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Hola Barcelona: Day 3

We are halfway on our trip. The days seem too short for us. We seem to take our time in the morning that by the time we are ready to go out and had our morning breakfast, it is time for lunch. We decided to make this day a lazy one and shop for goodies to bring home. We still have another leg of our trip to Paris which also meant that we are carrying our luggage all the way to the airport and take the metro to our hotel.

On our last day, we decided to head over Plaza Catalunya and walk over to Las Ramblas. We got a random place for tapas. It seem to be a popular place with 2 floors, they are in the process of closing down the kitchen but was able to fit us in for late lunch. We just asked the waiter to order for us since there are so many items to choose from. He actually gave us the good stuff. The meal was delicious, it was also the most expensive meal we had in Barcelona.


Montserrat

We decided to make a pilgrimage to the monastery of Montserrat. It has been on my top of my list when I started researching on our Barcelona itinerary. It is accessible by train, about an hour and a half trip from downtown Barcelona. It is historic and picturesque. It was worth the visit.

Montserrat means serrated mountains and had been a pilgrimage site for hundreds of years. On top the mountain is a thousand year old Benedictine monastery. It is also the location of the oldest music school (that dates back to 14th century) in Europe where you can listen to Gregorian chants by the boys choir.


The Jamon Experience

I have been trying to eat healthy these past few months. I try to avoid processed foods, sugared drinks and pork. Processed foods and soda had been easy for me but anything pork had been difficult. So the game plan came into a concession on eating it in moderation. I have been successful for now until Barcelona. Here, pork is king.




Hola Barcelona: Day 1

We have all this feeling of excitement when you land on the destination airport. Walking through the glass and metal Barcelona airport, I have all this anticipation. I know I will enjoy my time here.


The airport is so sophisticated. The summer Olympics was held here in 1992.

Happy Easter!

I wasn't surprised to see that Spain and France were big on celebrating Easter. What I find interesting is that they seem to go all fancy on the chocolate Easter Eggs. They probably put it as a centerpiece on their Easter celebration instead of cake.

These were the ones I saw in Barcelona:


Hóla! en Madrid Part 2

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AUTHOR: Mich
TITLE: Hóla! en Madrid Part 2
STATUS: Publish
ALLOW COMMENTS: 1
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CATEGORY: Travels

DATE: 11/25/2005 12:40:52 PM
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BODY:
Home at last. More jetlag. The week just flew and came home on a cold, cold New York. Looking forward to a good Thanksgiving meal and see the La Familia for the holidays.


Here are the wrap up on the rest of the trip:


Day 4 - Avila and Salamanca


Geared on a long day trying to fit in 2 cities in one day. Went to the Medieval town of Avila. The city of Santa Theresa. Visited the Cathedral and some bakeries to get the town specialty which are yemas (pronounced as gemas). After lunch, we head to Salamanca. Got lost by taking the wrong train but got back on track. I didn't expect Salamanca to be a huge town. The train station itself is any indication, it has a mini mall and and movie theatre upstairs. A cross between an airport and a mall. I made a mental note to spend more time to this town next trip.


Tapa Bar: Las Bravas


Food: Pulpo Gallega and Pincho Maruno


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Day 5 - Segovia


It will be our last full day in Spain. We've decided on having a pricey lunch near the aqueduct and try the town specialty - cochinillo (lechon!). Hmmm, its worth it. Then we head over to San Il Defonso to visit the La Granja Palace. Its a palace built by french born Felipe V who misses Versaille. It has amazing gardens and fountains.


Tapa Bar: La Casa Abuela & Nemrut


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Notes and Comments about the trip:


I had no expectations on Madrid. I was looking forward to visit the tourist routes and get a feel for the city. The city turned out to be vibrant and comforting. I will confidently say that the main highlight of my trip is the Tapa Bar scene. Not much of a drinker but an eater. I was looking forward to it every night. Everything is so familiar, the words, names, the FOOD. It feels like home.


Next trip? What do you think of Barcelona? ;-)

Hóla! en Madrid Part 1

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AUTHOR: Mich
TITLE: Hóla! en Madrid Part 1
STATUS: Publish
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CATEGORY: Travels

DATE: 11/20/2005 03:44:15 PM
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BODY:
Delayed flights. Jetlag. It didn´t start well as I expected. The only lucky break was finding our hotel without getting lost. Hurray for small miracles. After a couple hours nap, we hit the tapa bar scene. Its similar to having coffee standing in Italy but here its eating Spain's equivalent to dimsum but with wine.


Tapa bar: Museo de Jamon (Calle San Jeronimo)


Food: Calamares and Champinon (grilled mushrooms)


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Day 1 - Cordoba - Seville


We have decided to head south of Spain. The AVE train took us 2 hours to Cordoba and another half hour in Seville. Stayed 3 hours in Corboda to visit the town cathedral - the Mezquita. Hopped on the train again for a half hour trip to Seville. Visited the moorish inspired palace, the Alcazar and a huge cathedral that has 22 chapels. It has Christopher Columbus' original tomb before it was shipped to Hispanola (Dominican Republic). After a 2.5 hour trip back to Madrid, it's time for a night cap.


Tapa Bar:  Museo de Jamon (Plaza Mayor location)


Food: Callos and Paella


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Day 2 - Toledo


After an exhausting trip yesterday, we decided to do something light and get a bit more sleep. Took an hour bus to the medieval town of Toledo. It was the main capital of Christian Spain. The cathedral has a good collection of reliquaries. I even saw a gold one with the note that it came from Islas Filipinas circa 1700. Also, a noteworthy find, a local panaderia that reminds me of a local bakery in the Philippines. We decided to head back to the city and found (gasp!) - the shopping center and the mall.


Tapa Bar: Oreja de Oro & La Casa del Abuelas


Food: Ribeiro Wine, Pulpo Gallega (Octopus), Pincho Maruno (bbq), Grilled Prawns


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Day 3 - Comunidad de Madrid


This confirmed that Joe and I had too much to drink the night before. We overlslept and stayed local. We went to the flea market, the El Rastro. I found some interesting junk such as stamp, coin and old documents. I saw an old 19th century Filipinas coin, 1882 mint. It will cost me 12 euros. I passed on it. Another document with the Filipinas name on it, it looked like a bonds document for a Tobacco company. It can be a bearer bonds for all I know but can't part my 45 euros. It even had a watermark on the paper. It seems to be an original. Also, met a Pinoy on a research grant. Lucky guy, staying in Madrid for a month.


Tapa Bar: Museo de Jamon (Calle Victoria), Nemrut (Calle Espoz Y Mina)


Food: Donner Kebop (Carne Gyros), tried something different


The night hasn't ended yet. Got to hit more tapa bar tonight.....