A Travellerspoint blog


Day bus to Lisbon

semi-overcast 14 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

After segovia on Saturday, we ate at home again. That was lots of bee hoon, and AM's philipino macaroni!! Haven't had that in ages. Will make sure I cook it in Hamburg, it's an easy one pot meal. Crazy though, we only started eating at ten pm, and all the friends stayed til like 4am before sleeping. Apparently that happens almost every Saturday when everyone is off work. I went off to sleep first at 1 plus, I was so tired.

In the morning we woke up to go to El Rastro. Except that it wasn't, so I was pretty disappointed. We went to the nearby one that was also huge, but it wasn't the famous one at la latina. Sigh should have done my research properly. Oh well, I bought two long sleeves and a bag. I was counting on the flea market to make some purchases cos all the zara and pull and bear and mango were much too expensive for me. More shopping at the second hand store in Hamburg :D hehe.

Went to AM's church after that, the guys went to Bernabeu to try to get tickets, and to do some shopping. Everyone was really nice! But predictably (oops) I fell asleep during sermon. In my defense I was truly very tired, and it was also half in tagalog so I couldn't really understand anything. Haha. After that they had weekly lunch banquet thing, I finally got to eat adobo (black sauce thing with meat and vinegar) and rice again. Rice! <3 oh how I've missed you.

Walked around sol and gran via a while, lamented at my lack of buying power, went back to chill and shower. After that was Bernabeu, which I've already recounted.

This Monday morning we awoke early at 7 to pack and eat. Sweet AM got up to make tuna sandwiches for us. Ate, metro to estacion bus del sur, am on the 7 hour bus to lisboa now.

Before I say anything else, just let me say how appreciative I am of AM and her friends. They've cooked dinner for us and given us their food and beds. They've been just so nice and welcoming. Obviously we've tried very hard to repay them, but a lot of our efforts have been rebuffed. Oh well. Haha.

Okay, and I really wanted to do a on the way trip stop at caceres or something. Don't want to just do big cities. But late planning resulted in limited travel options. We could totally have taken the night train to Lisbon! Haha that would have been awesome. And then a day at caceres. But it was not to be. We missed booking that train by a day or so, and that's why we're on the earliest (10am) bus direct to Lisbon.

Also, update on the travel partners thing, it's getting better. I think I've learnt to chill and see good sides. It's getting more fun now!

More later, ciao!

Posted by seaskimmer 16:15 Archived in Spain Tagged church spain madrid lisbon portugal Comments (0)

El Clasico

semi-overcast 10 °C
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We found out on Friday night about the El Clasico match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Bernabeu itself while we are in Madrid! The stadium is only like ten minutes away on foot?

So on Sunday (today) afternoon, the guys went down to attempt to get tickets, with a 200 eur budget. They returned with sad countenances just as I finished showering. But we rushed off to the stadium to try and catch the players as they arrived. After pushing our way through to the front, getting a few dirty looks, and waiting for what felt like a century, people up the road began to cheer and cameras popped out (like daisies! Reference anyone?). Some police cars and two darkly tinted buses drove by. There was a stunned silence and then everyone started to ask the security guy if that was it. And that was it. Everyone was extremely disappointed but stayed in the crush for another five minutes before hopes dissipated and the crowd dispersed.

We slowly made our way back home, booked our bus tickets to Lisboa, ate some leftover macaroni, and went off to find a bar.

We ended up in this cute little bar with lots of iberian hams hanging on the sides. So something between a butchery and a bar maybe? The guys wanted a better view of the big TV so they went to the back to stand. On the other hand, I dragged a chair right up almost underneath the TV to look up at it. I'd rather sit for 90min and have a weirdly angled neck. After all, can't be worse than belaying someone on a project (sorry J hahahaha that was a long one).

There was a mix of barca and madrid fans, so excitement at every turn. I sat there looking up, laughing at the animations of the people around me. Like seriously, I think it's hilarious when people scream at the TV, and especially so when there's a goal!

