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Tossa De Mar, Spain

Tossa de Mar is a charming and picturesque old coastal town located on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain. Only about one hour north of Barcelona, it is perfect for a day trip, but also worth staying a couple more days.

I really wanted to visit Tossa de Mar with my family, because it was my first vacation by myself (without my parents at the time) 20 years before. I had such great memories as well as some old pictures and I thought it would be fun to revisit with my husband and kids. I am so glad we did. It was as charming as I had remembered it and we spent a beautiful day in Tossa de Mar visiting and recreating pictures. (Scroll down at the bottom to see if I have changed )

The famous silhouette of Tossa de Mar with the iconic walled fortifications of the old town at the southern end make a gorgeous backdrop to the beautiful beach. It is worth visiting just for these views.  The beach is directly at the center of Tossa next to cute little shops and restaurants. The National Geographic magazine ranked Platja Gran, the central beach among the 25 best beaches in the world several years back. Swimming in the crystal clear waters while looking up at the romantic castle or better Vila Vella is pretty special. We didn’t have time to swim, but when I was there the first time, I snorkeled in the perfectly clear water. There are also glass bottom tours available.

Tossa is small and quaint. We decided to walk up to the castle first. The Old Town of Tossa de Mar is the only fortified town that remains on the Catalan coast. The castle was built in the 12th century and the stone walls enclosing its historic neighborhood date from about the same time. It is only a short walk from the beach and has three entrances near three large towers.

We passed the ruins of the Gothic church of St. Vincent. This is such a beautiful photo stop. The views are spectacular. The air was warm and sweet and it was the perfect moment.

The old town of Tossa de Mar is beautiful and has fantastic views over the coast. In 1931 it was declared a monument of artistic and historical value. Narrow old cobblestone streets lead through a charming labyrinth of ancient houses and medieval alleys. The old town was one of my favorite parts of Tossa de Mar.

We continued to walk randomly through the streets enjoying this beautiful summer day. And of course we ate ice cream.

Tossa del Mar is the perfect place for a family vacation. There are so many great spots and rocks to climb that make it a dream for any kid. I like to combine the interests of each of our family members. Everybody gets to pick activities and things they like to do and we make sure to include it in our vacation. Tossa del Mar was a place I wanted to visit, but the rocks were the ultimate challenge for my boys and they did not want to leave. It was the perfect combination for all of us.

After visiting the castle and the old and newer part of the town, we walked back toward the beach. We passed the beautiful promenade with restaurants and walked along the street to La Mar Menuda beach. This is another great beach in walking distance from the town center.

At one end on La Mar Menuda beach is a rock formation that surrounds a small cove that is known as “sa banyera de ses dones” (the bath of the women). This is perfect for little kids, because the water is shallow and calm.

The legend says that this rock formation was split open in two and this small cove was created so that Sant Ramon de Penyafort could arrive on time to hear the confession of a dying man. 

Our favorite part of the cove is the single pine tree on top of a rock. This is such a picturesque photo spot.

There are lots of fantastic places in Tossa del Mar and fun things to do. I am happy I revisited even if it was just for a day. We walked, explored, discovered, climbed, wandered and had a great day. This is what travel is all about for me.

And now….. It is finally time for the picture I promised at the beginning.

I really wanted to recreate a picture on a certain rock and it took us a while to find it.

My boys loved climbing the rocks and Luca wants to come back in 20 years to take the next picture. I like that talking about old memories and looking at old pictures, inspired us to visit Tossa de Mar again. We had such a perfect day and now are planning to be back again in 20 years.

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Hinterweidenthal, Germany

The Devil’s Table/ Teufelstisch

The Teufelstisch in Hinterweidenthal is a 14 meter high mushroom rock that looks like a huge table in the Rhineland-Palatinate. Deep inside the Pfaelzer Wald/ Palatinate Forest, one of the largest forests in Germany, lies the Teufelstisch which means “devil’s table” and is the most famous rock formation in the area.

The table is a big sandstone plate resting on two narrow columns of rock and was created by erosion. But there is another story. The Rhineland Palatinates is not only a place of wineries, vineyards and old castles, it is full of legends and fairytales. There story about the Teufelstisch goes as follows:

Once upon a time, the devil traveled through the forest with glowing fiery eyes. As the day went by, he became tired and hungry, but could not find a place to sit down to rest and have dinner. He grabbed three huge boulders and made his own table and chair. After finishing his meal, the devil shouldered the chair to take it along with him, but left the table behind. The local villagers were shocked, when they discovered it the next morning. Many were afraid and believed the devil had been there. Only one was brave enough and decided to dine with him the next evening. As the sun slowly disappeared behind the rocks, the young man went out. At Midnight, a horrible and gruesome cry interrupted the silence of the night and the young man was never seen again.

Olivia does not seem to believe this old tale…. What about you?

My parents grew up in Rhineland-Palatines and we love to visit my grandmothers who still live in the area. This place was recommended by my father, because it is not far from Kaiserslautern. One late afternoon, we decided to go on a little adventure and visit this magnificent rock formation.

We were really excited to discover the great playground beneath the rock. We only knew about the Teufelstisch, so the playground was an added bonus. The extra long rock slide (50m) was one of the best slides we have ever been on and definitely the boys favorite part. It was very fast to say the least. There was also a water playground, nature trail, cable swing and mini golf.

After playing for a little while, we followed the path and stairs up to the Teufelstisch. There are several great hiking paths through the forest and to neighboring villages. An entire day could be spent hiking in the area.

There are several other mushroom rocks in the area, but the Teufelstisch is the highest and most famous.

It was such a fun little day trip and I hope to discover more places in the area where my parents grew up.