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Thread: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Thanks iceberg and zichar on the valuable tips.

    Food wise, i think both my wife and myself are food lover so will not scrimp on food.. In fact, we already aimed many restaurants in both Barcelona and Madrid that we wanted to try. As we have been to Italy and Paris for our honeymoon before, so prices wise, i think Spain is still ok, lower than Paris but prob a bit higher than Italy.

    As for camera safety, yeah, it's a concern and i specially bought a new bag thats a little less Camera bag like and can be pulled out so hopefully it will be fine. The tip about map reading is very true and useful and something that i always do. I only read maps when before i leave hotel, having meals or at some safe spots away from the crowd.

    For hospital sant pau, i should be going unless time does not permit me to. As for Mont juic, maybe will try and go to the castle, prob give the sights below a miss except for the magic fountain. Still 1/2 hearted on whether to bring tripod as i doubt i will use much... maybe once or twice only at night.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Oh... one more thing.. thanks for the tip on the jamons.. i heard the jamon serrano (cured ham?) is especially good and probably will buy some and make sandwiches to save some money and time!

  3. #23

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Make sure you bring some night photography gear.. Gaudi's buildings look very very nice lit up at night by lights.

    Oh ya, for shopping, Zara is like a pasar malam.. So darn cheap.. Suits are a few times cheaper.. Mango too!
    Last edited by GavinTing; 20th May 2008 at 04:19 PM.
    Meow!

  4. #24

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Jamon Serrano, the top-of-the-line air-dried ham? Have heard that there are a lot of 'mis-labelled' jamon serrano, i.e. the composition does not make it real jamon serrano. Much like the DOCG, if I'm not mistaken, jamon serrano is a protected title. But I guess my less-than-cultured tastebuds can't discern between any. I do find the blood sausages and other congealed blood stuff, liver-based cured meats as well, takes a bit too much courage to consume. Going off-topic, you should check out the book 'Heat' by Bill Buford, a New Yorker editor who quits his job to follow Mario Batali as a cook, then Dario Cecchini as a butcher.
    I remember I had a decent sit-down meal at this place near the post office opposite Casa Battlo, someplace with Rita in its name. Less fun doing that alone though
    -------------------------------
    Endure. In enduring grow strong.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Hi I was in Barcelona and Madrid towards the end of 2007. For Barcelona, the Gaudis are really impressive, especially Sangrada Familia. Try to visit all the Gaudis if possible. Plenty of photo taking opportunities. Apart from that, it's the normal walking around and shopping. Zara, Mango, Pull & Bear, even Massimo Dutti is significantly cheaper in Spain even without discount when compared to Singapore. For Madrid, it's relatively less exciting when compared to Barcelona, so the notable attractions are the museums like the world famous Prado. If you're not one for art, then you'd probably find Madrid boring. Hence, I'd recommend you making day trips to nearby medieval towns like Segovia and Toledo which I did, both have their own charms. Toledo is more touristy and you'll see tons of souvenir shops selling Don Quixote souvenirs but it's nonetheless a nice place to visit. There are daily trains to both Toledo and Segovia so it's quite accessible. You can spend the night at either place too. I spent one night at Toledo at a HI hostel which turned out to be a castle which was fantastic cos it was dirt cheap and yet the room was extremely spacious, and ya it was a castle!

    For me, the most memorable part about Barcelona, apart from the Sangrada, was when I met some friends for dinner at a champagneria. It's basically a casual tapas bar place when everyone is standing around in a very warm and bustling kind of environment. Champagne is served by the bottle and is really cheap so it's standard to order 1 bottle for every 2 or 3 tapas items. Really got a feel of the Basque culture.

    In Madrid, apart from having paella, try going to a bar and having some apple cider, which is what many of the locals do after dinner. They have this custom of pouring cider from the bottles which they order into cups (like how we do teh tarik) which is very interesting. Almost everyone does it so try it if u want haha.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    For food, besides the Cerverceria Catalana which was mentioned in earlier posts, I've some other favourites. Well, my favourites being good and not too ex.

    Down the ramblas, on the left, there's this place called Attic. Very, very nice setting. Not pricey at all. Portion could have been more generous.

    At the Plaza Reial, near Liceu Metro stop, there's Lez Quince Nits. Good selection of food. Good pricing. Good atmosphere. Be sure to go slightly earlier as usually there's a long queue right before they open. (Looooonnnng queue)

    Further down from Plaza Reial, there's a La Fonda. This queue seems longer than Lez Quince Nits. Food wise, it's more or less the same standard like the before mentioned.

