Tuesday, September 13, 2016

# madrid # seville

The great Spanish escape

I had been delaying this post for ages, because I just didn't feel like sitting down to type a lengthy review. But I have put it off long enough so here I am typing away

First of all, it was a free round trip to Spain from Doha. We had our miles sitting there accumulating so what better use of it than to spend it? Of course we had to add 700 riyals to it but hey, who's complaining when you get 2 weeks of Spain?

We went on Xmas day and stayed until 6th January. It was a tiring trip. I made a mental note never to travel again with my son because

a. It was exhausting. I had to do laundry every 2 days
b. I had to lug his food around from hotel to hotel
c. he got diarrhea in the middle of the trip. Oh the fun!

I had meticulously planned our first Europe trip together but on this trip the husband decided to use the 'see how it goes with viaan and we decide when we are there' approach. This is not such a good idea, expecially with you have a 15 month in tow. And if you are travelling during peak season

Good for us my son enjoyed the trip very well, despite the hiccups along the way. People thought we were Colombian (anything but Indian)

These Spaniards spoke in Spanish. And. Not. A. Single. Word. Of. English And the best part is that despite knowing we are non-Spanish speaking tourists they still spoke in Spanish to us. I felt like slapping the lot in their faces. 

When we went to Saville, we saw pretty orange trees in full bloom, oranges ripen and hanging heavily to its branches, just waiting to be plucked and savored. But no, these Spaniards just let their beautiful oranges ripe and fall to the ground. What a shame. 

People may be rich, I don't know but we saw only 2 Cayennes and that too in Gran Via on the road. They start drinking from 2pm and this goes on until 3 am. And the people here seemed un-discplined when it comes to travelling with young children (by young I mean under 2 year old) They are tucked in their prams and walked about even at 3 am! 

It wasn't hard to get vegetarian food here but the options are pretty much limited to McDonalds, paella and patata bravas

Half-cooked biryani is called paella

Cubed and deep fried potatoes topped with tomato sauce is patata bravas and if mayo is added to it, the shit is called alio-oli. 

Twisting winding words describing the simplest of foods. If it hadn't been for South East Asia spice trading in the 15th century Spanish dicks would be eating dried meat like the rest of England and dying of scurvy.

The only good shit I can think off that they should be proud of is their Sangria. Hands down the best cocktail I have ever tasted. I don't know what Muslims eat here, everywhere you see Iberico ham hanging in restaurants and cafes

These poor poor people celebrate New Year by eating white grapes and drinking sweet wine. Dressed in their finest (read, tux in chill winter weather)

Sigh. And I had the rudest experience with the dickhead sitting at immigration. Anyway in order to get my VAT money back, I nearly missed my flight. But who cares, airlines sometimes wait up to 2 hours for delayed passengers. These Spanish are cheeky lot, they make VAT claim so much complicated. It is placed near the starting of their departure gates, two tiny invisible booths manned by lazy Spanish people (they did speak Spanish)

My trip was a passable meh

The airport

Gran Via

Is West Bay, Villagio, Landmark and Lulu rolled into one. It is much cheaper than Doha  because they have Primark. We did a good amount of shopping here.

Madrid train station

The children's shower had a retro ceiling pendant lamp and two separate toilets for both gender. It was clean but it wasn't free. If my memory served me right I paid 2 euro and had to look around for the lazy guard who had the key to the toilet and it didn't lock from inside. But I still took a piss in the toilet.

San Miguel Market

This is like the Central Market of Kuala Lumpur, except things here are expensive. But as the day wears on and the fruit and vege grocers start to close for the day, the rest of this Market comes up to live with music, stall-food and alcohol. It gets really warm because of the crowd and also because of the heaters placed all around the place. And with the red-lighting everyone looked like pork sausages wrapped in wool

Plaza Mayor and Madrid Town

Where their iconic statue of a bear is mauling an orange tree, or fucking it? Sorry just got carried away there with all the sarcasm. Really its just a square people gather in groups to get pick-pocketed and watch the LED-lights-clutter they Xmas tree. Really?

Prado Museum

I was not the least bit happy that they kept Spanish art on the top most floor where you get plenty of sunlight and everything else was housed downstairs. But in my opinion the highlights of the visit were probably paintings of Queen Mary I, King Henry VIII and a deformed child who died young, of which I forgot who.

The Mona Lisa done by Da Vinci's pupil

I wished they had allowed photography, but I managed to sneakily take some anyways

The Royal Palace

I managed to take pictures of the Stradis (3 of them) in this room, which were poorly kept in a glass case

Again, no photography here but you can google the images online. Rooms done from wall to wall in fine porcelain, rooms gilded in gold and red, and the biggest dining table I have seen. And such a pity, all the a pomp and their Stradis (not one but 3) were kept in cheap glass cabinets with no temperature control. What we saw was just a fraction of the palace, 10 rooms for public and the rest is guarded and closed. They still use the palace for official visits and stuff. There were just too many guards sprawling the area so I couldn't get proper shots but if you look into TripAdvisor a lot of oblivous people manage to take good pictures of the palace


Arriving at Seville train station

Is a lot like Souq Waqif multiplied into small townships. I liked it's quietness and laid backness. And people spoke a bit of English here and there. There was a flamenco show going on here but 2 weeks here and we never managed to get into one. But the husband, the dog he is, on one night manage to sniff his way into a strip club in Madrid

Archaeological Museum

this is the inside of a cupboard

of course the larger one is in Paris Louvre Museum

We had to queue up to get the tickets and it was well worth the effort because at the top floor, I found what I had been looking for-Egyptian mummies. Although none were the Pharaohs, they were some of the high priest, a court dancer and that sort

Laundry Cost

In Madrid city center (around gran via) there is a laundromat tucked behind the main road, opposite a strip club. It cost 6 euro to wash and another 6 to dry. If you stay in the outskirts of Madrid it is cheaper. I did both my washing and drying in 5 euro. Oddly you can find a lot of Chinese restaurants at the back of gran via. We found a Buddhist vegetarian shop and that made out day

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