Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's Outside Madrid?! Primera Parte.

Ah España. So many places to visit, so many things longing to be discovered..

On my non-lazy weekends, I try my best to be like Dora and explore this still very foreign country for me. Visited a few now, but still more to go.

First one was a trip with BeMadrid - which is a tour group kind of thing so you'll be in the company of students. But it's super convenient, and you get your value for money. 

Went to Segovia and La Granja on the 18th of October. RANK #2 out of my current trips.

Segovia is like the little town Belle would sing about. But what stands out most is the Aqueduct, the city's main attraction. Super ginormous, bigger than life, mind-bogling architecture. A must visit place for me.

We also went into the Alcazar of Segovia, very medieval palace castle like thing, which had an awesome view of the town.

Another attraction was the cochinillo - like the baby lechon we have in the Philippines. The ones we had was not the best one, but it was very tender. Clean taste, simple roasted pig on a plate. I liked it. Oink.

Since La Granja was close by, we had a quick visit to this town as well. Went to one of the royal family's vacation palace with tons of fountains (they weren't working when we went there though!). It's basically a huge ass park. Not a must-see for me, but it was pretty.

For the Nov 2nd weekend, visited Salamaca and Avila with BeMadrid, again. Haha

I felt the trip was too short though, plus it rained a bit (and I was wearing shorts so this Asian almost froze to death). We just went around the University area observing old buildings and stuff. Quite nice to actually visit the world's 3rd oldest university! The main attraction is the University of Salamanca's main facade named La Puerta de Salamca, which has a legend that if you spot the Frog carving, you'll pass your exams. My eyesight is awesome, but I couldn't find it, until someone pointed it out. Boo. 

One quirky cathedral facade had a hidden astronaut too! Which is amazing because it's been built between the 16th and 18th century. Clearly pre-Moon landings period, so that's a bit cray cray and amazing at the same time. Try to spot it!!

There's another hidden thing there with a gargoyle eating ice cream! So odd :) 

Popped by Avila which is a nearby town. Stayed for an hour, I think. But this was when it rained so got stuck in a cafe sipping warm coffee, but I'm not complaining.

Was RANK #4 for me. I feel Salamanca is way more awesome that what I've seen though. Plus it's mainly a party town being the country's university area. 

Next up was Granada on 8th and 9th of Nov. Again, with BeMadrid. This time we spent the night so it was enough time to go around. RANK #1 for sure. Despite me being sick with my ladyboy voice on, this was still the best city for me. 

Everything was gorgeous, like a painting almost. Can't give justice to it by explaining it with my weak words. It's just amazaballs. Especially the Alhambra and all the Islamic Palace within it. Beautiful structure, beautiful view. It's the type of place you can just stare at blankly all afternoon and breathe peacefully. Plus getting to each of these breathtaking views took lots of uphill downhill uphill downhill cobbled streets walking (wore heeled boots, another bad decision and made me want to cut my legs off at the end of the day). But it was all worth it. Food was great too. Tapas served everywhere. Went to El Tabernaculo, this Jesus-Mary-adorned bar along Calle Navas, and I've heard Anthony Bourdain tried this place out too. Quite creepy to see Jesus everywhere, but I must say that it is one of a kind!

Then there's this one area that was like little Agrabah - lots of arabic souvenirs, teas, shishas. Very quaint and authentic. I love this trip!

Finally, went to Valladolid last weekend. RANK#3. It was the ex-capital of Spain. Small city, nothing much to see. Went to a museum of Modern Art, saw some Cathedrals, nothing special. However, there's lots of stuff to eat! Had the tastiest tapas ever. La Paramesa won the best tapas contest with this odd looking boat-shaped kombu thing with raw fish and lots of other mushy stuff inside. Was really good, so had it two nights in a row. And I had the best roasted lamb or Lechazo at El Asador de Aranda. Super tender lamb meat, swimming in its juices. Love love love lamb. And they cooked it very well. I also have a new fave thing, Morcilla, blood sausage with rice and spices. I hate innards, but this one is super tasty and not gross.

Lots more stuff in my checklist. Can't wait!!! 

Better to explore now so when you guys visit me here, I'll know where to take 'ya!! Woot!

xoxo Marie


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Madrid: Week 1. Craziness Level 8.

It's been exactly a week since I've been here in Madrid. Still feels unreal, but I'm looking forward to call this my third home pretty soon.

This week was mainly about organizing my life and doing all the necessary to "move" here permanently. Looking for apartments, fixing my papers, bla bla bla.

Although I was able to do one touristy thing and went to the Prado Museum which was amazing. I'm not an art connoisseur but I realized I like paintings more than sculptures. My favorite one was The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. I think I stood in front of the painting for like 15minutes. It's a 3-piece painting showing the Creation, Earth with temptations and hell in great detail. You can't take photos of the paintings in the Museum but you can't really appreciate the intricacy unless you're really there.

