Spain transportation travel

Madrid and Onward

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If you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel in Madrid that is very close to the train station, then I would recommend the Agumar Hotel. The only catch is you had better not be planning on going to sleep before midnight and being up by 07:30, because the walls are paper thin and act like amplifiers. The hotel is also very close to Retiro Park, 580 metres to entrance by GPS which is wonderful for your morning run if you are so inclined.

View from our room in Hotel Agumar.
View from our room in Hotel Agumar.

Went for several walks and a couple of runs in Retiro Park. It is truly amazing to me when a municipality will maintain that much beautiful space for the enjoyment of the public. Well done Madrid!!

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Many locals out enjoying the Park
We managed to enjoy ourselves as well.
We managed to enjoy ourselves as well.
Conservatory in Retiro Park which now houses some modern art. I had to look very hard to see it as well.
Conservatory in Retiro Park which now houses some modern art. I had to look very hard to see it as well.

For dinner we utilized Trip Advisor to select a restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. It was rated #5 of all the Madrid restaurants on Trip Advisor and well worth the rating I must say. It certainly is not a place you would be walking past and say “Hey, let’s try this place!” But the food was wonderfully tasty, the service was outstanding (though no one spoke a word of English), the cook even came out to confirm we enjoyed the food. And to boot, it was very reasonable. It was 30 euros for 3 dishes plus dessert shared between the two of us and two glasses of wine each.

View from the main thoroughfare.
View from the main thoroughfare.
La Curruteka Restaurant. Simply excellent meal.
La Curruteka Restaurant. A simply excellent meal.

The next day we did the Hop on Hop off bus around Madrid. Rather chilly in the morning, but warmed up through the day. We had lunch at the James Joyce Irish Pub. The food was ok but the real excitement when you eat outside under the trees are the decorations the birds send your way. Karen’s wallet took a hit and she was caught in the spray. Hell of a mess really. They did give her a free shirt, which was very nice of them. No free meal though.

Karen sporting her new shirt in Retiro Park.
Karen sporting her new shirt in Retiro Park.

Saturday morning the scariest part of the trip began. We took the bus shuttle to the Madrid airport to pick up our rental car. We got a black Volvo V40 four door from Hertz. I was very nervous about driving in Spain but after a couple of days I have to say things are going very well. (Bearing in mind that the first two days were Saturday and Sunday so traffic volume was reduced) Overall the drivers I have encountered so far are amazingly obedient to the speed limits and very patient with each other. A piece of advice I would throw out there would be to splurge and buy the most up to date maps possible for your GPS. We have borrowed one and they are obviously a few years old. It makes things interesting to say the least.

Our first stop after leaving Madrid was Toledo. Once again Karen found an excellent hotel for our stay there. Hotel Beatriz is very high class with reasonable rates.

View from our balcony.
View from our balcony.

We toured a huge museum Saturday, the Alcazar of Toledo. (You can see it in the background above)

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Alcazar Museum in Toledo. An amazing display of Spanish military history. A great collection and an impressive building.

Sunday morning we tried to get to the Cathedral in Toledo. The reviews we had read on it made it a must see. Well, it didn’t happen. After two closed roads and a trip through the labyrinth that is European cities old streets we decided to head south to Granada and the Alhambra. A comment I will make on the roads in Spain. I love the ridiculous number of traffic circles they have. It makes missing your turn or taking a wrong exit no big deal because you are usually no more than 300 metres from a traffic circle so you can correct yourself.

Literally 10 centimetres clearance off each mirror as we drove these streets. Don't get me wrong, it was a blast. My only real regret was not having my Go Pro camera mounted on the car as I drove this.
Literally 10 centimetres clearance off each mirror as we drove these streets. Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast. My only real regret was not having my Go Pro camera mounted on the car as I drove this.

The landscape we covered today in out racy little car.
The landscape we covered today in our racy little car.

Spain certainly appears to be investigating alternate power sources. We saw several areas with wind turbines set up as well as several fields of solar panels.

Fields od solar panels.
Fields of solar panels.

As well as fields of beautiful wild flowers.

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We have settled into our hotel just outside of Granada for the night. We were unable to get into the Alhambra today but will be in line first thing in the morning tomorrow.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

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