Eurobikeski 2016 - Spain - Day 0

All right, let's give this logging thing a try.

Warning: I'll be mostly eating, drinking, and biking so there will probably be a lot of pictures of that.

Day 0 - Madrid

Getting from the airport to the hotel with everything in one piece was, what I thought, going to be one of the bigger challenges of the day. The bike box was pretty wide and I ended up just barely making it through all the doors in the airport.

TSA Approved Bike Box

Although Madrid has Uber, it looks like at 8:00AM it wasn't going to be easy. Also, I wasn't sure if my driver would roll up in a smart car, having no chance to fit the bike in the car. The first taxi minivan I tried couldn't fit the box (and for some reason refused to put his back seat down). The driver apologized and said he couldn't take me. Ended up finding another driver with a similarly sized minivan that put his rear seats down and everything fit great. 30€ flat rate to the city.

We rolled up to the hotel (Meliá Castilla) and the doorman let me know he'll get my luggage up to my room. It turns out I accidentally made my reservation for the week after. After asking if they had a free room and if I could change my reservation, the receptionist got on the phone to call headquarters. After some dialogue, I hear her say "perfecto". Things are sounding good. After hanging up the phone, she informs me that there is a room available but that the reservation I made can not be modified or canceled. I'll have to book another night separately 8/ This hotel wasn't cheap and I'm hoping Chase let's me dispute this one.

Once I got to my room, I put the kettle on for some tea. Drinking tea while putting stuff back together was an idea I got from James May's The Reassembler and it worked great.

Here are the tools you need to unpack a Surly and put it back together. Props to the staff at Boulevard Bikes for packing this thing. No damage and the rear wheel, fenders, and rack got to stay on! Think that's why they went with the wider box 8 )

After the reassembly, a shower, and a 2 hour nap it was time to find some food. After looking up a place that was open, I head out towards it. Walking up to it, I see there are a group of people smoking right outside the door. I say "Disculpe" and try to get through the front door. One of the guys in the group stops me and says something in Spanish with this look of "we're not open." Looks like it was the staff taking a smoke break before dinner service. Confused, I head back to the hotel. I'm instantly regretting not putting in a bit more time on Duolingo for Spanish because I'm really struggling to communicate with people here. It starts to make me feel out of my element and pretty anxious about what the next few weeks are going to look like.

As for that restaurant, it turns out meal times in Spain seem to happen at specific times. Unless you're heading to a restaurant that caters to tourists, you need to get to a restaurant at the right time. Reminiscent of hobbits, you've got Breakfast (Desayuno), Breakfast #2/Snack (Almuerzo), Lunch (La Comida), Mid-afternoon snack (Merienda), Tapas Hour, and Dinner (La Cena). Lunch seems to be the most important meal of the day (La Comida means, "The meal").

After getting back to the hotel bar for a meal, it looks like something happened to the bar staff because the concierge appears to be tending the bar...and he's swamped. He's sort of running back and forth like a chicken with his head cut off. As I raise my hand to try and get his attention a group of ~30 elderly people come in and start placing orders for wine, sangrias, cervesas, and coca-colas. This guy is pouring like crazy, wine and soda flying everywhere! 30 minutes later he gets to me, apologizes, and takes my order. He comps my whole meal and said he's sorry. He tried the best he could 8/.

After dinner, it's back up to the room for some route planning for the next day and sleep!