Madrid And Barcelona
After more than 1 long year, me and my cha-bo-lang finally re-stepped onto the land of Spain, WooHoo!!
The familiar COLD weather enbraced us immediately like a long parted lover, BUT the good feeling soon turned unbearable especially with the strong wind blowing mercilessly at us. (7 Deg C)
As we had been to Madrid last year, me shall not talk much on Madrid except the following few photos to share with you.
When we left Madrid last year, one of the snack we missed the most is the Squid a.k.a sotong. This year, immediately after we checked into our hotel, we headed straight to the same Cafe and ordered a plate of the Spanish Squids (Calarmares).
One of our favourite dish in Madrid - Calamaries (Yummy!!!)
(Really thick, fat & juicy fried squid rings from Gago III , the best calarmares in Madrid we've tried so far, so YUMMY!!)
In Madrid, the most common food to the Spaniard is Bread. They eat lots of bread everyday.
While me was working in my Head-Quarters, my cha-bo-lang went roaming the Streets of Madrid everyday. (Hmmm, Spaniard males are all very handsome, don't know whether she manage to "hook" anyone or not?)
Anyway, here are just some of the photos she had taken in Madrid :
Plaza Mayor (Wah-lau, the people just sit around on the ground)
(Read as "Pla-tha Mar-yo", in spanish, z is pronounced as "th" as in thank.)
Royal Palace situated opposite to Plaza de Oriente :
(The changing shift of the Soldiers) - Eh... look at the horses' BIG LEGS.....shhhhh, me tell u a secret leh, during middle of the change-over session, one of the horsie while on stationary ground, couldn't tahan anymore and wee on the spot with the soldier still on it's back, WOH, really a big puddle leh....quite funny.
A glimpse of the beautiful garden beside the majestic Royal Palace.
During our roaming along the streets in Puerta de Sol in Madrid, we came across a man with 3 dogs and gosh, the puppy was so cute.
(Old Man & Dogs : From right to left - Papa Dog, Mama Dog and Baby Doggy)
Papa Dog even has it's own toy horsie to play with (see the tiny white horsie with blue mane??).
Puppy - not very photogenic here but looks really Cute in real life
Not only did my cha-bo-lang see the cute little puppy and its family, she also met with a hyper BIG dog.
My cha-bo-lang always comments she has a big face and that if you need to locate her in her school class photos from yesteryears, just look for the big face monster.....but This St Bernard dog has a face so much bigger than hers! Wahahaha, the dog win liah loh...hehe
We also saw a Pizza fast food Restaurant selling "Cone Pizza", really funny shape and there were some beautiful wall paintings in the shop.
Cone-Shaped Pizza (ma-chiam our ice cream drumstick)
The night scene in Madrid is very beautiful, the lightings of the buildings, statues, parks are all so serene and captivating, me and my cha-bo-lang really wish we could stay there for good...............
A beautiful scene of a majestic building (Plaza de la Independencia) at night.
See what I mean? it exudes that peaceful, warm feeling of Christmas, the Silent night-Holy night feeling right??
Here's a few more :
mmm...old beng's so-so only photographic skills may not do justice to the actual captivating night scenery, once if you are there, you will get to experience what I mean....
This is Cibeles, the Greek goddess of fertility, riding in a chariot pulled by two lions. She is really a magnificent sight to look at (actually, this is a photo from last year)
Plaza de Cibeles
This time when we visited twice, the lightings around her and the fountain somehow was not switched on (under maintenance??). Nevertheless, we tried taking photos of her again using two cameras but the photos all turned out blurry each time.
At first, we thought we had shaky hands (at night quite cold mah and she is located in the round-about in the middle of a traffic junction, quite windy) or maybe wrong camera settings, however we realised that photos of most of the surrounding scenes turned out quite ok except only when our cameras were focus on her .......creepy siah.... old beng me think maybe because no lighthings, not magnificient enough, so the Goddess didn't want to be captured on the photo without the beautiful lightings shining on her............so we bade her goodbye
After working hard for 5 days in Madrid, me and my cha-bo-lang took a train up to Barcelona for the weekend.
Beautiful Interior of the famous Atocha Train Station In Madrid
We were in Barcelona only for Saturday and Sunday and our schedule was really tight. We could only visit a few places of interests and had to forego some others due to the lack of time.
Barcelona is located at the edge of Spain near the sea with fresh produce of seafood, you must really try the seafood dishes if you are there!
We had tasted the best Paella (spanish rice, read as py-e-ya) in Barcelona. The one we had was cooked with squid (including the black ink) and langosta (Spanish lobster). Although it looked black and disgusting just like 黑 豆 饭 (Jail's Rice), mind you, it was extremely tasty!!...
