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Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Ibiza

Posted by Jen on Jul-13-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to the city centre on July 10, 2010.  We had lunch at Wok to Walk.  It was a nice change to have noodles instead of tapas.

We walked around the city.  It was hot out, so we got a taxi to the City of Arts & Science.  The buildings are amazing.  There’s not much inside.  A massive pool is outside. 

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Ivan thinks it should be made into a public swimming pool.  There’s a museum and a hemispheric theatre.  We got a taxi back to the Old Town.  We walked back to the apartment.

We talked with Borja for awhile.  He’s a funny, sweet and fun guy.  We had an awesome time with him in Valencia.  He drove us to the airport. 

Our flight was delayed 25 minutes.  We left at 6:30 pm.  We reached Ibiza at 7 pm.  We got our luggage and then waited for the bus.  The bus took us to San Antonio. 

We checked in to Hotel Marfil.  We relaxed in the room for while.  The wi-fi wasn’t working in the room.  Ivan used the internet downstairs.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to the city centre.  Ivan checked out the menus to find a good restaurant.  We had dinner at Stephan’s.  Lil Dave got a chicken and banana kebab.  Ivan and I shared a domenican salad and a delicious seafood paella.  The paella comes with a sangria for €14.50.  The sangria was way too sweet.  Ivan and I thought it would be nice to have that seafood paella again.

We walked around San Antonio.  We checked out Cafe Mambo and Cafe Del Mar.  These places are known for their great view of the sunset. Then, we walked back to the centre.  We walked to Eden and Es Paradis to see how the buildings looked.  Everybody was tired so we walked back.

Ivan and I used the internet for a short while and then it was off to bed.

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Having another Go

Posted by Jen on Jul-12-2010

On July 9, 2010, Borja took Ivan, Lil Dave and me to the Cooltra office.  We rented a Go Car exactly like the one we got in Barcelona.  But, it’s run through Cooltra.  The Go Car is a talking car.  It gives you directions and information about what you’re driving by.  The lady at the counter didn’t seem to know how to connect the GPS to the car.  She said that it’s charging and said we should go.  She had a line and seemed to be in a rush.

Ivan started driving on the Beach Route.  It was really hot outside.  We were driving for about 20 minutes and then we heard a beep and the GPS voice stopped.  We drove back to the office.  The lady didn’t connect something before. It was actually charging now.

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We drove to the beach.  We were meeting Borja there.  We walked to Alegria de la Huerta  For lunch, there’s a three course set menu for €11.50 per person. Lil Dave decided to get a banana paella.  For starters, Ivan, Borja and I got shrimps, fish and a salad.  The seafood paella came next.  Paella was created in Valencia.  This paella was dry and some of it was burnt.  It didn’t really have much flavor.  Ivan and I prefer the paella to be moist.  Borja ordered three different desserts to try.  Ivan and I enjoyed the Tarta de Crema Catalana.  The food was real good.

Ivan told the lady at the office earlier that the car comes with a full tank of gas.  She said we had to put some in.  So, we stopped at a gas station.  Ivan said he’d try to get money back later.

Ivan drove along the Beach Route.  The map that the company gives you isn’t very detailed, so we got lost a few times. 

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We saw many sights like Virgin Square, Formula 1 track, the Mestalla Stadium, city centre, dry river, Botanical Gardens, IVAM the art museum and the City of Arts & Science buildings.

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It’s great driving around in the Go Car.  A lot of people wave or cheer.  We had many people honking at us.  We returned the car.  Ivan told her that on the website it states that the car comes with a full tank of gas.  He said he paid €4 for it, but we didn’t have a receipt.  She called her boss.  He said he would only give €2.  The Go car is lots of fun.  But, the company who runs it isn’t good and the map they supply sucks. 

We walked to the city centre.  Ivan called Borja.  He said to walk to Starbucks and he’d meet us there.  We met him there a few minutes later.  Borja introduced us to his girlfriend.

