Spain & Germany, 2014

June 2014
Barcelona – Madrid – Berlin – Munich, 12 Day / 12 Night

Day 1 – 4 : Barcelona & Montserrat

We had 4 full days in Barcelona and did a half day trip to Montserrat.

There are a lot to see in Barcelona and we barely had enough time to visit the places we like to see. We mainly use the hop-on-off tourist bus to get to different attractions in the city. Buying entrance tickets online is also highly recommended to avoid long queues. I didn’t know at the time of booking the trip that a lot of shops and restaurants close on Sunday and Monday. Attractions are not an issue but if you would like to do shopping or go to a particular restaurant, better check their open hours in advance.

Our hotel is right in the heart of the city, very pleased with it.

We spent 1st day walking around Ciutat Vella and Eixample area and had dinner in La Barceloneta area. Seafood is a must try in Barcelona, very fresh and good selection.

Our 2nd day started at the Sagrada Familia. Breathtaking architecture! We went up to one of the tower but i found it a bit disappointing because I mostly saw scaffolding. After the cathedral, we were hoping to visit Park Guell but due to we didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, we could only get tickets to enter in the afternoon by the time we got there. So we decided to go again another day. We then went back to Mercat de la Boqueria to get lunch. (Queues every where during lunch hours) After lunch, we spent some time on the tourist bus (it was really hot outside) and went to see the inside of la Pedrera (of course we bought tickets online after what happened in the morning :)). Dinner was at Restaurante Lasarte, excellent food!

On day 3 we went to Montserrat for half a day. It was very easy to get to the train station from our hotel. Apart from the monastery and church, it is also a great location for hiking. We spent the remaining of the day finishing the hop-on-off bus route. We took the cable car on Montjuic to get panoramic view of the harbor. You can also take it to get to the beach area. Dinner was at a tapas restaurant near hotel.

For day 4, we spent the morning at Park Guell and then had a lovely lunch at Alkimia.  Afternoon was mainly shopping and walking around the Barri Gotic neighbourhood. And wrapped up our last night at Barcelona with more tapas.

Day 5 – 7 : Madrid & Toledo

We took the AVE train on day 5 morning to travel to Madrid.  It was an very easy and comfortable ride.  Our hotel is at the surroundings of the shopping area and have a lot of restaurants nearby.  We had a good lunch at La Kitchen near the hotel.  After some rest at the hotel, we strolled down to the Prado Museum which is about 15mins walk from the hotel.  We got there at the perfect time – free admission after 6pm! 🙂 Dinner was at Zalacain, a traditional fine dining Spanish restaurant.  Another very satisfying meal!

We spent day 6 touring around Madrid city and shopping.  We bought the 2-day hop-on-off tourist bus tickets which took us to all key attractions in the city.  We had lunch at Mercado de San Miguel, you can get all kinds of Spanish food there.  Dinner was at tapas bar near hotel – Gastromaquia.

Touring around Madrid – 1
Touring around Madrid – 2

We went to Toledo on the 7th day, it is very fascinating how three religions could co-exist in such a small city.   We bought our train tickets at the station on the day.  The ticket office was very busy but we managed to get our tickets just some minutes before the train took off.

Day 8 – 10 : Berlin

Day 8 was mostly traveling, from Madrid to Berlin via Frankfurt. We took a taxi from hotel to the Madrid airport. The taxi fare to/from is fixed at EUR30 which I think is a good approach. We also took taxi from Berlin Tegel airport, fare by meter was around EUR25. By the time we settled in Berlin, it was night time. We went for a walk in the Mitte neighborhood to grab a bite. A very nice neighborhood with both locals and tourists. Lots of restaurants and small shop. It was ashame I did not have the time to shop around. We tried meatloaf and currywurst that night. I think generally they put too much BBQ sauce on the currywurst and I could hardly taste any curry.

Day 9 & 10 were pretty much museum hopping. We bought the bus pass but not the museum pass as the museum pass does not cover all the museums we wanted to visit. The bus pass allows you to get discounts at most museums. I was very impressed with the effort the Germans made to preserve history. Apart from traditional museums like Pergamon, there are also a number of interactive museums. 2 days was hardly enough, we were basically skimming through the museums. 4 days would be better.  I had read that there are not much of the remains of Berlin Wall left but thanks to recommendation from our hotel’s staff, we visited a site near the hotel where there is the wall and also explanation on how the wall was set up.  The museums I found most interesting are the DDR Museum and Berliner Unterwelten.

Day 11 – 12 : Munich

On the 11th day, we flew over to our last destination in the morning. We bought the 3-day all area transportation pass which allowed us to take all transport in the city including trains to/from the airport. Our hotel is just a few minutes away from the Oktoberfest site, highly recommended for those who will visit Munich in that timeframe. Lunch was at a restaurant owned by a local brewery, looks very much like a tourist spot but very popular among locals too. More pork knuckle of course but that was probably the point where I thought I had enough of them. We spent the rest of the day walking in the area surrounding the beautiful Marienplatz.

Around Munich – 1
Around Munich – 2

On our last day, we spent the morning at BMW Welt & Museum.  It is good especially on a rainy day.

In terms of food, traditional German dishes are generally on the salty side for me but nevertheless quite enjoyable.  Hubby’s favourite is of course the pork knuckles.  I found that the dishes in Berlin and Munich are not quite the same.  Like I saw currywurst in Berlin only and white sausage in Munich.  The sticky potato dumpling I saw only in Munich.

German Cuisine in Munich, Germany
Mayers Bar & Restaurant, Munich, Germany

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