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Unread 22 Feb 19, 06:15 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Hola Madrid 2019: Pre-trip and Travel Day

Welcome to a report of our short break to Madrid in February half term.

Meet the cast:

Here we are in Acadia National Park in summer 2018:



From left to right:
Hannah: finder of lost paths, fabulous photo poser, has Spanish GCSE

Elizabeth: chief planner and organiser, shortest person in the family, has done Spanish on Duolingo

Paul: lover of transport systems and siestas, knows next to no Spanish

Evan: comedian, carnivore, taking Spanish GCSE this summer

We had all enjoyed our trip to Berlin so much that we fancied another European city break. We picked Spain as it would be GCSE revision for Evan and Madrid had the best flight prices of all the cities we looked at.

We looked at hotels but then found some lovely apartments on AirBnB. We had really enjoyed the AirBnBs we had stayed in on our last USA trip, and so spent some time narrowing down our choices, making sure that we were only booking with Superhosts who had lots of positive reviews. We settled on one in Malasana, a fairly hipster neighbourhood with lots of bars and eating places nearby.

The trip seemed a long way away and then suddenly came around very quickly. We all had a really busy week before we went and felt very unprepared for it. At least we had remembered to buy some tiny toiletries ready for flying hand luggage only.

On travel day, we got up early, ready to take the cats to the cattery. After our much loved cat Lulu died in the summer, we had adopted two adorable kittens, named Johnny and June. It was their first time in a cattery and there were some comedy moments as Paul and I attempted to get them both into the cat box. We would catch one and put them in, then as we opened the door to add their sibling, the first kitten would escape and so on. After a good ten minutes of cat chasing and some swearing, they were both in the box and neither feline was particularly happy about it.

Johnny & June were fine in the cattery though, even if they didn't really want to be there. They looked tiny compared to all the fully grown cats in the other pens but they did settle in.


June


Johnny

Kittens all sorted, we packed and did various other jobs before a quick lunch to eat up all the remaining fresh food. Then it was the fairly straightforward drive to Manchester and the parking we had booked.

We booked with APH parking and were very impressed. The whole operation was really slick and we were quickly parked up and then on the bus to the airport.

Security was all fairly straightforward and everybody's tiny toiletries fitted into the little plastic bags. Result! We had booked priority boarding with bags as Ryanair had just changed their policy to charge extra for cabin baggage. Fortunately it wasn't too much more to book bags at the time and we had booked our seats as well.

Manchester Terminal 3 was as much fun as it every is - absolutely heaving and very few places to sit in the main area. We had a drink and stocked up on sandwiches for the flight before heading to the gate.

Boarding was quite straightforward, although as the overhead lockers filled up, people were trying to get past each other to find spaces in the lockers further away which created quite a few traffic jams in the centre aisle. We were then stuck on the runway for around 40 minutes due to reduced runway capacity at Madrid airport.



The flight wasn't that long, 2 and half hours, but with added runway time at Manchester, we were all quite relieved to land in Spain. With everyone's bags being somewhere else, there was an amount of do-si-do in the aisle as we all tried to get past each other to collect them. Feeling fully acquainted with our fellow passengers now that we had square danced with them, we bid farewell and headed down to the shuttle buses and then into the airport.

Immigration was quick and there were a few pangs of sadness at the realisation that this would probably the last time we could go through the EU line at an airport. Not looking forward to potentially needing visas to travel to mainland Europe in future .

As soon as I could, I connected to Wifi to message our AirBnB host to let her know we were on our way. It's quite a long walk to the Metro but fortunately, it was very straightforward to buy the right tickets, which, if you've read my New York trippie, you will know isn't always the case!

The Madrid Metro was clean and easy to manage, unlike the horrors of the New York subway and our journey to Malasana was quite straightforward. There was a bit of stress as I kept trying to connect to my data to get directions and the response from our host as my phone just wouldn't connect. We found the address quite easily but I couldn't get into my messages and so we had no idea how to get into the flat. (It turned out that I hadn't got data roaming switched on with my contract and it was virtually impossible to do this from abroad, so we had to rely on everyone else's phone).

Fortunately, our host, Maggie, heard us outside and came out to let us into the apartment and show us around. It would have been easier for her to have let us know a few days ago which doorbell to ring rather than waiting until the last minute but it was all okay in the end.

With the flight delay and time difference, it was 11.45pm by the time we were ready to go out again. Even though this is Spain and they eat late, that's a bit late for a Sunday and it looked as though most places were packing up. We didn't want to keep walking the streets, so headed to the corner shop to pick up some coffee and donuts for breakfast and a couple of pizzas and beers for tonight.

The pizzas were surprisingly good and staved off the hangriness that had been brewing after a late flight. Feeling suitably Spanish to be having our tea around midnight, we settled in with a drink before retiring to bed. The one hassle was that we couldn't for the life of us work out the sofa bed. We tried everything, including Youtube tutorials, but to no avail. In the end, the kids agreed to share the other bed and as we were shattered, we were all asleep in minutes.

Edited at 06:17 PM.
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Unread 24 Feb 19, 08:13 AM  
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Melbatb
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A long day by the sounds of it - though as you were youtubing in the airbnb at least I hope Evan had wifi access
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Unread 27 Feb 19, 07:18 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
A long day by the sounds of it - though as you were youtubing in the airbnb at least I hope Evan had wifi access
Yes, fortunately there was Wifi and Evan's phone could connect to it! That was a relief!
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Unread 1 Mar 19, 06:16 PM  
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Hola indeed !

Glad you got there, sounds a long day though by the end. Happy faces the metro and tickets were all good this time .
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Unread 2 Mar 19, 09:08 AM  
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Hola, glad you finally got into your Air B&B! Looking forward to reading more
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 07:08 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Hola indeed !

Glad you got there, sounds a long day though by the end. Happy faces the metro and tickets were all good this time .
I know, such a relief!

Originally Posted by katiebaz View Post
Hola, glad you finally got into your Air B&B! Looking forward to reading more
Yes, that was a bit stressful but okay in the end.
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Unread 24 Mar 19, 12:17 AM  
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