We walked to Sol i Lluna.  Ivan and I had a glass of red wine.  Borja’s girlfriend doesn’t speak much English.  We talked about our sightseeing in the Go Car and hypnosis.  Borja had to translate for his girlfriend.

It was time for dinner.  We walked to Restaurant Serranos.  Lil Dave had two portions of banana bravas.  Borja ordered lots of tapas such as the tasty cod, bocadillos, spicy shrimp and mussels.  Ivan and I had some red wine.  Borja wrote a big list of suggestions for Ibiza on the paper tablecloth for us.  We left the restaurant satisfied and full.

We walked around more.  Borja ran into two of his friends.  People were passing out free drink coupons.  Borja got some.  We headed to Radio City.  It was packed in the club.  Borja exchanged the drink coupons for mojitos.  Lil Dave wanted a banana mojito, but he’s way too young to drink.  We only stayed for a few minutes. 

We walked back to the apartment.  We were so knackered.  Ivan thinks it’s because we’ve been eating late, but I think it’s because we walk around so much.  It was time to get some rest.

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Valencia

Posted by Jen on Jul-11-2010

On July 8, 2010, Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of Hotel Astari. We checked our backpacks into the luggage storage.

We walked to get lunch at Old Town.  We went to Txantxangorri again.  Ivan and I shared a few tapas, potato bravas and the same tasty salad from last night.  Lil Dave had a banana salad.

We got a taxi to the train station.  We left at 3:55 pm to Valencia.  Ivan called Borja, the couchsurfer we’d be staying with, to let him know that we’d be there at 6:20 pm.  He said that he was tall and I was short and we’d be there with lots of bags.

We watched some shows on the laptop.  Ivan took a nap.  I watched an episode of V.

We got there at 6:21 pm.  Borja met us at the train station.  He drove us to his apartment.  It’s very close to the station.  It’s a nice place located right in the Old Town.

We talked to him on his balcony about life, working and couchsurfing.  He’s a very cool guy.

Borja asked if we wanted to take a walk.  We started walking around the city.  Lil Dave went exploring on his own.  He wanted to see if he could find any monkeys in the city.  We visited the beautiful Virgin Square.

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We walked around more.

Borja took us to Restaurant Serranos.  It’s a locals tapas restaurant.  Ivan wanted to order a couple tapas, but Borja said we should only order one.  He said we’d be going to another tapas place later on.  Ivan told Borja earlier that we don’t eat beef or pork.  I do sometimes since I grew up eating it.  Ivan picked a tasty fried cod dish.  Borja got fried croquettes with ham.  He wanted us to taste it.  But, he said it had ham in it.  It sounded like he said jam, but jamon does mean ham in Spanish.  He said there’s only a little bit.  Ivan said no.  Ivan said Jen will have some.  It tasted good, but it tasted like ham. I don’t understand why he would think that a little ham would be alright for a vegetarian to eat.

We walked to Bar Pilar.  Ivan and I had red wine.  We ordered potato bravas and fried calamari.  The food was so tasty.

We met up with Borja’s friends at the park.  I don’t remember their name at all.  Then, we walked to a tapas restaurant.  His friend got two dishes.  Ivan and I drank water.

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We walked back to the square.  We said goodbye to his friends.  Headed back to the apartment.  Since we were so tired, we all went to sleep.

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Tarragona

Posted by Jen on Jul-10-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of the hotel on July 7, 2010. We put our luggage into the storage area.

We had lunch at Piscolabis in Barcelona.  Lill Dave had banana paella.  Ivan and I shared super potato bravas, fresh anchovies, Japanese chicken skewers with sesame and soy sauce, spinach & goat’s cheese salad, macaroni with chicken and bread with tomato spread.  It was really good food.

We picked up our backpacks at the hotel.  We got a taxi to the train station.  It took one hours and 25 minutes to get to Tarragona, Spain. 

We walked to the hotel from the train station.  It was a long walk in the hot sun.  It always seems like a longer walk when you’re carrying lots of bags. 

