Arrival in Madrid

Madrid Travel Blog

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The Aer Lingus flight to Madrid was relatively uneventful, save for the fact that I almost flooded the plane somewhere over the Atlantic. I was using the restroom and everything was proceeding rather normally until I tried using the sink. I pushed a button, water came out. I waited for the water to stop coming out. It didn't. I tried pushing the button again, nothing happened. The water kept coming out. In fact it was coming out faster than it drained, and the sink was slowly filling up. I stepped outside the restroom and asked the nearest passenger to get a flight attendant. He looked at me with a confused expression. I pointed at the sink. He smiled and nodded. I reached over him and pushed the flight attendant button above his head.

By this time the sink was nearly overflowing, and and showing no signs of stopping. A flight attendant finally came by, tried working the sink, and said something like “*$*)$(#_!”. She called another flight attendant over, and they opened up a little compartment under the sink and manually turned off the water. I was slightly embarrassed about the situation, but relatively secure with the fact that this was a rare case where it probably wasn't my fault. A few days later I got an email from United/Aer Lingus apologizing for “technical difficulties” – not sure if they were referring to the fact that the bathroom nearly flooded or that my entertainment system had an annoying habit of rebooting – and I got a voucher for $100. 

Anyway, we landed in Madrid and quickly realized that its denizens were nocturnal because there was no one out in the streets in the morning. The only signs of inhabitation were large piles of trash and empty beer bottles in the park at Plaza de Espana, apparently from a night of raucous partying the night before. 

We checked into our hostel along Gran Via, grabbed some food, and spent most of the afternoon walking around looking for an ATM that wouldn't charge exorbitant fees, which wasn't as boring as it sounds because it's always fun walking around aimlessly in a new city. 

I forget what we did that first night, because all the nights in Spain blur into a memory of eating tapas, drinking wine, and walking from bar to bar. I think we found a small dive bar in the Malasana area, and talked to a group of Spainard's who worked in the entertainment industry, producing sound effects or something like that. The thing that stands out the most from these memories is how incredibly friendly and welcoming everyone was. This was especially surprising because Spain is such a popular tourist destination. Everyone always seemed to be willing to help us out with any questions, eager to show us around to local bars, and curious about our lives on more than just a superficial level. People seemed friendlier here than in most other countries I've visited, and definitely friendlier than my home town of Los Angeles!

 

 

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Secure, quiet, hotel-like
Hostal Santillan is a decent hostel on the 8th story of an old building in Madrid. It a few blocks away from the Metro stop at Plaza de Espana. The lo… read entire review
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photo by: vulindlela