At the airport
It was a small and old SN Brussels Airlines plane that flew us to Madrid. When it took of it was once again raining in Brussels; the regular Belgian summer we loved to leave behind. It only takes two hours to fly to Madrid, and so we landed at about 5pm on Spanish grounds.
First thing to do was finding the hostel we booked for the first three nights of our stay. You can find the review attached. The Madrid metro took us to the heart of the city really fast.
In no time we arrived at the Puerta del Sol, from where it was only a short walk to the hostel. This is located on the second floor, so we climbed up and knocked on the door a bit uncertain. From the outside, it is hard to see that there is a hostel here. The signs are really small and the building looks like it has only apartments in it. After some time the door abruptly swung open a little and a strange guy with a beard (my father later justly noted that he looked a bit like Jesus) peeked his head through the gap. "Qué?" he almost shouted. We must have made a funny sight, standing there with our booking confirmation in one hand and a “mappy” route in the other, looking completely dazzled since this was not at all the welcome we expected.
Puerta del Sol
From the way the man opened the door we were almost certain that we rang the wrong bell and weren't at a hostel at all. Yet we needed to be certain so I asked if we were at the Hostel Bahia. The guy gave us a short nod and then, again not using a sentence but only one word, asked: "Reservasión?". Appalled I showed him our confirmation.
King Juan !!!
All of a sudden the door swung open completely. A bright smile appeared on the mans face and with a huge gesture he invited us to come in. "Welcome, welcome!" He said. "This is hostal Bahia, please enter!". We stood there speechless for a few seconds, then entered to sign in. The man told us his name was Juan ("John in English"), and so we started to call him "King Juan" from then on, since the Spanish king is named Juan (Carlos) too :). While we paid and exchanged our data, the bell rang again and Juan opened the door in the same brisk way as he did when we arrived.
Through the small opening I could see the upset faces of three Chinese girls, who apparently were as confused as we where to find this strange guy shouting at them. Yet they as well were granted a warm welcome after they showed the reservation confirmation. A bit of a strange hombre, King Juan, but a gentle host ones you get to know him. He gave us lots of information without us asking for it at all. After he showed us around the whole place like guiding us through a castle, he went to get a map and started to mark all places worth visiting. The location of his hostal was marked with a capital H. "This is your Home now! It is not a hostal, it is your home. You live here, I do cleaning, I answer questions, me your host, me hostel your home". Truly a great guy!
Cerveceria Santa Ana, at Plaza Santa Ana (from upon the terrace)
My room was tiny but clean. It must have been no bigger than 2 meters long and wide, since it was a square and the bed just fitted in lengthwise.
Apart from a ventilator and a small closet there was no space for anything else. The ceiling was about double as high as the room was wide, with a small window (interior) at the higher end above the door. All this made me feel like I stayed in a tower, yet I didn't expected anything fancy and since all was clean and neat I haven't bothered for a second. To my surprise the ventilator even provided enough air to keep the place cool (relatively, yet cool enough to get a proper sleep).
After settling we left to see the Puerta del Sol again. We didn't stop there for long when we got out of the Metro, since we had our luggage to carry with us back than (me my 7,5 kilo backpack and my parents their huge 30 kilo trollybag...). And after that we walked to Plaza Santa Ana (where the statue of Federico Garia Lorca is - see my blog introduction) to have dinner. First we drank Spanish wine on the terrace of la "Cerveceria Santa Ana" (review attached), later we found ourselves a restaurant on the same square.
It wasn't a too good place and I can't remember the name, but the food and service were good. Just nothing remarkable. I started of with fried eggplant, a dish I really adore. So after the good arrival and the friendly Juan, plaza Santa Ana really made my day. No cloud to be seen in the sky, music on the square, Spanish chattering all around. I was in heaven :)
Madrid Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Cerveceria Santa Ana is located on the Santa Ana square in the center of Madrid. It is a small but great place with lots of seats on the terrace, and … read entire review
Madrid Sights & Attractions review
Plaza Santa Ana is a nice, small square in the old Center of Madrid, not far from the Puerta del Sol. There are many restaurants in this area, and eve… read entire review
Madrid Hotels & Accommodations review
A simple hostel in the perfect location
I stayed in this little hostal for three nights, and even though the place was small and not air conditioned, I will certainly go back here whenever I… read entire review