First trip out of Italy! – Barcelona :D (Part III)

hehe okay, as sam always says, food is the most memorable part of any trip ^^ haha. i think there is much more to a trip actually, but of course, being a foodie, FOOD is always important! and especially in europe where the cuisines differ from one country, or even one area of a country to another, it’s so fun to try the local regional cuisines and write about it (:
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our first stop for food was this “fast-food” kind of place! we had asked our hostel reception to recommend us somewhere with tapas for dinner and they pointed us to this place. initially i was kinda disappointed, cos i was thinking this didn’t look like any tapas place i’d imagined! :( but i realised it’s actually a really popular fast food joint in spain, and the food they serve are actually quite spanish to some extent! montaditos are actually a kind of tapas, where there is a flavourful topping atop a baguette. 100 Montaditos, true to its name (i think) has 100 different kinds of montaditos for you to choose from! gosh we had such a whale of a time deciding what to eat :D we had no idea what was on the menu at all, but we just ordered. and they’re really quite affordable! each piece of montadito ranges from 1€ to 1.70€ depending on the kind of bread. we also ordered a plate of nachos and fries (2.50€ each) which were awesomeeee. haha oh yeah, spain has the best coke btw! no idea why, could even be our state of mind haha but it just tastes better than anywhere else! i just totally indulged on junk food the entire trip zomg. we also had their caesar and de salmon salad (3.90€ each), and i highly recommend the salmon salad!!!!! it was sooooo good :))
100 Montaditos 
there are many locations for this place, you can check it out here: http://www.100montaditos.com/ (:
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oh dear i can’t remember the name of this place!!!! >.< it's in the La Boqueria market which i mentioned in my other post about the attractions in Barcelona! it’s quite near Pinotxo Bar (which i heard is good but i didn’t get to try!) so you can just try either one. i’m so amazed at how they serve up such fresh seafood here! it was soooo good. sam was totally in heaven i think. hahaha.
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we were in need of some vegetables so we ordered the mix mushrooms (10€). oh yeah, the thing about this place is that every dish is a surprise :p because you have no idea how it is going to be cooked!! well, at least because we couldn’t communicate with the chef due to the language barrier, so we just totally left it up to them to dish up something delish for us ^^ and boy it was goooood! there were all kinds of mushrooms, grilled with salt – simple and yummy!
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we ordered a salmon (12€) which was grilled to perfection and served to us with fries. so delicious! it was really fresh!
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sam finally got his seafood fix with this plate of prawns! very fresh as well ^^
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i wouldn’t say that i managed to find the BEST place for tapas, because i didn’t get to visit most (in fact all -.-) of the places recommended to me! :( but we found Restaurant Egipte randomly along the la ramblas stretch of road, and it was quite nice! (: not sure where i read online that tapas usually costs below 3€ for each dish (because they are so small!) so we kinda refused anything above that price. and we finally found this place where all tapas go for 3€! (: their selection of tapas wasnt extensive, but that meant that we could try almost everything on the menu which was nice. and their sangria was really good!!!
Restaurant Egipte
Calle La Rambla, 79, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Tel.: +34 933179545
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our first experience with paella in barcelona was surprisingly disappointing! :( i can’t believe i had my first BAD paella while i was in spain -.- the irony. seriouslyyy. it was so bland that i couldn’t believe what i was eating. but i found another place that was pretty good for paella the next day though! (: Restaurant Cafe Catalunya had this combo catalunya set for 10.95€ that includes a mixed seafood paella and a soup. the mixed seafood paella was pretty tasty! (: and i liked the soup too! i think it’s a soup of the day, and we had a green pea soup (i don’t usually like green peas) which was surprisingly good, even with all the cheese in it, which made it quite heavy but still yummy. i dont recommend that you try to finish a whole paella yourself though. it’s almost impossible!!! even sam couldn’t finish it himself! 2 paellas can easily feed 3 people, or even have 2/3 people to one plate of paella if you have smaller appetites. since this restaurant doesnt allow sharing for its combo set, i suggest that you order the ala carte paella instead! (:
Restaurant Cafe Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya 7, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Tel.: +34 933010037
*disclaimer: i have to say that the places i recommend in this post aren’t really the places to get the best paella/tapas :/ unfortunately i didn’t have time to try the really good ones :( but these places are pretty decent! so you can try them out if you happen to come across them
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First trip out of Italy! – Barcelona :D (Part II)

