen zu AirBnB

Einen Monat in Barcelona verbringen zu wollen stellte uns vor eine Herausforderung was die Unterkunft betraf: Ein Monat Hotel ist teuer und normale Wohnungen werden nicht auf einen so verhältnismässig kurzen Zeitraum vermietet. Da AirBnB im Internet bei der Suche omnipräsent ist haben wir dort gestöbert und sind auf sehr viele Angebote gestossen.

In Ermangelung von bekannten Alternativen haben wir dann in sehr mühsamer Art und Weise und unter Angabe von sehr vielen und teilweise dubiosen Daten bei AirBnB gebucht – und werden alles daran setzen das nicht wieder zu wiederholen.

Was hat uns gestört:

Die Kosten der Wohnungen sind teilweise verwirrend dargestellt – Tages- bzw. Wochen- und Monatspreise sind bei den Objekten durchaus widersprüchlich dargestellt. Wenn es dann ans Bezahlen geht muss man tierisch aufpassen, sonst hat man schnell zuviel bezahlt.

Bei der Registrierung muss man als Nachweis, dass man eine natürliche Person ist eine Kopie (Foto) vom Ausweis einreichen und entweder seinen LinkedIn oder Faltboot Account. Das ist Beschaffung von persönlichen Daten und von denen von Bekannten/Freunden oder dem beruflichen Umfeld in Reinform. Wenn man dazu betrachtet, dass AirBnB wohl auch schon wegen Datensicherheitsproblemen aufgefallen ist, dann ist dieses Vorgehen mehr als bedenklich.

Und dann war in unserem Fall die Wohnung weit von dem entfernt, was wir erwartet hatten für den Preis. Es handelte sich um eine Wohnung, die rein zur Vermietung an Touristen genutzt wird – und sie war die einzige Bürde in unserem Barcelona Aufenthalt. Nicht nur war sie schmutzig als wir sie übernommen haben (man bezahlt bei jeder Buchung auch einen separaten Betrag für die Reinigung der Wohnung), sie ist dunkel und anstelle einer Matratze schlafen wir mehr schlecht als recht auf Schaumstoff.

Was sind die Alternativen?

OHBarcelona (http://www.oh-barcelona.com/en/?gclid=CJKpwpOiz8ECFfLJtAodAFgA4Q): Ein Internet Portal, das sehr viel weniger Angebot hat, aber ordentlich geführt wird – auch was die Daten angeht. “Oh…” gibt es übrigens auch in anderen Grossstädten

Habitaclia (http://english.habitaclia.com/holiday_lettings.htm): Ein Makler, der über verschiedene Büros auch Ferienwohnungen  anbietet. Es gibt sowohl ein Internetportal als auch Büros.

Und für kürzere Aufenthalte werden auch Apartments unter “apartamentos Barcelona” im Internet zu finden sein.

Viel Glück!

Leg 11, 12 & 13: Where I lay my helmet is my home

Castle between Cluny and Macon Givry - Hunting Lodge

Dear Friends!

after we left quiet unwillingly from Dole and the best accomodation ever (cheers to Francois and La Batellerie! Who ever plans to travel near Dole – THIS is the place to stay! We went to meet the river Saone and  to Olli`s utmost horror the direction of the bike road turned north-west – pretty much 90 degrees from where we actually wanted to go. But when we decided to leave the bike road behind and looked for our own path through hamlets and villages things turned out all right again – thanks to leaving the gravel bike road for the small and calm “normal road”. We found a pretty terrace restaurant where we shared our lunch with fellow cyclists (from France) which interviewed us – in German 🙂 on the quality of the bike road. We felt very important…! It was a lovely day indeed – rolling hills which led us up and down continuously but without being too hard to cycle. A truly delightful bike ride. When we reached our accomodation for the night we found it to be a hunting lodge from the 17th century which in many ways was in pretty original condition. We were more than happy to accept the offer from the hosts to cook dinner for us – and what a good decision that was! Most of the food was regional – if it did not come straight from their own garden. It was delicious. Four courses later an English couple arrived (they got lost and were late as well for the dinner) and we did spend more time than we expected with them talking, laughing and emptying the wine…

Surprisingly enough we were the first ones to get up the next morning and started our route to Cluny (or as Olli pronounces it in perfect Finnish-French: Clooney…). It is one of those places I wanted to see all my life. Cluny… where all of those important decisions in mediaval church history have been prepared and thought up – and which have studied with my friend Janni back in Constance. A dream coming true! Not much is left though of the buildings, church and abbey have been thoroughly ransacked in the 17th century – but the town is pretty (built largely with the stones taken from the mentioned abbey). For me it was really special to be able to walk around Cluny…!

View on Cluny   Cluny Abbey - detail

Leaving Cluny we found steep passages over and over again – partially as much as 10-15% elevation. Too much for me – I had to push the bike twice and my legs started complaining (bodylanguage… unmistakable!). Remarkable was the longest bicycle tunnel in Europe – it is 1.6 kilometers long. It expected us after another steep elevation – so we went up exasperated (speed around 5km/h…) , had an impressive decline and in we went into this former train tunnel. Interesting experience!
Shortly after that we did reach the 1000 Kilometer mark – hard to believe, really!! We have been cycling already 1000 kilometers…

Finish line of the stage was Macon – which we have not seen much of to be honest. Our last minute accomodation was in a commercial centre and we did not enter into the town (rule number 1: most importantly you need a place to sleep!).

