This is still the sequence of my Europe trip series. The next step was Madrid, the capital city of Spain. This was the most memorable place and my favorite journey so far. I went there by using Air France airplane, AF1400 that departed from Charles de Gaulle for the last flight of that day. I arrived at Adolfo Suarez Barajas International Airport almost midnight.
What would you think when hear about Madrid? Real Madrid? Atletico Madrid? Or football? I made myself a journey to this city because I am a big fan of Real Madrid, surely this was like pilgrimage.
As soon as had been landed, I was picked up by my host, Francisco. I rented his apartment through Airbnb website for a very good deal. His place was cheap, Madrid’s living cost as it was, and I got discount from my credit card as well. So I can say that was the best deal I ever made through Airbnb.
The next day I went to Estadio Vicente Calderon, plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta del Alcala, Puerta del Sol. I made myself an appointment to meet someone I know for long time at a hotel for that night nevertheless eventually I turned it down because I was not fit enough to went there, unfortunately it seems like I won’t be able to have a chance meeting him again, but well it’s not a big headline now. I spent my second night in Madrid to wash my clothes using European washing machine (it was exactly the same like in my country but I was running out of clothes).
For your curiosity, Estadio Vicente Calderon was not crowded. Only few people walk around the stadium and the tour stadium was scheduled. When I arrived at 1 pm, the next tour was around 4 pm. Considering on that day I had to visit lot of places, I cancelled by desire to walk around inside the stadium. It was not planned to visit Vicente Calderon but I made it because I saw it was nearby of my apartment. Actually it only took 5 minutes to reach the site, I took another 5 minutes to buy mineral water bottle and asked the shop owner where was Vicente Calderon. He told me in English (I asked him sounds like “Donde esta?”).
The third day, the day that I will remember forever. I went to Santiago Bernabeu stadium, finally after waiting for lifetime. The stadium was huge, it was not first football stadium I have ever visited but still it impressed me a lot. The banner of this website was one of the picture I took while visiting the stadium. Santiago Bernabeu was very crowded, unlike Vicente Calderon the tour was free schedule. People could enter and exit as long as they had the ticket. I printed the ticket while I was in Jakarta so I did not need to line up in long queue in locket.
I also made a visit to Santiago Bernabeu store (tienda) and I bought some items including Toni Kroos’ jersey. I saw some people (maybe they were from Colombia) gave a try to James Rodriguez’s shirt and they wore it went to the cashier and paid. In the beginning, I was uncertain about the jersey I would choose, either the goalkeeper (Iker Casillas’) or Kroos’. Considering for what Iker did in recent years, I decided to buy Kroos’.
The next morning I went to Barcelona with the earliest flight of Iberia. Surprisingly, I thought Iberia was a full service airline that served breakfast yet I saw the menu and I had to pay some euros to buy it. I decided to skip my breakfast on the plane, fortunately I already bought the snacks from McD at the airport before flying.
So here are some notable notes:
- The metro (train) tickets for tourist was printed out in very small size, it called Abonos Turisticos. Keep on eye on it because you may accidentally lose it easily.
- There were three Real Madrid store I saw while in Madrid. The first one was in Puerta del Sol, the second one I visited in Santiago Bernabeu and the last I saw was in Barajas airport. Perhaps you could find it at another place in Madrid.
- I visited Spain in mid of May and found it was very hot there, it was same like in my tropical country. The last city I visited before Madrid was Paris and it was still a bit chilly, but Madrid it was hot, really.
- Avoid visiting Santiago Bernabeu in weekend like me visiting the stadium on Sunday. It was very crowded and you would find it hard to take picture, lot of people want to take photographs.
- Print your ticket at home before visiting Santiago Bernabeu.
- Santiago Bernabeu was a tour without tour guide/leader, you could enter and go on as long as you like. No time based. You do it by your own.
- I had a lunch at Arroceria de Bernabeu restaurant, situated in the stadium but very crowded on Sunday (or weekend I think). I had to wait about an hour before my food was served and waited for another 30 minutes when ordering ice cream and told it was sold out. The waitress were not able to speak English, so prepare yourself to speak Spanish even a little when visiting Madrid. I found this was common in Madrid.
- I went to the airport to depart to Barcelona at 5 AM and I ordered a taxi. The fare was flat, 30 EUR from Gran Via de San Francisco to Barajas Airport – as told by Francisco. But the most interesting was, do you know what they were talking on the radio on that early morning? Futbol!
So here are the pictures gallery.