Tag Archives: Spain

Spain Snippets: Barcelona

8 Jul

Our tour of Spain concluded with Barcelona.

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Instead of a hotel we opted to stay at Urban Suites apartments in Barcelona. That way we could cook. Above: delicious watermelon. Usually seedless watermelon aren’t the sweetest but these were!
Below: enough food for quite a few meals!

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Visited the overly touristy La Boqueria. We weren’t too impressed with it, but the overpriced fruit juices were pretty good.

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A preview of some of the food we ate. Feast for the eyes and the taste buds!

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Gaudi galore.

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We also made a side trip to the Dali museum.

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More on Barcelona as well as the rest of Europe when we come back in T minus 10 days! Hope you enjoyed these previews of Spain. We’ve got a few more hours in Paris and then we are off to Amsterdam and London.

Spain Snippets: San Sebastian

7 Jul

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I have to admit: I had never heard of San Sebastian before this trip started. Because of Jeannie’s insistence that we go to this small town in northern Spain close to the border of France, we found a jewel of a place that has it all: the best food in Spain/Europe/quite possibly the world, friendly pedestrian walk streets, easy bike paths throughout the city, and picturesque beaches. It truly is a wonderful city and we immediately knew we would return someday.

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San Sebastian is only a 6-hour bus ride from Madrid through the Spanish countryside. Notice I say “only”, as by this time we’ve been accustomed to long airplane flights, boat rides, train rides, you name it. The Spanish transport system (Alsa buses and RENFE trains) is comfortable and on time, unlike pretty much everything in Asia. The bus even had wifi!

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One notable thing about San Sebastian is its huge network of bike lanes and bike-friendly culture. We rented bikes for a day and rode around town. We went along the beach, through the high school and college area, and finally back through a long bikes-only tunnel that looked like something you’d see on the Matterhorn in Disneyland.

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The food in San Sebastian is fantastic to say the least. It’s also easy to figure out what to order. At all the tapas bars, the food is laid out on the counter and you simply pick up what you want to eat and pay per number of dishes you’ve had. The food ranges from simple bacon and mushrooms on a stick to smoked squid with a lime shooter and fancy biscuit. We tapas bar-hopped the first night and easily found our favorite to be Bar Zeruko. The range of culinary dishes here is truly amazing! Anthony Bourdain even said that besides Vietnam one of his favorite places to eat is in Sebastian. This is because they have the highest concentration of top ranked restaurants, so there’s no room for error.

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There’s more to share from San Sebastian, so stay tuned!

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Spain Snippets: Madrid

5 Jul

What a welcome surprise it was to land in Madrid as the next leg of our journey! After two months of being in less developed countries, it was nice to hop directly onto the subway and literally arrive at the doorstep of our hotel.

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Madrid is such a walkable city. We stayed right in the center and almost never had to use the subway. There’s restaurants, shopping, parks, historical palaces, and the world famous Prado museum all close by. We also spent quite a bit of time at Zara and Mango, because they’re both Spanish clothing brands and we could claim our VAT back as well.

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Everyone is out and about in Madrid. Madrid is one of the best places in the world if you like pedestrian walk streets. There’s shopping, cafes, and plenty of things to do in the center of town. The sun stays up late and the people eat out accordingly late as well.

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Old presidential palace and the view it overlooks.

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Apartments overlooking one of the older squares in Madrid. A long time ago, this square was used for bullfighting; the city rented out the balconies to spectators, hence the box numbers which are still there today.

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A few famous restaurant fronts a few blocks away from our hotel.

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Everyone’s heard of the famous Spanish tapas. What’s different in Spain is that you’re not expected to spend your whole dinner experience in one restaurant. It’s common to try out a dish or two, then pay and leave 20 minutes later to go to some other tapas place to try something else. More than likely that place will be steps away from the previous restaurant because everything in Madrid is so close together.

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Late night churros, anyone?

We’ll have more detailed posts and pics of our time in Europe when we return from our RTW adventure. We’ve only got a couple more weeks left!

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