Ivan checked us in to Hotel Astari.  We chilled for a long time and used the internet.

We watched part of the Germany vs. Spain football match in the room.  Ivan thought it would be wise to get dinner during the match. 

We had dinner at Txantxangoori.  Ivan and I shared a few tapas.  Lil Dave got tapas with bananas and a stuffed chicken with bananas. 

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Ivan and I also had a delicious salad with apples, goat’s cheese, walnuts, tuna and raisins.  We also had cod fish with tomato sauce, and fish stock.  It was a really good meal. 

Spain won the match against Germany.  When Spain scored, there was a big bang of fireworks.  At the end of the match, there was a big fireworks display.

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We walked back and soon after went to bed.

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Unique Comedy

Posted by Jen on Jul-9-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of Hotel U232 on July 6, 2010.  We got a taxi to our new hotel.

Ivan checked us in to Grupotel Gran Via 678.  The hotel gives you a free glass of champagne as a welcome drink.  The staff is friendly.  The rooms are nice and modern.  It seems like we got upgraded since we had a balcony. 

We walked to Sandwich & Friends.  Ivan and I had salads and sandwiches here.  I had the piadina Ivan had the other day with aubergine, courgette, goat’s cheese and red pepper.  Lil Dave had a rolled sandwich with bananas, goat’s cheese and honey.  The food is reasonable and tastes great.

We went back to the hotel for awhile.  We all decided to relax.  Ivan and I used the internet.

We walked around the city.  It was sunny and hot.  We stopped by Giovanni’s to get gelato.  Ivan had chocolate while I had mango.  Of course, Lil Dave got banana.  The gelato is tastes awesome.

I bought a couple souvenirs at two shops. 

We stopped by Evinia bar. 

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Ivan and I drank some good sangria and ate tapas.  Lil Dave had a banana juice with a tapas dish with bananas & honey on bread.

We walked to Teatre Victoria to pick up tickets.  We would be seeing a show there.

We walked to a bar across the street.  Ivan and I each had a tasty sangria.  Lil Dave had a banana colada.  Ivan and I shared fish fritters.

We walked back to the theatre.  It was time for the Charlatans show with the Ashton Brothers.  The four guys perform lots of sketches with acrobatics, mime, song, dance, cabaret and magic.  It’s fast-paced and fun.  It’s really a unique show.  We thought it was hilarious. 

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At the end of the show, Ivan told one of the guys they should have a show in London.  He said they were asked to do a show at Leicester Square Theatre, but the theatre isn’t big enough for the acrobatics.  We should have told them to try for a show in Las Vegas.  You must go see them, if they come to your city.

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Biking around Barcelona

Posted by Jen on Jul-8-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had a late lunch on July 5, 2010.  We went to Taller de Tapas again.  Lil Dave got 2 portions of banana & chicken skewers.  Ivan and I shared shrimp skewers on bread, salt cod fritters, oven roasted red peppers, aubergine, onions with anchovies, rocket salad, chicken skewers and seafood paella.  The food was really tasty.

We walked to meet the Fat Tire Bike Tours at 4 pm.  The group was split up into two groups.  Our guide was an American guy named John who’s from St. Louis.

We went to the bike tour office to gets bikes.

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Then,we were off to explore Barcelona.  We saw many things like Placa Sant Jaume, Arc de Triompf, Palau de la Mùsica Catalana and Parc de la Ciutadella.

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Me & Ivan at Parc de la Ciutadella

We got to stop for a few minutes at Sagrada Familia.  It’s an unfinished church by Antoni Gaudi.  It’s really big and looks very cool.

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There’s fruit on top of a few towers.  Lil Dave thought he saw bananas, but it turned out to be bread.

The bike ride was pretty easy.  Our last stop was Barcelontea beach.  Everybody sat in beach chairs.  Ivan and I ordered sangria and a tuna sandwich.  Lil Dave got a banana & peanut butter sandwich and a virgin banana colada.  It was very cool to end the tour at the beach.  We liked sipping our sangria and relaxing.

