We went to Madrid. Just me and my husband. No kids. Two nights away. It felt decadent and almost like a honeymoon. We went to Barcelona for our honeymoon, just for three days mind. (No, this was not a deliberately miserly honeymoon, my dad was ill and well, it felt a bit odd to be living it up whilst he lay in hospital).
Do you want to know what we got up to? Here goes… Let’s start with our pre holiday-holiday. We set off to a place called The Cricketeers Arms near Stansted the night before, so we could ease ourselves into the holiday mood, instead of ruining it by getting up at 5am. (Damn you East Mids Airport for not having flights we wanted at a reasonable time). We got there late because my husband works late. A lot.
We planned a bit. We drank some wine.
We ate some okay fish and chips.
We ate a delicious cheeseboard. ( I love cheese! Love it! I’m afraid I don’t trust people who don’t like it. Actually I trust my vegan pal Jas but she’s vegan through principles. I think you probably does like cheese, just not the milk and cheese industry).
We went to bed and slept pretty well. The shower was crap. Husband not too impressed with hotel room, but hey it was close to the airport.
We got very confused at Stansted and drove into the wrong area. We had splashed out on short stay ‘red’ parking rather than the usual drive-about-10-miles-away-and-get-a-mini-bus-in-the-rain style parking. But we got ahead of ourselves and ended up driving into the drop off area and paying £2.50 just to exit. This kind of thing annoys me a lot. What if you didn’t have £2.50? What would they do? Hold you prisoner? It was an honest mistake. We didn’t even stop!
We had breakfast at Leon at the hell hole that is currently Stansted. (Really hoping it looks all whizzy and amazing once the work is done, currently it’s a bit of a mess – at one point we got stuck in a tunnel to get to our gate and people were coming off the escalator with nowhere to go other than a crowd of people. It was a bit scary. Even the hard boy stag parties looked freaked out by the human crush).
Now I love Leon, I have always loved Leon. Back when I lived in London and had a proper job I used to stop at the Leon on The Strand for porridge about once a week as some form of sustenance to counteract all the boozing and general fun nights out. But Leon, your egg and bean pot let me down. Look at this sorry thing.
I wish I had taken a picture of it next to a 50 pence piece for scale. It was tiny! Husband ate it in about 30 seconds. There’s a lesson for us all here. When what you really fancy is a bacon sandwich, just get one. Do not get the bean pot. (Also why no decaff coffee Leon, why, why, why?)
So we got our flight… usual drill of cheapo flights where everyone had packed HUGE carry on bags (erm… they never used to be this big) and then can’t fit them into the cabin. I wish people would not be quite so greedy. I barely packed a thing and then looked wistfully at all the ladies with proper carry on luggage full of exciting wardrobe options. I need to be more high maintenance. I did buy a razor at Madrid airport which I felt was quite high maintenance. Husband tells me this is not the correct definition.
We planned on the flight, including husband plotting the metro lines on our Lonely Planet map. This proved very useful over the weekend. I highly recommend. (Yes, isn’t he clever?)
And then we felt a bit peckish, which I think can be explained by the bean pot photo above. So after asking the very friendly Ryanair steward (what on earth is going on with Ryanair by the way? The last RA flight I got was in about 2006 and well, it was quite an experience, you were lucky if they stopped the plane to chuck you out onto the runway), what we should order, he suggested this snack:
Now I know it looks and sounds pretty rank. Like it belongs in an episode of Cheers from 1986. Never judge a savoury snack by it’s cover. It really was bursting with flavour! These were delicious. Grubby and dirty, yes, but oh my! It was like a hotdog in a crunchy snack form. We loved them and gobbled them all up. Thank you nice RA steward.
We got the metro to our very posh hotel (we got the best Last Minute deal which we decided was so good we upgraded out room with money we saved). Now it took about 30 minutes. We like to think of ourselves as the type of intrepid explorers who live like locals, getting the metro to visit places and you know, blending in with our (bad) Spanish. But actually, after this holiday, I have decided I want to now be the kind of holidaymaker who gets cabs everywhere.
It just took too long (for a holiday, ie/ I am sure living in this area would be great, but when you have 2.5 days you need to make every half hour count, and spending it on the metro is not part of that deal for me) and it was hot. Plus we bought one of those tourist 3 day passes for 18 Euros each so we felt we had to use it. What I am saying is that there’s a reason why the hotel is so cheap given it’s a 5 star. It was WAY out of town. Lovely though. Look at the lobby:
Pretty isn’t it? There’s more.
The receptionist was delightful. Both helpful and smiley. She gave us an iPad to look at with photos of the remaining suites available. I’ll be honest, I went with what the husband wanted. I am not usually this agreeable, not sure what came over me. We took the lift to the 6th floor in a Roald Dahl-esque glass elevator. The hotel is at the side of a dual carriageway as you can see, though no noise issues at night. In fact we slept incredibly well as all the suites are at the end of the corridors meaning no ‘through traffic’ noise from other Mums and Dads on mini-breaks.
Yes, on the 13th floor was a Turkish bath, bar and nightclub. (We did check out the nightclub – more on that later). We opened onto the 6th floor to a sea of red.
That led us to a corridor of red (Jack Nicolson hopefully about to pop out of a door):
Into a room that was red, but lucky for you I avoided photographing the rosy bits.
Large bed; tick. Bed not too far from floor on the off chance copious amounts of wine are consumed; tick. Bathroom in bedroom without a properly closing door? Hmmm…. well, that’s true love for you I guess.
This is the second hotel this year we’ve stayed in that likes to keep it real where toilet habits are concerned. Hmmm. Not sure it’s my thing. Anyway, more toiletries to pilfer than you can shake a stick at:
And water in pretty bottles along with free chocolates (which I ripped open like a hungry beast).
We dumped our (small amount of) luggage, scoffed some chocolate and headed off for lunch. More to come soon…
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