And a wealth of goals there was indeed. What an amazing match, as each side almost took turns to score. Not only were there tons of goals, but there was also a lot of drama with the penalties and that red card! Oh my. And I can't believe Madrid lost, what a pity (even though I'm neutral). The barca fans were screaming away happily while everyone else grunted grumpily or had head in hands.

What a stroke of luck. A fantastic match up nearing the end of the la liga season. A decisive match. And a home game as well! In a small local bar :) what a night.

Summary of the rest of today's events will probably come in about 24 hours haha.

Posted by seaskimmer 16:03 Archived in Spain Tagged football barcelona spain madrid Comments (0)

Sol y Luna

overcast 9 °C
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Let me post this before I fall asleep on the spot.

Where did I last stop? I think before we left for the bus station in barca.

DB and I had two cheeseburgers each for dinner, while hungry TZ had three. One euro each. And we were drinking the grocery store sangria haha.

Bus was cramped and draughty. A little sleep here and there, by the time we got to Madrid estacion sur it was 6am. And by the time we got to Tetuan by metro it was almost 7. AM met us there, brought us to her place not far from the station.

We ate a little, talked, attempted to plan a bit. Then AM went out to work and we took a bit of a nap which was perhaps not the best thing to do. By the time we'd sort of decided what to do for the rest of the day, it was pretty late and the guys were hungry and insisted on eating straight away, so. Instead of a great tapas place somewhere in town, we ate a a lame fast food place called Nebraska, wasn't even cheap. Sigh haha. I want tapas.

Took metro to try the teleferico (cable car) but it wasn't as spectacular as people had said it was, so a bit of a let down. It was pretty at the stop though, I enjoyed it.

Took metro into sol, walked around and basically saw all the main interests, but without some historical background it was kind of dry.

Dinner at AM's place, she said we'd be having paella cos I mentioned that I liked it. It ended up being a giant feast, and we couldn't finish a lot haha. Her roomies are so nice and funny, Jodel is this big guy who cooked the paella from a YouTube video haha. We ran out and got some vino (2.35eur!) and a few small bottles of sangria. Then also a box of strawberries mmm.

We helped to make some of the food, while hanging out with Marlo and his adorable 3 year old nephew James.

The final food tally stands as recorded:

Platos uno
Jamon, the small round kind

Platos dos
Big pan of paella, unfortunately only one side edible cos they don't have a fire stove. As such it was a bit uneven, but the edible side was yummy.
Pincho (bites), bread with smoked salmon, mayo, crabmeat, hard boiled egg
Fried tang hoon
Filipino fried pig cheek
Fried or sautéed prawns

Platos tres
Strawberries and whipped cream/condensed milk
Biscuits we bought from sol

Vino with soda water
Beer and vodka I think for the guys later on

As per Spain custom, dinner started at about 8 plus and ended at 10 plus! I was so full. Yum.

More research on what to do for the next few days, our original plans a bit different especially due to tomorrow's el classico match! Real Madrid vs Barcelona, and the stadium is 15 min away on foot. The guys will try to get a ticket if they can, highly likely to have sold out a long time ago though. I shall content myself by going to a bar to watch, or I heard there's a big screen outside the stadium. It'll be cold though, 9pm. So exciting!

Today (Saturday) we had churros for the breakfast. Seems that most people dip their churros in melted chocolate, while the sugar option is available too. I found the chocolate not sweet enough. Didn't really taste much like chocolate either. So I spammed the sugar haha.

Then we spent the day at segovia! 1.5h bus ride from principio pio. We walked around, everything was pretty and interesting, but it was quite cold up there. Ten degrees and a fast freezing wind. Saw the aqueduct, the cathedral, the palace. Didn't go inside cos we need to pay. Lunch was pretty cheap, bakery bread was like 5 for 1.20 eur etc. I also bout Portuguese egg tarts!! The inside is like custard, not so solid like in sg, I kind of prefer the sg one. Segovia was alright. Something else to see and do, but in the end it's another cathedral, another palace.

I think what I really enjoyed was spending the day with AM! For those who don't know, she was our helper for ten years, from when I was 7 (right after Holland). She's working now in Spain, doing the same thing. I didn't realise I've missed her so much.