Leg 12 was surprisingly un-delightful… Even though the bike roads became increasingly bad over the past days, this one was really bad. The unpaved paths were covered in gravel – but this time the stones were as big as fists and loose. For about 6 kilometers that was the track before we abandoned it to cycle on a road which had rather heavy traffic. All in all a bit stressful those 70km – so the rest day on Sunday s most welcomed!

Lyon as the target of our stage and rest-day has surprised us immediately. What we have seen so far is pretty well – we are in the gourmet capital – what more is there to ask? We stumbled across a comical ballett on a square – boys and girls equally dressed in tutu`s – which was a laugh. The architecture is impressive and has a lot of art deco elements. We will further roam around…

So it is bye bye from us for now – bye bye!

Claudia & Olli

Barcelona Impressions – 3

Dear friends,

last week was truly packed with tours and further long and extensive walks – I hardly know where to start…

Sunday we rented a car and drove to Montserrat and Sitges. The rock formations of Montserrat are really impressive from near and far. For some 10 kilometers you need to drive up hair pin turns in order to reach the Montserrat abbey parking area. From there the famous abbey can be visited and it is the ideal starting point for hikes and climbing tours. Unfortunately we were by far not the only ones who thought about going to Montserrat on a Sunday at all… the amount of company we had was sufficient to make us queue for about 90 minutes far before we reached the parking… at least almost. We turned around before. Nevertheless, it was worth it as we had beautiful vistas.

View on Montserrat -1

View on Montserrat -1

Abbey on Montserrat

Abbey on Montserrat

In the beautiful coastal town of Sitges we spent the afternoon. We roamed through the streets, walked alongside the beach and promenades and had an excellent lunch – and we returned back to Barcelona all relaxed.

Family picture Sitges

Family picture Sitges

Flower Power Girls!

Flower Power Girls!

In Barcelona the so called Modernisme (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernisme) – Art Nouveau present all over the place. The best known representative is probably Antoni Gaudi, but there are more – such as Lluis Domenech i Montaner who have left their marks. And the marks of both we have followed this week.

We visited Sagrada Familia – including 2 of its towers (by A. Gaudi) and the Palau de la Musica Catalana by Lluis Domenech i Montaner.

Sagrada Familia, which is supposed to be completed by 2030 is very interesting to see from time to time. The changes and the increasing impression it makes are exciting to witness. So we ordered the tickets online (which was pretty effortless) and just bypassed the queues, showed the Smartphone/tablet and in we were at the scheduled time. Very handy.

Windows of Sagrada Familia

Windows of Sagrada Familia

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia

But when it comes to the towers it has to be mentioned that the stairs are seriously not for people suffering from vertigo. The famous photographs where the stairs look like snails are very real and I admit we all were breathing heavily when we eventually reached the bottom…

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia (looking down)

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia (looking down)

View on Barcelona from Sagrada Familia Tower

View on Barcelona from Sagrada Familia Tower

Stairs in Sagrada Familia -2

Stairs in Sagrada Familia -2

The Palau de la Musica Catalana is another building listed by the UNESCO World Heritage.

Building the music palace has been a historic enterprise. It was financed privately in order to give the choires of Barcelona an opportunity to practise and present themselves – which was not possible before. The Palau gave a joint home both to bourgeoise and classical music.

Ceiling light in Palau de la Musica

Ceiling light in Palau de la Musica

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana

And as we were in the middle of a rush of culture we enjoyed La Traviata in the Liceu – in an opulent and gorgeous building. What an environment for a wonderful opera! I can’t remember when I last had a week so filled with culture and “landscape” at a time….

The next post will most likely come from The Hague (The Netherlands) where I will be for the coming 14 months. And I am sure that there will be a lot of stories to be told.

Barcelona Eindrücke – 3

Liebe Freunde,

die vergangene Woche war voll gepackt mit Besichtigungen und Touren – und weiteren langen Spaziergängen, so dass ich kaum weiss wo ich anfangen soll…

Am Sonntag haben wir uns ein Auto geliehen und sind nach Montserrat und Sitges gefahren. Die Felsformationen von Montserrat sind von nah wie fern sehr beeindruckend – es geht etwa 10 Kilometer lang über Haarnadelkurven stetig bergauf bis man am Parkplatz ankommt von dem aus man dann das Kloster besuchen und zu Wanderungen und Klettertouren aufbrechen kann. Auf diese Idee waren auf einen Sonntag allerdings nicht nur wir gekommen… und bevor wir den Parkplatz erreichten (da waren wir am Berg bereits 90 Minuten im Schneckentempo unterwegs) beschlossen wir doch lieber umzukehren. Es war sehr, sehr voll. Gelohnt hatte es sich aber trozdem – die Ausblicke waren toll.

