Las Arenas – from a bull ring to a glamorous shopping arena

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Las Arenas-a glamorous new lease of life for a redundant bull ring

The year was 1900 and Barcelona inaugurated its biggest bullring, Las Arenas, in the Plaza de Espana with its fantastic façade in Neomudajar style.

For many years, the venue saw drama and entertainment until football came along, interest and sales dwindled and in 1977 the last corrida de toros took place.

Since then the famous landmark sat in the middle of the city, falling into ruins.

Grass, trees and brush grew where once man and beast were locked in battle, the façade deteriorated and the bleachers crumbled.

The only `users` were some 200 cats and 6 indigenous families who had taken refuge there.

The city father were confronted with a difficult decision: what to do with it? Demolish and annihilate an important piece of local history or find a new use?

The idea of conversion won out and in a monumental effort of modern architecture and countless hours of hard labor, much of it by hand to preserve the façade, Las Arenas was reborn as a splendid shopping mall cum leisure center and opened in 2011.

Three stories were excavated which now serve as parking. Six more levels were constructed above, the first three dedicated to shops of all kinds.

From designer to MANGO, antique shops, hairdressers and everything in between , all have made this into one of Barcelona´s most frequented attractions.

inside_las_arenasSpectacular girders hold up a glass and wood cupola which covers the former bull ring and which is the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Escalators and elevators connect the different levels on the inside whereas on the outside, a glass lift rides up to the roof and an observation platform with spectacular views over the city.

On the fourth level are no less than 12 cinemas, each small but with extremely comfortable seats and unobstructed views of the screen.

A massive gym takes up half of the next level and exhibition space covers the rest.

The top just under the cupola, is dedicated to food, one restaurant after another follow the circular shape.

You´ll find an Italian restaurant next to a taps bar or a Wok Wok, something for every taste.

For those who have only run out of bread and milk, there is a MERCADONA supermarket on the ground floor with direct access to the METRO.

There are certainly more spectacular and bigger shopping malls in the world, but none which combines history with modern times in such an eye catching fashion.

You can find opening hours and more on their official website: arenasdebarcelona.com

Enjoy a 4 days cruise to explore Liguria

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Liguria is Italian Riviera, a Northwest region of Italy that stretches from the border with France to Tuscany. It is a region of gold sand beaches, beautiful mountainous landscape, amazing cultural life and of course, great cuisine. After all, this region is located in the middle of two probably the greatest European cuisine nations. Does pesto with pecorino, garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil and inedible parmesano sounds familiar? This place is its homeland.

4 days cruise is the best way to meet the whole region and famous Italian cities such as Milan or Genoa. It’s also the best way to get a complete picture about what Liguria has to offer in terms of beauty of land, food and people’s hospitability.

This trip begins in Milan.

Day 1 – Milan – Genoa

We all know how famous Milan is, the financial and industrial center of this part of Italy. Museums, restaurants, fashion, and many different landmarks attract more than 6 millions of tourists per year. This place is the starting point of this amazing journey. In the morning, trip starts by going west to Liguria’s regional capital – Genoa. City’s probably the most famous person was born in 1451 and his traveling influenced the history of the world. It’s Christopher Columbus. Don’t miss Genoa’s attractions such as 13th century San Lorenzo Cathedral or UNESCO’s Renaissance and Baroque Rolli Palaces.

Day 2 – Genoa – San Remo – Genoa

After breakfast, the plan is to go west to the beautiful city of San Remo. This is famous Mediterranean resort, famous by a music festival, but also a rich culture. During the history, San Remo was known as the city of flowers and it really describes it perfectly. Suggestion: discover what medieval part of the city has to offer. Start on Via Roma and you’ll find historic touch combined with rich shopping offer and restaurants along the way.

After free time for lunch, the plan is to return to Genoa.

Day 3 – Genoa – Portovenere – Cinque Terre – Genoa

portovenere_300How does it sound to you a visit to a small town and a fishing village in the Bay of La Spezia? We are heading to Portovenere and Cinque Terre.

Portovenere is surely among the most beautiful places in the western Italy. It is famous by St. Peter’s Church, Romanesque church and Doria castle. From 1997, Portovenere and the villages of Cinque Terre are placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Cinque Terre, a region on the coast, consist of five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso and Corniglia. This is where you’ll find a true Italy – with the amazing food, pubs, bars and amazing wines. This small region, along with a whole Liguria, is famous for – you guess – pesto! These villages are connected by a train, but if you decide to walk, you’ll see much more! Walking route between villages offers spectacular views on the region.

Day 4 – Genoa – Camogli – Portofino – Santa Margherita Ligure – Milan

This is the final day, and before coming to Milan, there are three more amazing places to check. First stop is Camogli. A small village and resort situated on the Portofino Peninsula, is ideal for relaxing.

Beautiful beaches and inspiring architecture are really a perfect combination for the end of this trip. Next one, Portofino resort, is famous in the whole country as the resort of famous people, and its offer in restaurants, cafes, shops – is really a discovery for people who visit it for the first time.

Last but not least is Santa Margherita Ligure – the harbor with wide offer of things to do, no matter if you are into shopping or just a cup of perfect coffee in a bar or café. This is the place where’s a great chance you’ll see dolphins as they are quite frequent in these waters.

This adventure stops at the starting point of the trip – Milan – after a 4 days journey through Italian Riviera. It’s inspiring and best choice for fans of the Italian way of life, cuisine and an exciting tour through one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Liguria is a pure inspiration.

Click here for more information and booking >>