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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 16: Madrid (Spain) - Paris (France)

It was the last day of the trip. We didn't go out at all, just packed our bag and headed to the airport. We took the Ryan air again from Madrid to Paris.

A quick review of the trip:
Cosmos tour
The tour was nice, I could say it was more comfortable than Contiki. The quality of hotel and the food provided was much better. Usually at Contiki, the food was rationed, here it was always buffet style. Despite the fact that our tour companions were mostly senior, they didn't slow us down. I hope at least I can be like them when I'm old :P No wild parties at night like Contiki, which didn't matter to us as we never join, hehehehe... And the best thing was, we never have to lift our luggage at all, check in and check out of the hotel was a breeze. So if there is not much price difference I will join Cosmos again in the future.

We love Portugal more. The food, people, cleanliness, scenery, there are just a lot of factors. It is a surprise because we didn't expect much from Portugal before the trip. These are the cities we like:
1. Lisbon (Portugal)
2. Porto (Portugal)
3. Gibraltar
4. Salamanca (Spain)
5. Segovia (Spain)
6. Mijas (Spain)
7. Madrid (Spain)

Food that we tried:
- Paella (fried yellow rice)
Don't like it

- Serrano ham
It depends on what they did to the ham. The one we tried at the cafe, the ham was minced with some mayonnaise, tasted like sashimi hehehe.. The one I tried in a fast food joint was like normal ham and so difficult to bite it off. It didn't taste good either.
- Sangria (alcoholic drink)
Good. We bought one bottle in Paris too, only cost EUR 2 for 1.5 L.

- Portuguese chicken
- Portuguese tart (custard tart)

After so many churches and museums, we don't want to see them again unless it is something very different. And we learnt quite a few things:

1. NO Visit pass
I bought a Paris Visit Pass once, and it was quite worth it because I stayed for a few days last time. But since then, I never buy any visit pass anymore in any other cities because there are so many free attractions. Just do the homework and calculate the entrance fee of the places you want to go whether it costs more than the visit pass. More often, there is not enough time to visit all the places included in the pass.

2. NO Entrance fee for church
It is quite funny when you need to pay to enter a church. Just skip it and go for a free one. I went in to so many free churches and they were amazing too.

3. NO Public tranport day pass
We hardly buy any day passes but we always buy 10-trip tickets and share among us. We realized that we didn't take that much public transport to get a day pass, and usually the cost of 10-trip ticket each is also cheaper than one single ticket.

4. NO Hotel at city center
There is no need to get a hotel that is at the center of the attractions unless there is a lot of spare money to burn. More important is to get a hotel near a train station so that we don't have to drag along our luggage. We prefer to save the money for the next trip, there are still so many places to go.. :)

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