    As for tapas, I've two favourite standing bars. Both are similar (under the same management) but located at different places, so it suits you wherever you are. There's Irati, which is right behind PC City along Ramblas, and Sagardi, which is in El Born area, along a street parallel to Princesa near Jaume I. It's those standing bars which is billed by number of toothpicks (like counting sate sticks). Remember to try out the Clara (mix of beer & lime fizzy drink), Vino de verano (like Sangria, but slightly different. Exact translation, Wine of Summer).

    If you're interested, drop me a PM. on your email. I've compiled a google map of the places I've been to. I've other tried & tested place, but they are generally oriental food (Jap, Indian, M'sia, Chinese etc), guess that prob won't interest you much. Lol.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    As to food tasting, besides the Jamon, do remember the Queso (cheese).
    Usually for sit down restaurants, they would have plate of assortments. This would be wonderful esp it gives you a taste of a multitude of things.

    When ordering Fideua (short bee hoon like dish, which is as local as the Paella) remember to ask for Ali-O-Li sauce. It's white, garlic-y. For those who doesn't like Garlic, after they had the fideua with it, they just can't help putting more of it (I've seen that with my friends!)

    I better put it some more information more relevant to CS, else the Mods will chuck this into Kopitiam

    Perhaps a light tripod if you've one would be ideal. Since you won't use it often, but a good to have when taking night scenes. Recently it has been windy though, so some weight to hang it down would be advisable if it's those flimsy ones.

    Recent weather is also a bit siao siao. Some days pass by without rain. Some days just rain/drizzle for whole day. Perhaps it's good to prep just in case of bad weather.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy yourself.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by GavinTing View Post
    Make sure you bring some night photography gear.. Gaudi's buildings look very very nice lit up at night by lights.

    Oh ya, for shopping, Zara is like a pasar malam.. So darn cheap.. Suits are a few times cheaper.. Mango too!
    Hah! Sounds like tripod is a must then.. just dont want to carry all day long.. prob just for the night scenes when i go back out again.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zichar View Post
    Jamon Serrano, the top-of-the-line air-dried ham? Have heard that there are a lot of 'mis-labelled' jamon serrano, i.e. the composition does not make it real jamon serrano. Much like the DOCG, if I'm not mistaken, jamon serrano is a protected title. But I guess my less-than-cultured tastebuds can't discern between any. I do find the blood sausages and other congealed blood stuff, liver-based cured meats as well, takes a bit too much courage to consume. Going off-topic, you should check out the book 'Heat' by Bill Buford, a New Yorker editor who quits his job to follow Mario Batali as a cook, then Dario Cecchini as a butcher.
    I remember I had a decent sit-down meal at this place near the post office opposite Casa Battlo, someplace with Rita in its name. Less fun doing that alone though
    yeah.. jamon serrano.. apparently very famous, a Catalan speciality. Will try it. as for book, i doubt i have time to read as trying to read the guides and phrase book already headache liao! LOL

    As for dining, already planned a few places... thinking of having dinner at this Casa Cavlet, apparently a Gaudi building that serve top notch food.. and also this place call Set (7) Portes, which is famous for its paella! YUMMY!

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by atomboy View Post
    Hi I was in Barcelona and Madrid towards the end of 2007. For Barcelona, the Gaudis are really impressive, especially Sangrada Familia. Try to visit all the Gaudis if possible. Plenty of photo taking opportunities. Apart from that, it's the normal walking around and shopping. Zara, Mango, Pull & Bear, even Massimo Dutti is significantly cheaper in Spain even without discount when compared to Singapore. For Madrid, it's relatively less exciting when compared to Barcelona, so the notable attractions are the museums like the world famous Prado. If you're not one for art, then you'd probably find Madrid boring. Hence, I'd recommend you making day trips to nearby medieval towns like Segovia and Toledo which I did, both have their own charms. Toledo is more touristy and you'll see tons of souvenir shops selling Don Quixote souvenirs but it's nonetheless a nice place to visit. There are daily trains to both Toledo and Segovia so it's quite accessible. You can spend the night at either place too. I spent one night at Toledo at a HI hostel which turned out to be a castle which was fantastic cos it was dirt cheap and yet the room was extremely spacious, and ya it was a castle!

    For me, the most memorable part about Barcelona, apart from the Sangrada, was when I met some friends for dinner at a champagneria. It's basically a casual tapas bar place when everyone is standing around in a very warm and bustling kind of environment. Champagne is served by the bottle and is really cheap so it's standard to order 1 bottle for every 2 or 3 tapas items. Really got a feel of the Basque culture.

