Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blown Away in Madrid, Spain

02.02.2012

So after spending 5 hours in Lisbon Airport, we're back in Madrid. We landed in Madrid 1/2 hour early. The pilot was driving (?) the plane super fast!! My ears was like clogged the whole time during the flight. It was so annoying. So we landed at about 9:30 PM in Madrid Airport. Since we landed in Madrid before, we knew our way around the airport.

An ad in Easyjet's magazine on the way to Madrid. Made all of us laugh because when we went there it was freezing!

We followed the sign to the Metro. We're not staying in a hotel this time. So, once we reached the metro, we asked the cashier about the 3-days pass, but she said it would be quite a disadvantage since we arrived at night and the countdown starts on the day you used. So if we used it at 10PM on Friday night, it's already considered as you used it as 1 day. Get what I mean?

So we just bought the one way ticket which costs €2.30. We took the metro to Tirso de Molina. That's where our hostel is located. This time we're staying at Students Hostel Luis Velez. It wasn't that difficult to find the hostel. Once arrived, we checked in.

Then the receptionist offered us a room with private bathroom, since our initial booking was shared bathroom. All of us agreed to pay extra for the private bathroom. Once we're settled with our room, had our bath and fell asleep immediately. We were just too exhausted.

03.02.2012

Today we got ready by 10AM and head out to Plaza Mayor. We're following a Free Tour today!! When we got out onto the streets, we didn't expect Madrid to be so cold! It was so cold that I felt the cold penetrated my sneakers and my feet felt like they were going to have frostbites!!

Chocolate con Churros!! but the chocolate haven't arrived yet and I was hungry.

Plaza Mayor. A mural of naked people is drawn on the walls of the building behind us.

Plaza Mayor was just 10 minutes walking distance from our hostel. When we reached Plaza Mayor, we were welcomed by 2 ladies with red carnations and saying "Flamenco, Fiesta!". I was the most behind, and I saw the 4 of them tried to stay away from them, it's like an opposite side of magnets! The more they were closer, the more we stayed away. LOL! But they didn't try to follow us or anything once we push them away. We didn't give a nice aura around them anyway.

So we just took some pictures while waiting for the red umbrella to appear. There were still about 20 minutes till 11AM. So we decided to get some breakfast. We just picked one of the cafes that just opened and ordered Chocolate con Churros and tea.

When we finished our breakfast, we saw people already surrounding the guys with the red umbrella. We waited about 5 minutes before the tour starts. Our tourguide of the day was Ian. He had this cute wolf hat on his head! So adorable!! And he told us that it was the COLDEST WEEK in Madrid in 50 YEARS!!! great.

So we followed the tour. I've never been a good listener. Most of the time I just followed and take pictures, also cursing at super cold windy weather. Even though it was sunny, nothing could beat the wind. I was almost blown away multiple times! No kidding! And I didn't even wear that thick today. I was freezing. You can see in the photos how I tried to bear the cold.

World's oldest restaurant. So they claimed. :P

Plaza de la Villa

Cathedral de Almudena

The Royal Palace

Cathedral de Almudena from the side.

Listening to Ian

Alfonso XIII’s anarchist attack

Tina got excited because Taeyang also called himself Sol. :-P

Madrid’s bear and madroño tree. The construction behind spoiled the picture. ;(

So after the tour ended at Congreso de los Diputados‎, we told Ian we're following him for lunch. Since he told earlier in the tour whoever is feeling for some paellas for lunch may follow him, and we wanted to eat paella. He brought us to a restaurant called La Zapateria but they didn't have any seafood paella. :( So me and Za ordered their business lunch menu which is fish and fries. But let me tell you, the dish was super salty!!! I mean i felt like I was eating salt!! Za couldn't finish hers and she got a bit agitated afterwards. I think it's the salt.

Prado Museum view from Plaza de las Cortes

Anyone wanna get hitched? LOL

La Zapateria

Tapas and Paella

So after lunch, we head back to Puerta del Sol. All the way there, every time it gets too cold, we would enter a shop to warm ourselves up, at the same time check out the souvenirs. After awhile, we decided to grab some sweet delicacies from La Mallorquina, the shop we passed by while in the tour. The pastries looked so hard to resist and there were so many people in the shop, so it must be good right?

I bought some macaroons since I've never tasted macaroons before. THEY WERE SUPER SWEET!!! Why do people even like them?! OMG! The chocolate ones tasted good though, but all the other, too sweet for my tastebuds. But I did finish them. The others bought some pastries and they were really delicious! So after "tea" I supposed, we head out to some souvenirs hunting.

Macaroons!!

La Mallorquina Pastries shop

We bought some souvenirs, then I saw the monument with the lion and carriage on the magnet. So I asked the shopkeeper "where is this monument?". She told us, Plaza de Cibeles and showed us the place on the map. So we walked to Plaza de Cibeles, stopping by Starbucks on the way to warm up. Then, we took some pictures at Cibeles and walk again to Hard Rock Cafe. Madrid is pretty small, we could walk to every places of interest. It's very nice.