The group headed back to the bike tour office.  It was a wonderful bike tour.  Our guide John was really funny.

We headed back to the hotel to rest.  Ivan and I both took showers.

Later that evening, we walked to a restaurant nearby.  It’s a locals place called Alta Taberna Paco Meralgo.  Lil Dave got a salad with bananas and goats cheese and his favorite Spanish dish bananas bravas.

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Ivan and I shared fish & seafood croquettes, smoked salmon on bread, grilled aubergine on bread, tuna cubes with sesame and soy sauce, courgette flower with mozzarella cheese and pavias salted cod strips.  We really enjoyed the tapas!  My favorites were the tuna cubes and the pavias salted cod strips.  The courgette flower didn’t have much flavor.  Ivan and I shared a rebosteria variada for dessert which is similar to a flan.  Dave got a cake with bananas and apples.  It was a delicious meal.  If you’re ever in Barcelona, you have to check out this terrific restaurant.

We walked back to the hotel and soon after we went to bed.

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Driving around in a Go Car

Posted by Jen on Jul-7-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had a tapas lunch on July 4, 2010.  We went to Taller de Tapas.  Lil Dave got banana bravas with a banana sauce and grilled bananas & chicken skewers.  Ivan and I shared sauteed mushrooms, potato bravas, rocket salad with goat’s cheese, roasted almonds and quince jelly, salt cod fritters and oven roasted red peppers, aubergine, onions with anchovies.

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The food was delicious.  My favorites were the rocket salad and the salt cod fritters.

We walked to Go Car Tours to rent one of their small cars.  It’s a talking car that has GPS.  It gives you directions and details about the city.  What a cool idea!  Ivan started driving around Barcelona.  Ivan was given a map with different routes.  As long as you stay on the route, the GPS guide will tell you about the city and where to turn.  We went on the blue route first.  There were many sights like the Arc de Triompf, Christopher Columbus statue and the Parc de Montjuic.  We stopped at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) which is the art museum.  There we saw a beautiful view of the Magic Fountain.

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I started driving.  It was a great day to be driving since it was hot and sunny.  We stopped off at Montjuïc Castle.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked in the castle and it gave us an awesome view of the city.

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It’s funny driving in the small yellow car.  Everybody looks, takes pictures and waves.  Some people ask where to rent one.  There’s a brochure holder filled with brochures in the back of the car.  It’s very easy to drive, just like a motorbike.

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We drove more and saw the Agba Tower (which is similiar to the Gherkin in London) and Sagrada Familia.  The Sagrada Familia is an unfinished temple by Antoni Gaudi.

Ivan started driving again.  We started heading up to Park Guell.  It was a very steep hill.  Our car was struggling to make it up the hill.  Near the top, we had to push the car the rest of the way.

Park Guell is a artsy park with lots of greenery and a garden.

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It’s definitely not your typical park.  The Park was created by Antoni Gaudi.  It started showering a bit at the park.  It looked like rain would be coming soon.

Ivan drove us back towards the Go Car Tours office.  It was raining.  At least it wasn’t raining too hard.  We returned the Go Car.

We took the train back to the hotel.  We all needed a rest.  Ivan and I were tired from the sun and driving.  Lil Dave was tired from the sun and the bananas he ate in the car.  We relaxed for awhile in the hotel.

We got the train.  We went to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic.  Ivan read that it’s better than the Bellagio Fountains.

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It’s very cool, with lights and music – but it’s not as impressive as the fountains in Las Vegas.  It’s a round fountain which really limits it.  The fountains at the Bellagio Fountains are spread out and it looks like their dancing to the music.  There was lots of people at the Magic Fountain.  You can stand right near it which is nice.  The cool thing is that the fountain was created in 1929.

