I will start off by saying that I have been desperate to travel since I was last away in November.
The government have – rightly or wrongly – made it almost impossible for international travel to resume.
I have been watching impatiently for announcements about the easing of restrictions and on May 17th, they introduce red, amber, green list countries for international travel.
Around the same time, Spain said they would allow tourists from the UK to enter without the need to quarantine or show proof of covid status. This was a win for me – albeit a small one since Spain is currently on the UK amber list meaning a pre arrival PCR/Antigen test, a covid test on day 2 and day 8 and then 10 days of self isolation.
I promptly looked on Ryanair and saw that they had flights for a fiver each way. Yep, FIVE of the queens saucy pounds. I messaged the young un about it and told him I was tempted. He promptly asked if I needed a lift to the airport and then told me I should book it. I waited a couple of weeks as I wasn’t sure if I should do it or not.
The fact I am writing this will hopefully answer that question for you. If not, hint: I went, I tanned, I left.
I told Jason that it would probably be better if he stayed at mine on the Wednesday evening since we had to be up silly early on Thursday to leave for the airport. When I say silly early, I mean like 04:00 as the flight was at 08:25 and I wanted to be at the airport for around 06:00 as I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get through security after all the changes. As it turns out, it was fairly quick and I called Jason and let him know how fast it was – I think he just barely got back on the motorway at this point.
We decided that we would go shopping for some much needed biscuits for his tea (i’m a dab hand at being his tea lady now, just ask him) and then we decided to go bowling and play pool before heading to the Harvester for dinner and then back to mine for some Phase 10 before some much needed sleep for the aforementioned early start. But for the fact we spent way too long at dinner, we could have played cards and I totally could have won too. I guess we’ll have to save it for the evening before we leave for Krakow to find out.
As for bowling, I won 2 games and he won one.
The sleep seemed to go way too fast and it felt like no sooner had I turned out the light but the alarm went off and it was time to get ready for the airport. Obviously, a cuppa from the tea lady was in order first.
We headed to the airport and had some good chat in the car against the background of 80’s music – I was honoured that he let me choose the tunes for the ride down. We got there and it was really bittersweet. It shouldn’t have been. I hate goodbyes (I even hate them when he leaves to go home after we’ve chewed the fat and had dinner. It’s really weird) and I think this one was more bittersweet as I wasn’t just staying in Peterborough but we were going to be 1000 miles away and who knows what could happen – not that the same couldn’t be said for Peterborough to Sandy. I’m at a point in my life now where you never know if it could be the last time you see someone – not that I am old, but I am more cautious with everything these days.
Once I was through security, my first port of call was to BK because I really wanted some food – but mostly all the grape Fanta I could drink!!!
It was so nice to be back at the airport (even if I was on my own) and even better to be back on the Ryanair mobile. I was so chuffed with myself too. I got in the seat and could comfortably tighten the belt (last time I flew Ryanir I needed a belt extender) and the tray table didn’t brush my breasts and feel me up!
I slept most of the flight – which I never do but this time it was thanks to the early start – minus about 15 minutes of turbulence over the Bay of Biscay. I dutifully got my snaps too and had them ready to send as soon as I was in Madrid.
I will write about each day individually from here on in. You know the drill by now: separate days in separate accordian items.
I was expecting the process of getting through passport control and customs to take quite a while given that the UK is no longer part of the EU. This was not the case. I just had to show my Spain Health QR Code and then I was allowed in the queue for passport control. It was really weird to be in the ‘All Passports’ queue instead of the EU one. Thankfully it was quiet so I got through really quick. The bit I was looking forward to was getting a stamp in the passport and that is exactly what happened.
Once this was done, I had to show the QR code again to get out into the general area of the airport.
This is where I had a massive faux pas. I told the young un I would message him once I had landed to let him know I was there. I had no mobile data once we landed and had to wait for airport wifi. I got on the wifi and my snaps went through and I also messaged him. I had to reconnect several times as it kept disconnecting. I then walked the 17 miles to get to the Metro station.
I tried to connect to different mobile networks to see if I could get mobile data. It was only once on the Metro that it dawned on me to check the mobile data roaming settings on the phone and lo and behold it was turned off. I last changed it in November of 2020 when I went to Turkey so as to avoid roaming charges. I forgot to turn it back on once I was home. I turned it on and quickly got a 4G signal. I told Jason and i’m sure his face was pricesless and was also wondering why his friend is so friggin dumb!!!
I got the hostel to send me directions from the airport and it took me about an hour and 3 changes on the Metro to get to the hostel. I started to see umbrellas everywhere so figured it was raining. I was going to just walk to the hostel in the rain but it was too heavy. Thankfully I keep a small umbrella in my bag so was able to stay mostly dry. It was a nice walk to the hostel from the Metro and I tried to get some pics for me and some snaps for Jason. I told him I was going to spam him with snaps and that’s exactly what I did.
I gave him a quick call once I was at the hostel to let him know I was there. I couldn’t check in until 2 so I sat in the foyer until it was time to check in. Everything was automated. The hostel didn’t have a reception and there were only 2 staff members.
I got to the room and the locker was broken and the light was broken too. It just wouldn’t turn on. I told one of the staff members and they said they woud find me another bed. I told them I wanted to sleep as I was tired and that is exactly what I did. I then got up after about 90 minutes and went out for the rest of the day to have a wander around. As I was walking towards the Metro, one of the workers spotted me and called me over and gave me a new card for the new room and bed. This one was much better and everything worked.
I was out for about 3 hours just wandering around and seeing what was there and then to find a spot to chill and call Jason to have a chat about his day too. I then went wandering some more and found a supermarket so I could scout what they had for sale and then saw a McDonald’s and went and had the usual offering of Nuggets and a drink.
By this time I was so tired that I went back to the hostel and went to bed.
Total steps: 12,264
Total miles: 5.8
Below are some pics from today
I headed to the airport earlier than I needed to (as I wasn’t sure how long it would take) because I was ready to be home as I had to work tonight too.
The flight again was uneventful and I slept most of it. We were told the taxiing to the runway would be 25 minutes. I fell asleep as we pushed back and woke up as we were almost on the runway.
I did my usual video of the take off and then promptly fell asleep until we were starting our initial descent into Stansted.
Getting across the border was easy as anything. Nobody was checked (shock, nothing has changed since last year).
I wasn’t expecting it to be as quick so I booked a train that was 90 minutes after we landed. I sat for 70 minutes until the train I could travel on was there.
Jason called whilst I was sat waiting for the train and it was really good to hear his voice. I told him he needed to come see me as I had gifts for him and he told me to stop being daft and that he was going to come see me to see me and not because I had gifts – these are the kind of people you should surround yourself with!
The trip back to Peterborough was a little eventful. We were stuck in Ely for about 12 minutes because of a diesel leak.
I was so glad to be home and in my own bed (though I didn’t get any sleep). I skipped unpacking straight away as I am wont to do.
I owe Jason a debt of gratitude because without his no hesitation offer of taking me to the airport this trip wouldn’t have happened. Therefore – THANK YOU SO MUCH. It was even more sweet of him to do it because he had to be at work at 08:00 that day too.
All in all, it was a really good trip and Madrid is somewhere I would recommend. I have told the young un I want to take him to Madrid so he can enjoy it too.
Total steps: 74,185
Total miles: 35.3
You can view all of my Madrid pics here