Saturday, August 23, 2008
have to run constantly. It'll be a while till this blog gets updated
as school begins real soon and I have no big travels anytime in the
near future, except for travels within New England, New York or
California. However, there will be a new blog dedicated to the
abstraction of things I see in life. It's still a work in progress and
in the meantime, I'll be revisiting this blog to fill in any gaps I
might have left out now that I'm beginning to upload my pictures. Till
then, I'm signing off for the weekend.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
The whole situation was so ridiculous and I stood at the cash machine till Staff Two came back and still kept telling me no, I gave them a 5 euro bill. Minutes passed and the only male staff walked in and seems to be asking what was going on. Staff Two and him were talking and somehow Staff Two took out a receipt from the customer before me, both of them looked at it and Staff Two took out a 5 euro bill and gave it to me without saying a word. And she didn't need to because clearly she wasn't paying attention and it was her fault, the other customer got more change than he needed, of course he didn't complain. I walked out saying "Gracias".
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Valencia is architecturally a stunning city, crowded with its many Beaux Arts and medieval architecture. The city center, the old city is small and most major attractions are within a 5 - 10 minutes walk. Compare to its neighbor city of Barcelona, Valencia is nothing like it, though they are both less than 3 hours away by train. Valencia is smaller and signs of its medieval part can still be appreciated by taking a stroll along its narrow streets and alleyways. In terms of the city's architecture, if Gaudi was to Barcelona in the 20th century, then Calatrava is to what Valencia is in the new millennium. The City of the Arts and Sciences is a leisure and learning complex that houses many of Calatrava amazing architecture. It is also one of the largest leisure complex currently being build in Europe and consists of a performance center (second picture above), a science museum, botanical parks, an oceanography museum and a new agora (not sure what it's going to be used for) that is under construction at the moment. The land that the buildings are build on used to be a river that runs along the northern part of the city and since the mid 20th century, the river has dried out and has since been replaced with botanical gardens and sports facilities. It is certainly one of the most environmentally interesting use of land and resources.
The heart of Valencia has never been about its beaches. However, the closest beach to the city is only a 20 minutes train ride away and it is one of the nicest beach I've seen so far. Compare to the city beaches in Barcelona, it might not have the best water sports or activities along the beach, but the fine soft powder sand is enough for me to appreciate its beauty.
I arrived at Sevilla late last night, but between Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla, some might say that Valencia is too sterile or too clean and has lost its old charm within the old city. Even the central market seems organized, brightly lit and a pleasure to walk around. The building facades seems to have been clean or freshly painted. In either case, Valencia is still a beautiful city to spend a few days at. I enjoyed my two days at Valencia, and the reason being (apart from its architecture), there were very little or no foreign tourist. Things may change at the end of the month as the city is preparing to host the Formula One race.
As for me, my trip is coming to an end soon. From Sevilla, I'll be taking day trips to Granada and Cordoba during my time here. Next week, I'll be heading to Lisbon, Paris and ending my adventure in London.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Secondly, the day I arrive to catch my train, everyone's luggage had to go through the xray machine! What's ironic is, they don't have a metal detector. So they don't allow guns, knives, explosives, etc (the usual) but they don't have a metal detector for passengers?! I could have took out my pocket knife and put it in my trouser's pocket and would have gotten away without any problem.
Thirdly, boarding the train is a pain. Passengers can't wait in the platform and had to wait in line till the gate opens. That's actually fine but the whole process is like boarding an airplane* where there's actually an attendant who takes your train ticket, scans it and give you your ticket/pass. What's annoying is people who buy their tickets online has problems with the documents, and as a result, is holding up the line.
Why can't it be a simple process, just like any other country where one can just go on to the designated platform, hop on board to the coach and seat assigned, wait for the conductor to come up to you, ask for your ticket, checks it and stamps it, and you're on your way to you next destination.
*( Riding the train in Spain is indeed like flying on board an aircraft. They have entertainment on board the train, and a crew members who passes out earphone is a little box. (Pictured above) One of the reason I take the train is because I don't have to wait in line and go through the security at the airport. Oh, and the crew member do actually kick you out of your seat when you're not sitting at your assigned seat. I actually don't care how good the service is as long as it gets me to my next destination. Life can be so much better when you don't try to complicate things. )