+ So I’ve finally arrived in Madrid Spain, after three Emirates flights (Melb-KL, KL-Dubai, Dubai-Madrid) and I don’t know how many time zones. On my final leg, one of the Emirate flight attendants was a Spanish beauty that looked exactly like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Made that trip so much easier! Ps: Emirates know how to fly, outstanding service.
On the Dubai to Madrid flight I sat next to a lovely Arabic man who has lived most of his life in Spain. Married a Spanish woman and they have two twin daughters, aged 23. Sami was terrific, we discussed all world affairs, religion, politics and solved every global crisis. He is meeting me Sunday morning to show me around the city and find a place to purchase a SIM card for my stay. Picture Pablo Picasso, and that’s who Sami resembles in appearance, wearing acid wash jeans!
I got into a taxi at the airport, greeted by a €30 flat fee for wherever you are going to in Madrid. Clearly the speed limit is only a suggestion in this grand city because my driver was hitting 115km plus in an 80km zone. Welcome to Madrid.
So after I checked in, although feeling very tired, and with sleep patterns all over the shop I decided to explore the local area.
My hotel, Hotel Petit Palace Art Gallery is situated in Barrio de Salamanca district. Madrid has many quality neighborhoods, but this has to be one of the best. In between Calle José Ortega y Gasset, Calle Claudio Coello and Calle Serrano, cosmopolitan streets filled with great people watching, delicious restaurants, significant history, brilliant shopping and high end retail stores. Brioni is next door to my hotel! A must stay area when in Madrid.
My hotel is uber chic and hip, with great art everywhere, including in my room. Spain is after all home to great masters - Picasso, Goya, Dalí, Gaudí, Miro and so many more.
So, first impressions of Madrid - a clean, cosmopolitan city with so much to see. People are generally well dressed. Less English speakers than other Euro cities, and loads of people still smoke. Madrid is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, with so much to see and discover. I think I need to return one day to fully appreciate what this dynamic city has to offer.
It’s currently 6:30am on Sunday, oh, buenos días everyone! Today I’m off to explore the city a little bit more with my local guide Sami (the Picasso look-a-like). Then on to the train station for my 7hr trip to the north west of Spain, to the town of Sarria, in the Galicia region.
I look forward to meeting people along my journey to Sarria, which will be the beginning of my El Camino de Santiago experience ~ The Way of St. James. This is actually happening. Wow.
Image: original picture overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.