A Travellerspoint blog

Day Twenty Three - Wandering Madrid

rain 17 °C
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Didn't venture out till 11am (bit slow in getting moving today), & wandered the streets & laneways, passing the oldest restaurant in the world. Made our way to San Miguel markets - has all types of food, fruit & veggies along with cafes & bars. Came back to our apartment at 1pm for lunch & a bit of relaxation time.

Met Christina (another former TEM hockey player) around 3pm at Sol Plaza, unfortunately the weather had changed and was raining, so she took us to a shopping centre that on the top floor has magnificent views & once again bars etc - we sat chatting and having a sangria & she filled us in on what to do & see. The rain stopped so we wandered outside & her next stop was a local pastry shop which was pretty packed, she said at Christmas time there is a long queue outside - of course she forced us to try one of their delicacies- mine looked like a huge heart shaped biscuit covered in chocolate but was in fact a very light pastry & Ian's was a pastry filled with some sort of chocolate, both were amazing (I could only eat half of mine).

From here she showed us some of the sights (getting lost a few times, her navigational skills are about as good as mine!) & we then stopped at a popular tapas bar - it was like a fast food takeaway shop at the front but also had a bar - we shared some fish tapas with a nice wine. Next stop was another tapas bar (Las Bravas) which had two entertaining bar man (one older Spanish guy & a cute Romanian guy) - we reckon the Romanian guy was hitting on Christina! Their speciality was marinated octopus & potatoes with a spicy sauce - so we shared another couple of dishes with more sangria & beer.

We wandered a bit more & then took Christina back to the metro at Sol Plaza around 10.30pm, planning to have dinner with her on Wednesday night. Whilst we were in the plaza there are many Africans that lay out a sheet with all their goods to sell, they have a rope connected in each corner so they can grab their goods & run if the police arrive. Tonight we saw two police on motor bikes & about 20 Africans running with their goods & taking off down the metro steps - it is so funny, as they then come back up a few minutes later & set up exactly where they were!

We notice that most businesses don't open till 10 or 11am, shut for siesta from 3 till 5pm & some restaurants don't open till 8pm for dinner - so very different to Australia.

Posted by pitchersontour 00:17 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day Twenty Two - Bravo Bike Tour

sunny 20 °C
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Just as well we have our mobiles, apparently day light saving started in Madrid last night - I wondered why my watch was reading wrong, thought I must have altered it accidentally. Good news was, we slept an hour longer than we thought!

Caught a metro train & walked to Bravo Bike Tours, Ian had text last night to see if we could book the 4hr tour (commencing at 10am). When we got there, the owner Kaspar said he had responded to our text to advise it was full, for some reason the text never came through - he told us to wait & he would try & fit us in. Lucky for us two people didn't turn up. There were 24 which were split into two groups. This is the first time we have had real bikes with gears etc (I got a brand new Trek).

Kaspar (the owner) was an awesome older guy who is an avid cyclist & we were lucky to have him. We had a family from Ireland & two families from US, we also got Nikko who was part of the tour crew. In our group we got three punctures (the other group had none), so poor Nikko had to keep giving up his bike so he could stay & fix the flats.

We had to detour from the normal route, as one day each year Madrid has about 3,000 sheep walk through the city streets (bit like a festival) - it was quite amazing to view. At the end they have guys on garden blowers, big street sweepers & a water truck cleaning up after the sheep.

We got to see various sites & when it finished we decided to walk back (on the ride we had passed a laundromat, so decided to locate it as we desperately needed to do a wash). We walked for over two hours and at least one hour was looking for the bloody laundromat - eventually found one (not the one we saw on the bike though) which is only about 5min from our apartment!!

Did some food shopping & then headed back to do the laundry & read our books whilst we waited. Felt we had well & truly earned a drink, so stopped in a pub where I had my first Sangria- might be the first of a few - had Barca v Eibar playing on the TV so good soccer to watch (3rd v 6th). Headed home to cook dinner & rest our very tired bodies.

PS - For those that have not been to Spain, they tend to eat lunch around 3pm & dinner around 9pm - hard to get used to.

Posted by pitchersontour 13:19 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day Twenty One - Munich to Madrid

semi-overcast 19 °C
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Farewelled Munich today & arrived in Madrid. We had our last wander around the streets & last coffee, left our great apartment with the views & walked to the station - the airport in Munich is a long way out, took about 45 min by train.

