Where are the planes?
14.05.2012 - 14.05.2012 31 °C
We’re on the train having enjoyed an excellent hot breakfast served at our “Preferente” seat by a bevy of RENFE staff and all included in our fare, (discounted 40% thanks to our “Tarjetas Dorada” or Old Codgers’ cards). Shades of good old British Railways 1st Class restaurant car, but with Hispanic style. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, butifarra sausage and a fresh tomato sauce with some lovely fresh bread rolls, croissant, a choice of butter & jam or virgin oil & tomates, fresh juice and coffee. Absolutely delicious.
Before the stately arrival of our train, Murcia station was bustling with excited passengers travelling to Madrid or, on the other platform, to Valencia, Barcelona & Montpellier in France, mixed with bored commuters from Alicante, Cartagena and Lorca. The obligatory pair of nuns was waiting impatiently for the Madrid train, inexplicably attended to by a couple of dishy young men managing their vast amounts of luggage.
Our perfect train journey was marred somewhat by the arrival in the seat in front of a young man who boarded at Cieza. Shaven and tattooed head and T Shirt bearing the word “Vengeance” or similar did not bode well. Fears were confirmed when his mobile phone started twanging and clanking every 22.5 seconds, whether he was using it or not, all the way to Madrid. Why do these annoying people always have to sit in front of US?
John plugged his headphones into his laptop but, at last, the most annoying mobile phone in the world stopped emitting noises. Maybe we are out of range?
Now in Hilton, Madrid Airport. A top notch hotel at an affordable price, with a AAA discount code, thanks to our membership of the Royal Automovil Club de España. Plus, Bob’s Hilton gold card brings us a room upgrade to “Executive Floor” with free snacks, drinks etc etc in the young executives’ lounge, plus free internet plus free breakfast in the restaurant. All for the cost of a nice, pleading Email to Hilton HQ!
We’ve now been travelling to the US since 1981 and so we are beginning to get the hang of all the wrangles and wrinkles available for those cheeky enough to ask for them. I’m guessing that the freebies for this one night’s stay is worth in excess of 50€.
We were not going to pay Hilton prices for dinner, however. So nice young Tomas on Reception drew us a map to show where we could find some local cafeterias for a Menu del Dia. The map took us in to Madrid suburbia and a subway station but no sign of a café. A local, after some skilled questioning, revealed we were actually standing right outside one, though it was hidden in amongst some suburban trees.
At 4pm we were still not too late for the lunchtime menu. For 10€ we got 3 courses, bread, drink and coffee. I had spinach with prawns and Bob an enormous tuna salad for starters
and then hake “ventricles” or fish fingers, freshly made for John, Bob taking the pork chop for main course. An ice cream and a custard (natillas) rounded off an excellent meal. Chips nearly as good as our favourites in Mazarron.
It was a hot walk back but worth the effort.
Our ultra modern room is best illustrated by the fact there is a glass basin in the divine bathroom. Sliding glass doors abound and Arthur will not stop playing with them, though there is little chance he will spend long behind the shower one.
A splendid hotel which gets excellent reviews at TripAdvisor.
Oh yes: no planes? We are only a couple of hundred metres from Barajas airport and it suddenly struck us we had not seen or heard any evidence of any aircraft whatsoever. We thought that maybe a sudden general strike had been called. But no, a glimpse from our window and we just caught a BA jet coming in to land. Phew!