EDIT-Thai Me Up looks pretty sweet, definitely hitting them up one of the nights! Thai food+brewery=pure happiness!
Last edited by westcoastpirate; 06-11-2012 at 06:57 PM.
Fresh off his "JUICY AUSTRALIA TOUR"
So, I had a great time in vacation but I kind of wish I hadn't gone to Southern France. As I was forewarned, it would have been much better to get out of the larger towns/cities with a car (I didn't want to do that because I was traveling alone). I ended up sticking to places that were more easily accessible by trains. This translated into: flooded with tourists. I was based in Avignon. I'm happy I chose it over Arles, because to be frank, I found Arles to be completely un-charming and fully overrun by tourists. Perhaps because of where I was staying in Avignon (within the city limits, but barely -- along the rampart walls), I was not constantly around tourists. Spent a lot of evening time just walking around the neighborhood and having insanely good food. Took day trips to Arles, Nimes, and Pont du Gard. I loved Nimes though I didn't get to spend very much time there. Pont du Gard was really underwhelming for me, and I wished I hadn't gone... it took so many hours to get there without a car and -- like most of the other sites I visited, it was completely overrun with poorly behaved school children on field trips. On the up side, I got a lot of reading done -- and got a nice tan -- while waiting in the sun for three hours for my return bus home. :P The only real highlight of the trip was -- surprisingly -- the organized tour I took. I did a wine tour with a small group (only 3 other people), which went to 4 wineries, each in a different area, which meant getting to see a lot of the countryside and getting away from English and Italian tourists. If I were to go back to this area, I'd definitely hire a car and go town to town.
I am baffled by just how bad public transit (even the bus system) was, that it ran so late or a particular bus/train would simply be cut without any notice. The weather was also complete shit and I was getting scores of mosquito bites EACH DAY even when using repellent. And seriously, everywhere I went there were ever so many children on school trips, running completely wild, with no supervision (several times, I saw their supervisors - parents? teachers? - off drinking wine on a bench while the kids just did whatever).
Barcelona was wonderful though. Since I've been there before, I did almost nothing touristy, and instead spent days eating, drinking wine, shopping, tanning, going to the beach, and taking walks. Wish I could move there.
So what does everyone think about this absurd site? Any chance for success? I think it is fitting that the founder is from LV. http://www.misstravel.com/
Having said that, few of the highlights are:
- all of them (will never forget the fantastic all day strolls in the beaten/off the beaten paths, rain or shine and the nightlife! my first time in Vienna, Budapest, Prague & Berlin and for the nth time in Rome, Paris, Madrid - just wow and immense/eternal love to these cities)
- Roland Garros French Open (booked a last-minute flight after securing ticket and so I could finally tick this off in my bucket list ... crowd was > 90% French , do what French / Parisians do)
- Madrilenos impromptu dancing one very early morning at a chocolateria! (this is one of the so many reasons why I love Madrid and why in my mind Madrilenos are the happiest & best Europeans)
- Rome Italian Open at Foro Italico (bought tix at the box-office; except me & few others, almost 100% Italians/Romans crowd)
- touristy/historical/part of traditions or not ... Berlin Wall / East Side Gallery ; Wenceslao Square & John Lennon wall in Prague ; Prado Museum for free & bullfights in Madrid ; Vienna Boys Choir in a Sunday mass at Hofburg Chapel ... (I don't know how I will put it into words-that feeling seeing/experiencing/hearing them)
- bars in ruined buildings and weird Budapest (very friendly and captivating people)
- Prague International Food Festival, yeah all the food I ate in the streets, markets, cafes in all of those cities (or maybe I should just say, the abundance of delicious food I ate, hmmm - be it first time or not tasting them, the street food, pastries, wiener melange, capuccinos, tapas, churros, currywurst, sausages ... blah blah) - take note: not eat all you can style haha
- Prague Beer Festival (though drinking a Czech beer in the beer garden at Letna Park / hills looking over the amazing views of Vltava river and the Old Town is even much more unforgettable)
- the brilliant Kasabian gig in Berlin (Berliners - best pop/rock music concerts crowd in Europe?)
- the beautiful classical concert at the Prague Municipal House's most important space (Smetana Hall)
- the culture, the people ...
