[MADRID SPAIN] All That I Learned in My First 3 Hours


I figured I'll try my best to blog-as-I-go while I'm in Madrid. If I stall any longer, these travel posts (seriously I have more than 20 posts in draft) will never get published. 
Last time I travelled to Taipei, Taiwan alone and thought I was pretty brave because I usually never travel alone unless it's Hong Kong or during my layovers for work. At least, in Taipei, I can read and speak the language which was Mandarin. This time, I literally used decided to fly to Madrid 5 hours before the flight departure; booked my hostel literally when I sat in my seat in the plane; and I don't know a word in Spanish except for "HOLA".

I took flight AC 836 which was a direct flight from Toronto YYZ to Madrid MAD. 
The flight was around 7 hours and with the 6 hours time difference, we basically arrived at 4:50am Toronto time. My flight experience was superb, absolutely no complaints whatsoever but I'm extremely sleep deprived and so I'm sick again =( One of the worse things that can happen when you're travelling!

My in flight essentials for comfort =))!!  Stitch Pillow and Pink Beats!
Don't mind the lighting, it's part of the mood lighting in the cabin ... to get you in the mood for whatever service at that time! 

It's been a while since I posted #SparklySkies photos on Instagram, so here are some! Yep before I was ready at all, (I passed out reading one page of that travel book, why are English travel books so damn BORING?!?! NO PIX!!) we were arriving!!

Once I add some cool filters on Instagram, it's gunna be a crazy pic!!!

Our aircraft arrives in Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport Terminal 1 of which was a TON of stairs before we finally got to the customs. I'm not a fan. Since I did close to ZERO research, my survival instincts came into play.

1) Data SIM Phone Cards
In Baggage Claim Area of Terminal 1, you will see Phone Card booths. They speak minimal English, from my understanding - don't quote me, they sell you the SIM Card (15 Euros) which allows you to make international calls. For Data, it is 0.20 Euros per 1 Mb. After I heard about the data charges, I didn't inquire more. It sounds stupid. (you can forget this)

Free Airport Shuttle Bus 
Sorry, I had a lot of luggage to carry by myself so I struggled to get the front but this is how it looks like. Blue and green!

Crystal Media
You will also notice Terminal 4 is the new expansion to Madrid airport! Super chic!

In Terminal 4, (which you need to take the Free Airport Shuttle Bus on Level 1 of Terminal 1), there's a store called Crystal Media. They sell SIM Cards with Data plan of up to 2GB for 35 Euros. The guy didn't even bother try to sell it to me, he actually told me to get it in the city which should be around 10 to 15 Euros for a much better deal.

After surviving my first day, I'm debating whether I need to get one because I noticed I got wifi almost everywhere for free. Museums, Starbucks, some public areas etc are all very convenient.

2) Transportation to City Center
I booked a very convenient, affordable, and CUTE hostel in the heart of the city where all the attractions and landmarks are located. I will post about the hostel another time because I think it's dangerous to post where I'm staying as I publish this.

The cheapest option in my opinion is to use public transportation. I took the Airport Express which costs 5 Euros, you can pay them cash and exact change is not necessary. The ride is 40 minutes or so. Since I went over to Terminal 4 to check the SIM cards, it turned out it's the starting station which means I got luggage space and a seat! If you start your ride from Terminal 1 and it's during busy hours, good luck! This would probably be my best tip :)

Their website has information but there's no English version, I took this picture below which explained everything for me.

Finally, don't forget to pick up maps from the Airport. I got mine from the Tourist Info Kiosk.
Crazy useful especially if you are planning to visit and stay in the Downtown/City Center area of Madrid. Must sleep now! ~~