When booking our hotel room in Madrid, there were a lot of considerations – as always. A strong one was that since I couldn’t find availability anywhere – including our hostel – for Fri/Sat night, we could only stay for two nights and we needed to be in a central area. I chose a “cheap” hostel near the Gran Via metro stop just off of the Puerta del Sol – one of the main squares of the city and a chill destination – conveniently where the Self-Guided Tour of Madrid from Rick Steves’ Best of Europe begins.
Rick had let us know to expect prostitutes in Madrid so we were prepared for it and he assured us that they are harmless. Indeed, they are — but I nearly hurt myself laughing so hard after Maylene told me she was propositioned on her way to get us dinner. LOL! Good times! And there were sooooo many of them working all hours of the day and night. Anytime that we were awake – they were too – and working the street below our room. Great people-watching from the 2nd floor balcony!
Knowing that we couldn’t find accommodation in Madrid, we decided to head back south (where it’s warmer) and found a room in Malaga. We pre-booked it and would be charged in full if we did not arrive due to cancellation restrictions. When we arrived at the train station, we needed to buy a seat reservation since the trains require them in Spain (for the most part). This is all very normal and we’ve never really had problems obtaining same-day reservations. After first waiting in the (relatively short) but very wrong line – we found the right information center and the very chipper woman behind the counter nearly gleefully informed us that all trains leaving Madrid and heading to Malaga were completely and utterly booked today. All day. All of them. The outlook for tomorrow wasn’t very good either. That’s like 8 train loads of people per day heading to Malaga. You see, she said in Spanish and I’m paraphrasing — it’s Fiesta on Monday, so everyone is heading out of town. And apparently into town too. Crazy.
We freaked out just a little and then decided to check out the bus stations. We grabbed nearly the very last seats on the last buses leaving for Malaga – a 7 hour ride away and arrived 30 minutes delayed at 22:30. Oh yeah – I’ve mostly converted to 24-hour, Euro time. And you know what has freaked me out more – yesterday I completed a US-based online form yesterday and input the date as 19/12/09 – the European standard — HAHAHA!!