On the 8th March 2009 we packed what was left in our little London flat, which had been our home for the past 2 years, into our backpacks in preparation for our biggest journey yet! It was time to bid farewell to London Town and return back home to Oz, via South America. Destination:
London - Madrid - Brazil - Peru - Argentina - Uruguay - Chile - Brisbane - Sydney. To make our blogs reader friendly, we have decided to break each blog up into the different countries we visited. Feel free to peruse the photos, and leave a comment! Spain, Madrid: 8th - 11th March 2009 8th March 2009
Our early flight from London meant that we had to get up at 3.45am. Given that it was too early to get the tube, we travelled by Taxi to Heathrow airport to catch our flight with Iberia Airlines. Whilst the flight was delayed by 2 hours, we arrived safely in Madrid by late morning. We caught the Metro into the centre of Madrid (after refusing to pay 26 Euros for a bus ride!!) and made our way to Hostel
Sol which was situated in the heart of the Old Town of Madrid - an area called Sol.
After settling into our room, we wandered down to Plaza Mayor, where we sat in the sun and ate lunch. We found paella for 5 euro which seemed like a bargain, until the bill came for the beer - an extra 7 euros - ouch!. As we were both feeling exhausted, we collapsed into bed for an afternoon siesta, before venturing out to dinner at a nearby traditional tapas bar. Our first challenge: ordering! It was clear, our Spanish needed work! 9th March 2009
The following morning, we had a nice long sleep in as we were still trying to recover from the stresses associated with packing up and leaving our home and jobs in London (we found that it took the majority of our time in Madrid to ‘come down’ from the chaos we had left behind).
We ate breakfast in a deli, standing at the bar (this seemed to be the norm). This deli served great food at really decent prices, so we ate there each morning we were in Madrid. The cured meats were
our favourite, though cured meats proved to have some side effects!
We started our exploration of Madrid on an open air city bus called ‘Madrid Vision’. This bus had two separate routes - Moderno and Historia. Throughout the day, we got on and off the bus, exploring different sites and exhibitions. We visited the ‘Palacio de Cristal’, the ‘Monumento a Alfonso XII’ and the ‘Museo Nacional Reina Sofia’ (where we viewed works by Picasso and Dali). 10th March 2009
After another late start, we went back to the deli for breakfast. After struggling with the language barrier (Stacy attempted to order something which was not on the menu and of course, didn’t get what he wanted!), we finished breakfast and continued touring Madrid.
Our first stop was the Royal Palace, which is set on a plateau and offered great views north across the mountains. We shared an audio guide and took our time to explore the Palaces’ armoury and pharmacy. Following this, we strolled down ‘Cava Baja’; a terraced street boasting traditional architecture and great tapas restaurants. We then made our way down ‘Gran Via’, the main street through Madrid, before returning to our hostel
for a quiet night in. 11th March 2009
This morning we had an early start to get breakfast, before making our way back to the airport, via the Metro. Today we were flying to RIO DE JANEIRO!!!!!!! The flight was 10 hours, again with Iberia Airlines (not the best airline after experiencing great flights with LAN Airlines for the rest of our trip). We amused ourselves by watching a couple of movies, including ‘Australia’, which we watched through static and snow - thanks Iberia for being such a quality airline……not!
We really loved the time we spent in Madrid. It’s a classic, beautiful and romantic city that was perfect for us to unwind after the hectic departure from London. The highlights included the amazing food, standing in deli's having breakfast, marvelling at the architecture and strolling through the narrow, quaint streets of Sol. This is a great European city definitely worth visiting!
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