Just before this journey into cuchinillo country, we took time to visit Cebu. Land of Lechon and Chicharon. I still have my backblogs on our visits to Boljoon, Dalaguete, Carcar and Simala, but these would have to give way to my first journal on our flight out of Manila into this land of cuchinillo, tapas, flamenco y abanicos. ✈






Still reeling from my hypertensive moments post-Cebu, I promised myself I’d stay away from my beloved pig. On February 22 we took our 11:40pm Emirates flight into Madrid via Dubai. All of 15 hours combined or so, plus 3 hours waiting in Dubai for the connecting flight. The 2 flights each served 2 meals which I happily munched through 4 in-flight movies. Didn’t even get the chance to read my book. Had a few winks, only to wake up and agonize over whether to have the Arabic Mezze or the Deli platter. And that’s only for breakfast!






Dubai airport is truly grandiose but lacks the character I found in Singapore’s Changi or Hongkong Airport. Perhaps I missed a few interesting corners, so I vowed to give it a second review on my homeward journey. As for Madrid’s Barajas Airport, it looks like any other as we breezed through immigration and got out in this bitter cold weather at 12:30pm! Immediately, I felt justified squeezing in my fleece vest into my 10 kilo trolley bag.






By the time we reached our NH Breton Hotel in the Chamartin area, I was lusting for a quick shower and jumping into my bed. The hotel is centrally located. Just off the corner is a bus stop and the Metro. Right in front of the hotel is a fruit store and beside it, a 24 hour convenience store. I promptly bought 4 big bottles of mineral water, a dozen oranges, bread, cold cuts, yogurt and vegetable salad. And some lip balm and skin cream too. My chapped lips and dry skin need some TLC after only a few hours out in the cold.







Having freshened up, I did a quick round up for a late afternoon walk and check-see of the metro station and nearby dining places. I was pleased to find that Rios Rosas Metro Station is just a short walk from the hotel. I took mental note of the Blue and Red Lines which will take me to the Sol and Retiro Stations. Also of the food outlets serving Desayuno (breakfast of churros con chocolate or cafe con leche) for only €2. This is way better than the €12 breakfasts available in the hotel! On lazy mornings, I can even make my own sandwich with the bread, cold cuts and vegetable salad I bought.




Self-Served Breakfasts!



All things looking up. Except one very important thing. Internet. Enjoyed the free 30minute wifi, only to be prompted to buy at €8.85 per day for unli-surfing. I made full use of the free wifi in the hotel. Refusing to pay the €8.85 daily Internet rate (who are they kidding?), I find it uncool to pay €80 for a room with no free wifi.






I am NOT cranky yet. I have my books. But these Internet withdrawal symptoms are getting in the way. Woke up early at 5am. Looked out the window from our hotel room. By 7:30am, it was still dark. Sunlight came at 8am. I downed 4 naranjas in one sitting just to shake off the blues. Got to find a coffee shop with free wifi. Tried 2, but no luck. The waitress said they don’t share the password with paying diners. And this is Madrid in the heart of Europe! Ooooops. There goes the temper. Gawd, I need another shower.




View From Our Hotel Window