And it's interesting, because there were definitely times in the past when I was really annoyed at her. AM was given the authority to scold us, so she did. Looking back, I don't know why I got so angry. Haha I always got scolded for reading in the toilet (when I should be showering) or taking a long time to eat (when younger I was hardly ever hungry. And obviously in a Chinese household I was stuffed with food.) or taking too long to come down for dinner ('later', 'soon' haha. Mostly last time cos I was reading).

But any grievances seem to have faded over the years. Now I'm just glad to talk with her. :) and I'm so excited, cos she's planning on a holiday to the Philippines in July, and will be coming to sg for a week or so in August, when I'm already back :) can't wait! She'll get to eat all the sg food again also haha.

TZ and DB are aspiring photographers and as such both have bug cameras and spend an inordinate amount of time adjusting for a photo haha. Which means that they're really slow when we walk down a street. But okay must admit that their pictures do turn out well. They also spend a lot of time discussing the manual setting stuff, which I'm totally fine with as it leaves me alone to enjoy myself.

Still on the way back to Madrid now, and as usual I've been looking out the window thinking about how to describe the country. Spain reminds me of Ireland in its verdant wildness, but Spain really feels much more Mediterranean. While Ireland seems more at home in the relative warmth of its temperate, mild, oceanic climate, and it's that Irish lad I've spoken of before. On the other hand, in Spain everything looks like it's made for the summer heat, like it belongs and would thrive in it, despite the cold now. I can just see a cowboy (I know that's American) on his horse kicking up the dust as he gallops across the plains.

Last words for tonight: we passed through two arches side by side in segovia. One was carrer de la Luna (street of the moon) and the other was Puerta del sol (gate of the Sun). I liked the poetry in that.

Posted by seaskimmer 17:04 Archived in Spain Tagged spain madrid family Comments (0)

Tired feet

sunny 19 °C
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Today was to be devoted to a few main things. Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, and Camp Nou.

Sagrada was a simple affair because they didn't want to go in so we walked a round and took photos.

Supposed to walk to Parc Güell, but silly me directed us down the wrong way so after walking about the correct 15min we realised we were almost where we began. Ugh my attempt to save money didn't really work out. Metro to Alfons X but not before a quick churros stop! Yay.

We stopped at a random shop which turned out to be run by Chinese people, I asked directions to Parc Güell, TZ asked about eating places, DB went to buy a towel. (He brought three towels in his check in, which he left in Hamburg. Genius.)

Ate at the recommended place, had two platos del dia and an extra chorizo (spicy-ish sausages) to share. So worth it. The platos we ordered had two paellas for appetiser, a roast beef and a veal for mains, and pudding and soft cheese with honey for dessert. Chose two beers for drinks (San Miguel). Food wasn't as brilliant as it was last night, but it was good and most of it was friendly personal recommendation from one of the waiters! Altogether 9 eur person, and the fullest I've been since sg.

Spent some time walking around Parc Güell, the two of them got their panorama fix at a high vantage point. They went off a little earlier to camp nou, while I stayed and walked around some more. I'm glad I did because I managed to get to this crazy high part of the park, which had a pretty much 360 view of the city. It was so amazing, better than the previous spot we'd been in. I also walked in the forest area, it was so beautifully quiet. I saw a lot of different kinds of birds, mostly sparrow size but some a bit bigger.

And everything was super Mediterranean. It actually felt like Spain for once. Like the episode where Asterix and Obelix somehow end up in Iberia. (¡ olè!) it's all gnarly bark and trunks, pine needles, pear shaped waxy leaves, dusty orange pathways, weathered tan rock.

Okay then I began my long trek to Camp Nou. If you look it up on the map, it's really far. But I had decided to do it because then I'd get to really walk across the city, and I wouldn't have to pay another metro trip (which is not distance fare, it's by trip so very expensive). I saw a few cool street names referring to people like jules verne, cervantes, copernicus.

