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3 Weeks in Spain (via Japan)

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
As mentioned previously, AVE wasn't running to Granada. Either take a bus to Antequera Santa Ana to transfer or a MD slow train 5 hours to Madrid... I chose option #3, ALSA Premium.

This was by far the nicest bus ride I've ever done.
2+1 seating, free wifi, breakfast and snacks, even a bus attendant onboard. Oh entertainment system as well.

P5243487.JPG

Breakfast
DSC_1717 (2).JPG

As there's a bathroom, no stops midway.
We reached Madrid in 4.5 hours.
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
For the last leg I booked Gran Melia Fenix in Salamanca. Determined to take full advantages of all the shops on Calle Serano ;)

Booked via FHR for €230 per night.

Lobby. Nothing says historical like a grand staircase.
P5253577.JPG


My room. Apparently it's been upgraded....I wonder what the basic room is like?
P5243489.JPG

P5243488.JPG

Bathroom is TINY
P5243490.JPG

Who designed this???
P5243491.JPG

The style was okay for me. And room size acceptable.
But that bathroom really was meho_O I've never seen a more cramped bathroom in a 5 star hotel.

Having said that, I did pay about the same for Double Tree Prado. In comparison Gran Melia Fenix certainly was much better.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
Hmmm nothing much to report for those two days in Madrid.
Well let's look at more food picture then!

Ramon Freixa
Two Michelin stars. Unfortunately I was by that time at the end of my rope...:oops: so only ordered the petit menu.

The presentation certainly was worthy of two stars.
P5243492.JPG


P5243493.JPG

Main, 3 meats cannelloni. The other option was prawn and confit duck.
P5243495.JPG

Wish I had come at the beginning of the trip and tried the full tasting menu, sigh.
 
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JohnM

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
6,944
Flights
My Map
I’ve travelled a lot in Spain for both work and leisure in the past. Your TR has brought back some great memories.

I’m lining up another trip there next year to fill in some gaps.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
I’ve travelled a lot in Spain for both work and leisure in the past. Your TR has brought back some great memories.

I’m lining up another trip there next year to fill in some gaps.
Great to hear!
I've got two trips to Japan coming up in Oct 19 & Feb 20 :cool:
 

Lisa10

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Messages
270
Hmmm nothing much to report for those two days in Madrid.
Well let's look at more food picture then!

Ramon Freixa
Two Michelin stars. Unfortunately I was by that time at the end of my rope...:oops: so only ordered the petit menu.

The presentation certainly was worthy of two stars.
View attachment 171201


View attachment 171202

Main, 3 meats cannelloni. The other option was prawn and confit duck.
View attachment 171203

Wish I had come at the beginning of the trip and tried the full tasting menu, sigh.
I had the petit menu there last week! Really amazing experience.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
After 3 amazing weeks, time to go home!

MAD T4 is incredibly stylish
P5263580 (2).JPG

Fast Track security, thumb up. Wish we have this in Melbourne.
P5263581 (2).JPG

Sala Velazquez, entrance well hidden in the duty free area...
P5263586.JPG

It was massive but also packed. This picture was taken much later.
P5263587 (2).JPG

When I first arrived it looked like this
171381

Guess I was too early for lunch? Not hungry anyways...
DSC_1747 (2).JPG
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
IB 6801 MAD - NRT (code share with JAL)

Iberia uses A330-200 for the 13 hour trip to Narita.
The business cabin is very small with only 19 seats.
171385

Since I only bought my ticket in March, couldn't get a true window seat, sigh. In terms of privacy I actually prefer the aisle seats on JAL.
P5263591 (2).JPG

The slippers were flimsy... when my friend saw the picture she instantly asked if those were from a hotel :(
JAL slippers were so much better.
BTW the tray table folded down vertically, that's something I've never seen before.
P5263596.JPG

Not a fan of the cabin colour scheme, grey everywhere...luckily the screens provided some bright red.
P5263597.JPG

Entertainment system was quite good, touchscreen very responsive. Watched Bohemian Rhapsody, didn't think I would like it but pleasantly surprised.
Received complimentary wifi for 30 mins or 50 mb, speed was okay.
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
For me what let the experience down was service and food.
I didn't expect the service to be as polished as JAL, but still....The male flight attendant in one of the pictures above was very good. However another female (Spanish) attendant had some attitude...the Japanese ones were okay but much warmer to the Japanese guests.

And the food! Aagghh.
I had to look up the menu to remember what those things were
DSC_1800.JPG

Meh
DSC_1760 (2).JPG

Okay
DSC_1761.JPG

Best of the flight, sighDSC_1763 (2).JPG
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
Landed in Narita, my luggage again came out last, again I saw familiar faces around me waiting at the carousel...
Since I've been to Narita many times before, together with what happened in Madrid, I decided this must be Iberia's fault.

So the conclusion was, it's an average product, acceptable if it's a direct flight (or redemption) but otherwise better avoided.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
Hotel Nikko Narita

Originally I planned to go to Tokyo as the layover was over 20 hours. Later decided against it fearing jetlag. wise decision ;)
Lots of hotels around Narita, just randomly picked one based on price, 6500 + 2000 for early check in.

Room is spacious (I mean Tokyo spacious).
P5273600.JPG

View, Toyoko Inn and another hotel (could be Tobu?)
Amazingly 8 trips to Japan and I've never stayed in a Toyoko inn!
P5273602.JPG

Coming back from Europe is always difficult. I grabbed something to eat from Lawson downstairs and jumped onto the bed...

Was planning to go to the Aeon Mall nearby but woke up too late. Took shuttle bus to Narita for dinner (there were several restaurants in the hotel, I just wanted to go out).
Unagi chasuke.
DSC_1770.JPG

For a one night stay near Narita it's acceptable. Only problem was you can't control the aircon temperature in your room, and the Japanese like it warm! o_O If I'm staying near Narita again will probably try somewhere else, MyStays looks nice.
 
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rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
JL773 NRT - MEL
I feel like recycle some old pictures, surely must look the same? ;)

Breakfast in Sakura lounge
DSC_1773.JPG

Only noticeable thing was that JAL changed aircraft for this route. The new seat map:
JAL 788 E12.JPG

So they got rid of PE altogether...hmm....
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
That's it for this TR.
Thank you all for coming along! :cool:

Time to plan my next trip which would be Koyo - chasing in Tohoku, Oct 19.
 

drron

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
19,313
Wonderful TR.
We had previously been to Madrid and Barcelona.People there plus on IB put us off going back.But several TRs driving or getting around outside the big cities will see us doing a weeks driving of southern Spain before boarding a cruise in Barcelona.
Some good tips here.
So thanks very much for taking the time to do this TR.
 

rbjhan

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
216
Wonderful TR.
We had previously been to Madrid and Barcelona.People there plus on IB put us off going back.But several TRs driving or getting around outside the big cities will see us doing a weeks driving of southern Spain before boarding a cruise in Barcelona.
Some good tips here.
So thanks very much for taking the time to do this TR.
Thanks for your kind words.
Yeah Madrid was not that interesting but I absolutely love Salamanca/Segovia/Sevilla/Granada...I hope you will enjoy the next one!
 

RB

AFF Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2004
Messages
2,492
A great trip report (first or otherwise). As with others you have bought back some great memories of Spain
 

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