Sunday, June 5, 2011

Barcelona en route to Madrid

Spain left me breathless, literally and figuratively. Figuratively as the sights, sound, smell, taste and feel I experienced in Spain were truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Literally because we were left breathless in fear due to our 3 encounters with pickpockets in Barcelona on our 2nd to the last day. Anyway, let me try and set aside that horrible memory and focus on the beauty that Spain has to offer.

First of all, let me just say that you totally have to get hold of these 2 books below if you wish to travel to Spain. These books were very helpful even as far as what bus to take, how many metres away was a particular attraction and some insider information. Rick Steve's book even had walking tours that were totally great! Really, these books were literally our tour guides in Spain!

On our way to Barcelona, we had a 2hr stopover in Doha,Qatar which required a plane change.

Qatar's food and service is a cut above the rest compared to the other airlines I have travelled with. Special mention to their korean flight crew who were extra perky and friendly. My only rant was the check-in agent who stuffed us in the middle of the 4-seat rows even if we requested for the 2-seat rows. Although, kudos to Qatar for sending me an apology email regarding this as I did mention it on my feedback form. I wasn't harsh though for the record, in fact I praised Qatar for the wonderful experience on board and looked forward to my next flight with them. Lesson learned: make use of online check-in.

The food was quite good and tasted like "real" food. They pride on their 5-star restaurant in the air.

Real hot sandwiches for snacks and not simply nuts or biscuits. Not bad. Not bad at all. Below were the food they served on our Doha-Barcelona flight.

From Barcelona airport, we took the train to Barcelona Sants train station - a quick 15-20 minute train ride, to catch the high-speed train to Madrid. We decided to tour the rest of Spain first before coming back to Barcelona before our flight back to Singapore.

Get a T-10 for more value for your money if you plan to take the metro a lot.

The Barcelona Sants train station looked like another airport altogether as it connects to both the metro and the AVE high speed trains.

We had around 4 hours to burn so we wandered around the train station.

ATM-like easy order machines at McDonalds. How brilliant. Hehe.

The food was quite expensive (as per my standards) so this was my first meal in Spain - all I could afford were the sandwiches haha. I love the sesame bread though! And we more or less ate sandwiches throughout our entire trip in Spain.

We also wandered outside the train station and found this pretty looking park.

Looks like someone had a good time the previous night feasting on Pizza and San Miguel pale pilsen beer! (YES, philippines' own pale pilsen beer!).

Haha this was funny. Not sure what kind of prank were they playing.

The AVE high speed trains were very clean, modern and convenient. Look at how neat and beautiful the interior is.

We went as fast as 330km/hour if I'm not mistaken. The ride was very smooth though as I didn't feel at all how fast we were going. The view was nothing but spectacular (which is the reason why its better to take the train than the plane in such cases).

There was also a cafeteria inside the train which served hot sandwiches and quick meals. How cool is that? :-)

Next up, Madrid! :-)

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