Arrived back home from Madrid yesterday – what a great place. Unfortunately there’s not a direct flight from Glasgow to Madrid meaning we had a transfer at Schiphol in Amsterdam. On flying in you realise how flat Amsterdam and surrounding area really is. If you haven’t been before this airport is massive – we taxied over two motorways before getting off the plane. The driving around the airport is also manic – so much hussle and we had a couple of near misses in our bus to the terminal. Inside was great though – very modern and lots of shops – pity we had so little time there.
From the air the outskirts of Madrid are a total contrast to what I’m used to or expected – the area was so dry. The airport is nothing to write home about either. Our hotel and company we were visiting are based in Tres Cantos, about 20 minutes north of the centre of Madrid. There is nothing much there to see so we made our way via train back to Madrid after checking in (taxi driver did try to fleece for more money but I’ll put that down to our lack of Spanish).
Getting out the train station it took a bit of time to get our bearings – Madrid is very big and very busy and it took a half hour to work our where we were. Only now do we realise that we were 5 minutes form the Bernabeu and in time for a stadium tour – something we missed by five minutes the following night. Never mind – next time.
We walked around for a few hours then ate at Hard Rock cafe. Hardly your traditional Spanish meal but we were pooped by that time having walked down Paseo de a Castellana – one of the busiest and widest streets in Madrid. Next night we were treated to a meal by our hosts at Restaurante Gaztelupe, one of the best Basque restaurants in Madrid. What a feast. I had the monk fish and it was to die for – the restaurant is highly recommended if you ever visit Madrid although it was pretty busy so you have to book in advance. We also had a few beers in a small cafe/bar in the same area. It’s odd as the beers come in smaller sized glasses and in most paces you are served with Tapa each round – small selections of food to share. We later went to the Irish Rover – yep – an Irish themed pub. I guess it wouldn’t be a capital city without there being an Irish themed pub but unlike seemingly everywhere else it was busy for a Wednesday night at 1AM.
The train and metro system in Madrid is excellent with most services frequent and on time. We found it pretty easy to get around. Not so good was our use of the Spanish language. Terrible. Robert at least made an effort but next time I visit I will prepare beforehand and at least learn some basics.
There is so much to see and do and the people in general are pretty friendly. Weather is also good with temps of 20-24C although it was dropping to Glasgow temp’s overnight. We didn’t get anywhere near visiting the old part of Madrid or any of the museums but I have put up some photo’s of the trip. Hopefully next time will get us into the Bernabeu and other parts we haven’t yet seen.