Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting Ready for Spain...

Happy Labour Day everyone! This is the 2nd long weekend in a row and it feels grreeaaattt! 12 days to go 'til Spain and I can hardly wait! We pretty much settled everything we need for this trip and all we need to do now is count down the days :-)

We are lucky Pricebreaker sells the Eurail Pass and you can also arrange the train reservations with them. The Eurail Pass was actually more expensive that what we anticipated as aside from the cost of the pass itself, there is a separate cost for reserving a seat per train sector, plus the booking fees by Pricebreaker (because we booked from Singapore). I'm guessing it's probably cheaper to take domestic flights within Spain but because we are only spending 7 nights, the train would be much faster (and more scenic I hope).

Haha I look like shit in the pic, this was the day I got hospitalised (I was in pain haha)

I also managed to get an International Driver's Permit in the Philippines when I went home last March. I got the permit as I initially wanted to try out GoCar Tours but realized taking the hop-on hop-off bus is cheaper and easier. Oh well, at least I have it for back-up and I can also use it here in Singapore.

Our hotels were booked mostly through, and some through Thank god for these hotel booking websites as we found cheap yet decent and centrally-located hotels. On average, we only paid around 90 Euro per night. Our only splurge is the Alhambra Palace Hotel in Granada (see pic above, still reasonable for 150 Euro a night).

Yesterday, we trooped to The Planet Traveller in Marina Square and they happened to be on a 2-day 20% store-wide sale, are we lucky or what? Hehe. I love this store! They practically have everything you need for any sort of trip.

I learned about this brand called "Pacsafe" - an australian-owned brand which has a whole line of anti-theft travel gear. I read in forums and travel blogs that theft is quite a major problem in Spain and I don't want to take any chances. I have no plans to bring a wallet as I read (and heard of) real-life stories of people whose wallets have been snatched by people who front as police (they ask for your ID then as you pull out your wallet they snatch it and run away).

I initially wanted to buy a neck pouch from a cheaper brand but I realized the material is really flimsy (the neck strap is just made from very thin rope or sewn cloth which can easily be torn or slashed). Since they were on 20% sale anyway, I decided to get this camera pouch.

I love this camera pouch as it can hold not only your camera, but your passport, money, credit/atm cards and phone, as well! PLUS, the slash-proof adjustable strap can be worn over your neck or shoulder and the pouch itself is made of eXomesh - a slashproof wire mesh fitted in between the fabric. AND WAIT, there's more! (hahaha) - the zippers and flap lock are also tamper proof!

Usual price was S$53 and I'm so glad there was a 20% discount or else I wouldn't have bought it haha. But really, with all the anti-theft technology built in the product I think it's worth spending a little bit to safeguard your valuables.

Zach got this 40-Liter camping backpack which was also on sale - from S$193 to S$96.50. Quite a steal for a german brand called "Vaude". We have no plans to bring luggage since we are not on a package tour where you can conveniently leave your stuff in the tour bus or have someone look after them.

Mine I got in the Philippines - also a 40-Liter capacity backpack which is a locally-made brand called "Sandugo".  The only thing I don't like about it is there's so many straps hanging everywhere and the opening of the bag has no zipper or drawstring mechanism (which the Vaude bag has), it just seals by rolling the ends and clipping it with the locks. Not sure though if camping bags are meant to be like that as I'm not really a camper myself (hehe). Anyway, it was reasonably priced at around S$85 (converted from Philippine pesos).

And of course, don't forget your adapter plug!

Lastly, Zach bought this traveller's guide book to help us plan our itinerary. I'm actually in charge of Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia while he is in charge of Granada and Cordoba. So there!! We just need to pack our bags and off we go! I've literally been preparing for a few months now so I hope this trip is very much worth all the effort. :-)

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