View on Montserrat -1

View on Montserrat -1

Abbey on Montserrat

Abbey on Montserrat

In Sitges, einer hübschen kleinen Küstenstadt haben wir dann den Nachmittag verbracht. Wir stromerten durch die Strassen, spazierten am Strand und der Strandpromenade entlang und hatten ein grossartiges Essen –  und kamen sehr erholt wieder in Barcelona an.

Family picture Sitges

Family picture Sitges

Flower Power Girls!

Flower Power Girls!

In Barcelona ist der sogenannte Modernisme (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernisme)- der Jugendstil allgegenwärtig. Der bekannteste Vertreter ist sicherlich Antoni Gaudi, aber auch andere, wie der Domenech i Montaner haben Ihre Spuren hinterlassen. Und beiden sind wir diese Woche nachgegangen.

Wir haben uns die Sagrada Familia – inklusive zweier Türme (A. Gaudi) angesehen und das Palau de la Musica Catalana von Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Die Sagrada Familia, die 2030 fertig gestellt werden soll ist immer wieder interessant zu sehen – die Veränderungen und die Wirkung, die sie mehr und mehr entfaltet. Wir haben die Tickets online gekauft, was problemlos geklappt hat. Durch Vorzeigen von  Smartphone oder Tablett kommt man ohne schlange-stehen genau zum geplanten Zeitpunkt dran – sehr praktisch!

Windows of Sagrada Familia

Windows of Sagrada Familia

View on Barcelona from Sagrada Familia Tower

View on Barcelona from Sagrada Familia Tower

Stairs in Sagrada Familia -2

Stairs in Sagrada Familia -2

Allerdings sind die Treppen der Türme in der Sagrada Familia wirklich und ernsthaft nichts für Leute mit Höhenangst und Schwindelgefühlen. Die berühmten Fotos die aussehen wie ein Schneckengehäuse sind sehr real und das ist nichts für schwache Nerven! Wir haben allesamt schwer geatmet als wir endlich unten angekommen sind…

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia (looking up)

Stairs in a tower of Sagrada Familia (looking up)

Das Palau der la Musica Catalana ist ein weiteres Bauwerk das sich auf der Liste der UNESCO Welterbe befindet.

Der Musikpalast war ein historisch interessantes Unterfangen. Finanziert aus privaten Mitteln bot er den Chören Barcelonas die Möglichkeit zu proben und sich zu präsentieren, was zuvor nicht möglich war. Mit diesem Gebäude konnten bürgerliche und klassische Musikdarbietungen ein gemeinsames Zuhause finden.

Ceiling light in Palau de la Musica

Ceiling light in Palau de la Musica

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Und weil wir gerade im Kulturrausch waren haben wir uns im Liceu – der Oper – La Traviata angesehen und das ebenfalls berauschend opulente Ambiente und die wunderbare Aufführung genossen. Viel Kultur und Landschaft in einer einzigen Woche – herrlich!

Der nächste Post wird wohl aus Den Haag kommen – wo ich meine Zelte für die nächsten 14 Monate aufschlagen werde. Auch da wird es wieder viel zu berichten und (wieder-) entdecken geben!

Photo Gallery: Compilation of 2nd half of the Bonn-Barcelona Bicycle Tour 2014

Barcelona Impressions – 2

Dear friends,

by now we got used to city life again and enjoy it to spend as much time as possible outdoors. We walk the streets, parks and the beach for hours each and every day and I start wondering how it will feel being back in an office again…

One of our walks led us to to the Carreter de les Aiguës

Carreterra de las Aiguës -1

Carreterra de las Aiguës -1

Entrance into Carreterra de les Aiguës

Entrance into Carreterra de les Aiguës

– a stretch of 9 kilometers which follows the mountain Tibidabo in a relatively flat way. Throughout the walk there are wonderful views onto Barcelona and the sea – it is really worth a visit. Only the entrances into the Carreterra de les Aiguës are rather under-developed – hardly recognisable. That is especially surprising as the trail is heavily used by joggers, cyclists and hikers. But probably it’s only that us people from Northern Europe are being complicated in this case…

Tibidabo

           Tibidabo   

View to Tibidabo from Funicular

View to Tibidabo from Funicular

We meet our friends here very often over lunch. They keep their agendas at work free for a while and we can catch up for a few hours. Even though that might not seem much – it is a very intense time we spend together. And this time we can even see some of them more than once – what a privilege! But I admit that when we bumped into 2 ex-colleagues from Deutsche Bank (which I left 11 years ago! ) in a small bar/restaurant in Gracia called “Gata Mala” it was a moment when many of us were quite speechless…!

The weekend we went to Montserrat and Sitges with a rented car. Our initial idea to drive along part of Costa Brava in order to repeat some of the nicest streches of the bicycle tour by car turned out too ambitious – it would have been all in all too much driving. It has to be another time 🙂

So it is good bye from us for now, “Good Bye”

Claudia & Olli

P.S: Special thanks to Toni for giving me his FC Barcelona “Carnets” which allowed me to watch a match from a superb location in Camp Nou! I enjoyed it very much!