Madrid, Spain 2017 Vlog
During our trip to England, Scott and I took a side trip to Madrid, Spain for 3 days. We stayed at the Hotel NH Madrid Príncipe de Vergara, which is located in northeast Madrid approximately 35 minutes (by metro) from the heart of the city. Without knowing upon booking, our hotel was located about a block (4 minute walk) from one of Madrid's largest metro stations in regards to amount of transfers possible for buses and the metro trains.
Although we were told by an attendant at an information desk at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, the metro line from the airport into the city was down due to construction, we let him know where we were trying to get to and he indicated that the 200 bus would take us to the Avenida de América metro center so that worked out nicely since that transportation center was so close to the hotel. The English-speaking informational desks were easy to find throughout the terminal and the attendant was helpful in answering our questions and directing us.
We waited around 10 minutes for the bus, on a platform that services about 3 other bus lines, so be sure to check which section is the correct bus you're trying to get on (there are maps posted listing each stop and destination). The 200 bus which services terminal T1, T2 and T3, is usually a couple euros and an approximate 40 minute ride, but Scott and I think that the driver waived the fee because the metro was down, he kind of just motioned us to move along as we entered the bus.
Check in for the Hotel NH Madrid Príncipe de Vergara was easy and simple, the front desk staff seemed to be proficient in speaking English as well. The hotel itself featured a modern and clean design, the rooms also reflected that style with a touch of color and pattern. Upon arriving in our room, I immediately was overcome by the smell of cigarette smoke. I noticed both of the windows were open, and figured maybe the smoke was coming from outside. Scott reassured me that we had booked a non-smoking room, and that the hotel itself should all together be non-smoking. We weren't staying long and headed back out to grab lunch, but on the way back the smell in the room seemed to have gotten worse. I tried to sleep it off but I think I actually experienced some kind of asthma attack as I couldn't seem to breath. Scott notified the front desk and asked if there was any way to switch rooms and they happily accommodated our request. Upon switching over to the next room 2 doors down, we noticed a HUGE difference, the air was much cleaner and there were no signs of smoking in that room. Overall it was a comfortable stay and the amenities were exactly what we needed for our trip, if we wanted to add breakfast to each day of our stay, it would have been approximately 20.90€ per person daily. Check out was also easy and there was staff available if needed when we had departed at 5am.
Scott and I didn't really look into tourist attractions prior to visiting Madrid, we kind of just wanted to wing it. When figuring out where to go for lunch, we just yelped a few different locations and after wandering a bit, settled on the Cerveceria Cruz de Malta located in a quaint alley way a few blocks away from Puerta del Sol, a famous and historical public square in Madrid.
Like Paris, the patio/terrace dining experience is popular (and typically a 10% charge for dining outside) and we kind of just motioned the waiter that we were wanting to dine there and grabbed a table. Scott and I were both starving so we each ordered a paella dish and massive beers. Afterwards, we went sightseeing up Calle de La Montera, a busy street filled with fast food to authentic Spanish cuisine as well as shops and souvenir stores; on the way to Gran Via which has all the major retail stores like H&M, Zara, and Primark. I attempted to shop, but it was late afternoon and very chaotic, like a zoo in every single store I went into.
It got overwhelming so Scott and I left. For dinner, Scott took me to a nearby Italian restaurant, Restaurante La Tagliatella; the restaurant was insanely ornate and opulently decorated. The waiter purely spoke to us in Spanish until he saw our confused faces for not understanding and therefore threw in a few English words; we ordered by pointing at pictures or the item on the menu and attempting to pronounce it. The portions were surprisingly large, therefore Scott and I probably could have done family style with the pasta. But we did share a yummy prosecco sangria.
The next day was our shopping day so we grabbed a quick bite at McDonald's (yes, I know, but it's fail proof), then hit up the shops on Gran Via and it was definitely less crowded and less of a headache. We actually spent almost 5 hours in Primark alone (can you blame us? it's 4-5 stories of amazing shopping in every department). Afterwards, we walked around Plaza del Callao and wandered down one of the small streets, ending up at Gramabar for a pitcher of red sangria.
We spent the last day touring the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of the fúbol team, Real Madrid. I didn't know what to expect because of course I was going for Scott, and don't really follow or know but about fútbol teams. But I would say it was a great look at the stadium from various vantage points and getting to go onto the field as well as see the players' dressing room was a fun 'behind-the-scenes' experience. If you are a fútbol fan, or better yet a Real Madrid fan than this tour is a must when visiting Madrid.
On our way back from the stadium tour, we stopped in at TGIFridays for lunch, then picked up an ice cream at a street vendor before taking a picture in front of the Palacio de Cibeles, one of the city's historical landmarks inaugurated in 1909 as the headquarters for the Spanish Post Office and Telegraph Company; and since 2007 has served as the offices for the Madrid City Council.
Before heading back to our hotel, we stopped in at the Avenida de América metro center to confirm that there would be a 200 bus leaving early enough back to the airport for our flight. We asked a metro attendant if she spoke english and she said a little; surprisingly she was much more proficient than she thought - she let us know which bus time to catch and where to board the bus. Surely enough the next morning, Scott and I waited for the 5:15am bus on the platform and it arrived right on the dot. It was an easy ride to the airport and dropped us off where we needed to be.
Have you ever been to Madrid? What places have you visited or restaurants have you eaten at? I think I would have liked to look into a few landmark places to visit, but at the same time it was nice for Scott and I to just take the trip day by day and enjoy it.