Madrid

15th May 2015

I arrived in Madrid around 7pm after an 8-hours ride from Barcelona. I have seen so much beautiful on the way and tried to fasten it by making videos. My stop in Madrid was the Estación Sur bus terminal, because the bus was not going further in Madrid. I googled if I could walk to the hostel I booked and as it seemed, I could. Looking for the direction I had to go, a Spanish couple with a little child asked me, if they can help me. When I told them, where the hostel is, they told me, that I have to go by the Metro and that I have to change for coming to the right destination: Plaza del Sol – surprisingly the train station is named Vodafone Sol. I was very happy and thankful, that this couple was helping me, because it was really far away from the bus terminal and it was a nice first impression of Madrid.

At the Metro Station close to the bus terminal I was wondering what value my ticket should have and I was happy that there was an assistant, ready to help and explain the ticket machine. They were very easy to use and in a moment I had a 1,50 EUR-ticket. He also explained for me, which line I should take to which stop for changing to the one I will reach the stop “Sol”. Even it was a little complicated when I changed, because I was leaving at another station than the Spanish couple told me, I made it and did not go extra stops.

Leaving the Metro at Vodafone Sol I tried to find my way to the hostel “The Hat”. I soon found the right direction by google maps, but Madrid arranged a kind of art festival and on the Plaza Mayor there were a scene and a band was singing. It was crowded and I did not find the way through. I asked a policeman and he gave me the directions, but I did not expect, that I had to choose the street so hard to the left as it was necessary. Furthermore it was the “San Isidro” festival going on in all the streets around the “Plaza Mayor”. Therefore I needed around half an hour more to find the place. Finally I had to ask one more time even I was in the right street, but the numbers were set unusually and I did not find the hostel immediately.

 

 

 

At “The Hat” I was friendly and professional welcomed and got an electronic key to the room, where my bed was. I booked first only one night, but changed my mind and booked another. The thing was, that I booked the first night by booking.com and the other directly by the Hi-Hostel booking system. Though I have got my bed for the upcoming night and had to check out and check in the next day again.

 

 

 

In the nice and clean room with the bathroom en suite there were lockers and I had use for the lock I had taken with me. It felt save to have my belongings in the locker. I had a lower bed and all was very well. I was hungry and went out to eat something. I found the “Origén” bar and ate two Empanadas with Yuca and cheese. They were tasty. I even took a Mango Smoothie for 1 EUR only. By the way I already have had a pineapple / coconut smoothie to that famous price in Barcelona before.

The night was still young and I continued to the Plaza Mayor and listened to the music for a while. It became chilly and windy, therefore I felt cold even I was dressed in my cardigan. Though I walked back to hostel and took a quite early sleep.

 

 

 

16th May

I awake early by the noise from the street and the sunlight as well as by falling asleep so early last night. After a shower (with a fast shower in the middle of the inner roof of the shower area)

 

 

 

I ate breakfast at the hostel. I was happy they offered cereals even they did not have yogurt – but different kinds of milk (fat, low-fat, free of lactose and soymilk). I also could choose of two kinds of juice (orange and peach). The best of all, they had real coffee! Even there was only white bread, different kind of cakes and croissants as well as orange marmalade and Nutella – and butter, of course – I arranged with that breakfast. They offered fruits, too. what I was happy about.

I have seen an advertising for the free walking tour and became interested in it. I have attended such tours before and even I know that it not really is for free, but a tip is usual, I though I will follow such a tour this morning. Unfortunately the tour started quite late, but the guide picked us up at the hostel at 10:30. Before the guide arrived I walked around in the area, bought a bottle of water for only 27 Cent in the nearby convenience shop, but forgot to buy some sun protection, because it still was chilly.

 

 

 

Around 10:15 I met the tour guide at the hostel and followed her to the bear at the Plaza del Sol, where the meeting place was. She was very nice and we talked a little on the way. I asked her about the “Museo de Jamon”, because I could not see any museum at that place and she explained, that it is a kind of bar and there are lots of in the city, because they are selling baguettes with ham (jamon). She also told me that these baguettes are cheap and to recommend for budget travellers. Later on she told me, that she will have a Spanish-speaking group and the English-speaking tourists will have an other guide. At the meeting point we had not only to wait for another twenty minutes to start our walk, but longer for some reason. Meanwhile we had to wait for the start I was walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful houses of the area. I was back in time. The tour should be for three hours and finally it began. A little baguette with only ham is for one (1) EUR, it costs a little more, when you take a bigger one or one with ham and cheese, for example. The one I ate later that day was for 1,80 EUR – still an affordable price.

The free tour started at the Bear monument at the Plaza del Sol. We passed the former Main Post Office Building, put our feet on “point zero” and continued with some stops between the Royal Palace and the church nearby, crossed a bridge to the “fiesta plaza” for the city – where you are allowed to bring your own meals and drinks – throughout the more narrow streets, even they are much wider than the old streets in the city of Barcelona, to a garden with a special kind of trees and afterwards to a restaurant which serves this special liquor. Some of the group followed the guide into the restaurant for tasting this, but not me and even a couple of more people – of different reasons. We had to wait a long while for the guide and the others of the group and there was no possibility to have a seat, but by ordering a meal or a drink.

