3 Weeks in Spain (via Japan) | Australian Frequent Flyer
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3 Weeks in Spain (via Japan)

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
First trip report here :cool: Hopefully I can do it right!

So back in March I decided to go to Spain in May, hmm 6 weeks is not nearly enough planning time! But I managed, somehow.

The itinerary:
MEL - NRT JL774
2 days in Tokyo

HND - LHR - MAD JL41+IB something
Madrid - Segovia - Avila - Salamanca - Toledo - Sevilla - Cordoba - Ronda - Granada - Madrid

MAD - NRT - MEL IB6801+ Overnight Hotel Nikko Narita + JL773
Route.JPG
 
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RooFlyer

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Sounds a great trip! I loved Spain, especially Segovia and Salamanca. Do you like gin & tonic, by any chance?
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
JL774
Had I known AMEX will be getting rid of the restaurant credits I would have gone to Movida! Bah.
Nothing really to write about re Marhaba lounge, but at least there are made to order noodles.
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Couldn't get a window seat either, but the aisle seats on the window side do have some extra storage.
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Had western breakfast last time and didn't like it. So Japanese breakfast it is.
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
This is my 8th trip to Japan by the way...so pretty much no sightseeing, just wondering about Ginza...

Hotel Remm Kyobashi
I almost always stay near Tokyo Station/Ginza area, Kyobashi is right in the middle, very handy.
Good size by Tokyo standard.
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Shower only, def not typical Japanese...
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
JL 41 departs 2 am(!) from Haneda, so I'll need to find something to do that day...Luckily this is Japan, people are creative in terms of how to kill time before a flight.
Look what I found: Heiwajima onsen!
Obviously you can't take pictures inside, so I direct you to the official website:
https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/

Basically, you pay 2400 Yen which includes entrance to the onsen & facilities, shuttle bus to Haneda airport at 10 or 11pm. (There are later buses to Haneda too, but cost a bit more I believe). Massage, vending machine, restaurant cost extra. Beats JAL Lounge by a country mile.

Speaking of lounges, JAL is quite generous...
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This flight is not full (oh I wonder why ;))so I got a window seat no problem.
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Tons of privacy when the partition is up.
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And I had ramen!
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APEX suites are not my favourite seats out there -- not a fan of neighbours plus not enough storage, personally I like reverse herringbones. But JAL is often cheaper than the ME3 going to Europe. And you can stop over in Tokyo!
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
There's a new Plaza Premium lounge in LHR T5, very quiet as Priority Pass can't get you in. Luckily Amex Plat is accepted, much better than the zoo that is BA lounge.

I'm not going to write about the Euro Business LHR - MAD, economy seats with a blocked middle seat is really not that exciting. :confused:
There is one thing though, when we get to Barajas airport, my luggage was one of the very last to come out - together with all the other business passengers! :mad: Not a great first impression...
 
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TomCC

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2018
Messages
24
Love Japan and am often thinking about Spain so will certainly be paying attention on this one!
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
Double Tree by Hilton Madrid Prado
Oh my god what a disaster...booked and paid for a king room, and this is what I got:
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Being very jet lagged I didn't think too much. But a few days later when looking through my pictures found this:
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WOW! So I got the smallest room of the whole floor?! :mad:
Don't recall seeing downgrade as a published benefit of Hilton Gold... Anyways the hotel didn't respond to my queries so ended up contacting Hilton Honors after came back home, finally got a refund.
So yeah, stay away from this one!
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
Devour Tour Madrid
Booked a "Tapas, Taverns & History Tour" as it's highly recommended by a friend. It was pricy at EUR 99 plus tax. But such a great experience! Love it.

We went to four local taverns. First stop is Casa Labra for their famous bacalao, quite salty but delicious! (Forgot to take pictures, bah)

Next up is my favourite of the night, Meson del Champinon, so much so that I went back the next day:p
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No.3 is La Casa del Abuelo and prawns in garlic
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Final stop, Casa Toni, here we sat down and had multiple dishes...I'll let the photos do the talking.
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Oreja a la plancha, yum.
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Our guide Joy is an American expat, she's done a great job keeping everyone entertained and also provide great insight about Spanish food and history. And she introduced us all to Tinto de Verano!
I'm not a guided tour person, at all. But this one is so good I ended up booking another one of theirs in Sevilla.
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
Prado and others.
Main reason I booked that terrible hotel is I wanted to be close to the museums. (iirc Westin was EUR 500 plus those days, WTF is all I'm gonna say)
Museo del Prado needs no introduction.
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This is Spain after all so the museum opens at 10 am. I went early and didn't come out until about 6:30pm, it is just this large and I was totally exhausted.
6-8pm is free entry time but one look at the queue I'm convinced it's well worth the money to pay for a ticket...

Thyssen otoh is nice and quiet. Also, you can take photos heh heh.
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Didn't go to Reina Sofia as I'm not into those things...

Caixa Forum
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More random pictures of Madrid...
Metropolis building
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Retiro Park
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Palacio de Cristal
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
Santiago Bernabeu & Caja Magica
Long time Real Madrid supporter here, so;)
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Also went to watch some tennis!
Third round in the main stadium Manolo Santana. Saw Djokovic v Chardy and Federer v Monfils.
Unfortunately Rafa played at night that day...
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It's much smaller than Melbourne Park but nonetheless a good venue for a Masters tournament. And I like how they arrange the practice courts along a central walkway.
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
A few more Madrid restaurants:
Sobrino de Botin, apparently the oldest restaurant in the whole world. Also featured in Heingway's The Sun Also Rises.

I was in the much sought after basement
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Gazpacho
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Their famous suckling pig
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Didn't think the food is that special, but an experience I guess...
 

VPS

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Apr 2, 2011
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Prado and Thyssen are much better than Reina Sofia - loving the photos and bringing back memories
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
141
La Tasqueria, not for the faint hearted, haha :cool:
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And you can see why...
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Ox tongue and olive
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Tongue * Salad * Lobster
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Ear * Beans * Salad
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Tripe * Shank * Snout
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This one is off menu, can you see what it is?
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The deep fried ear is a bit too much but I love everything else ;)
 
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