Early starts in hostels aren’t easy because you want to get up and ready without waking everyone else. Thankfully, someone else’s alarm went off before me and they were super noisy so by the time I got up, everyone else was already up. Quickly getting myself sorted and to the train station, I had a 5 and a half hour train to Madrid. A super smooth journey, although I was sat next to a man who sighed so loudly the entire time you’d think my mere presence was a huge issue for him. Thankfully he sighed his way to go and find some lunch and I was able to spend a bit of time in peace.
Once back in Madrid, I jumped on the metro using left over rides from my previous time in Madrid, and checked in to my apartment for the next couple of days. I wasn’t feeling great, so after a quick rest I went and did a spot of shopping, grabbed a coffee and took a walk by Plaza Mayor and Sobrino de Botin – the world’s oldest still running restaurant – before turning in early and having a chilled evening with Netflix.
I find that once I return somewhere, it has less of a ‘city break’ feel about it as I start to be able to walk around without needing a map and can find places I’ve previously enjoyed a meal or coffee at. It also takes the pressure off from needing to constantly be out exploring and making the most of being somewhere. As I’d seen a lot of Madrid when I’d been here a short time beforehand, I instead had a lazy day shopping trying to avoid the epic downpour of rain.
I had planned to visit the monastery, but as I stood under my umbrella in the queue I got chatting to another lady about whether we needed to pre-book. I had a look online – thank you EU roaming! – and found that we didn’t need to, but also that the tours would be in Spanish. My level of Spanish wasn’t enough to be able to follow a tour, so I decided to wait until a future visit when my Spanish had improved, and instead opted to visit the Da Vinci exhibition just across the street.
I had a basic knowledge of Da Vinci before visiting the exhibition, but after checking out his art and inventions, I had such a deeper appreciation for him and his work. The exhibition was interactive, and so much better than places that invite the museum shuffle and essay reading. It definitely raised my spirits in the dreary, wet city and I made my way back to the apartment for another cosy night in.
Next morning it was time to head back to the UK for a hen weekend. I met a friend in the morning for a spot of breakfast before heading to the airport to pretend I was living the high life as I enjoyed my Avios win. As I’d left it super last minute to book my flight home, everything was really expensive. I wasn’t sure where I’d be finishing my trip so couldn’t have booked it earlier, but in the end decided to use my Avios points to pay for my flight home. The only option that had been available was a Business class flight, and of course I booked it paying the tidy sum of £17. The whole flying experience was amazing, and made so much better by knowing I had paid just £17 for it! By the time I had landed in England my travel hacking spirit had been reignited and I was keen to get going with it again to make my travels as cheap and extensive as possible!