I guess it’s time to blog about my Spain trip in December or I will never going do it when I gather more backlogs. =D
The reason why we decided on Spain & Portugal: to travel south and possibly enjoy some warmth. We diligently checked the weather forecast for the cities we were visiting before our trip. Great! Day temperatures were well above 10deg celsius. But the moment we reached Barcelona, the temperature dropped quite drastically. Temperature was below 10 deg celsius in Barcelona and almost 0 deg celsius at Madrid and Lisbon. Well we didn’t bring along much warm clothing and that’s why I’m in my same black jacket most of the time. So much for trying to escape the cold!
We love the bustling night life of these Barcelona and Madrid. Most of the shops (except the supermarkets) in my town closed at 6pm and the streets are almost empty at night so we kind of miss walking along crowded streets and/or just being around people. The cities at the outskirts like Segovia & Sintra were more charming in our opinion. We didn’t quite like the people we met in Spain though, many of them were rather arrogant and didn’t speak English at all (or maybe they just refuse to speak English).
These are what I loved most from the 2 countries:
1. Catching a Flamenco performance – a Spanish native dance & music
2. La Sagrada Familia – Barcelona’s most famous building & Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece. The details on the facade are stunning.
3. Casa Batllo – Another building designed by Gaudi. The attention to details (e.g varying the window size according to how high the window was to ensure uniform lighting) around the building is astonishing.
4. Taking a cable car across Port Olimpic for breathtaking bird’s eye view of Barcelona City
5. Montjuic Castle – An old military fortress which sits on a cliff 170m high and offers magnificent views on the city and harbour
6. Palacio Real – Madrid’s largest & possibly most beautiful building. The rooms in the palace are furnished with exquisite furnitures, tapestries, paintings and ceramics and they are just stunning.
7. Segovia Aqueduct – The symbol of Segovia city and our favorite from the whole trip. One of the greatest surviving Roman engineering works built out of granite blocks (728m long, 9m high) without any use of mortar! It carries water 18 km from the Frío River to the Segovia.
8. Alcazar – A fairytale-like castle sitting on the edge of the fortified city. It used to be one of the favorite residences of the Castillian Monarchs.
9. Dinner at Botin – Listed as the world’s oldest restaurant in Guinness Book of Records (1725). The firewood oven is said to be original from the 18th century.
1. Eating a Portugese Tart in one of the many pastry shops in Portugal!
2. Castelo de Sao Jorge – An enchanting hilltop castle which offers panoramic view of the city.
3. Hopping on one of the traditional Lisbon tram – A great way to get about the city!
1. Mosteiro dos Jeronimos – This impressive monastery is located at Belem, which is around 6km away from Lisbon city centre.
2. Torre de Belem – A beautiful monument which is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is built to guard the entrance into Lisbon harbour.
3. Sintra – Around an hour train ride away from Lisbon city centre, this small town is definitely worth the visit. Surrounded by lush green countryside, Sintra used to be a popular summer retreat for the Portugese Kings.
All in all, the trip was awesome! SH and I haven’t travelled since our honeymoon to Japan. And so this trip marks the start of our Europe Grand Tour which is really a dream coming true for both of us. We were planning to quit our jobs at the age of 30 to travel the world. Next destination: Eastern Europe!