EXPLORING SPAIN

Spain for me is the most inviting country in the entire Europe. The people are extremely warm and friendly and would love to include you in their environment. The country imprints many memories of passionate culture and food for many tourists. I’ve traveled through Spain for about 14 days and quite frankly, it’s not enough. Everyone who’s been there will likely want to go back as you can never get enough of Spain.

Here are some of my favorite places that I would highly recommend:

MADRID

My first stop in Spain: The Way Hostel Madrid was such a welcoming hostel – I’ve met many of my good traveling friends here. Had my first experience of a PUB CRAWL, which is usually organized by the hostel to the popular bars and you get free entry or first drinks as part of the package.

Walking around the town is simply amazing, my two favorite places in Madrid are:

Plaza de Callao (Gourmet Experience – Level 9)

This hidden jewel has an amazing view of the city and a great selection of different cuisines. You will find this place on level 9 within the shopping complex building.

This beautiful market – Mercado de San Miguel has a great collection of food and drink stalls. You must try their Paella, Yogurt Ice Cream, Tapas, and Sangria!

madrid_sanmiguel

SEVILLE

I’ve met some amazing souls during my travel, they became inspiring teachers of the journey. One of them would be Mina, I’ve met her during a free walking tour. For those who are not familiar with Free Walking Tour, it’s one of the best things to do. It’s within your paying power for how much you want to tip the tour guide if he did an amazing job or not. Mina introduced me to this secret hideout called Casa Anselma (super authentic place for Flamenco Dance). Please be aware that it only opens up after midnight – it’s first to come first served basis. It’s one of the highlights of my visit to Seville.

A relaxing half-day walk in Alcazar is simply super beautiful. If you happen to pre-plan your Seville trip, I would strongly advise you to plan your trip to include Monday and Tuesday. Many of the public places are free during those days. Alcazar has free entrance on Monday. Enjoy!

seville_alcazar view

 

During the free walking tour, I’ve learned that these drawings are the oldest form of advertising. They used blood to paint writings on the walls across from the targeted person. I guess this is how “billboard” was born.

Seville_Old Advertising

At the end of the walking tour, we ended at this beautiful place in which I’m in love with – Plaza de Espana. Words cannot describe how beautiful and breathtaking that place is…

Seville_Plaza de Espana

I stayed at Hostel One Seville – it’s probably one of the most exciting hostels I’ve ever been. It’s full of stories and amazing souls! Super helpful.

seville_hostelone stay

GRANADA

I’ve finally met some Malaysians during my travel – they were both on my bus from Seville to Granada. They are both students studying in Spain and are on holidays to visit Granada. Arriving at this beautiful town at night, it has its unique romantic vibe – I stayed at Oasis Hostel, which is smack in the middle of the town. On the way to Granada, I found that I needed to book the tickets to Alhambra in advance so I just miss the chance of being able to visit the great Alhambra. At the hostel, you are able to pre-book one day in advance to visit Alhambra.

One of the best experience I’ve had in Spain lies that I didn’t pre-plan my trip and found an amazing hiking company – Zero Gravity. I joined two tours of theirs and it was the best thing I’ve done in Granada. There’s the “waterfall hiking tour” – which is something I needed as I was beginning to get sick of the typical walking tours. The hike took about 2 hours and it will bring you to see the beautiful mountains of Granada.

granada_hike

The other tour I joined was the “lake jumping” tour – this is another hidden jewel of Granada. The lake is simply just beautiful… I wish I had the guts to jump – but someone else did.

ALMERIA

A traveler that I met in Madrid recommended Almeria. Almeria isn’t a typical touristic place and it serves as a weekend getaway destination for most locals. This would be a place I would most likely to stay in Spain if Spain was selected as my next destination home.

One of the recommended things to do in Almeria is a Day trip to San Jose. I took a bus ride of less than an hour from the Intermodal station in Almeria City to San Jose. Upon arriving San Jose, you can take another bus to the famous beach stops for about EURO 1.00. My recommended beach stops that I like is Playa de Monsul. You will find this is one of the most authentic and local activities you’ll ever experience.

Alcazaba of Almeria is one the highlight of the town – it’s free entrance. This is a fortified complex in Southern Spain, this was used to shoot of the iconic scenes of Game Of Thrones.

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Unfortunately, I’m super clumsy and have injured my ankle and sadly, I’m not able to explore Almeria further.

 

BARCELONA

Due to my injury, I had to stay in the hostel for the entire day to rest it. The only two places that I’ve managed to see are simply gorgeous.

This has to be the Spanish Sushi Bar – found this restaurant from a recommendation from the hostel. Txapela would be where I would eat every day if I live in Barcelona. The variation of pintxos varies and the food quality is superb.

Antoni Gaudi’s renowned unfinished church, Sagrada Familia, is one breath-taking piece of art in town. Please purchase the ticket beforehand, it was such a waste that I wasn’t able to enter. However, I was able to take beautiful pictures of the church from the outside of the building.

Barcelona_Church

 

SAN SEBASTIAN

Arriving San Sebastian early morning about 6am, I arrived straight into the morning-after of some festival. The street was dirty, messy, and full of drunken youngsters. With my big backpack walking through that street was definitely not lonely. I had kind drunk souls offering to help carry my backpack and walking me to my hostel. San Sebastian is the food heaven of Spain – the town offers a variety of high-quality food in every single corner.

Best pintxos I’ve ever had is in Borda Berri – you have to be there when they open and squeeze yourself into the crowd to get service. The food is AMAZING!

ss_bordaberri

I found this superb modern Café – Bar Koh Tao an inspiring place to work on my blog. They have WIFI and offer beautiful breakfast selection and I’ve seen many customers coming to grab their coffee. I also discovered this bakery – Galparsoro Okindegia by simply walking around and seeing many locals queuing up to buy bread. What a treat – it has super awesome bread!

ss_galparsoro

 

The best way to experience Spain would be to join a cooking class. One of the most interesting cooking class I’ve ever taken during my journey would be at MIMO cooking class where I learned techniques of what Michelin star chefs would do. The kitchen equipment that they have in that studio is out of this world. One of the best souvenirs I’ve gotten from Spain is this smoky olive oil from the MIMO store. I’ve used it for many of my wonderful creation of salads and seafood dishes!

I’m definitely coming back to San Sebastian…

SS_overview

Stay tuned for the next destination – Portugal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment on “EXPLORING SPAIN

  1. Pingback: THE SECRET TO MARRIAGE – 100 Days of Travel

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