We were excited to begin this trip. Ellen took the Metro to Crystal City, I ducked out of work at 2:30pm and we were off to Dulles. There was a long line at United to check in, but unlike the French last year, they were organized and the line moved.
We had splurged for Economy Plus, so we got a little more legroom and got to board earlier. The flight was fine, I amused myself by watching a couple of TV shows on my iPad, while Ellen mostly slept. We arrived in Brussels on time at 7:30am. Our connecting flight was a United codeshare on Brussels Airlines. Only problem was we had been given no seat assignments, no boarding passes and the gate wasn’t posted. We eventually found the gate and began the 2nd flight. I think we both slept better on this 2.5 hour flight than we did on the long one.
When we arrived in Madrid, we asked at the tourist desk how to get to our hotel via public transport. There was an option of bus or subway. We chose the bus so we could see more. It was a tremendous bargain, €2 each. I know it must be subsidized, but what a great way to get people to use mass transit.
It was about a 15 minute walk to our hotel, that we navigated without incident. Our hotel, Casa de Madrid, is located right near the Royal Palace and Opera House. It only has 7 rooms, and
Is closer to a B&B. We napped for about an hour, then set off to explore.
Weather was beautiful, probably around 70 degrees. Warm when the sun was out, cool when it went away. We stopped for a afternoon beer/Coca Cola Light break (you can guess who drank what). I love the way Europeans take the time to relax.
We wandered on our own for awhile, then used a Frommer’s walking tour. Being a Saturday with nice weather, there was lots of people watching to do. We stretched our walk until 7pm. We know that is early for dinner in Spain, but we didn’t eat lunch, and it will take awhile to get through jet lag.
We picked a restaurant near our hotel out of the guidebook, Taberna del Alabardero. We had 5 tapas plates, potatoes, rockfish ball stew and chicken wings that we shared, and shrimp and cheese plates for Ellen. The food was delicious, just the right amount too. It was a good thing we weren’t in a hurry, as our waiter disappeared for half an hour after we had finished eating. We walked briefly near the palace after dinner, then headed back to our hotel.
The hotel’s wifi conked out, so hope to get this posted tomorrow. Hope there is a quick learning curve on typing with the iPad, as I’ve had some struggles initially. We are just trying to make it to 10pm before collapsing.