Eventually it was 445, and I decided I couldn't make it to camp nou by 5, our agreed meeting the being 430/5. The back up was that if I wasn't there, we'd meet back at the house. So I took the metro back to Pl. catalunya, took a long indirect route back up here, and I'm here now writing this.

It's 7pm and the guys I think have just returned cos I heard the buzz.

Yeah, it's them and they had an awesome time at camp nou but they were also a little worried about me haha. Oops.

Night bus at ten pm today to Madrid, I can't wait to see AM! Hopefully I'll have fun this trip (I mean the whole thing).

Oh and I'm sorry, I was really mean to db yesterday. Doesn't really change the fact that I'm gonna have to figure out how to get along with him, but I don't have to be mean to him in semi public :(

That said, I realise what a difficult thing I have chosen to do. I'm here for ten days with two people I'm barely friends with. For E I had to turn a friendship into a travelship. Given that there are no personality clashes etc that's alright. But now I have to develop both friendship and travelship, or maybe just travelship if that's possible lol. And they've both been friends for a while now. How now brown cow.

Maybe I just need to chill and accept. I'm not gonna complain. I've made my bed and I'll lie in it! And enjoy it too. Done.

PS did you realise that the word gaudy came from gaudi?? I was mind blown.

Boys vs girls travel
5. More swearing (unless you have someone like E...)
6. More nagging about safety (from them)
7. Gossip about girls
8. Always hungry

PS achievement unlocked! I walked around in 2 layers the whole of today.

Posted by seaskimmer 11:20 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona spain gaudi Comments (0)

Stark raving mad

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So I couldn't wait a day to get this up, here it comes!

Our sandeman tour guide suggested and pointed out an area near the beach but not actually at the beach (touristy) where we could get some good paellas. So at 8pm we set off, and trawled the area for paellas. We thought we could get some for 15 shared, but turns out our info was wrong cos it was all 15 per pax. In the end we went back to this small cosy place we saw on the way even though it had no paella.

And what a good choice it was. When we returned we saw that there was a queue outside, and Singaporeans being Singaporeans that cemented its star status in our minds. I chatted in broken Spanish and English with some of the cute old men in the queue and they said it was a famous place actually with good and cheap seafood! So we were like Yay! And we joined the queue.

The food indeed was affordable, fish ranges between 5 and 8.50, meats 3 and 8. Fried vegetables 1.50 or 1.75.

We ordered
5 eur fried sardines (5 fishes)
8.50 eur small fried hake (4 fishes)
3 eur veal
1 eur bread with thin tomato sauce layer
1.50 eur fried tomato (6 medium halves)
1.80 eur estrella (30 cl x 2) for them
1.20 eur estrella (20 cl) for me

Super awesome okay. I wanted to die in happiness then, it was so good and tasty, and in the back of my head, inexpensive haha.

Everything was quite lightly salted etc, with minimum dressing. But it was so fresh and well cooked that it was just amazing! And the atmosphere of the place was relaxed, like and older but nice coffee shop. The food was very simple and no nonsense, with no sides apart from a lemon slice for the fish. Presented on plain white plates, obviously a bit old.

Very little conversation especially at the start, everyone was concentrating on and enjoying the food. It was delicioso! Mmmmm still thinking about that lovely friedness. I ate almost everything on that fish, ate all the small bones, ate as much of the crunchy head as I dared to.

It was so affordable. I wasn't supremely full after that to be honest, but I think paying another 1.75 for frites (still thinking in French) would have gotten me very nice and full. As it is, that's 8 eur spent very well.

So anyone who's ever in Barcelona, GO. Nearest metro is Barcelonata. It's on 12 Carrer del Baluard, probably called Can Mano.

Okayyy I'm gonna sleep now, my rave review is over.

Oh but PS there was a musical group that came in around 9 plus. A guy on trumpet, one with accordion, last with a drum. They were playing what a wonderful world, that was nice. But layer they started offering a hat around and I'm like oh. Touting. Oh well.

Posted by seaskimmer 17:03 Archived in Spain Tagged food barcelona spain seafood Comments (0)

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