Plaza de Cibeles

A funny statue near Colon metro station. I was afraid she would fart at me! :-P

Plaza de Colon

So when we reached Hard Rock Cafe, I started sneezing non stop and blowing my nose. I think I caught the flu! One day walking in the cold, while wearing the thin jacket. I should've seen in coming. So we ordered nachos and drinks. Za bought some souvenirs from Hard Rock shop, before we head back to our hostel. We took the metro back to Tirso de Molina. Colon metro station is just in front of HRC.

Hard Rock Cafe has the best nachos!!

Hard Rock Cafe, Madrid

Once arrived in the hostel, I had my bath, boil some water, eat some biscuits, and took some medication for the flu before going to bed. Then I was knocked out.

04.02.2012

I woke up the latest today because Za thought I should get more rest. I woke up feeling a lot better! My nose wasn't even congested anymore! Mini gave me some Piriton and plus I took the Panadol flu medicine. So all my flu was gone! Hurrah! Alhamdulillah.

So then we got ready, and wore thicker jackets today. I even put on my snow cap. We're going to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium today!!

Before we head to Santiago Bernabeu, we had our breakfast at a restaurant called Copa&Cafe at Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. At first, we thought of having breakfast at Maestro Chucerro but the place was so full, and it was too cold to sit outsite. Me and Za ordered Seafood Paella because we didn't get to taste the paella yesterday. The others ordered Chocolate con Churros. It was delicious!!

Seafood paella!

Street Sweeper at at Plaza de Jacinto Benavente

Then we thought of checking out the Flamenco Dance Show place that Ian told us, because he said we need to make a reservation if we wished to see the show. So we walked to the address, and stopping by a very cute shop! All their accessories was handmade. They were so pretty but super expensive! I didn't buy anything. Tina bought a pair of earring for her roommate. But we got a free cute little orange flower. When we found the flamenco place, it was closed. Maybe it's opened only at night. *shrug*.

So we took the metro from Opera to Santiago Bernabeu station. Got out, and some kid tried to scam me. A girl came to me asking for donations. I tried to ignore her, but she was so persuasive too! She wouldn't give up. Tina gave me €1 coins, so I gave it to her. Then she asked me to sign, so I signed. Then she asked me to show some identification to confirm that my signature is correct. I just ran away! I knew she wanted me to open my purse so she could steal something. Luckily, my head was still in place.

Santiago Bernabeu!!!

So then we bought the tickets for the Santiago Bernabeu tour. I like Santiago Bernabeu more than Camp Nou. They have more stuffs to see. Aha! And the shops sells more cool souvenirs.

See the orange flower on my cap? I got it from the shop I was telling you about. :P

Keeping it real!


After Santiago Bernabeu, we were quite blur as where to go next. So we decided to open the map and see where else is exciting. The Hostel Keeper drew a circle on a park. So we decided to go there. We took the metro to Retiro station.

Retiro Station

So we walked towards the lake, took some photos and when it's getting colder we decided to head back to Puerta del Sol because one of us wanted to buy more souvenirs. So we walked and stopped by a cafe called Faborit to warm up. They have excellent coffees there! Even Za's hot choc was very yummy!

Fountain

The lake with Monument to Alfonso XII of Spain at the background

Break at Faborit Cafe

Congreso De Los Diputatos

Then we reached Puerta del Sol, we stopped by a souvenir shop. It's the cheapest souvenir shop that we've encountered. The T-shirts only costs €5! I forgot what was the shop name, but it was along either Calle de Alcala or Carrera de San Jeronimo.

Another pastry shop on the way to Puerta del Sol. They're so tempting!

Then we walked back to Plaza Mayor. Thinking of a place to have dinner. Oh, by this time, we decided to skip the Flamenco Show because we weren't feeling it anymore. We walked around the plaza, passed by a candy shop, and suddenly Tina was standing for quite a while in front of the candy shop before we decided to just go in and check them out since they're having a 50% discount! Tina bought quite a bunch of them. She said, it's going to be a candy party back in Moscow.

Tina staring at the candies.

My lasagna

A bunch of girls. 

So after walking around the plaza, we finally settled with The Kitchen Stories. The place was very classy. And I mean, VERY classy. The meal was expensive but they were affordable. I ordered a vegetarian lasagna, Tina & Za ordered Fish&Chips and Mini & Punita ordered noodles.

The lasagna was very yummy! Everything was yummy. Plus, it was nice because we were the only customer there at the moment. Tina and Mini even ordered wine. Classy aren't we? haha. Only after we were leaving, people started coming in for dinner.


After dinner, we head back to our hostel. Had a bit of a rest, went online and started packing before sleeping, since we're leaving for Moscow tomorrow. It's so sad. :(

05.02.2012

Today we got up early, got ready, checked out, kept our bags in the storeroom and had our breakfast at Maestro Churrero. It's not that cold today, so we were able to sit outside. We ordered 5 sets of chocolate dipped Porras. Yummy!!

