Tag Archives: Hotel

Back to Madrid

Back to Madrid

It was time to pack up our things and leave our newly acquired home… time to get back to reality, back to work, back home…

We bid adios to the neighborhood gato and the flowering sweet almond…

Cat and almond tree

“Hasta luego, gatito!”

We locked everything up and drove back to Madrid. We arrived in the evening and checked into the Hotel Clement Barajas.

View from our room at the Hotel Clement Barajas

Looking out the window from our room at the Hotel Clement Barajas

Hotel Clement Barajas view

Barajas

Barrio Barajas

In Arboleas

In Arboleas

We checked in to the Hostal Meson, and wanted to walk over to the house since it was literally a five minute walk from our hotel. It was getting dark, but we were eager to snoop around. We got to the house (Thank you GoogleMaps for allowing me to memorize the walk to the house!) and we were surprised to see lights on, and the shutters open.

Before continuing your read, I’d like to invite you to click this link to open up a new window and enjoy some background music… it will add to the experience.

As we walked up to the house (and I hope you are listening to the music!!) We heard drumming. Yes, drumming. You have got to be kidding. We buy a house in Spain, in a small village in SPAIN for goodness sake, and someone is practicing the DRUMS at night?? It was coming from the house directly in front of us. I was ready to scream. How could this BE?? Would we be tormented by the drumming every day? Every night?? We tried to block it out of our minds, but much like this Iron Butterfly Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida drum solo that you should be listening to, it just seemed to go on forever.

We had been curious as to what the owner was leaving with the house, because although we had an inventory list of all the furniture, we really had no idea if he was leaving small kitchen items and what not. We peeked in the downstairs bathroom window and could see that he had left all necessities (even toilet paper, hand soap, and a clean hand towel hanging on the rod!) This was exciting to see because we knew then that we might not have to buy everything under the sun for our stay. No one was in the house, so we were curious as to why the lights were on and the shutters open, but we were happy that we got to peek into the downstairs bedroom and bathroom! It was really getting dark, the drumming was continuing, and our stomachs were starting to growl, so we decided to take a drive over to Albox, which is just a few minutes away and get a bite to eat.

Triana is a little restaurant that was recommended to us when we stayed at Casa Olivos in September. It is open late and you can get a chicken dinner for right around 6 Euros! That’s a super deal.

Meal at Triana in Albox

Yum!

The first time we were there, Curt tipped the waitress, and I think she was super excited about that because she brought us an after dinner drink afterward. In Spain, it really is not customary or expected to tip. If you do leave a tip, it is typically your change to even out your tab, but it isn’t like here in the States. The server is not miffed to not receive a tip, but of course tickled pink (as our waitress was, because we were clueless.)

One thing we were tickled pink about was that it seemed as if the smoking ban in restaurants was now being enforced. There was a sign stating that there was no smoking allowed in the restaurant. Like I mentioned before, there are A LOT of smokers in Europe, and we are quite spoiled here in the US to be able to eat in a smoke free environment all the time.

We finished our meal and made our way back to the Hostal Meson. Lucas, our Spanish lawyer, had managed to get the notary to agree to do the closing with Curt’s NIE and not mine, as long as we would go to the foreigner’s office in Almeria and get my NIE and file it with the notary within 30 days. This was a huge relief because we would not be rushing tomorrow and stressing about getting the needed documents in time for the completion. Andrea was meeting us at the Hostal Meson at 10 a.m. and would be driving us to the bank in Vera to sort out our funds. We needed a good night’s rest because tomorrow was going to be a big day!!

Leaving Madrid

Leaving Madrid

We planned to leave Madrid early the next day. The Hotel Victoria provided breakfast, which was the continental type: fruits, yogurt, breads, cereal, and of course coffee, tea, juices, or milk. Definitely not an “American” breakfast, but you really don’t get a huge eggs and bacon and pancake breakfast in Spain. The cool thing was that they had this gigantic automated coffee machine that had a bunch of different choices as far as what type of coffee you wanted. You could select an espresso or cafe con leche or whatever. Put your cup under the dispenser, press your selection, and you hear the machine grinding your coffee beans and then dispensing your cup o’ joe. Surprisingly this was a really good cup of coffee!

