Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 90-93: Madrid & Tarragona

Arriving in Madrid was a very very early morning. The alarms for 4:30 went off but no one got up, however we did manage to get up at 5 when one of the girls sprung out of bed. It took us a long time to get to the airport and longer than it should have, as it always did. Managed to make it on time for our flight from Rome on the way to Madrid. Arriving in Madrid was a little sad for me, as I had been picked up by my cousin on my previous visit and I wasn't going to see her on this trip. We navigated our way through the Metro which was one of the nicer ones of the trips. Found the hostel easily and dropped bags to explore the city a bit. Unfortunately it was absolutely freezing and raining, a bad week of weather that we happened to be there during.

I lived out of this for 11 days.
The first day was slow, since the weather was bad and we were all getting tired. We found the chocolateria again, and I had the amazing churros. A couple of the girls made the same mistake I had, thinking the Spanish hot chocolate was the same as North American. It was not and they didn't seem impressed by one of my favourite treats. We shopped around in the afternoon, running through the spurts of rain.

The evening was one of the better parts of our stay. We did a tapas supper/flamenco show/pub crawl event by a local company. The food was really good and it was nice to see the nightlife of Madrid. I loved the flamenco, so much that I forgot to take any pictures. I had planned on leaving after the first bar on the pubcrawl, since I wasn't in the mood for it, but we ended up staying out til after 4. 24 hours of being awake were not what I was expecting!

The next day sadly was not one for sleeping in. Because we were only staying one night, we had to be up and checked out by 11. It took longer to get ready as usual. We stored bags in the hostel and took our time exploring around the city a little more. The girls wanted to do a walking tour, but since it was Good Friday it was cancelled. We had lots of time to kill since our train wasn't til 11 that night, so more shopping around Madrid was a fun task, after which we had supper nearby the hostel and continued being lazy since we had hours to kill.

Click through for what happened...

Unfortunately, the lazy attitude we had all day ended up killing us in the end. After supper, we took advantage of wifi at the hostel but didn't keep a check on the time. We left too late to catch the overnight train we had planned, and ended up missing it by minutes. At this point, I was too tired and sick and just ready to leave to worry about getting a cheap room, so we got a hotel close to the train station to get a good night's sleep. It was a group effort to miss the train, but I think my part was a little less than some others who were happier to sit in wifi zones than be early for the train.

While I was sleeping, the plans had been made to get a bus for our 7 hour ride to our next stop, Tarragona. We made sure we were extra early for the bus, which turned out to be useful when the attendants at the station made no attempts to help or understand us. Pronunciation of words might be different, but the Spaniards were not eager to try to figure out what we were saying. The rest of Saturday was spent sleeping on and off on the bus, but we made it there in the end. Getting to this city proved to be difficult, but it seemed like everything associated with this stop was extra difficult. When we arrived, we found the hotel easily enough but the reservation was non-existent. The front desk guy was useless, but luckily there were rooms available. We had a relaxing night at the hotel, but not a great night's sleep. We split into groups of 2/3 and I was left to sleep on a pull out chair. I was reminded how great my iPod is for getting to sleep.

Easter Sunday was the amusement park day. I wasn't overly eager to go since I'd been having a rough couple of days, but I did have fun. The water rides annoyed me, but the roller coasters were worth their wait. Few pictures again since I had to strap my camera in my pockets to go on!

A well deserved day at the park to keep everyone's spirits up luckily turned things around. We spent the day at the park, then headed back to get our bus to the next stop, Barcelona!

Til next time!

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