    In Madrid, apart from having paella, try going to a bar and having some apple cider, which is what many of the locals do after dinner. They have this custom of pouring cider from the bottles which they order into cups (like how we do teh tarik) which is very interesting. Almost everyone does it so try it if u want haha.
    Shopping wise, should be well covered and research by my wife.. prob only shop mainly in madrid as we visiting factory outlets like Las Rozas and FACTORY there. Day trip wise i think for Barcelona, we will almost definitely go Montserrat. In Madrid, likely go Toledo on our own and maybe Segovia (on our own) or with Avila (tour).

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by iceberg View Post
    As to food tasting, besides the Jamon, do remember the Queso (cheese).
    Usually for sit down restaurants, they would have plate of assortments. This would be wonderful esp it gives you a taste of a multitude of things.

    When ordering Fideua (short bee hoon like dish, which is as local as the Paella) remember to ask for Ali-O-Li sauce. It's white, garlic-y. For those who doesn't like Garlic, after they had the fideua with it, they just can't help putting more of it (I've seen that with my friends!)

    I better put it some more information more relevant to CS, else the Mods will chuck this into Kopitiam

    Perhaps a light tripod if you've one would be ideal. Since you won't use it often, but a good to have when taking night scenes. Recently it has been windy though, so some weight to hang it down would be advisable if it's those flimsy ones.

    Recent weather is also a bit siao siao. Some days pass by without rain. Some days just rain/drizzle for whole day. Perhaps it's good to prep just in case of bad weather.

    Hope that helps. Enjoy yourself.
    Never heard of fideua but will try it since u strongly recommend it!Thanks for the help guys

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Wow, brings back memories. Did the same itinerary > 6 years ago pre-kids! You've had lots of suggestions, so just 2 more which are a little off the beaten track.

    1) Tarragona: This is a town off Barcelona which is easily accessible by train. Its got a large collection of Roman ruins and very nice architecture. Worth a day trip

    2) Toledo: South of Madrid. This is the old capital up on a hill, and very scenic with beautiful museums and architecture. If it takes your fancy you can even buy a suit of armour home!

    Have a wonderful trip!

  13. #33

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by nemesis32 View Post
    Never heard of fideua but will try it since u strongly recommend it!Thanks for the help guys
    yeah, fideua (FI-DU-WA) is the lesser known brother of paella..

  14. #34

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    If going Montserrat, go early as the train rides to the top and bottom villages end early. The connecting tram ride going up to the higher area of Monserrat is definately worth it. I brought my cam up with wide angle but too bad we got there too late so we had to get down the moment we got up .... and one day on montserrat isnt enough .... Montserrat is definately definately a beautiful place to go to .. and bring tripod .. the courtyard of the benedictine monastary is dark . unless u r using a D3 or 1 D M III, it will be hard to counter low light noise even with a large aperture lens ....

    And take a train ride to Basque county if you have the time .... dont fly .. the train ride will be an experience you won't forget .... i took the train from Paris to Barcelona and it was beautiful on the train .... book early though .... Renfe can be quite expensive nearing the dates you want ..

  15. #35

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    In Barcelona,

    eat at Cal Pep !! You won't regret it .. its at station Barceloneta ... if you're thinking of a place to stay, Hotel Oasis is a great hotel .. Eurp 15 bed n breakfast ..
    and its only a few metres away from Barceloneta station and there is 7Portes there too ...

  16. #36

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Leaving for Barcelona this July. I heard all the safety stories to scare tourists away (pickpockets, etc etc) There was a suggestion to dress like the locals do, and not like a tourist. Berms and flip flops are out? Any suggestions?

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by anthony ancheta View Post
    Leaving for Barcelona this July. I heard all the safety stories to scare tourists away (pickpockets, etc etc) There was a suggestion to dress like the locals do, and not like a tourist. Berms and flip flops are out? Any suggestions?
    In these kinds of places, no matter how hard you try you'll stand out as a tourist from a mile away! Just keep your wits about you.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dkw View Post
    In these kinds of places, no matter how hard you try you'll stand out as a tourist from a mile away! Just keep your wits about you.
    Whenever I read the thing about not looking like a tourist, I think it's hard.
    Even if you don't carry a map or bag and wear local clothes, I'll still always look like a tourist.

    I even look like a tourist in Singapore!
    It is the camera, not the photographer.
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  19. #39

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    sometimes it's not just looking like a tourist...

    if you look asian.. to some you may seem vulnerable, 'gong-gong' etc... hence the target..

  20. #40

    Default Re: Barcelona & Madrid - suggestions?

    So far, so good
    I think I have a bit of asian look, but I walk around staring fiercely at potential thieves (and innocent bystanders too!).
    It is the camera, not the photographer.
    my flickr - adamloh.com

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