It is about a 2 1/2 hrs flight & we arrived around 5.45pm. Got to finally see the Bavarian Alps from the plane window, took a photo. Had organised our first taxi for this trip & in true Spanish time it was 35 min late! The drivers skills were very ordinary in the peak hour traffic.

Our apartment is nice except unlike the last one it only has one tiny window (none in the bathroom), so quite dark inside. Unpacked & ventured out, our street is like a Laneway with lots of graffiti & Ian was a little unsure of exactly where we had booked. I think all the pull down garage type doors will open during the day as businesses- regardless there were heaps of people out & about.

Had some tapas for dinner in a thriving city square, very nice.

Posted by pitchersontour 23:26 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day Twenty - Porsche Factory & Museum Tour

overcast 14 °C
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Today is the day Ian has been waiting for all our holidays - a trip to the Porsche Factory & Museum. We were up at 6.15am to catch an 8.28am ICE train (can go up to 320km per hour) - walked to the station, then about a two hour trip to Stuttgart.

Arrived around 10.40am & found the tourist information centre, got a local map & made our way around as many tourist attractions as we could in 1.5hrs. We got to see 25 sites, many of the initial ones were under restoration / renovation - Schlossplatz was really beautiful (the heart of the city & a popular meeting place).

We then caught a local train to the Porsche Factory for our booked 1.45pm tour. First time I have seen a queue to the men's toilet & none for the women!!! Loads of people broken up into various groups, 16 in ours of which 3 were women. The tour lasted 2hrs & I don't think I have seen Ian smile so much, he was like a little kid following the tour guide & asking questions (at times I think he forgot I was there!!)

To be honest the manufacturing site is quite interesting, so streamlined & they only manufacture during the day due to nearby residents. The production line (separate from engine manufacture) has 118 work stations, which on average takes 3 min 44 sec to complete each activity - quite remarkable. The engine production line had 75 work stations - in both production buildings some stations were manned by robots & others manually.

After the tour Ian ventured into the Porsche Museum, I decided to have a rest & start this blog & sort more photo's. He returned in about 45min (with a million photo's) & we ventured into the museum shop. He was hoping for a shiny new red GT3 but had to settle for a t-shirt, cap & car ring!!

Caught a train back to Stuttgart & boarded the 6.22pm train back to Munich. These trains are over 550m long, takes ages to walk to your carriage.

Arrived back at our apartment just after 9pm (long day), grabbed a hot dog for dinner on our walk home.

Side Note - The cost to access the factory & museum was 16E each, the train there & back was 220E - hmmm, I think Ian owes me a lot 😎

Posted by pitchersontour 12:46 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Day Nineteen - Touring Munich

10 °C
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Awesome nights sleep, collapsed into bed at 8.30pm & didn't wake till 5.45am. Ian & I spent some time updating our photo's before venturing out around 10am.

We decided to walk into Marienplatz (city centre) rather than catching the train. First stop was Sendlinger Tor (one of the gateways to the city, there are four of them in total), then onto Asam Kirche (St Johannesburg Nepomuk Kirche) - this church is very ostentatious on the inside & is located in the middle of shops & buildings - a mass was being conducted so we stayed for about 15 minutes. Continued walking back through the markets we were at yesterday & went to St Peter Kirche where we walked up to the top of the tower (300 + steps) & saw some amazing views - was still a little hazy so couldn't see the Bavarian Alps. From here we went to Isar Tor (another gateway to the city) & viewed photo's of the destruction during WW2. It is very disappointing in Munich, that very little of their tourists sites are explained in English - every other place we have been to, display several languages.

Time for lunch so walked to Isar River where the so called Munich beach is, sat on the rocks & had a relaxing 30 min watching people go by. Then to Hofbaur Haus (pub, we just walked through), onto Maxmilian Strabe (Paris End Street) & next stop, Konigplatz (another square).

Given we had been out for hours we headed to Lowenbrau (pub) to have a well deserved drink & then to our last touristy stop - Augustiner Keller (pub). This pub was located in beautiful trees in the middle of commercial properties, Ian of course had to test their brew!

On the way back home I found a place to get a much needed manicure & then eventually got back at 5.45pm (long day of walking). My knees were really ordinary yesterday but fantastic today 😊.

Posted by pitchersontour 11:42 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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