Plaza España, Barcelona
“Spain because our cruise was departing from the port of Barcelona. We took the opportunity to go around Barcelona before the cruise since Barcelona is also known to be one of the most visited places in Europe. Spain was also a highly recommended place to visit by family and friends.”
What was your first impression of Spain before coming here?
“Interesting food and culture. We thought that many people would be practicing Catholics since Spain was the one which introduced the religion to the Philippines.”
How long was your stay in Spain?
“Total of 8 days.”
Any favourite place(s)?
“Barcelona! It is a definite must-see. It is very tourist-friendly. Easy to go around the city because of the efficient transport system. Lots of interesting places to see. They have a well-established infrastructure to support the tourism industry. I also love the food in Spain.”
Was it an organized trip or you did it on your own?
“Yes, we organized the trip on our own. Using booking.com to book our hotels and getting the 2-day Bus Touristic package to go around the first 2 days. We also used internet to research on the nice places.”
Who were your travel buddies?
“I travelled with family. I was with my husband and 2 kids (ages 7 and 4).”
How did the trip go? Was it hassle-free?
“Yes. We did not encounter any problems during our trip.”
Did you go beyond your budget?
“Definitely! We went over our budget for food because we wanted to try many kinds of restaurants. We also overspent with our transportation expenses since we rode the cab when we were too tired to walk to the train station or if kids were already sleepy.”
Do you have friends in Spain?
“Yes, Nick and Fe Martin-Smith – British. They have a small orchard at Camarles, Tarragona. They drove us to Lourdes and back to Tarragona. And Nats Villaluna Sisma – Filipino! Nats was our tour guide at night and gave us a lot of useful tips about Barcelona.”
Any peculiar things that caught your attention during your trip?
“We noticed a lot of graffiti on the wall.”
What was the most unforgettable moment from the trip?
“I like the solemnity and magnificence of Montserrat. We were able to enjoy the place because we stayed there overnight. There were very few people left in the late afternoon. I love the tapas – small plates of big gastronomic surprises. I also love churros con chocolate. Ciudad Condal had many friendly Filipino staff. My kids loved Port Aventura. This place delighted us. My kids also loved their visit to Tito Nick and Tita Fe’s small orchard because they are very much into ‘Plants vs. Zombies’ these days. They were so excited to see different kinds of plants…especially the sunflower. They also picked oranges for the first time. My 7-year-old enjoyed Camp Nou because he is a football fan. He was so excited to get the new FCB Qatar Foundation shirt.”
Bloopers along the way?
“We went up to the top of the Sagrada Familia only to find out that we cannot use the lift going down. It was torture for us going down the winding staircase! 15 floors down with a 4-year-old in my arms is NO JOKE! Haha…”
Going back to your first impression of Spain, what can you say now after your visit?
“Upon hearing Sunday mass, we noticed that there are very few practicing Catholics. We went to church at the Sagrada Familia, which is a very big church, but the mass was just held at the back part of the church behind the altar of the main church.
What did you learn from the trip?
“We learned that tourism can really help a country’s economy. We also learned that it’s hard to stick to your budget when in Europe.”
Any recommendations and tips to those who are planning to visit Spain in the future?
“They should look at the cruises that depart from Barcelona. If you want a more religious and spiritual journey, Montserrat is a must. They should stay at the hotel (Hotel Abat Cisneros) right outside the Basilica. For those with kids, Port Aventura will not disappoint you. They have rides for kids of all ages. Its well-maintained and a delightful adventure for the whole family.
Are you coming back?
“Definitely! Not anytime soon but will definitely save up for another European vacation!”
Ay-Ay Tanalgo is from Quezon City. She works as an Assistant General Manager of a restaurant chain in the Philippines. She came to Spain in May 2011 with her husband, JM Tanalgo and their two kids, Mico and Diego where they checked out Barcelona, Montserrat, Port Aventura and Camarles in Tarragona. Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna