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Published: December 16th 2011
I love birthday celebrations abroad, even if the birthday is not mine, so when Maarit mentioned a long weekend in Madrid for I was well up for it.
They say it’s about the journey not the destination and in the world of budget airlines that’s usually where it all goes wrong. SleazyJet was only an hour and a half late departing so instead of arriving at 10.30pm I'd be arriving at midnight - awesome! Then discovered my carry on luggage, which was carefully measured to make sure it complied failed to factor in the 1.5 hour airport delay purchases which leads to a complete repack at the gate and being the last person on the plane.Not so bad you think still have a seat, except if you are last there's no more room in the cabin for that carefully repacked luggage and you get to wave goodbye as it gets taken to the hold.
Beautiful, so instead of just walking off the plane and out of the airport you get to wait 15 minutes for your bag to make it from the plane and then if you are extra special chuck in another 20 for the 'Oops I don’t
Bars, bars everywhere
.... this one felt pretty safe
have my passport conversation as it’s in my luggage’ at passport control. Rocking up without any ID is not recommended at any airport, but less so when your grasp of the local lingo is minimal. Luckily I excelled at smiling, pointing and repeating 'baggage' and was escorted to the carousel to recover said passport so it could be stamped and then I was told to 'go' with associated flurry of hand by slightly annoyed looking Spanish passport officer.
The trip to the hotel was a piece of cake as the Madrid metro system goes straight from the airport and is cheap, convenient and easy to use. The other end was just a case of finding the right exit and a 10 minute walk to the hotel. Love or hate Google Street View but having 'walked the route' via the internet meant a confident solitary walk in a strange city at 1am.
From there commenced 3 days of wandering the streets, parks and bars of Madrid at all hours of the day and night (ok the bars more at night). Spain truely is a country that does not like an early night and we managed to help it out.
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