I was racking my brains over how I should split up the posts on my recent Europe trip, that is, to London and Spain. I’ve been thinking about it for the past few hours (while being distracted by many other things), obviously I’m not the most efficient person around. I think it is the OCD in me that is acting up. Trust me, I have some serious OCD issues when it comes to how I organise my stuff. But, I have decided!
So I’ll be kickstarting this series of posts with Spain. It was my first time to Europe, and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive and scared. I never had this huge urge to travel to Europe, I’m not sure why – maybe the flight itself ripped a portion of my bank account! Ok, just kidding. I’m always about experiences and time > money. So I’m really glad this trip to Spain happened. While it was an extremely last-minute decision to do so, it was a good time to visit the people I love, experience a totally different culture, get disconnected (I do mean, to my social media apps, well I would say 70% of the time), spend some time with my brother, and just travel.
Ok I’m going to start this very weirdly, that is, day 2, since we spent the first day in London. We flew to Madrid’s Madrid-Barajas airport from London Heathrow airport on British Airways. While the cost for flying on BA was significantly higher compared to the European budget airlines like RyanAir, I have heard horror stories of how the budget airlines would be really strict with your luggage allowance. And the cost of purchasing the extra kilos ain’t cheap. I had a huge luggage so I didn’t really have much of a choice. But overall, I was pretty satisfied with BA’s service.
The purpose of this leg of the trip was to pay my Auntie a visit, whom we have not seen for five years! It was definitely an emotional reunion.
By the time we settled in, it was almost mid-afternoon. We spent the rest of the afternoon having a buffet lunch (9.99 euros, too good to be true), to exploring the city. We started off with Gran Via, one of the main shopping districts there. I was really looking forward to shopping there – they have all the big brands like Zara, Stradivarius, Desigual etc. Prices were slightly cheaper but not much, although towards the end of our trip, the July sales started kicking in. Yahoo!
And of course, we passed a jamon shop, that really got me excited. Although I have to admit, as I walked into the shop, I got the same feeling as I do when I walk past a smelly tofu stall. To be really diplomatic about it, there was an acquired aroma, which I wasn’t quite used to, heh.
And of course, I had to check out the supermarkets there. That’s one thing I look forward to every time I travel somewhere new. It’s like going on a treasure hunt, exploring what’s different, especially any biscuits/sauces/spices/drinks that is produced in their country. I always save a significant portion of my luggage space for those. So, one of the many things I love about supermarkets in Spain – their wines are ridiculously cheap? As cheap as 2 euros for a bottle, and it’s not as if it was on sale or one of lousy quality. Look at their Mojito and Sangria bottles… they really know how to drink.
And to end the night (which wasn’t really night-time, since the sun sets at maybe 9? We got so much out of our day, that even if we left the apartment at 11am in the morning, it didn’t feel as if we wasted our morning away), I had to check out Casa Hernanz. I did a little research before our trip, and apparently, this place is world famous. It is touted as the world’s most famous esparadilles store. It is actually ranked #219 out of #690 things to do in Madrid. I’m a big fan of shoes – I can forgo my accessories, bags but shoes, no way – and I knew I had to check out this shop.
It’s a stone’s throw from Plaza Mayor. I’m so glad we got Internet connection which enabled us to navigate through the winding streets of Madrid, after all, their lanes are so confusing. Okay, so everything sounds really good so far, then here’s the thing: I queued up for close to 1.5 to 2 hours for those shoes. I was probably out of my mind, but hey, how often do you get to travel to Madrid?
It was worth the experience (especially since the shoes are so comfortable and of great quality, it’s like my feet are naked yet supported, if you get what I mean) – so, my brother and I were one of the last in the queue. And say about 5 minutes before their closing time, they squeezed everyone into the shop, which wasn’t big. If you’re visiting, you don’t get to walk in and out of Casa Hernanz like a normal shoe shop. While you wait for your turn, you can start picking the ones you like from their window displays. Once you’re in, and they only have perhaps 4 to 5 staff so I assume 4 customers + their families in the store at once, everyone else? OUT! So yes, the part where everyone squeezed in was pretty epic. If you love your shoes as much as I do, and you have the time, I’d say, go for it.
Tel: 91 366 54 50