Destination Unknown – Girona, Spain

While many who travel to Spain flock to the country’s well-known cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Seville, the area of Girona (about 2 hours away from Barcelona) is a wonderful hidden gem for those looking to do something different on their European getaway.

With its mild temperature and laid-back atmosphere, visitors have an abundance of things to do during their stay, whether your interest is sports, culture or cuisine.

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5 Things To Do in Girona

1) Visit the Museum of Art

Spain is home to many wonderful museums and galleries, and the Museu d’Art is no exception. With a collection that spans the Romanesque period to works from the 20th Century, the most unique feature of the museum is the Museum-Pharmacy of the Hospital de Santa Caterina. The ceiling is decorated with paintings from the 19th Century, and the room contains pharmacy/apothecary jars and jugs dating all the way back to the 16th Century.

2) See the Houses on the Onyar

Brightly painted apartments line the river Onyar (which runs through Girona), and their interesting construction and unusual detailing are a sight to behold. Walk through the city and enjoy the urban scenery.

3) Take a cultural tour of the Catedral de Girona

No matter what your religious affiliation, the austere beauty of the city’s grand cathedral should not be missed. The tour includes an audioguide, and takes visitors through the Nave, Treasury and Cloister.

4) Enjoy a game of golf

An 18-hole game awaits you on a beautiful course at Golf Girona, designed by F.W. Hawtree. Packages are available in combination with several of the city’s hotels, and range from the “Landscape” pack to the “Luxury” pack. For more seriously sporty types, PGA Golf de Catalunya is also close by, and is ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world.

5) Eat at the Casa Marieta

Offering traditional dishes like Duck with Pears, this mainstay of Girona’s dining scene uses market-fresh ingredients to prepare an unfussy array of delicious plates.

Though Girona has its own airport that receives flights from many European cities, a great way to enter the city is by train. The landscape between Barcelona and Girona is peaceful and pretty, and will help ease you into your adventure in this picturesque place.

Stay connected in Spain with Brightroam’s World SIM card, which includes wireless data services.

Brightroam is giving away Free SIM Cards!!!

To start your summer off right, Brightroam is offering a FREE SIM CARD when ordered on or before July 31, 2011.

Your SIM card will remain active for 90 days and an extension can be purchased if you need one in the future.

Just follow the link provided and enter the promo code “FREESIM11″ at checkout for your discount.

World SIM Card

If you find yourself traveling overseas a lot, then chances are you have a huge phone bill. Perhaps you have already heard about International SIM cards and how you can switch the SIM card in your unlocked cell phone for a local country card every time that you travel saving you a bundle on roaming fees.

Maybe your even a step farther and have a cell phone that you use only for International travel by buying a SIM card for that trip for that country. You are certainly ahead of the game if you travel one country at a time. However, if you spend a lot of time in several countries or even several continents – you are spending unnecessary time and money by constantly switching your SIM cards.

The World SIM Card from Brightroam is the ideal solution for international travelers roaming through more than one country. It covers over 160 countries and still gives you 50-80% savings you expect from Brightroam International SIM cards.

So if you’re an international jet-setter who travels everywhere all the time, your worldly knowledge has expanded to saving valuable time and money with one SIM card to keep you in touch.

More shutter action with Eye-Fi

Do you take lots of photos while traveling and have no time to upload them to your laptop or the web? Check out Eye-Fi, a handy little memory card for your camera that also includes wireless technology so you can sync your camera to your laptop or the web without ever plugging it in.

Winner of MacWorld 2008 Best of Show and one of PC World’s 25 most innovative products, this handy little card will set you back $100 but its well worth it for the tech enthused. It’s very convenient for instantly moving photos off your camera onto your laptop for a presentation or slide show while traveling on business. However, it also offers technology to upload your photos directly to a photo sharing site like Shutterfly or a social networking site like Facebook to share with friends. See which photo destinations it supports.

It’s compatible with virtually all digital cameras accepting SD memory cards and will run on Windows and Mac operating systems. Find out more.


Yes it seems simple, time zones are pretty straight forward. But when you’ve travelled 23 hours and have no idea what time it is, it can be difficult to know what time it is back home or in another country you need to call. I used to have a fancy little business card that had all the time zones on it and a moving circle to line up the zone you’re in and the one you’re calling. In today’s world of technology, it’s a lot easier to find the info you need online.

Here are some handy time zone converters:

Here’s how I keep track of it at home:

I have the time difference (in hours) between my home town and the time zones of my friends and family recorded in my Outlook address book. For example, my friend Ema lives in Bahrain, in her contact information, I have a note – 7 hours ahead of Toronto. That way when I look up her number, I always know what time it is in Bahrain. You can do the same thing on your cell phone address book.

Cruise ships and cell phones

In working with Brightroam, it has become very clear to me how much money can be saved by renting international cell phones or purchasing international SIM cards for your phone when you travel. I recently got a $300 phone bill that was a result of three days in Boston with roaming changes. However the question still remains – what if my trip takes me to the middle of the ocean? Cruise ship cell phone costs are still terrifying.