Last edited by idrive1life; 06-29-2012 at 05:25 PM.
Next up: few cities and islands in Southeast Asia
My new top 5 favorite cities in the world (in alphabetical order):
Madrid, Paris, Prague, Rome and Sydney
Honorable Mention: Amsterdam, Berlin, Hongkong? , Honolulu, Ibiza, London, Montreal, NYC, San Francisco, Seoul, Vancouver
Last edited by idrive1life; 06-27-2012 at 12:44 PM.
I need to give Madrid another try. When I went ~6 years ago, I didn't care for it much, but I think I've changed since then. Perhaps I could keep up with the Madrilenos now.
Madrid was fucking awesome. My girlfriend and i both loved it! We got a great apartment off of Airbnb right next to a subway stop and a grocery store, which was really nice. We're also big museum nerds and that's definitely a good city for that. And so much good food.
In mid July, I'll be flying to Atlanta to visit with my Sister and Brother-in-law. From there I'm driving to Charleston see some of my college friends.
The GA agenda includes an afternoon Giants v. Braves game, whitewater rafting, hiking in Chattanooga and day tripping to Savannah. I absolutely adore Charleston and while there I plan on wandering around the beautiful downtown area, hitting up the aquarium (my friends are volunteer divers there and lead tours while feeding the sharks), touring a plantation and hopefully Fort Sumter.
I'm really looking forward to this trip. I haven't been to the South in awhile nor have I seen my UW friends since they were married and moved to Charleston. The only downside is the potential for weird weather and heat. I sure hope it isn't going to be hot as hell while I'm there.
12/31 NYE w/ Chromeo @ Fort Mason
02/07 London Grammar @ the Fox Theatre
02/13 Breakbot @ The Mezzanine (?)
03/02 Caribou @ The Fillmore (?)
I've had several actors originally from Atlanta that come into the studio i work at tell me about a strip club that has the best waffles ever.
Do they still offer you apartments to rent for a few days when you get off the train?
I love Atlanta, but yes, the weather can be a bit much sometimes in the summer. Mid-July isn't usually too bad though.
Madrid is not all about the sights (not that there's nothing touristy you could do or see there, but unlike other famous (for tourists, not travelers) major cities with endless spectacular modern buildings or tourist attractions and/or beaches nearby ...). For me, it's the culture, the people and the food when I think or talk about Madrid.
I am with you 100% re: on traveling all of Spain, Chia - it's a must that I have to put it near the very top of my to do list.
I really want to visit and experience all of Spain, am not just wondering if what Ernest Hemingway said is still true (that Madrid is the most Spanish of all cities), as I could really imagine, on paper and what I've seen so far, once am all done traveling the world (if and when given the chance) ... Spain could give Italy (or France) a good fight as my favorite country in the world.
Last edited by idrive1life; 06-27-2012 at 01:21 PM.
The food and people are amazing through all parts of Spain that I've traveled so far. Barcelona has been my favorite, then Granada, then (all of Andalucia really). I really do need to re-do Madrid, and have not yet had the opportunity to go further north, or to Basque country, or to the extreme west. So much to see.
haha I need a Barcelona re-do. I'll just accept the fact that a few people / gypsies there will be blatantly thieving. And ignore that it is kinda like one of my least favorite cities in the world (Toronto) and somewhat a poor version of there's just too much commercialism (for my taste) / trying hard to be the next NYC (which I really like or in my short list of favorite US cities).
there she blows
7/31 LAX to JFK Delta 1262 Departing 11:30pm Arriving 7:55am
7/31 JFK to AMS (Amsterdam) KLM Royal Dutch KL642 Departing 6pm Arriving 8/2 7:25am
8/2 AMS to Cairo KLM KL553 Departing 9:10pm Arriving 1:30am on 8/3
8/3 Cairo to Aswan Egypt Air 90 Departing 4:30am Arriving 5:50am
8/3 Philae Hotel 79 Cornich El Nile st., Aswan
8/4-8/6 Three Day Nile Expedition on Felucca
8/6 Philae Hotel 79 Cornich El Nile st., Aswan
8/7 Aswan to Cairo Egypt Air 412 Departing 2:30pm Arriving 3:55pm
8/7 Cairo to Dahab bus
8/8-8/14 Dahab (Bedouin Moon Hotel Blue Hole Rd, Dahab )
8/14 Overnight hotel in Cairo? (Novotel?)