 

 

 

I got tired in my feet and my mind of this waste of time. Finally we went back to the “Plaza Mayor” and the Congress Hall as well. At this point we reached the end of the tour. I was a little disappointed, because it was neither a three hours walk nor did I like the try to sell in the restaurants on our way. I also was tired in my feet and legs even I had my hiking shoes! I went back to the “Plaza del Sol” and passed a shop selling these nice Spanish scarfs and in that moment I knew, that it is – the useful souvenir of Madrid. It is good for chilly evenings as well as preventing sun burns. The shop assistant was very nice, because when I told her, I will use it by my own, she told me, that I have taken one for children. I chose another one and grateful paid for it. She also told me – and she was not the only one on this trip – that my way to have my money and my passport is a good and save one. It happens in Madrid, that there are pickpockets and robbers, who take whole bags of people.

I was hungry and looking for a “Museo de Jamon”. The first two or three I saw where crowded, therefore I continued to find another one. Nearby there was a bench in the sun, where I took a seat my new scarf over my shoulders.

My little backpack and my cabin trolley were still waiting for me at the hostel and I went back to check in again for another night. Unfortunately I made a mistake while booking this night, because I booked not for the upcoming night, but the night after that. I remember, that I was checking more than once, that I booked for the right night – I do not know, where the mistake was. The guys at the hostel told me, that they are fully occupied and I could not get a bed – but than one explained to me, that he had taken apart two beds if someone really need them. Though I was allowed to stay the upcoming night and the wrong night they cancelled without charging a fee. I was very happy about that and will never forget this help.

I have got a bed in a 4 bed-dorm, but I have got an upper bed. I tried to enter the upper bed, but it was no longer working for me, though I put a chair in front of the ladder and I made it all the way up, but first I had to take away the towel, the guest in the lower bed placed on the ladder. Now I checked my emails and wrote one to my upcoming host, because the WiFi is for free here, too. Actually it was bad for the moment – the day before was no WiFi at all because the strike of the telecompany. By the bad WiFi I could not check the buses to my next destination the upcoming day. I wrote my diary for not forgetting all the things I already have seen and done.

Later that afternoon I went out again, buying another empanada – with another taste – and a papaya-smoothie. I continued from there to the Royal Palace, to another park – we have not seen before and back to the park for the fiesta, where one can see the mountains. I listened to the music and was waiting for the sunset. I had found a really good place. From time to time other visitors stand close to me, but none was there as long as I was. When I had taken a lot of photographs from the sunset – and meanwhile enjoyed it – I took a walk to the scene to see the artist. It was so crowded there, that I could not enjoy it and went back to the hostel.

 

 

 

17th May

It was Sunday and I had decided before to stay most of the day in Madrid. I read that there will be a famous Antique Market and I would like to see it, because it tells a lot about a culture of an area. First I only found a usual market area where clothes, bags and more were sold, but finally I came to the part of the Antique Market and the items sold there were very blended like old copper pans, dolls and other toys, records and books, but also clothes and curtains as well as some salesmen tried to sell their history of live. It was very interesting to see.

 

 

 

I went back to the hostel for using the toilet, because I did not find an other one, and continued to the Plaza Mayor. There were big advertising signs for all the shows during the festival, including a dance show with Madrilenian dances on the Plaza Mayor with was announced to start at 11 o’clock – but it did not start before 12 o’clock in real. I was very interested in these dances and was there in time. I have got a seat with a good view, even I first was not thinking about the heat. There was no shade and it was really hot that day. Fortunately I had my hat, my sunglasses and my new scarf – though I was well prepared. Others took what they had and I saw some funny views, but it worked.

 

 

 

 

The show was famous. I would have loved to stay until the definite end, but I did not have time for it. Around 2 o’clock I had to go and I think I missed the last hour of the show. I tried to eat another empanada, but there was a long queue and so crowded in and in front of the snack bar, that I tried to find something else to eat. Therefore I tried a frozen yogurt instead, but got very disappointed. On my way back to the hostel for picking up my luggage I bought a sandwich at the convenience shop at the corner, there. I also bought two bottles of water, because there were a singing beggar in front of the door to the shop. In the heat I thought, it will be best for him to get some water. He did not enjoy it :-(. He nearly did not take it. At the hostel I went one more time to the toilet – there were never a complaint about it – and I was one more time happy about their service. I really can recommend the hostel!

 

 

 

My way was to the “Plaza del Sol” again and the Metro station. Easily I found my way with it to the street “Principe Pio” for catching a bus at this bus station at 4pm, but it was no bus at that time, because it was Sunday. I had to wait for one more hour. I had to buy the ticket again in a ticket machine and was also able to choose a seat by that. Unfortunately it was not possible to choose seat no. 1, therefore I chose no. 2, but there were never a passenger for the other seat during the whole trip. The bus was for “Talavera de la Reina” and a direct bus. The journey took around one (1) hour only.