Cruise ship cabins come with phones but just like a typical hotel phone it can cost as much as $10/minute. The fact that passengers want to use their own cell phones have not fallen on deaf ears, many cruise ships are now are equip with cell phone antennae so that you can use your cell phone while at sea. However the costs are still huge because of roaming and long distance charges – expect to pay $5/minute or higher.

I still think your best bet is to get a SIM card for the area you are traveling and making your calls while at port. For example, a Greek Island tour = Greek SIM card or Caribbean Cruise = World SIM card. You can expect to make a few calls while at sea but if you get a local SIM card and schedule your long winded brag-about-the-weather calls for port visits then you’ll save a bundle.

Check out the international SIM cards available at Brightroam and their new World SIM Card that works everywhere you go.

PSP, more than an in-flight magazine

More frequent travelers are finding handheld entertainment devices more fun than the typical in-flight magazine or local paper. In this digital-dependant world we are more accustomed to instant gratification when it comes to entertainment and there is something about a video game that offers it. Much like the popularity of personal TV sets in each seat, travelling with a personal gaming device keeps you occupied from take off to landing. Check out these popular gaming devices:

Nintendo DS and DS Lite
With impressive 3D rendered graphics and ultra-bright screens, Nintendo DS Lite makes it easy to play even when the cabin lights are down. It has touch screen technology so no fiddling with buttons and two 3 inch screens so you have more room to play.
Games to try: Legend of Zelda; Brain Age; and Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings

Sony Playstation Portable

The Playstation portable is great for gaming but is also optimized for music, video, photo, internet, and wireless connectivity. It’s like a mini computer for all the stuff you love. The wide screen LCD brings to life the over 135 games available for single player gaming.
Games to try: Madden NFL 08; Naruto Ultimate Ninja Hero; and Grand Theft Auto

PC Gaming
Don’t forget your laptop! Chances are you travel with it anyhow. There are loads of awesome games that you can play right on your PC. It might be a little more cumbersome to lug out on the plane but for those long treks there are lots of great games you can buy for your PC.
Games to try: Flight Simulator X; Age of Empires III – The Asian Dynasties; and Halo 3

If you are all geared up and ready to game there are a few other things you will need to buy:

  • Headset – not everyone on the plane wants to hear you
  • Carrying Case – Check out the various cases that come with your gaming device, it will protect the hardware and keep everything together

All about wrinkles. Pack, steam and hang your clothes

I hate ironing. I hate it so much that I actually only have an iron in the house for when my mother comes to visit. However when you travel a long distance with your clothes stuffed in a bag, even the most wrinkle free clothing needs help. Here are some of tried and true methods for keeping your clothes wrinkle free when you travel:

Shower steam it

I’ve seen this many times and it works wonderfully for shirts and dresses. Simply hang your outfit in the bathroom while you take a shower and leave it in there for a short while afterwards with the door shut until the steam subsides. The steam from the shower will help work out any wrinkles or folds in your outfit. This is a simple and practical way to quickly give your outfit a fresh look.

Travel steamer

While the shower steam method is simple and convenient, it doesn’t work out all wrinkles. If you are very determined to eliminate all wrinkles, a Hand held Travel Steamer might be right for you. These handy tools fit nicely in your suitcase and offer you excellent control to work out wrinkles and refresh your clothes on the road. Here are two popular ones:

The hotel iron

Still the most effective is the hotel iron. Most hotels have irons in the room or certainly in housekeeping. Ironing is a pain but there is no question it works.

Hang your clothes

One of the best things you can do when you arrive at your destination is hang your clothes! The sooner you take them out of your suitcase and let them hang, the better they will look when it’s time to wear them.

Pack Smart

Keep your clothes in good shape by packing them right. Check out these handy websites for packing additional tips:

How to unlock your GSM phone

In order to take advantage of great savings by switching your SIM card when you travel overseas, you will need to have an unlocked GSM phone. This means your phone is GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) compatible and is “unlocked” meaning it doesn’t have any service provider, carrier or operator customization. This enables you to switch the SIM card without any worries of losing service or data. There are a couple of great resources online that take you through the process of unlocking your phone. See the links below.

What is a SIM card?

There is an easy way to save money on exuberant phone charges while traveling overseas – it’s a tiny memory chip that sits in your cell phone that can eat away at your savings or save you’re a bundle – it’s called a SIM card.

You may know that your SIM card is a life saver when you purchase a new phone because you can simply take out the card and put it in your new phone without losing any of your data. However, there are other ways your SIM card can be useful.

When you travel overseas the roaming charges and international phone rates that you pay on your phone bill will ultimately cost more than your flight (especially if you talk as much as me). If you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can take out your SIM card before traveling and replace it with a temporary card that uses the local roaming of the country you are traveling to.

Let’s say you are taking a two week trip to India. Simply contact an International Cell Phone service company like Brightroam and order an India-based SIM card. Replace your SIM card with the one provided before your trip and you will have local rates and local phone service. This means you can call everyone back home as you stand in awe at the Taj Mahal without paying a fortune.

Stay tuned for my next posting on unlocking your GSM phone.