8/15 Cairo to Beirut Middle East Air 305 Departing 10:50am Arriving 1:05pm
8/15 – 8/19 Staying with friend Maroun Abi
8/19 Beirut to Cairo Middle East Air 306 Departing 5:55pm Arriving 6:15pm
8/19-8/22 Cairo (Le Meridien Heliopolis 51 El Orouba St. Cairo) Airport Shuttle
8/22 Cairo to Paris Air France AF503 Departing 6:35am Arriving 11:20am
8/22 Paris to JFK Air France AF3628 Departing 1:50pm Arriving 4:30pm
8/22 Overnight in New York (Surfside Motel 164-33 Crossbay Blvd Howard Beach, NY, 11414 714-641-8400) New Park, Lenny’s, La Villa, or Gino’s pizza. Hotel Shuttle
8/23 JFK to SLC Delta 2174 Departing 12:55pm Arriving 4:04pm
8/23 SLC to SNA Delta 5833 Departing 4:50pm Arriving 5:42pm
I think that's the problem in my Barcelona experience, for few days I was there - been to the few wrong places (tourists hotspots) at the wrong time (?). I am so ready for that "100% beautiful and amazing Barcelona" next time. But really, you did not notice any of it? I feel like local people in Madrid and Barcelona are not living in the same country (yeah, I know about the Madrid vs. Barcelona thing) - unbelievably, completely different vibes etc.
Last edited by idrive1life; 06-27-2012 at 06:29 PM.
See, I felt like Madrid was far more guilty of those things you described. Definitely the "trying to be Manhattan," people seemed much more consumer-driven, plus I was there in November and the weather was shit, hah. I did not feel like people were particularly welcoming or open (and my Spanish was fairly good back then, too, so it wasn't just a language barrier). Really the only things I liked about Madrid had been the museums and the food (and the food was better in Barcelona).
I've had nothing but good experiences in Barcelona. Wonderful weather, I love being by the sea, absolutely beautiful and unique architecture/public art, cheap and really easy public transit, amazing restaurants, cheap and excellent food in groceries/markets, fun bars & cheap to drink, lots of good venues and places to see music, very friendly people... and I feel like they are more spirited and welcome difference whereas Madrid was full of cookie cutter people to me. *shrug*. I will try it again sometime. Madrid was at the end of a long trip, and admittedly I was starting to tire of traveling.
Aha, in my opinion, for cuisine/food in Madrid is more Spanish (so much better and as audacious as the French) than Barcelona. Am not saying Madrid's cuisine is the champ there, probably not even in Top 3 (need to check San Sebastian, Sevilla, Granada etc.). Madrid's more innovatively authentic Spanish unlike Barcelona's, which is so much like NYC, a fusion of many cultures' cuisines.
so excuse my laziness to scroll through 60 pages but do any of you/my lovely coachella board buddies have any way to get cheaper flight deals? I guess I'm going to lolla now. just checking out flights and seems $450-$500 ish is best i can find. any help appreciated. looking to leave LA thursday to arrive in chicago thurs night before midnight and leave chic monday morning ish like after 10am back to LA. (non stop plz)
She added the phrase "meany head" to my profile.I hardly think I'm an attention whore.I train birds of prey and am I licensed falconer
Yeah, Madrid had tons of different kinds of food. We stayed in Lavapiés which especially was filled with Indian and Greek/Mediterranean restaurants.
I liked the food in Seville better than either Madrid or Barcelona, myself
I really want to move and live in Spain even for just 1 year now! And start at San Sebastian!
You could do endless/non-stop tapa crawls in one neighborhood in Madrid one day, then do it again the next day in another neighborhood and so on in a week (even in a month) without coming back to the same restaurant, yeah, that's one of many reasons why Barcelona is more known (or in my mind) as an international city and Madrid a Spanish city.
Different strokes for different folks. I wasn't extremely impressed with food in Madrid in comparison to other cities, and Madrid was the last place I visited on that trip.
Tom, I also thought the food in Sevilla was spectacular, as well as in Granada. Andalucia in general was incredible for food. I think most of it might have been absolutely slathered in olive oil to cook.