May 6, 2014

Spain - There's the king - and then there's Antonio Gaudi.

When we were booking for our Europe trip in 2011 our main focus was around Italy and Switzerland. Spain was just an addendum to the original plan. We had couple of more days left in our vacation balance and we thought why not go see another country near by and it just happen to be Spain.

The Puerta de Alcala (Alcala Arch) in the Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square), Madrid, Spain. Built by order of King Carlos III in 1778, the Alcala Arch represents the triumphs of Spain.


Total No. of days in Spain: approx 3 days
Time of Year: June (2011)
Weather: Mostly Awesome with scattered rains.
Destinations in Italy: Madrid and Barcelona
Travelling From: Rome (Italy)
Itinerary (all 3 countries): Italy-Swiss-Spain
Commuting in Spain: Trains, Buses and Subway/Metro
Local day passes serves bang for your buck. You can hop into any Metro (subway train) or bus any number of time during the 24 hr period. The tickets are electronically detected for their validation. So no matter when you purchase your ticket its valid for the next 24hrs from the time you purchase and not 24hr on the clock.

Overnight train that we took from Rome to go to Barcelona


We took an overnight train from Rome (Italy) to go to Barcelona (Spain). My husband and our son were seated in a different cabin (all men) and I was in a different one (with 3 other females). One was a local Spanish, a young girl from Netherland and the other lady was French. It was quiet a combination. Except for the young girl in Netherland none of the others really knew "English" so it was kind of fun communicating with hand signs and a little help by the girl from Netherland. Yet we had conversations about our very own country, people and a few exchange of personal info too.
We boarded the train on an evening and reached Barcelona around 10:00 am (local time) next morning.
We took the sleeper coach so they offered us clean sheets and pillows.They had a dining coach where we had our true english breakfast. That was a great experience.

La Sagrada Familia - Barcelona

We also got to experience the AVE train travelling between Barcelona and Madrid. Gosh! that was fast and comfortable seats too. 3hrs wasn't that big a deal. Ask my husband he could talk hours on this.

AVE High Velocity Train From Barcelona to Madrid


Picture showing the speed at which the AVE train is moving

We visited Barcelona and Madrid. Did touristy stuff, enjoyed the local cuisine (vegetarian), drank Sangria, met a few locals, toured the kings palace (from outside), appreciated Gaudi's creations and last but not least did good amount of shopping.



The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc (Font màgica de Montjuïc) - Barcelona


 Plaça d'Espanya and Poble Espanyol - Barcelona 

We missed out a lot of exciting things like - watching a football game, bullfight, famous park guell,
coastal part of spain, the extravagant nightlife.

To be honest, I did not wanted to go to Madrid. But flying out from Madrid was cheaper than Barcelona or any other place (back to Seattle). I wish we could have spent our last day in  Barcelona and have had Madrid as just a hop and go. I found Barcelona much more interesting than Madrid.

Las Ramblas-Barcelona

Plaza Mayor, Madrid


Palacio Real: The Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Madrid



I read in few articles that Spain is a racist country. I did not experience anything like that.
          I also read that there is no law against public nudity in Spain! Did not experience that too.
          I loved the vegetarian Paella. Sangria was good but was definitely kicking my bu*t.
          I had a great time shopping.

Paella


Sangria

Click for more picture here.

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