Madrid Travel Blog› entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
January 22nd, 2008 – by: kimakje
The transfer was easy, at least I thought. The woman at the desk who issued my boarding pass asked for my baggage ticket, but I couldn't find it in my bag so she let me go and said to show it to the people at the gate, however they did not ask and I forgot.
The second flight was smooth. The plane was a lot smaller and far less modern than many planes I've been on. There were no tvs, but that was good because I was able to fall asleep without distraction. I met up with Valerie after the flight and we went to baggage claim. Bags circled round and round and more and more people were picking them up and moving to the exit. I was still left standing there (though Valerie was very sweet and waited with me as long as she could). Finally after they had cleared all the bags away and there were only confused and upset people left standing at the carousel I headed to the Iberia counter to see what was up.
The woman at the counter couldn't be nicer. I explained to her that I had lost my baggage claim ticket and she looked me up in the computer. Good news, she found my luggage; bad news, it is in London. However, I took this as a blessing in disguise. It was definitely easier getting to the hostel without luggage and my luggage will be delivered directly to the hostel, hopefully by tomorrow.
After the luggage fiasco was settled I exited baggage claim and went to an ATM to get some Euros. That done I went to a small cafe for a little food. I got a yogurt (which tasted almost like sour cream...YUM! and no that's not sarcastic) and an apple. Then I set out to figure out the metro.
The elevator from the airport to the metro station was super cool, I can't really describe it you'll just have to take my word for it. It took me a little while to figure out how to buy a metro ticket, but finally I got one. It's just a little strip of pick paper and it's worth ten rides. The metro was nice an clean, especially the airport one, which looked the newest. The stations were very bright colors, which made the underground seem less dismal. I found my transfers just fine and got to the station I needed to, but after exiting I really had no clue where to go. so I just started walking and not too many minutes later I found my hostel. The guy checked me in and I was given a room (it has six beds, however I have not seen anyone else in this room). The key is super tricky and twice I've had to ask someone to help me get my door open, but everyone is gracious and helped me with no problem. I also couldn't find the bathroom for a long time, but that's solved now too.
After putting my stuff away in my locker I set out to do something with my day since I was super tired and did not want to fall into a bad sleep pattern. I walked out of the hostel and onto the main street near it, Calle de Atocha. It's a large street with lots of little stores that remind me of New York downtown area (like near Houston) but with more traffic. I set out to find the Parque de Retiro, however I eventually relized I was walking the wrong direction. I saw some large building ahead and decided not to turn back, but to explore the way I was already walking. There were lots of little plazas and streets, some of which I walked down. I stopped at another ATM since I had not taken out much and felt I might need more money down the road.
I think I saw Plaza de Mayor, but if I did it wasn't very impressive (update as of 1.23 It WAS NOT Plaza Mayor). There were some beautiful buildings and statues I saw, but I guess I expected more out of something named Mayor(major). Anyway, I eventually got to the end of Atocha, which ends near the art museums, El Prado and Sofia Reina. I walked in a large square and noticed a sign for the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. I decided it might be worth a look, and at 2,20 Euros it provided a good place to start my tourist exploration. The museum was laid out to describe the early cultures of Asia, Africa and America. There was a special display of things from the Phillipines. All of the artifacts were nice, some were even exciting, however the museum lacked depth. It was more like an introductory anthropology text book than anything; describing the economy, adornment and beliefs. The best room was the smallest room full of what would be considered a "cabinet of curiosities."
After the museum I walked back up Atocha to look for pajamas to wear tonight. I walked for a good hour and a half, two hours maybe, and found nothing. I was nervous to go to far out of the way, so I decided I will just have to be sleeping in my clothes tonight...good things I brought extra socks and underwear.
The city is becoming very lively at night. It was not at all scary on Atocha in the dark, however I can see why I might avoid some side streets. Right now I just want to go to bed but I know I should wait a little longer.
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