Sunday, July 17, 2011

Valencia, Back to Barcelona and a Glimpse of Doha

Finally, we've come to the last installment of my travelogue on Spain. Just about time since it's now been 2 months since our trip. It was a hectic 8-day 5-city trip but was well worth it :-). Again, I'm always thankful for the chance to work here in Singapore because if it weren't for the opportunity to be here none of this would be possible, hehe mushy but true.


Tourists would usually skip valencia but since it was on the way back to Barcelona we decided to stop over. We had around 8 hours to burn to roam around the city where Paella originated.

Estacio Del Nord Train Station. We arrived past 5 in the morning and slept at one of the benches (haha so ghetto) to wait for the lockers to open at 8am as we didn't want to lug around our heavy backpacks.

Bull Ring (Plaze de Toros) right beside the estacio del nord train station.

The modernist Central Market (Mercado Central) is one of the largest in Europe. 

I love how clean this market is. The variety of food was endless! We just walked going here from the central station to buy breakfast. This is also where I bought authentic spanish saffron to take home :-)

An entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex. The City of Arts and Sciences is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia. Thanks to "Frommer's Spain 2011" book we knew what bus to take... Rick Steve's didn't have Valencia in his book...

L'Hemisfèric — an Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium. Built in the shape of an eye.

L'Umbracle — a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia.

L'Àgora — a covered plaza in which concerts and sporting events are held.

L'Oceanogràfic — an open-air oceanographic park built in the shape of a water lily. It is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe.

Some kids who look like they were on a field trip...

We went back to Valencia city centre... Can you believe they serve beer in McDonalds?? How fun! 

We wanted to try the Paella here in Valencia but decided to go to McDonalds because of the free Wi-fi hehehe...

Some pretty houses we saw while walking back to the train station...


Back in Barcelona for 2 days before heading home.... Sorry but Barcelona is actually my least-liked city in Spain and the fact that we were robbed/pickpocketted 3 times in 1 day strengthens my "dislike" for this city...

NEVER EVER take the metro at night(or at all), especially when you look like a tourist (i.e. carrying shopping bags, cameras, etc). This ghetto group huddled up on us at the train door to distract us then pickpocketed my friend's mobile (but returned it when my friend caught them, ironically).

Hotel Marvi... tiny but decent hotel..

And yet again, my email request worked (the reception mentioned they received my email)!! high-floor street-facing room again! :) makes me wonder though what view do the other rooms have. As you can see from previous pic, the front of the hotel is very narrow and sandwiched by other buildings...

Protests again...

Spain's most famous and my favorite department store... On our first night we decided to head to the supermarket to buy stuff to bring home... I wanted to take home olive oil but too bad I broke the bottle on the way back to the hotel...

Simple set breakfast at the hotel.. the only hotel actually which gave us free breakfast... plus the frontdesk staff were very friendly, the only hotel who bothered to give us a map of the metro and a map of Barcelona...

After breakfast we headed to Passeig de Gracia to start the day with shopping hehe... Happy lab but not so happy owner haha...

Look for this street if you want to do some serious shopping... but watch out for the thieves/pickpockets!!!

Gaudi's Casa Batlló also called Casa dels ossos (House of Bones) with it's visceral, skeletal organic quality.

Gaudi's Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera (meaning the 'The Quarry'), was built during the years 1905–1910 for a married couple.

Ironically, my friend's cardholder with cash and cards got stolen almost immediately after I took this pic... luckily, it wasn't a lot of money as we were already leaving the next day... imagine if it happened on our first day in Barcelona it would have spoiled our entire trip... those f@&%ing bastards...

Posh dog wearing pearls and a Louis Vuitton dog collar inside Gucci store. Damn lucky dog.

Another UNESCO world heritage site, The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family), commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church. It started construction in 1882 and is projected to be completed by 2017.

Placa Toros Monumental - bullring in Barcelona where musical concerts are also held. The Beatles and Tina Turner once performed here.

The Torre Agbar was inspired by Montserrat, a mountain near Barcelona.

La Rambla at night, famous for its living statues (and pickpockets)...

Glimpse of Doha, Qatar 

Thanks to Diners credit card I got in free at the Oryx Lounge in Qatar airport hehe... saved US$40!


Now I know why there were protests all over Spain - they were protesting about economic stagnation and the highest unemployment rate in EU. Ergo, pickpockets everywhere.

So there you go! Memories that will truly last a lifetime. Spain was more than awesome! Next trip will be in 3 months time - to Amsterdam! hehe. Thanks to my generous mom and dad :-P 

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