Sunday, October 18, 2015

Eurotrip 2015: Manila to Doha to Barcelona (Day 1)

This might be the first time I will be blogging an entire trip. I hope to make this as fun and informative so if ever you are planning to go to one of the destinations that will be mentioned, you'll have an idea of what to expect or maybe what to eat or see.

Day 1.

I remember having mixed emotions as my wife and son won't be joining me in this trip as my son is too young for such a long exhausting flight. I decided to go with my siblings, parents, and clan mates -- cousins, uncles etc. Of course, traffic was the least thing you wanted but is expected. Traffic along Quirino avenue was horrible as part of the roads were closed for the Skyway Stage 3 project. Took us more than an hour just to cross South Super Highway from Nagtahan.

NAIA 1 has improved a lot! The washroom I went to (beside MIASCOR lounge) was not stinky and actually quite new. This was a good thing and I congratulate NAIA for not being part of the Top 10 suckiest airport list this year. I believe the polls as I saw the improvement in NAIA myself. There was NO line to pass the immigration. This is the first time I experienced this in NAIA 1! From check-in to passing immigration, it took less than 30 minutes. We had our own check-in counter so we didn't have to line up on the regular airline check-in counter. Cool! :)


While waiting, we stayed at the MIASCOR lounge. I did some work, ate snacks, and did a little plane spotting. It rained hard but cleared after 30 minutes. Thank God! When boarding time came, we went to our gate and I was a bit surprised that we had to go down to the pre-departure area, by stairs. Poor senior citizens. Although NAIA has improved, this part was left behind. They only renovated the immigration area and washroom maybe.


Boarding was quick. We took Qatar Airways going to Barcelona with a 3-hour layover at Doha. From Manila to Doha, I don't even want to remember how long it was. I'm not a fan of long haul flights. It's the only thing I need to overcome when going to Europe as I love Europe. Good thing there were a lot of interesting movies onboard as I haven't watched a movie in ages after our son was born. I watched Inside Out, Suite Fran├žaise, San Andreas, and several documentaries and travel shows. You guessed it, I was wide awake the entire flight. By the way, Qatar airways is voted as 2015 airline of the year.

Doha was HOT. I felt sticky as we went down the plane. We passed through security and went to our next gate for our connecting flight, which was in 3 hours. Other than long haul flights, I also hate long layovers. Although a bit safer in case the first one gets delayed, 3 hours is a long time to wait. Body clock was around 12-1am. Stores were still open and Doha airport is very nice! Lots of shops and they are open 24 hours because they are positioning themselves as a gateway to the world. As we wait for the next flight, I tried to do a bit of work again then before boarding, brushed my teeth and change to eyeglasses. My usual routine in long haul flights.

Still boarding a Qatar Airways flight, the leg room on this plane was bigger as I remembered. Tried to watch a film but this time, I immediately snoozed. If I'm not mistaken, body clock says it's 4am, Philippine time. My body clock was seriously messed up and I'm just starting. I remember having 2 meals during this leg and the last meal was breakfast. We arrived Barcelona around 730am (local time in Barcelona) while my body clock (Manila time) was 1-2pm. Surprisingly, no jetlag! This was because I was able to sleep in this leg of the flight and it just seemed like I woke up late.



We went to the hotel to drop off our luggage and the group split into 2. One went ahead to eat at the hotel buffet breakfast while some went to the "mercat" @ St. Josep La Boqueria. There, we ate at the famous El Quim De La Boqueria. I tell you, it's so far the best breakfast I had in my entire life. It's a must try place when in Barcelona. It deserves a solo blog entry on its own. After breakfast, we went around Las Ramblas. A street filled with shops, restaurants and anything tourist-y. It's a famous place though in the city. We also got to see "Higantes parade". I'm sure Filipinos can relate to that because we also have that in a province here in the Philippines. Spain has largely inspired Philippine culture and that is why some Tagalog words are similar to Spanish words and the culture has similarities.


Went back to the hotel via a cab to meet with the rest of the clan and we then went to do the hop-on hop-off city tour. Funny thing is, we just literally rode the bus going back to Las Ramblas! That was somewhat a waste of money and time. That happened because we were having a dinner somewhere near La Rambla. And the earlier Las Ramblas visit wasn't planned because some of our folks ate at the hotel. It's their turn now to check out Las Ramblas. Our family can't go long without food, water, and washroom break. We had snack at a square while people watching. Got a burger. Didn't taste good. Got a beer (unintentional). It was good but probably wasn't a good idea. Got dizzy afterwards.


From here, a few of us walked to Passeig de Gràcia to check out some shops there. It was a 15-minute speed walking thing. Perfect to build up our appetite for a dinner I will never forget. We had dinner at Suculent and it deserves a separate blog entry as well. To sum it up, we had our BEST breakfast and dinner on our entire Europe 2015 trip during our first day in Barcelona. Thanks to the recommendation of my cousin, who flies there just to eat a 15 course meal. She will be doing that again and if I remember correctly, it will be her third time doing that.

This was actually the end of Day 2 already as Day 1 was the flight and time adjustments so it made this first day in Barcelona, Day 2.

Up next, Day 3. Day 1 on-board the cruise. I'm trying to disorient you. :))

Cheftonio
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