Going back to the Spanish normal life, I really like the fact that people are very friendly and warm here (the polar opposite of what Singapore is for me). Everyone will just say Hola! to you randomly - but I wish I can speak Spanish because most people can't understand Ingles. :(

And then there are the tapas, the vino and the cervesa. It's very cheap here as compared to Singapore. Bought a bottle of red wine earlier today and it was just 4.95EUR!! Plus if you go to the restaurants, they will give you chips or olives on the side every time you order drinks! And it's like 3EUR per glass. I can also see that Spanish people like staying outdoors, maybe that's why all these coffee and tapas places are everywhere. Just walk a few steps and you'll see another one in the corner. I'm still getting used to the food though. I still love my rice but I do like their jamon!

The biggest change for me is definitely living alone - I don't have my Roomie anymore :( But I've gotta move on and grow up. And it's been tiring viewing houses. Some rooms are too small, no windows. Then there are gorgeous ones but the people you will live with are quite meh. I still have tomorrow to decide but I think I know which one to pick.

I'm currently living in a service apartment sponsored by my company and I'm still getting used to being alone - hence the reason for blogging because I'm going mad without someone to talk to in person (do note I've been whatsapping constantly and skyping with family and friends YET I still feel ALONE!!!!).

However, I've been kept entertained by all the livestreamed shows and movies (horay for couchtuner and popcorntime) but mostly because of all the crazy nonsense mishaps I've been doing in this apartment.

MISHAP #1: I was calling up people to view apartments but no one ever picks up their phone - then one time someone did and I got all excited and accidentally wrote a long straight line on the bed sheet with my blue pen. Panic attack so I hurriedly removed the sheet, went to the sink and tried to rub it off - did not work. So I rushed to the washing machine to clean it off. Thank god the stain was removed.

MISHAP #2: Never used a dishwasher before. I was too lazy to clean the dishes so I tried to use it. Worked the first time but I didn't put any soap. I became suspicious about how clean the plates are so I tried the second time but this time adding some liquid soap. When the cleaning was done, I realized I put too much because it was full of foam when I opened it. Fail. So had to redo again until all the soap is gone.

MISHAP #3: My skin is getting too dry here so I bought a bottle of Dove. After showering, I was so excited to lotion up. So rub rub rub. The lotion felt a bit thick, but I continued on. I dunno but I grew suspicious so I googled "Gel De Ducha"...It was a shower gel :( So i had to take a shower again... :(

MISHAP #4 (the best one ever): My bathroom is connected to my room. So the usual showering occurred...After 5 minutes, I REALIZED I FORGOT TO CLOSE THE SHOWER DOOR! All the water came out, almost flooding the bathroom, and also started going inside the room! Another heart attack moment, I rushed out and started laying out all the towels to absorb the water. Eventually, with the help of 3 big ass towels and a mop, the bathroom and room have been saved!

It's been only a week and I suspect more craziness to come ;)

XOXO I miss my girls and boys in SG and MNL! Lots of love from the other side of the world!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Potato Head SG: Burgers

Burgers. I've always loved a good burger. Juicy ones! Plus I love ketchup, which is a match made in heaven. 

So for this Friday's lunch, Guy decided to go to Potato Head's burger joint. 

Such a quaint place. Always loved the art of their interiors. Bali was still the best. But the one here in Singapore was cool as well - very hipster and avant-garde. 

Walls were filled with quirky hand-painted  designs - my favorite was the Pinocchio one with the 2 characters in pleasure island. And somehow all the furnitures and accessories don't belong with each other but matches in a way. Organized chaos. 

Menu was quite sharp and simple. Just burgers and a hotdog. And choice of sides. 

I got the Baby Huey. And I really enjoyed it - which is their standard cheese burger. First time that I didn't load up my burger with ketchup! So that's a good sign! Oh and this place makes their own homemade ketchup and chili. I still like the bottled one better, but what they have is tasty as well. 

Serving portion is for a regular guy. Couldn't finish mine. But it was delish. Loved the caramelized onion too!

Closed the meal with a cup of latte. I like how  they pay attention to details - the diagonally angled spoon against the folded serviette. Shows how they planned out everything. 

9/10 for me. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

So it's been 2 years...

It's been a while since we have updated the blog. Funny to read what we have been doing when we were still newbies here in Singapore. And what's more amusing is how we have all changed since then.

Back then, we thought $5 is the maximum you should spend on food. And how spending $30 for tea and cake is highway robbery. Our outlook on money and its value has definitely changed - given the Sunday brunches and weeknight drinks we've been enjoying.

Independence is another thing. There's somehow a sense of security and ownership now that I think we all have, realising that we can survive in this world and its up to us how we want our future to be. At least for me :)

Oh, and definitely how we perceive relationships as well. Learning how to deal with different kinds of people (sometimes crazy, sometimes psycho, and sometimes we are lucky to find awesome ones too) and getting to know what we want to have around us and what's our limit.

It's quite cool to see who we were in these pages, because it's a reminder of where we have been and who we started out as when we left our nests and ventured into "the wild".

Pretty soon more adventures will be made, but might be separately this time - so I hope we can keep this thing going, girls. OUR thing.... <3