Hola, Madrid!

Madrid Travel Blog

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The famous Tio Pepe sign. You can read about it in Rick Steve's Spain 2007 (that's how we learned about it ;))

My spanish adventure began on Friday, March 16th, flying out of SFO airport with a layover in London Heathrow. My tickets were purchased from www.BritishAirways.com. It was my first time flying with them and, I have to say, I love their service. Pricewise, BA turned out to have the cheapest and most convenient routes as well (meaning no 8 - 12 hour layovers).

After approximately 15 hours of flying, I finally make it to Madrid's airport. The flight from Heathrow to Madrid was serviced by BA's partner carrier Iberia, which had me taxi into Iberia's terminal. Out of all the airports I have ever been to, Iberia's terminal at Madrid's airport has to be the most architechually (sp? is this a word?) beautiful.

Puerta Del Sol main area.
I only wish I had my camera on me to take pictures of the interior. The vaulted ceiling had V shaped lines that gradually changed with all colors of the rainbow. Glass elevators and glass windows with panoramic views of the planes flying in and out. Just awesome.

Luggage took a while to get on the conveyor belt, but I got all my bags and headed out to meet John, my boyfriend. We then easily hopped on a bus to get to the train station. From there, we took the metro to get to our hotel in the center of Madrid. John had already checked us in since he flew in earlier that day, so I dropped off my bags and off we went to see Madrid at night.

Since it was Saturday evening, people were all over the place from tourists to locals. Our hotel is located in Puerta Del Sol (Spanish for "Sun Gate" - http://en.

wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerta_del_Sol), the center of Madrid where people are always out and things are always happening. (note:My decisions for staying at this hotel were based on location, price, comfort of the room and, as an added bonus, the great reviews about their breakfeast buffet! :) I can't turn down good food... ha! It turned out to be one of the best hotel picks ever!) We walked out to Plaza Del Sol, which was about 3 minutes away, walked pass the horse statue, the famous Tio Peppe sign (read rick steve's spain 2007) and crossed the street to explore random streets and a bite to eat.

The weather was chilly that night but bearable as long as I had my coat and scarf with me. The wind made the temperature worse than it was. Walked past a crowded McDonalds a few times, headed towards the infamous Gran Via, realized we were heading towards Gran Via and then turned around to avoid actually getting there :) From Rick Steve's book, lots of prostitutes hang out in that area and it was recommended to stay away.

Our hotel room.
However, if interested, rates were about $30 euro.

Building up an appetite, we finally came to a decision on a place to eat and ended up in a Madrid chain called "Cafe & Te". This was my first time in Madrid and I had no idea what to expect from locals regarding their knowledge of English. I found out in Cafe & Te that english wasn't spoken much :) Good thing I took Spanish in school and lived in Italy! It turned out very helpful for this trip, especially since my BF had no knowledge and ended up ordering more food for us than we originally wanted :) But it's OK. He'll be the translator for our france trip, since I totally kill the french language. The place was almost full, with people either standing up or sitting in the booths. As with most places in Europe, it was also filled with cigarette smoke.

Our hotel bathroom.
We finally got two seats at the bar counter and asked for a menu as best we could. We sampled a couple of appetizers at first that included thin slices of cured ham (very common), some salad and this appetizer they call 'tortilla'. Tortilla in Spain is not the same round-pancake looking flour wrap that U.S. citizens tend to imagine. It's actually an egg dish with baked potatoes mixed in. And it was sOoOo good (I am an egg lover though. If you don't like eggs, don't eat it). After my first bite, tortillas came to be one of my favorite things to order throughout the trip.

Next came dessert. I couldn't decide what to choose and had an even harder time trying to find out what each pastry was since no one could explain to me in english. Ended up picking out an apple pie since I could tell it had apples and because I love apple pie! It was the BEST Apple pie I have ever had! John and I liked it so much that we ordered another one :) It was sweet and tart, but not as heavy as usual apple pies. It was the right combination for me of fluff and fat and sweet and sour. I really wish I had taken a picture of that pie. It was sOoOo good.

After that, we walked out and toured the city for another 10 minutes or so before calling it a night. We knew we had a jammed packed day for Sunday so we went back to the hotel to get some sleep.

EDGtravel says:
I miss Madrid, lived there for 6 years - What a great trip and awesome pics!
Posted on: Sep 16, 2007
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The famous Tio Pepe sign. You can …
The famous Tio Pepe sign. You can…
Puerta Del Sol main area.
Puerta Del Sol main area.
Pedestrian street view from our ba…
Pedestrian street view from our b…
Our hotel room.
Our hotel room.
Our hotel bathroom.
Our hotel bathroom.
Madrid Hotels & Accommodations review
I visited Madrid a few months ago in March (3-16 to 3-20) and loved the hotel we stayed in. It was in a VERY central location - right in the middle by… read entire review
photo by: vulindlela