This is Monkfish with special sauce, quite a nice dish too but me and cha-bo-lang felt a bit sinful leh because of the name : monk-fish.... = _ = "".......
Although old beng's eyes almost popped out when me saw the bill at the end of the meal, me felt that it was truly value for money as the food served in this restaurant was really very delicious and the ambience in this very nicely and artistically done-up restaurant was really superb!
On sunday, we visited the Parc Guell, a famous place of interest on the hilltop. Wa-kaoz, both of us climbed up the hill top via a very steep route, darn siong. (p/s : all thanks to the wrong entrance site we were misled to by the Hotel staff)
The steep steep ascend begins ......
Here you see my Cha-bo-lang 用 尽 吃 奶 之 力 to climb up the slope.....i.e. way before we reached the escalator starting at 半 山 腰 , wonder why they don't build the escalator right at the entrance from the bottom of the slope??
Half way up, a heart-warming scene : met a pair of big dogs - 黑 白 犬, waiting for their owner who was on the way up the escalator.
This is 大 白， 回 眸 一 笑 百 媚 生......
then now, it's 大 黑's turn.... : )
(Come to think about it, me wonder what the Spaniards are feeding their dogs with, most of their big breed dogs are really HUGE in size!!)
After climbing for like endlessly, we finally reached the top and the view wasn't bad at all.
Here's the famous wavy colourful ceramic serpentine bench (Gran Placa Circular) - the largest bench in the world, it encircles the whole square.
Here, we were greeted by some cheeky youngsters : "Ni Hao"....."Sayonara"....etc, (oh, btw, even in Asia region, old beng me at times kena mistaken as HongKonger or Japanese whereas cha-bo-lang back in sg is oftened asked if she's not local when she speaks Mandarin (陪 读 妈妈?), jialat one.....)
Gaudi's paviliion : curved roofs and brightly coloured tiles, dun they look like they are from Hansel & Gretel story??
Beautiful tiles on ceiling
Here u see a Chinese Beng-ish black dragon posing beside the icon of the park :
The famous tiled dragon (or issit just an iguana??)
(Hint: Old Beng was borned in the year of dragon)
In Barcelona, there is a famous street by the name of La Rambla, a tourist paradise or should I say the vendors' paradise?
Along the tree-lined pedestranised path are stalls/kiosk selling animals, flowers, magazines, paintings/portraits amongst artists and performing street entertainers.
At the beginning of La Rambla (Placa de Catalunya), there is a 19th century Canaleta fountain and the legend says that if you were to drink the water from it, you will definitely come back again to Barcelona, so me and my cha-bo-lang quickly drank the water, anyway free one what (yeah, typical Singaporeans).
Anyway, I think we spent quite a sum on the Street Performers (街 头 表 演 者).
They are generally quite an entertaining sight and some of them are really hilarious, except for a few petty ones, whom you would have to throw coins into their collecting cans before you can take snaps of them posing in their wild costumes. Others are quite alright with you snapping their performances but old beng me feel bad, so must be 自 动 too because afterall, people are making a living too....
In the beginning, me blur blur kept throwing in 2 Euro Dollar coins and 1 Euro Dollar coins (exchange rate is 1 Euro Dollar = SGD1.96) until me buay tahan anymore, started to throw in 0.50 Euro and even 0.20 Euro.
Some interesting photos which we took:
A Silent Cleopatra sitting quietly in the cold weather.
A Frozen Statue?
Can you see the man within the junk?
See the crystal ball on his arm? He rolled and controlled it as if it is part of his body.
At the square in front of the Barric Gothic, this comical young man played a few tricks and a young woman and a young girl from the audience were lured by his trick to help out in his performance.
Character from "Nightmare from Last Christmas"
(Aiyo, why is my cha-bo-lang grapping his leg so tightly???)
Cha-bo-lang between 2 Metal Tri-shaw Men carrying laughing skeletons
An Iron Man with a Book shaking my hand
A Copper Cowboy and Old Beng
Reincarnation of Charlie Chapin?
This Big Boobs Mamma makes my day, Wa-Kaoz, it is even bigger than my head :p
Lucky she never press my face onto her boobs (which she did to a few others who took shots with her) while taking these photos else old beng's ear lobes sure will be sweeping the road again (by courtesy of you-know-who-lah), only this time on the famous street of La Rambla)...heng ah...
Beautiful hotels adorn the street of La Rambla
Somewhere down the path at Placa de la Boquerie, here's the famous mosaic feature by Joan Miro :
The famous landmark : Umbrella shop with dragon
Antigura Casa Figeras - Escriba : the very famous chocolate shop (since 1820, i think)
We bought some of their specialty chocolate to try - really nice!
