Barcelona Time Traveller Companion Guides
The new Barcelona Time Traveller Companion Guide series offers the independent traveller some fresh ideas for visits to places away from the tourist hotspots. The travel guides are written by Wes Gibbons and so most (but not all) have a geological flavour, but don’t let that put you off. They are freely available online and currently include:
1. Ishigaki: A Tropical island in Japan. Ishigaki-jima is a Japanese island in the western Pacific 10,572 kms from Barcelona. It is so far south in Japan that it is only a little over 300km from Taiwan, 620km from the Philippines, and nearly 2,000km from Tokyo. It is safe, scenic, usually relatively uncrowded, has interesting rocks exposed on gorgeous beaches, and so comes highly recommended by The Traveller. It is also a possible starting point for WWIII, as it administers the disputed Senkaku (Japan)/Diaoyuta (China) islands. Just occasionally is hit by spectacular tsunamis, and there is amazing evidence for this on several of the beaches.
2. A Short Break in Katowice. Katowice is a coal mining city in Silesia, southern Poland, 1660 kms northeast of Barcelona. There are currently (summer 2017) low cost direct flights from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Greece. Katowice is not a tourist hot spot but is interesting, and with the aid of European money has recently bloomed from a depressed industrial blot to a cleaner and livelier place with music, museums, parks and a city centre with good restaurants/bars. It makes for a short break or as part of a longer stay in Poland visiting nearby Kraków, which is 140 minutes away by train or 75 minutes by car. For those who can take the horror of WWII local history, the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz lies 40km southeast of the city and day visits can be arranged.
3. Train across Spain: a tour from Barcelona to the Galician coast. For the Indie Traveller looking for something a bit different, here is an idea: travel by train more than one thousand kilometres across Spain coast to coast, staying in places less adventurous tourists will never see. The range of scenery is spectacular: across the Catalan Coastal Ranges and over the semi-desert of Los Monegros to follow the Ebro valley through the vineyards of La Rioja, then past the high plains of Castilla y Leon to the remote and scenic hill country of Galicia, finally reaching the Atlantic shoreline of Las Rias Altas. Equally enticing is the range of local food and wine waiting to be sampled along the journey. Travelling by train in Spain is generally civilised and stress-free (once you have your ticket) and you will have plenty of room with great views along the way. It would be wrong not to.