The Magic Fountain video:

We walked to Sandwich & Friends.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was closing early since it was a slow night.  We walked to a nearby restaurant called Happy Bar & Grill.  Ivan thought we should eat there.  We shared a tuna salad, bbq chicken and a vegetarian paella.  Lil Dave had a yummy banana paella.  The paella was the only good dish.  The other dishes were quite plain.

We walked back to the hotel to get some sleep.

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Black Eyed Peas

Posted by Jen on Jul-6-2010

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took the metro train at 12:30 pm on July 3, 2010. 

We started off with salads at Sandwich & Friends. Ivan got a piadina with aubergine, courgette, goats cheese and red pepper.  I got a rolled sandwich with grilled chicken bread, prunes, spinach and Edam cheese.  Lil Dave got a rolled sandwich with bananas, chicken breast and goats cheese.  The food was great.

We went shopping at H&M.  There was a sale going on.  Ivan and I bought a lot of new clothes.  We would be throwing out some of our old t-shirts.

We walked down La Rambla – it’s a street filled with souvenir shops, flower shops and street performers.  There are many tourists and locals walking along the street.  I bought a few souvenirs. 

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We went to the market and Ivan bought fruit.  Lil Dave bought two bunches of bananas.

We took the train back to the hotel.  We relaxed for awhile.  Then, we got ready.  We were going to see the Black Eyed Peas concert. 

We got the train stopping at 11 stops.  Ivan went to pick up the tickets.

We walked to the mall next door.  We ate some sandwiches at Viena. 

We walked to the SOMUSIC – the outdoor stadium venue.  It can fit 50,000 people.  I was bummed that I forgot to put my memory card into my camera.  So, I couldn’t take any pictures.  David Guetta was on when we arrived.  He’s really good.  It’s just weird to see any DJ playing when it’s not dark. 

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The Black Eyed Peas came on.  We were in the Golden Circle.  The bar only serves beer there.  The only place they serve other alcohol is in the other seated area, but they wouldn’t let us go there.  We knew all the songs the band performed like Boom Boom Pow, Imma Be, Pump it, Meet Me Halfway and I’ve Got a Feeling.  Ivan and I wished they played Missing You.  It was an awesome concert that lasted 2 1/2 hours.

– Black Eyed Peas concert picture from Publico.es

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Barcelona

Posted by Jen on Jul-5-2010

On July 2, 2010, Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of Citadines.  We put our backpacks in the luggage storage area.

We walked to the city centre.  It was a sunny day out.  We got sandwiches from the grocery store. 

We jumped on the Le Petit Train de Montpellier, which is a tram tour.  It took us around Montpellier passing by sights like the Arc de Triomphe, Musee Fabre, Saint Anne and the Palais de Justice. 

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The tour was pretty good.

We bought food at Monoprix for our upcoming train ride.  We walked back to the hotel and grabbed our backpacks.

We got the tram to the train station.  We left Montpellier headed to Barcelona, Spain at 3:09 pm.  It was a long train ride.  At first, we were seated together.  But, then a guy had a ticket for where Ivan was sitting.  So, Ivan had to move to a seat in the row across from my seat.  I watched 2 episodes of Glee and an episode of V.  Our passports were checked twice.  I guess the first time was Customs and the second time was the Police.  We arrived at 8:20 pm.  It was slightly delayed since they checked passports.

Ivan hadn’t booked a hotel or hostel.  So, we starting searching for a cafe with free wi-fi.  We found a restaurant called Sandwich & Friends.  We each had a tasty salad there.  We used the internet.  Ivan booked a hotel for 4 nights. 

We got a taxi to the hotel.  Ivan checked us in to Hotel U232.  It’s a great hotel that has modern decor.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I used the internet. 

We went out around 10:30 pm for dinner.  In Spain, the people eat dinner late starting at 8 pm or later.  We found a tapas place nearby.  Ivan and I each had a glass of Rose.  Lil Dave had fried banana croquettes.  Ivan and I shared fish in a pastry and potato bravas. 

We walked around the city to get some exercise.  Then, we headed back to get some rest.

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