hi!! i’m on a roll! haha spamming posts of barcelona (just one more on the food after this!)
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wanted to dedicate a single post to Montserrat where i took a day trip from barcelona! (: it’s such an amazing place, especially when the weather is good ^^ on the cable car ride up the mountain, we were awed by the view in front of us :’)
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the monastery on top of the mountain is the main attraction, and there is the Black Madonna in it that draws queues from early in the morning. i’m not exactly sure what is the significance of this statue but it represents the Virgin Mary and many people come to present offerings and prayers to it.
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also, if you’re there at 1pm, catch the choir perform in the monastery (:
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the cable car brings you up to the main area of Montserrat where the monastery is, but you can take the furnicular up/down to Sant Joan or Santa Cova respectively. Santa Cova is an important pilgrim site where the image of the Virgin Mary was said to be seen. we only had the choice to choose one of the furniculars though (lesson learnt: go earlier!!! haha), so we decided to take the furnicular upwards to Sant Joan, which is the highest point of Montserrat mountain, and OMG the view was jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly beautiful!!! we could see a whole span of ground in front of us and it was just so amazing :’) there is a path for you to walk, and we kept going higher and higher, till there was no more path left and we climbed through trails where people had trodden before just to get to even greater heights! it was terrifying (never knew i was so scared of heights till i tried this :O), and you really have to be careful because the wind is SUPER strong, especially at the highest point (there are no barricades at all btw. it’s just you and the mountains below haha) you feel like you can be blown off any moment! *probably not recommended for those really skinny people who can really be blown away! i’m not kidding!* but yes, if you have the chance to, this is an amazing experience you don’t wanna miss! (:
How to get there
the nearest metro station is Place Espanya, where there is a ticket counter providing information on Montserrat and stuff like that. the staff speak really good english! so that was very helpful :) they will assist you with using the ticket machines to get your tickets if you need help. i opted for the 26€ ticket, which includes a two-way metro, train and cable car to Montserrat, and also includes the furnicular rides at Montserrat itself. pretty worth the money in my opinion!
keep watching this space for foooooood coming up! :D

First trip out of Italy! – Barcelona :D (Part I)

super happy to travel out of italy! (:
okay disclaimer, don’t kill me (haha), but i have to say that i was really impressed with barce, WAY  MORE THAN ITALY. haiz, unfortunately italy has disappointed me in more ways than one, but then again, maybe it’s the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome. but no more griping! barcelona was an amazing place and i can’t wait to share about it! ^^ (i took a super long time to write this post btw, so hopefully everything is still relatively fresh in my mind)
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What to see in Barcelona
#1 thing to do when you’re in barce is to watch a flamenco performance! (: it’s where this passionate dance originated from and it is superb! we were really impressed with what we’d seen, and although it was quite expensive for our (poor student) standards, we felt that it was really worth the money. it’s such a fiery, energy-explosive performance, and we were blown away by how they managed to sustain this level of passion for an hour! :O tickets can be bought at http://www.tablaodecarmen.com/. we got the most no-frills option at 39€ which includes one drink of your choice (try a sangria/cava which are typical spanish drinks!).
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the flamenco performance is held within the spanish village, Pablo Espanyol which is another interesting place to visit, if only for the experience of seeing what a traditional spanish setting is like! (: there is normally a fee for the entrance, but this is included in the price if you’ve got a ticket for the flamenco performance and you can enter the village up to one hour before the performance to walk around and explore. you can stay for as long as you want after the show of course, but it’s probably a good idea to come early so that some shops are still open and you can pop in to take a look.
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near the spanish village is one of my favourite places in barcelona! :’) doesn’t it look gorgeous??!! we walked past the palace at Monjuic in the daytime initially and it was really pretty already! and on the way back from our show at pablo espanyol, we saw the beautiful place all lit up with the fountains and all! ^^ there was even a fountain show at the Magic Fountain (below), i think it starts around 7/8pm (: it’s amazing!!! you’ve got to catch it :)
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ohoh! i forgot!! actually my ultimate fav place in barcelona was the La Boqueria market!!!! :) it’s my favourite market that i’ve seen in Europe so far. and i’ve been to quite a number so far. arghhhh regret that i didn’t buy more of my nuts while i was there!!! :( dangggg. haha wanna teleport myself back there! the market there is super huge, colourful and very very affordable! :) you can get fruit juice for as low as 1€ there (walk all the way in and you’ll find a stall with the widest variety of juices ever at this price!), nuts (at the cheapest price i’ve found so far!!), and all sorts of food! there are places to eat inside the market, kinda like japanese teppanyaki style where you sit at a bartop and the chef will whip up your dish in front of you. i heard that Pinotxo Bar is good although i didn’t get to try it. the market is along the La Rambla street which is a rather tourist-y area, but nice to walk and look around!
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Barcelona’s most famous attractions include the works of Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect. La Sagrada Familia is the top-rated attraction on tripadvisor, and is a giant temple designed by Gaudi, which has yet to be completed and is not expected to be completed for the next 30 years. one thing i realised about Barcelona’s attractions is that they are really expensive!!! :( to go into La Sagrada Familia costs 13€ if i’m not wrong. in the end we didn’t go in because there was a private service going on that day. and i guess you should make a wise choice on which attractions to pick if you are on a tight budget.
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Park Guell is probably one of the few of Gaudi’s attractions that you don’t have to pay to go into, but i didn’t really have a good impression of it because it was so crowded!!! the photos of this place looked beautiful and i was quite excited to see it! but it was spoilt by the HUGE throngs of people and it wasn’t very well maintained, so the colourful photos created really huge expectations which i ended up getting rather disappointed about.
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i guess in general, all the colourful buildings weren’t really well maintained haha. Casa Batllo looked way more colourful in photos than in life as well!
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okay maybe this doesn’t sound very appreciative (oops :p) but actually the only Gaudi structure that i was really impressed with was La Pedrera. the design of this building was really quite fascinating and we spent quite a long time just standing in front of it and admiring its architecture. i didn’t pay to go into any of the attractions, and i guess if you aren’t a hardcore architect fanatic or something, it isn’t really necessary! (: – i prefer wide open spaces (like above^^)
yay done!!! i just wanna quickly post this up (been procrastinating for too long!). will have more about barce coming up soon! (: