A+A EuroTrip 2015 ~ Spain (Madrid & Barcelona)

Finally back from our Europe trip! It has been a wonderful journey yes even with the bitter memories but we gained such an amazing experience! An experience we can never forget and definitely encourage everyone to do it just once in their lifetime! To explore the unknown, to get lost, to venture in a new city and be mesmerised!

After 2 short transits in KL and Dubai, we finally reached Madrid at 8:30PM. It was a very tiring flight, I’ve never had to have a full 5 meals on board an aircraft before. I had to turn down a couple meal services as I was too tired. As mentioned in my previous post, we used Mozio to book for our transportation to our Airbnb Apartment. We had to wait for 30mins as we are sharing the shuttle with a couple of others. Which wasn’t that bad for the price that we pay. For taxis in Madrid, they have a flat fee of €30! We paid about AUD$28 for the shuttle.

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Madrid. #AliAnaTravels #AirBnb #madrid #spain

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Our AirBnb apartment was cosy,clean and for the location it was worth the price! We did set a budget of getting an accommodation for AUD$100 a day! We did have a total of 18 nights so definitely budget is quite important in our trip! We had our first tapas for breakfast at Tapas 44 and it was awesome! I think it was the best one.

Tapas 44

Tapas 44

Madrid is a very cultural city with the Palace, the Plazas, the Facades. When you’re in Madrid, have some Churros! Among the places we visit were Puerta De Sol, the Palace, Plaza Mayor. But the weather was cold, rainy and rather gloomy while we were there! So it has been about running seeking shelter and warmth!

And i wonder why we shopped heaps in Zara! Well, definitely hit Zara and Mango when you’re in Spain. Cheap Cheap Cheap! We used Tripomatic app a lot during our holiday trips. It’s great as it features all the must see attractions and restaurants that you need to visit in each city and you can plan your daily itinerary as well! Very useful!

We spend about 4 days in Madrid and another 4 days in Barcelona. We were giving each city ample time just afraid we did get jet lag like we were in New York last September. We spend each day walking throughout our day. Due to the proximity of our apartment to the City, we walked almost every where except to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

We cab it to the stadium as it was starting to rain. The stadium tour was awesome and no doubt it was huge! The hubs had a great time and was in awe! Thank god we head there on a Weekday morning, it was less crowded and look who decided to show up, Mr Sun of course! 

On the fourth day we head to Atocha station to catch the Renfe Train to Barcelona. We got the tickets in February and it was an early bird ticket! So pretty happy to grab bargains of course! The trains were spacious, each carriage had a luggage area for you to store your luggages. If you like to know more, Seat 61 is the best train travel guide!

It was such a great weather in Barcelona! Alhamdulillah, we got upgraded from a 2* Hotel Santa Marta to a 3* Hotel Suizo as the hotel was still under refurbishment. As per TripAdvisor, initially there were heaps of mixed reviews regarding Hotel Santa Marta! So we were a little scared but you know to just accept whatever! Then we were told a week before that we were upgraded to Hotel Suizo! We were so ecstatic because it was located right in Gothic Quarters! Such a great location, close proximity to La Ramblas, 2 train stations within walking Distance and great cafes and Tapas bars within reach! Below is the view from our balcony.

Something about the Hotel bathrooms in Spain and Italy, they have this urinal thing at the side. Which we thought was weird. We stayed here for 3 nights and the hubs couldn’t sleep soundly due to the noises and theres really strong smell in the bathroom which i reckon coming from the separate urinal which we never ever used. But i think for the price and location, we are still grateful. We still think its a great place to be based at.

  The highlights of soccer fans being in Barcelona is to catch their game! Definitely had the best time, front row seats and having Barcelona conquered and dominated the match! It was amazing and of course getting to see your favourite players in real life! It was indeed such a dream come true!

Among the attractions that you definitely need to catch is of course the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Plaza Espana, Montjuic Fountains and Barcelona Beach! These places are amazing! We didn’t go into Sagrada Familia, the line is long and you know w just enjoy the facade really. Park Guell, definitely get tickets online! We had to wait 3 hours for the next available time to enter the park! So definitely lessons learnt there! Montjuic Fountains starts at 9pm so definitely worth checking the times before you go as the time changes as the seasons change!

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Park Guell

Park Guell

Barcelona has been such an amazing city and is definitely our favourite city of the Trip! Halal restaurants are so easy to find in the city too!

A+A EuroTrip 2015

The husband was half hearted when i mentioned that we should carry forward our EuroTrip to April instead of September. But Alhamdulillah we did! Since we missed the Europe Travel Expo last November, we were lucky that the Global Travel Expo was on in February. We did thorough research on the prices of flights prior to the Expo and had our minds made up on a budget.

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This was our second flight purchase from the Travel expos that were organised by Flight Centre Group. You do need to look around and know where your budget is. So far the prices were cheaper than what we expected. Europe is by far the trip that scares us the most, the expenses, the people, the language barrier, we just don’t know what to expect!

We got Emirates flight going from Mel ✈️ Madrid 🚆 Barcelona ✈️ Manchester 🚌 London 🚆 Paris ✈️ Venice 🚆 Maranello 🚆 Pisa 🚆 Rome ✈️ Mel. This is definitely going to be interesting! We booked our Trains in Spain (Renfe) and Italy (Trenitalia) in January/February and got really cheap early bird fares! They usually open 120 days prior to your travel dates. However Virgin Trains and EuroStar opens 90 days in advance! We missed out on Virgin Trains as Manchester – London earlybird train fares was sold out pretty quickly. I guess it was due to the soccer match that weekend! Of course everyone will be rushing to get £15 tickets as compared to £80.60! Oh wells!

I highly recommend the app/website GoEuro to get the cheapest transportation fares in UK and Europe! And what i did was to go on the train/airline/bus website and book it directly. If you book it from GoEuro, you couldn’t choose your seats. We learnt it the hard way! Let’s see if we can negotiate with the train conductor if we can swap seats! lol

Seat 61 will be another website you would want to bookmark! A guide to travelling around Europe/UK (worldwide actually!) by train, including how to buy cheap train tickets! A site worth to visit! Another site worth looking at is Mozio it helps you with Airport transfers! Going to and from Airports is a breeze with Mozio, I’ve got quotes from quite a number of Operators (Cheapest, €65) for my transport from Kyriad Disneyland Hotel to Paris Orly Airport early morning. So far Mozio has been the cheapest (€51). The same for our Madrid Airport to AirBNB apartment in Madrid City. Taxi Fares are €30. At Mozio, I am paying about €21. Well, we shall see how reliable they are in a few days!

Once we got the transportation settled, we started looking at hotels/airbnb! Our budget for accommodations are $100 a day maximum! Alhamdulillah we manage to keep it all under budget! Besides AirBNB, We looked at Hotels combined, Trivago and Expedia. If you found any accommodations listed cheaper (on the sites) as compared to Expedia, they will be able to price match and in return put $50 forward to your next hotel booking! I did that for a couple hotels and its worth it! For hotels in Spain and Italy, you are better off booking directly through the hotel as they do more discounts/freebies as compared to the websites above! Usually, you’ll pay for the rooms upon checkout! So its pretty great! I reckon!

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