Welcome to the wonderful world of long haul business class flights, this time on Iberia! Jealous much?
I would be too when you’re seated in a lounge with an open bar, a decent spread of food and free Wi-Fi. This completely eased us into the prospects of a ten-hour flight from Bogota to Madrid. After getting priority passes through the outbound immigration, priority boarding onto the plain, and offered glasses of wine, whiskey and anything else we could possibly have wanted we settled in with our airline socks and began the moving watching with some olives and peanuts to tide us through for the two hours until dinner… it’s a hard life backpacking through business class. We can thank James for years of collecting frequent flier points and bouncing between credit cards… the mess of multiple credit cards was definitely worth it for this luxury!
After a three course dinner, some more wine, movies, a little sleep and scrambled eggs for breakfast it was time to get ourselves back together and ready for EU immigration and to our hotel. Immigration into the EU is quite easy an Australian, they barely looked at our passports before shooing us through to the other side. We were thankful for being able to check-in to our hotel early at 11am… it was time for a quick nap (we’d been awake for 22 hours at this point and needed to try and be somewhat functional for a little bit).
Ways to recover from jetlag…
Although we’d been in business, and had a little sleep when we’d arrived into Madrid, arriving in the morning wasn’t our first preference for flight times… The jetlag was yet to come, but we needed to try and stay awake as long as possible to try and avoid 3am wake-ups. We ventured out early in the afternoon to grab lunch at a bar across the road then onto a few beers. Beers are good for jetlag right? The afternoon was spent outside in the sun for as long as possible enjoying the numerous restaurants and bars around our hotel. We finished the evening at a little tapas bar around the corner called ‘Happig’, you buy beer, and you get free food… Spain is definitely going to be somewhere with lots of meat and beer/wine by the look of it. Happig was a very cool little place, filled with legs of Jamón, cheese, fresh bread and craft beers; we’d hit the jackpot in the first 10 hours of being in the country!
Investigating the city
The following day we decided that we needed to get a little more sunshine to try and kill any jetlag vibes we were getting… this was great in theory, not so amazing in practice. We’d neglected to set alarms so we didn’t oversleep, we both woke up close to 10am after having slept for 13 hours… whoops? In saying that, nothing starts in Madrid before midday. We decided to spend the remainder of the morning having a look around the Buen Retiro Park. Huge is an understatement for this beautiful area! The park is 1.25 square kilometres and home to over 15,000 types of trees; it is home to a grand lake that you can hire boats to paddle around in, a few museums, a glass house that dates back to 1887, sculptures and numerous gardens. One of the prominent features in the park is the Fuente del Ángel Caído (the Fountain of the Fallen Angel), the only monument of its kind in the world, it symbolises the devil’s exile from paradise. You could easily spend days wandering through the park and seeing all of the beautiful gardens, along with some very interesting people watching… We spent just over two hours there, but then desperately needed to seek some shade from the heat and humidity.
Where else to seek shade than in a little bar across the road, with €2 beers and free crostini bread topped with jamón. After a wine and a beer (or two, each), James decided he needed some proper food that didn’t involve having to drink copious amounts to get fed. We ventured a little further down the road and came across a small taberna called ‘El Refectorio de Ibiza’, which offered a €10 Menu Del Dia. Not expecting too much we settled in and became acquainted with another glass of wine and sardines on toast for Dee, and for James one of the largest menu del dias we have ever come across: bread, olives, beer, prawn scrambled eggs, steak and chips, desert and coffee. Not one to stray from a good feed James finished off his monstrous meal, then proceeded to wallow in his self-induced food coma. Not wanting to gallivant around the city any further he retired back to the air-conditioning of the hotel while Dee went to have a hunt around for a shop to buy some new shirts… not great with directions she got lost and wound up back at the hotel around four hours later, armed with shopping bags.
All of the food
It’s obvious where this is going…
Friday we didn’t do much at all, we really needed to try and stay outside to try and avoid the jetlag (still) and not feel the urge to sleep all of the time. Unfortunately, the eight-hour time zone difference was not doing us any favours… fortunately though; we had access to beers and good food. If nothing else so far, Madrid has been fantastic for good food and plenty of cheap beer and wine. Starting the morning with a little admin time, we decided after a few hours it was time to again venture out into the world of food, wine and beer… just to make sure we knew exactly what it tasted like. On the way around we saw a giant white church (not sure what it’s name was but it was pretty), and then we overindulged in the local specialty of tapas. We didn’t have anywhere to be, anyone to keep appointments with, and were far too exhausted to have another day of 15km walks. It should be noted at this point, we were very aware that beers and wine probably wasn’t helping with the jetlag situation… but you know, it’s cheap and delicious!
We will return!
Not knowing what day it is can be difficult when you’re travelling around, living a life of no stress… It might be Tuesday, it might be Sunday, it might be August - one has needed to set alarms for travel days to make sure we don’t miss things like flights and buses. Friday was one of those days… we had to pack, checkout, make sure we had double and triple checked the wine situation in Madrid, before catching our bus onto Barcelona. This round of Madrid was only short as there are plans to return before our flight over to Mexico a few weeks later. This stop in Madrid has been a little holiday inside the holiday, enough time to get some decent sleep and get a taste of what we want to see upon our return… next stop! Barcelona!!!
Go see all the photos from Madrid