After a pretty hard core nap of at least 90 minutes, we packed up and walked to the gate to check it out. It seemed like a pretty light load at the gate so it was actually a pleasant boarding experience, one of the few we’d have on the trip.
Rome (FCO) – Madrid (MAD)
25 JAN 2013
Seats 22A, 22B
Our plane was leaving from a remote gate so we were bused to the aircraft on a beautiful Italian afternoon. The weather was a bit chilly, but the sun and fresh air felt good for the 30 seconds we got to have them.
When we arrived, the plane was being boarded from both front and back. It was efficient to board through the rearmost door since we were close to the back of the plane. It turned out that didn’t matter much because the flight was so empty. Joann and I each grabbed an empty row so we could sprawl out if we wanted to.
We took off and ascended into the cloudless sky with amazing views of Fiumicino and Sardinia. We basically just enjoyed views and relaxed for the short flight. There was no in-flight entertainment. I wonder if Alitalia has screens installed on any of their narrowbody jets.
The only thing out of the ordinary on this flight was that there was a medical emergency. A passenger towards the back of the plane needed medical attention so flight attendants asked everyone to stay seated when we landed so that medical staff could assist the man. It didn’t seem like anything urgent and the guy walked off the plane under his own power so that was good.
From deplaning, we went straight to the baggage claim to get our bags and then that was that. Since we already went through customs in Italy, we were on our own in Madrid. Shame that we didn’t get a Madrid stamp!
Metro de Madrid
I had read that the best bang for your buck travel in Madrid was the Metro. It sounded better than a 35 Euro taxi ride to the Westin Palace Madrid so we purchased two tickets from the agent at the window with the intention to transfer lines to our final destination.
As an FYI, to purchase a ticket on the Metro, your credit card must be of the Chip & PIN variety. Our American Express Platinum cards were only Chip & Signature so the machines rejected them.
A tip in case you are going to stay at the Westin Palace Madrid, Radisson Blu Madrid Prado, or any hotel in that area:
Take the Metro to the Nuevos Ministerios stop. It’s a large hub for transfers.
Once there, find a machine to buy a ticket (less than 2 Euro) on the Cercanias line.
Take any line that will go southbound and stop at Sol, which is one stop away.
Once you emerge, you’ll be at the Puerto del Sol (middle of this map) and should be able to navigate your way from there.
For the two of us with carry-ons and one big checked bag, it was a 10 minute walk to Westin Palace Madrid… not bad at all.
We also stopped along the way for cheap snacks and beer at Museo del Jamòn. What a fine establishment! How I so badly wish we had one of these by me.