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Ajith venkatesh

Lives in Bangalore

My Trips

Feb 2017

Madrid-Paris-Barcelona Trip

Destination: Spain

Travel Ninja: Prajwal Madhav

Madrid-Paris-Barcelona Trip
★  ★  ★  ★  ★ 

"Hey Prajwal,


Ajith here. Sorry for being very late in writing this review mate.


Below is our trip experience followed by the review.


******************************************EXPERIENCE*************************************************


The first 3 days were in Madrid. We enjoyed the complete city tour in the chilling weather with occasional sunlight. Starting with Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, Almuneda Cathedral,  Salamanca quarter, Gran via high streets, Temple of debod, Plaza de Cibeles and refreshing El Retiro (park) where we rowed our own boat. Being a veggie, Churros con chocolate was our life line throughout.


We left Madrid and arrived in Paris on a rainy day.


In Paris, started with a evening stroll in the Boulevard Saint Michel and the Boulevard Saint Germain followed by a view of the city atop Eiffel tower in the late evening. On the next morning started out with a guided tour of Notre dam cathedral,Explored the Loure museum and Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, took a peek of the Opéra National de Paris and the Assemblée Nationale.


The next day we wandered in the Champs- Élysées, spent time near Arc de Triomphe, walked past the Pont Neuf bridge across Seine river, took a cruise and had glimpses of most of the famous monuments across Paris. On demand, headed back to Bir Hakeim Bridge and experienced the luminous splendour of the sparkling Eiffel tower in the freezing cold to end the city tour on a high. 


We took your suggestion of having a glimpse of the countryside of france and spain by travelling in the TGV train from Paris to Barcelona.             `


In Barcelona, took almost all possible ways to commute like Local bus, Metro, Taxi, Funicular, Cable car, Cruise.


On the first evening took a stroll in Las Ramblas, the street buzzing with tourists and street performers. Also visited the Mercat San Josep de la Boqueria , the busy city market. Finally found a Punjabi restaurant where we understood the value of Indian staple food.


On the second day, wandered in placa de catalunya, visited park guell and rushed back to the stadium for the Barcelona vs PSG match. It was an epic match where we could experience the Barca brand of football in a thrilling turn of events which gave goosebumps and could witness the passion inside the stadium and the carnival like celebration of the victory across the city.


The next day we headed towards Tibidabo, the hill station with a church, amusement park where we could have a bird’s eye view of the entire city’s land which is covered by Mediterranean Sea on one side, hills on the other two sides.


On the final day we ventured to Montjuic, another beautiful hill station with a catalunian castle where we can have a panaromic view of the city. We experienced the thrill of cable car. We got back to our place and rushed in the same taxi(almost cinematic - thanks to the taxi driver from ecuador) to Barcelona airport to catch the flight to Madrid from where our flight back to India was scheduled.


Overall, the trip was a memorable one for us. We had some life time experiences."


*********************************************REVIEW**************************************************


We were unsure about our travel plans even after few initial bookings. The days were fast approaching and we needed a quick fix. We were basically looking for a blueprint or a readymade guide. Prajwal had already guided my friends for their euro trip and all heaped praises on his meticulous guidance.


Our original last minute plan included three cities in Spain - Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. Paris replaced Valencia in the Nth moment because my wife asked for the reasonable incentive [cliched view of the Eiffel tower ;)] for her to watch football grounds and a match (FCB vs PSG - UCL(2017) match at Camp nou).


Prajwal suggested to cover 3 cities during the 10 day trip for a thorough experience.He had given a lot of insider tips viz the appropriate transport modes to be used like metros, city tours and the roadmap for each of those cities, places and landmarks which highlight the traditional, historical and modern aspects of the concerned cities, nuances of the local food culture along with the timings, restaurants and cuisines to try out, etiquette that helps blend and interact with the local people, localities and places to stay which are safe, in the city center and also cost effective, to be wary about certain dangers like pickpocketing and the tourist traps which immensely helped us to be alert and equipped in order to have a tension free experience.


He bowls you over with his vast knowledge and insight about the fabric of the French and Spanish societies and economies. All this stems from his extensive travelling experiences coupled with his passion for languages, culture and civilization. His friendly demeanor, calmness and patience in answering all the silly questions and doubts you have as a novice traveler brings out the teacher in him and also reflects his modesty.


Would love to avail his guidance every time I think of a trip. 


A kannada proverb goes like Desha Suttu Kosha Odu. (To know the world, Travel the places and Read the books) -


Prajwal is one such rare person who has done(doing) both. A TRUE TRAVEL NINJA to the CORE \m/

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