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