Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nov 12-13 Destination - Madrid On Our Own

Monday Nov 12 - Depart for Spain

Italics are tour descriptions.

Limo  Booked
Depart 1820  BA92 Terminal 3 premium economy

Sometimes you have to wonder at the use of technology. We checked in online 24 hours before the flight. We got our seats and boarding passes and were told to go to Bag Drop 425-434 to drop off bags and get baggage tags.

Those numbers are now used by Aer Lingus (works for me, but wouldn't get our bags to Heathrow).

It would have been faster to simply show up and get checked in and drop your bags.

The line for people to drop bags with online check in was an hour.

 For people who showed up and used the automated check in machines they received boarding passes AND baggage tags.

Security - another mystery. We are pre-approved TSA and used the AMEX priority line and still took forever!

Finally through we headed to the Premium Lounge for a well deserved drink. This lounge also had really good complimentary food. Jerk chicken, rice, Malaysian prawn soup, salads and cheeses.

Totally easy flight, John got his reserved gluten free meal of chicken and rice, I chose the cannelloni with Alfredo and rose sauce. MEH.

I watched Mama Mia Here We Go Again, and thought it was boring and Cher was a waste of time in it.
Then watched American Animals which I need to watch again.

We arrived in Heathrow at around 1:30  am our time and 6:30 am their time. Boarded a train to our transit terminal, cleared security quickly and the first sign I saw was Gordon Ramsey! English breakfast time!

That should keep us for awhile!

Tuesday Nov 13 - Arrive Madrid
Depart  915 BA 512 terminal 3 ARRIVE terminal 4 1240

On to our Iberia flight to Madrid at 9:15 am.
We were lucky, I had picked aisle seats for us and both ended up with empty seats beside us on an extremely cramped plane and both snoozed all the way to Madrid.

Madrid airport was so quiet compared to Heathrow.

Passport control quick and pleasant.

Luggage in hand, greeted by our diver, this was our private ride to our hotel.

Transfer to hotel included Details provided to Gate 1

Ayre Gran Hotel Colon
Pez Volador, 1-11
Madrid, SPAIN 28007
P: +(34)-91-573-5900

Standard Room with Breakfast

Ayre Gran Hotel Colón is a 4-star designer hotel located in the centre of Madrid, very close to the Retiro Park, the Las Ventas Bull Ring and the Salamanca commercial district.
The hotel comprises two buildings (Edificio Europa and Edificio America), both recently renovated and decorated by Manuel Ortega, author of the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of the Almudena. The two buildings are linked by a spectacular 1,200 square metre garden and an art gallery.

There are countless sites to visit when staying at Ayre Gran Hotel Colón, from the most important museums (the Reina Sofía, the Prado (on city tour) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza), to Puerta de Alcalá, the Madrid Stock Exchange, the CaixaForum Madrid cultural centre, and many others , including the Plaza de Cibeles (on city tour), Puerta del Sol, Gran Vía, or the Plaza Mayor.

Jetlagged, we get checked in and go to our room, get settled and decide on a nap until around 5 pm.

We don't want to sleep anymore so we go for a walk. Armed with a map and directions from the desk clerk we head out into rush hour traffic. The neighbourhood is vibrant and the streets are packed with families returning home from work and school. Children are riding their bikes. Older people and walking their dogs and chatting on benches.
There are also two large hospitals in the area.

We walked up and down to the O'Donnell subway station twice.

Then walked to the entrance of Parque El Retiro, spotted a store selling SIM cards but didn't have our passports on us. NOTE to self, put this on checklist for Europe as it happened in Germany too.

Lovely and warm.

Checking a menu near the park.

Decided to go back to hotel and get the passports (along with water 6 large bottles for 6 €) and headed  back to get the cards.

Now food. Walked to O'Donnell station and then decided on a Parador de Jamon that we had passed several times.

An unexpected complimentary appetizer of olives (John ate them all!) and the other plate contained mussels, tomatoes, onions and some tuna in olive oil. Delicious!

$52 Cdn for dinner.

Tapas are “little dishes” or snack-size foods that can be eaten all around Spain. Yes, you’ve read correctly: these delicacies can be found everywhere and they are so good that once you start having them you can’t stop. The price of a tapa varies depending on its ingredients, the complexity of its elaboration, the bar, and the city or region. But as a rule of thumb you can expect tapas to cost from 2.5 to 5 €. The media ración (half plate) and ración (full plate) are bigger and cost a bit more as they are intended to be shared by a group. At lunch you can have tapas from around 13:00 up to 15:00. At dinner people start eating tapas around 21:00 and end at 23:00 or even midnight.

Properly sated back to hotel and in bed at 11:30.


  1. ...jet lag kills me. Have a great time.

  2. There's a restaurant here that does things tapas style, but I've never tried it.