Although I promised myself not to book a before 8am flight out of Gatwick ever again, the £24 (each way) to Madrid was too tempting. I booked our flight at 7:25 am. Not wanting to repeat our mad dash to catch our flight like we did when we traveled to Malaga, we got up at 3am, caught the 3:53 night bus to St Pancras Station and then caught the 4:24 am train to Gatwick. And then it happened, I JINXED myself by gloating how great we did getting to the train early enough to relax. We were about 5 minutes out of Gatwick when the train came to a dead stop. We sat for about five minutes then we were told there was a fire alarm going off at “Three Bridges” signalling center and we would have to back up to the previous station. We still had about 2 hours before our flight so I wasn’t too worried but there were several panicking folks on the train who had flights taking off within the hour. We finally got to the airport and then…we waited and waited. Our flight was delayed due to maintenance issues and our 7:25 flight took off a little after 11am. Which is fine with me. I’d rather be safe than on time.
I thought I’d get to Madrid too tired to do anything but once we caught the Metro our hotel in the Salamanca barrio and, BONUS, got upgraded to a one bedroom apartment, I was ready to go out and hit the town.
I booked this hotel based on it being close to the start and finish line of the marathon. Turns out it’s in the high-end district and in a very desireable location. Love it when it works out that way even though I didn’t plan it.
We went to the convention center to pick up John’s marathon packet. I have great respect for runners, especially those who can run 26.2 miles and love being around them as they pick up their numbers and timing chip. Such an energetic atmosphere ~ and it’s contagious.
By the time we finished at the convention center, it was time for dinner or so we thought. It was 8:30 but the vegetarian restaurant we decided to eat at didn’t open for dinner until 9:00! So late for me but when in Spain…we walked around the block until they opened and I’m glad we waited, it was delicious food.
We purchased a three-day Metro pass at the airport for €18 each. It allows us unlimited travel within zone A which includes the airport. It’s well worth the money as we’ve used it several times and it has more than paid for itself. The Metro is clean, efficient and easy to use:
And we happened to run across this billboard on the walk back to the hotel: