Getting there: Air Canada/Lufthansa
Where dpr stayed: Melia Castilla (for the 2nd time!) – the good: good size rooms, free internet, new gym (open 24 hours), safe neighbourhood, walking distance to subway station that heads straight to the heart of the city or a bus that runs down the Paseo de la Castellana, friendly staff, pool in the summer, the bad: in the financial district so there aren’t a lot of shops/restos around (although this could be a plus as it’s pretty quiet here), when dpr stayed here in the winter there was a really horrible piped in smell in the lobby, but in the summer it wasn’t detectable.
Fun: This was a another super short trip – the main purpose being a media event that dpr was involved in for RAjointhefight.com – a new and developing resource for people living with rheumatoid arthritis. dpr feels especially privileged to be part of this global initiative (she has met and worked with wonderful people from AbbVie, other people who live and advocate for others with RA, and academic and healthcare professionals from all over the world), and you can see her and her Join the Fight colleagues in some pictures and sound bytes here. The whole experience leading up to this event was filled with learning, camaraderie, and new friendships, which she looks forward to continuing as the campaign progresses.
There was a bit of spare time for dpr to explore Madrid again, and it was pretty targetted around some of her favourite spots there: a run down the Paseo de la Castellana, a trip to the central part of Madrid to soak in the old sites and do some power shopping, and of course to enjoy the tasty coffee and other delights there. Madrid has wonderful museums and galleries, too, but given her limited time, dpr chose to just explore the city. Since she’s been there 3 times in less than 2 years, she’s pretty sure she’ll be back again.
Tips: 1. dpr discovered that El Corte Ingles offers tourists a 10% discount card for purchases – which is basically a justification to just funnel 10% more back in to your purchases anyway! 2. Since the flights to Europe from TO are all overnight, when the plane landed in Munich, dpr hit the airport lounge and used the shower rooms there to freshen up – why has she not done that before?? It made a huge difference. 3. The central part of Madrid is crazy busy – watch your gear and wallet! Especially if you’re busy consulting your map and looking like a typical tourist. 4. If you’re traveling on multiple airlines, you may need to know separate reference numbers for each airline, as you’ll check in via the airline that’s operating your first flight. For example, when traveling on Air Canada (AC) and Lufthansa, and traveling AC on the first leg, you check in to AC with an AC reference number. When returning from Europe on Lufthansa first, you need to check in via Lufthansa using their booking number that is not the same as the AC booking number. No idea why this is so complicated, since when traveling on American/Iberia, you get one booking number that works for both airlines.