After taking the photos in La Rambla, we started to search for the famous "Four Cats" Restaurant - Els Quatre Gats - the one whereby the famous artist Piccaso loved so much to the extend of doing the Menu Cover and having his potraits hung up all over the Restaurant.
On the way there, we mistook that this is the building whereby the restaurant is located, to our horror, it was closed!!!!!!! Luckily we realised a while later that we had gar-bra-ed, btw, the features on the walls of this building were also done by Picasso too.
Impressive drawings engraved on the walls, artistically done huh?
This is the exterior view of Four Cats Restaurant - look at the exterior, it somehow reminds me of a very 怀 旧 情 怀 ambience.
Here's the 主 角 : the Four Cats, they even appear on the serving plate too!
The beautiful interior of the cosy restaurant which we did no have a chance to dine in becoz old beng me big mouth lah, when the captain asked me main meal?? I said salad dishes and drinks and as a result, we were led to the side dining hall, so sad right??
Artistic pictures hanging on the wall of the grand dining hall
For those of you who caught 曾 国 城 in his show 美 食 大 三 通 , he also featured this restaurant in his one of his series.
Old beng me posing infront of the famous bicycle picture (which is also imprinted on the table placement mats of the restaurant), btw, Picasso's portrait can be found among the rows of pictures hanging by the wall behind me leh!
After having nice food at The 4 Cats (which cost me a bomb), we left to explore Barcelona further.
Along the stroll in the back streets behind La Rambla, we discovered a Restaurant which sells Tapas (a typical Spanish Food - the tapas range from olives, anchovies, tortilla espanola (spanish omelette), albondigas(meatballs), octopus dishes and so much more to baguettes with different delicious kinds of toppings savoury to sweet) and yes, we ate lots of different kinds of the pinchotxs (hope i get the spelling right).
They charged you based on the number of toothpicks on your plate at the end of your meal, me and cha-bo-lang were so excited by the many different varieties of pinchtoxs spreaded before us that we ate a total of 14 sticks!!! (each cost 1.5 euros) YUM YUM : ) but expensive loh...
After fulfilling our needs to our hungry mouths, we went to visit the Le Pedrera (Casa Mila), a unique building of the famous Antoni Gaudi along Passeig de Gracia in Eixample district.
A long queue outside the entrance of the wavy-line (undulating balcony) building.
The Artistic Knight-Look-Alike Chimneys At The Roof-Top
Attach below some of the unique/beautiful buildings/sceneries (both Madrid and Barcelona) to share with you.
Temple Expiatoria de la Sagrada Familia - Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece
(church construction started in 1882, expected to continue at least untill 2020)
Monument a Colom in honour of Christopher Columbus (in Barcelona)
(Here, he points the way to America)
This monument is 51.3m high and there is a lift at the bottom that takes you to the top of the viewing gallery where you can have a splendid view of the surrounding.
Part of the scenic view from the top of the Colom showing Port Vell
Some pictures taken in Madrid and Avila :
These dainty shop houses are quite a beautiful sight to look at while strolling along an unknown street in a lazy cosy afternoon...
Plaza de Villa
The famous Torre Picasso
A glimpse of the Holy Towers
Arco de la Victoria or known as Puerta de Moncloa (Moncloa Gate)
A statue in La Latina area, the few streets around this vicinity transform into a busy day "pasar malam" selling all kinds of things under the sun every Sunday morning (till noon only) - the El Rastro - Madrid's Sunday Flea Market, visited by thousands of of tourists and the locals.
Beautiful scenes in the famous park El Retiro
It is such a big park that i think we can spend the whole day admiring the beautiful sceneries...
Autumny feel along one of the beautiful lanes in Avila
Convento de Santa Teresa (in Avila)
Now, everybody, this is the famous Estadio Santiago Bernabeu - the stage of Real Madrid
This renowned soccer station is within walking distance from the hotel which we stayed in Madrid, however, we did not have time during the weekdays to visit it (aiyoh, furthermore must pay entrance fee one leh, since old beng me not a soccer fanatic, me and my cha-bo-lang decided to just take a few snap shots from outside only)
See the beautiful colourful work of Miro on this ministerio building
In essence, Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) has many interesting sites to visit, cha-bo-lang and old beng me have many fond memories during our stay in these two cities.
Actually old beng me still have many more photos to share with you people but it's really tiring after such a long entry. A lot of you have been chasing me for the above entry after I tua-kang said me can sure post up last last week), so guess that's all for the time being liao........adios
lim peh finally kong wan liao : )
P/S: Those who missed my previous post on our trip to Madrid and Paris, you can read it here.