After my epic trip to Cuba and Mexico, my next adventure was a low-key mini break to Madrid. I have been to beautiful Barcelona and spent time in Andalucia, which I love, but I heard that Madrid is perfect for a short break with great weather, good food and cheap flights. I was sold. I am keen to do as many mini breaks within the EU as possible, before Brexit, in case the ease of travel and no visa restrictions change forever, something I think my generation has sadly taken for granted. But this is not a politics blog, so I will try not to rant! We managed to get flights direct from London to Madrid with Ryanair (from Stanstead) for £60 return (hand luggage only), cheaper than most train fares within the UK! The only thing to be warned about is that even if you pay for a hand luggage only flight, if you end up at the back of the boarding queue, Ryanair will make you put your luggage in the hold as there is not always enough room in the overhead lockers. So if you are in a rush and don’t want to hang around the baggage carousel at your destination, bear this in mind.
One of the first things we noticed in the taxi drive from the airport to the city centre was how grand Madrid felt, with all the hallmarks of a European capital city i.e. grand buildings and lots of wide boulevards. We had chosen to stay in the city centre, as I always feel that when on a short break somewhere, staying within walking distance of the main sights means you can maximise how much you can squeeze in to a mini break! We choose to stay in Hotel Catalonia Las Cortes in Las Letras, and it was the perfect location, a 10 minute walk to El Prado museum with lots of beautiful squares and cobbled streets on our doorstep. I have to give a shout out to the hotel itself with spacious, clean rooms and really warm and friendly staff who were happy to help with recommendations and patiently put up with my attempts to speak Spanish. They also had free snacks in the lobby area every day for tourists like us who were not used to the late eating hours of the Spanish people, just to keep us going throughout the day! Continue reading