We had parked in an underground parking near the hotel. (Much of the parking in Madrid is underneath plazas if it is not curbside or in a private garage.) So when we finished up breakfast, we headed over to Plaza Santa Ana to get the car. You can see by this next picture that the street cleaners were busy early in the morning; we did need to close the hotel room window in the wee hours of the morning because it was a little noisy, but it’s nice to get up and find the streets freshly washed.

Madrid in the morning

Near the Hotel Victoria

 

Eating in Madrid

Eating in Madrid

Going straight to the Plaza Mayor after checking in to our hotel when we arrive in Madrid seems to have become a bit of a tradition (okay, okay, so we were only on our second trip, but maybe I should say we were starting a tradition), so we walked on over and had a seat at one of the tables outside the same restaurant where we ate at last time.

Cerveceria Plaza Mayor

We ordered two bocadillos jamon y queso and two coffees. This is a really “simple” meal, but so awesome! The ham is paper thin and slightly fatty. It’s hard to describe just how good the ham is, but trust me — it’s amazing! The bread is perfectly crispy on the outside and just soft enough in the middle and the Manchego cheese has this distinct “sheepy” flavor. It’s a mix of being creamy yet sharp at the same time. It makes me hungry just remembering about it!!

Bocadillo Plaza Mayor

Enjoying a bocadillo at the Plaza Mayor

Yum! Bocadillos and coffee!

You’ll notice that the Plaza Mayor was not anywhere near as crowded as it was when we were here in September. That is because it was a whole lot colder. As the sun was going down it was getting downright chilly!

We walked around a bit more and saw this interesting fella. This was at a tapas bar window, but we weren’t brave enough to try out this dish!

Madrid Octopus

Maybe next time…

Hotel Victoria, Madrid

Hotel Victoria, Madrid

Our room at the Hotel Victoria was on the top floor and was interesting because it was set into the roof line and had a different sort of layout than you would expect. It was modern and clean, and while the bed was not anywhere as comfortable as my dreamy cloud bed at home, it was just fine.

Hotel Victoria

Hotel Victoria room

To look out of those windows beyond the desk, we actually had to stand on a chair, but it was nice at night because we just left the window open and although it was a little loud (what with the happy, singing Madrid partiers) the January night air was cool and made sleeping quite comfy.

Hotel Victoria views

Views over the rooftop

 

View Hotel Victoria

Out the window and looking down a side street from our room.

 

We went for a walk down that side street and this next picture is a view looking back at our hotel room. It’s the one at the top left with the window that we (ooops) left open.

View to Hotel Victoria room

See the top left dormer? That’s our room!

Off to Spain again!

Off to Spain again!

We arrived at Madrid’s Barajas airport. The last time we flew into the older part of the airport, but this time we arrived in the newer part, which is beautiful. A bit of history: The airport was originally built in 1927 and of course has gone through numerous remodels since then. This newest terminal was built in 2004, so it is quite new. The architecture is very attractive!

Madrid Barajas airport

Barajas airport

This time while in Madrid we decided to try out a different hotel. We really liked our stay at the Hotel Plaza Mayor last time, but just wanted to stay somewhere different. We picked the Hotel Victoria because it was located in what seemed to be an interesting side street very close to Puerta del Sol.

Across from Hotel Victoria

See what a cool side street?

There were all these awesome tiles decorating the exterior walls of shops and restaurants.

Beautiful tilework

So pretty!

…and it was right down the street from the Museo del Jamon!

Museo del Jamon

Remember? We went there on our last trip.

There were quite a few photo opps just within the block outside the Hotel Victoria. Here is Curt being oh-so-serious in front of another set of tiles. (We did NOT go to another bullfight, by the way. Once was enough for us, I think!)

Toro tilework in Madrid

So serious!!

 

Back to Madrid!

Back to Madrid!

We left Casa Olivos the next day at around noon and got back on the road to Madrid. Our plane was leaving early the next morning, so we wanted to make the five hour drive back to Madrid with enough time to relax and walk around before calling it a night.

Outside of Casa Olivos

peaje

Back to Madrid

We booked a room at the Hotel Clement Barajas. It was located fairly close to the airport and we figured this might make for an easier drive in the morning before we had to catch our flight.

Hotel Clement Barajas

 

The Hotel Clement Barajas turned out to be a great place to stay because it was modern and clean, had underground parking, and had a gas station right across the street.

Room at Hotel Clement Barajas

Hotel Barajas underground parking

The hotel was located in the Barrio de Barajas which was not “touristy” at all. We went for a walk that night and really enjoyed seeing all the local spanish people out for the evening with their families: walking along the streets, having drinks in the bars, and sitting outside at the plaza.

Barrio de Barajas

Casa Olivos

Casa Olivos

We arrived in Albox late in the afternoon/early evening, and after a bit of driving around, we found our bed and breakfast.

Our room

This was  a great little place to stay while we went on our house hunt. Mike and Penny were nice hosts and this was a good “home base” while we went exploring. Penny made us a breakfast of coffee, cereal, and bacon sandwiches each day, and the room was super clean.

View from our terrace

 

Another view from our terrace

 

Tomorrow: The House Hunt!

Beautiful Madrid!

Beautiful Madrid!

Madrid Sol

The architecture in Madrid is awesome, and we enjoyed walking around and soaking it all up. There were lots and lots of people everywhere, especially at Puerta del Sol, but the bustling vibe is what made it even more interesting. The Puerta del Sol translates to Gate of the Sun. It gets its name because this was the location of the city’s eastern gate which let in the rising sun.

Madrid

This building above was just across the street from a Starbucks. Just to let you know, Starbucks is no big deal after having a coffee at the Plaza Mayor!

Sol

The statue above of Carlos III was in the Plaza del Sol.

Even the view from our hotel windows was fantastic. We looked out over a street in one direction and then out of the other window we could see a relief carving that was on a building next door.

Out the hotel window

Little plaza in front of Hotel Plaza Mayor

Looking to the right from the hotel window

Wall of adjacent building

Cheers!

Cheers!

Seriously.

Not “Cheers” subtitled in Spanish, but an actual remake of Cheers with Spanish characters! Instead of Norm, there is a character named Blas who is greeted with a hearty “Blas!” as he enters. Sam is “Nico” and is a womanizing soccer player (as opposed to baseball player), and instead of the theme “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” it’s: “Dónde la gente se divierte” (Where people enjoy… or have a good time, I guess… I really need to learn Spanish!)

We were quite entertained by this strange show, but didn’t spend too much time watching it because we had Madrid to explore! We left our quaint room to see what Madrid had to offer.

Room 503

Hotel in Madrid

Hotel in Madrid

We checked in to the Hotel Plaza Mayor. We had an awesome room: the one on the top floor with the window facing straight out above the hotel entrance. The trickiest thing was the parking situation because the hotel stated that they had parking available for half the price of public parking. Little did we know that this was one parking space in a “preeevaht” garage and as the girl at the desk let us know, “Eeees berry cohmpleeecated.”

The complication she was talking about was how to find the private garage which was on another street and beneath a totally different building.

The actual complication was manuevering the car through this garage which had to have been dug out of the cellar of the building because no one in their right mind would have designed a parking garage with such tiny lanes. To make things more challenging there were supporting columns placed in what seemed to be total random fashion throughout the levels of the parking garage. The columns were knicked and had broken bits of concrete off their corners, so we knew it wasn’t just the “crazy Americans” who had a hard time in there. At least we didn’t crash into anything!

Madrid parking garage

That’s our rental: the dark car backed in to the spot. We decided to back it in while we had room so that leaving would be a simple straight shot out of the space.