Chocolate dipped Porras!

Enjoying my porras!

At 12PM, we head back to the hostel, took our bags and made our way to the airport. One tip before leaving Madrid. I don't recommend you to buy the 2 days pass or 3 days pass for metro and buses because you'll rarely use them. The city is so small, you can walk to pretty much everywhere. Luckily we didn't bought the 3 days pass because it would costs us €13, while we only spent about €7.50.

So we reached the airport at about 1:30PM. We checked in and just hang around the airport waiting for our flight at 3:35PM, not knowing another unfortunate events that's waiting to fall upon us.

Pancit.... at Madrid Airport.

Playing UNO cards in the plane from Madrid to Paris

The flight was on time, but I only realized that we have only about an hour of transit time in Paris, when we reached Paris. While I and Mini tried to get our VAT refunded, I asked the others to get to the gate. I had to go to 2 counters before reaching the counter that I was supposed to be in! I don't understand like, why do you need to go to so many counters! I was running through the airport! When I finished handling my VAT, I saw them lingering around and I was like, "Why are you guys still here?!" They said they couldn't find the gate. I saw my watch, IT WAS 10 MINUTES TILL TAKE OFF!! I was running through people, telling the security that the flight is leaving in 5 minutes! I cut through everyone while going through the X-ray thing. OMG! I was breathless!

Then once we reached the terminal, our gate was the last one!!! And each gate was like 200 meters apart!!!! We were running and running out of breath! When we reached our gate, the captain didn't want to open the door for us! Stupid stupid airline! and we were not the only one who missed the flight. It was the first time any of us had ever missed a flight. Za's face was so red from running. haha...

They asked us to go to gate 36a to get onto another flight. We were just lost and confused. So I went to another counter and ask the stewardess for help. She was such an angel. She handled everything for us. Even told us not to worry. So she gave us a choice of getting on different flights or taking another transit flight to Frankfurt then to Moscow. We decided to stay together.

So she handled everything. Now we had to run from Terminal E to Terminal D! MY GOD! CDG PARIS AIRPORT IS FREAKING HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGEEEEE!!! We haven't recover from running in Terminal E, we had to run to Terminal D! So we ran and ran... We had about 40 minutes to reach Terminal D. Thank Allah, we got there in time.

So then we landed in Frankfurt, had to run again in Frankfurt Airport. At least the airport isn't as big as CDG Airport. And we finally made it! To Moscow here we go. We were so hungry. Imagine we only ate the Porras in the morning, had only some biscuits in the flight from Madrid to Paris to Frankfurt. Finally, had some rice with fish in the plane to Moscow. Thank God they had fish! ;)

06.02.2012

So when we arrived in Moscow at 4:30 in the morning. After passport control, we went to check our bags and they weren't there! Only Punita's was there! Oh dang. What a journey. So we had to fill in some papers about our missing luggage. It seems our luggage were still stuck in Paris.

We went back empty handed and worried because our luggage was filled with souvenirs! ;(

Not a good happy ending to an adventure.

But we got our bags delivered the next day!! awesome! So it was a happy ending after all. :)

I guess that's what you call a true adventure and I had a great time experiencing them! I'll never get bored with travelling, even though they are such a hassle! I just love travelling!

And right now, we're planning for our Spring trip in May!! :D

3 comments:

dHanna-the-secret-agent said...

i went to madrid for a day jah! banyak gile places i missed out, looking at ur photos. tapelah, yg penting dah makan paellaaaaa sambil dengar pakcik main violin, dekat meja sendiri. aaaww~ i remember, it was cold and we decided to order a cup of hot chocolate, tibe2 when the hot chocolate arrived, we were like...

THIS IS NOT HOT CHOCOLATE!!! ini coklat caiiirrrr! not knowing, they dont drink/serve drink hot chocolate *sigh* melekit2 tekak minum their 'hot chocolate' yg u celup2 dengan churros tu haih~

Anna Mohamed Amin said...

1 hari je? How long were u in Europe? Kejapnyeee... tak puas kot kejap2 in 1 place...

hahaha.. yeah. But it wasn't that surprising for me. Happened to me before, somewhere else in Europe. But even in Barcelona their hot chocolate is the chocolate cair and churros aren't as common in Barca as in Madrid.. Means, their hot chocolate memang literally a hot melted chocolate even though they don't serve churros in that cafe.

They have another name for the normal hot chocolate that we drink.. I forgot though.. hehe..

dHanna-the-secret-agent said...

i pergi for 14days macam tu. sebab nak cover banyak kan, itu ini. hehe. memang rush rush ah. tapi tape lah puas hati yoooo!~

itulah~ sampai ada pagi2 tu ktorang lapar sangat, plus sejuk beli je hot chocolate and then cicah dengan roti. wuu sedap!~ lepas tu beli hot milk, campur alter jadi hot chocolate drink ;) aahh... i miss spain!