We made it at last!

Trip Start Aug 29, 2013
Trip End Nov 07, 2013

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Where I stayed
Gran Versalles Hotel Madrid
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Friday, August 30, 2013

Checking out of the hotel this morning, I presented the receptionist with my Citibank Visa Debit card (Visa wholesale currency rates with no commissions or additional charges) and he proceeded to finalise the bill. In usual "trap the tourist" fashion the eftpos slip for signing was already converted into Australian Dollars. Having been in retail and knowing all the tricks, I made it clear to the receptionist that I would not be signing or paying in Australian Dollars and the charge would have to be reversed and re-done in UAE Dirhams. After much protestation from the receptionist (and after missing the shuttle that was waiting to take us to the airport) we were finally on our way (next shuttle) with a half hour less time to be spent in the Royal Jordanian Crown Lounge.

The flight to Dubai was punctuated with a re-fuel in Amman, Jordan. After a brief stopover we were on our way again, flying directly over the Dead Sea, Israel and a couple of Greek Islands en route to Madrid.
After a smooth landing, we cleared immigration and headed for the baggage carousels. I jockeyed for a good position and waited for the luggage to appear. The carousel went around, and around, and around some more. The throng of passengers waiting began to diminish. After 40 minutes there was a handful of hopefuls waiting with baited breath as the last of the suitcases appeared on the conveyor belt from below. In a flash, these last few bags were snapped up and I stood alone with one case short. Gail had hers - she was happy.
I approached a man in an orange dustcoat and asked if he understood English. He indicated "a little". Have you ever noticed that when you ask that question, all that the questionee understands is the question and nothing else that follows. I spied a Customer Information counter at the far end of the hall and whilst I was heading that way I passed another moving carousel that had a solitary suitcase that looked remarkably similar to mine. How it got 3 carousels away from the one it was meant to be on was a question I was not interested in having answered. I was happy just to clear customs and pick up the hire car for the start of our 3 week Stroll of Spain.

In no time we were wheeling our way from the terminal toward downtown Madrid. Of course, I had my trusty GPS (remember! it's the same one I had last time) and we were soon at the freeway entrance where signage indicated "all directions", including Madrid. The GPS commanded "take the 1st exit in 500 metres" in contradiction to the freeway signage. I was supremely confident in the accuracy of the GPS, however 15 kilometres, a 2 euro toll and fast disappearing civilisation later, I began to have my doubts. An obviously forgotten memory of the GPS occasionally skipping the first destination of a programmed itinerary, began to surface. It took another 10 kilometres to exit the freeway, 20 minutes to find and reprogram our Madrid hotel's address and I am sure, 12 months off my lifespan before civilisation began to reappear and the only worries worth noting was the run of the mill negotiation of traffic in a foreign metropolis.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Sandi berg on

Lucky you but it can't be the same without me. Have a great time. Sandi

Tony Crisafi on

Phillip by the time we see you in Seville you will beva spanish road terrorist. Based on your experience so far, I will unprogram my GPS ��

Di on

Great to read the travel tales so far. Am laughing . Hope the the clothes aren't crushed Gail. Glad your case showed up Phil. Have fun.

Gill27 on

Well I have laughed my way through breakfast this morning!
Oh how I would love to have been at the reception desk in Dubai. Just love it!
You and Peter are going to get on just fine.
Glad the bags finally arrived. Nothing worse.

Vera Demkiw on

Phillip, great first posting.
There's no obstacle that you won't take on - I love it.
Looking forward to reading more - ps Slow start for Collingwood - Nth Melb
had the jump on them in the 1st quarter - Half time Collingwood up by 3 points. Thanks all folks! pps Hello Gail x Vera

Leonie on

Make sure you walk through the beautiful Parque del Retiro in Madrid. Also have suckling pig in the Plaza Major

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