Fog, football, and frolics in Madrid

Some offers are too good to miss, pre christmas Ryanair flights to Madrid for 26 euros return, to take in a CD Tenerife away, I couldn’t say no. Sitting on the tarmac at Tenerife South airport, waiting an hour for take off due to fog in the Spanish capital, wasn’t the ideal Saturday morning start, but we eventually got the ok.

I was in a group of 7 fine ambassadors from the Armada Sur,we soon found plenty of Canarian friends from the other peñas (fan clubs) some had made an early start on the booze, before boarding. Putting our watches forward an hour after the 2.5 hour flight, we bundled through Terminal 4 and found the Metro, loaded up on tickets and made a couple of changes on the way down to our hotel NH Atocha (another bargain at 30 euros a night)  near the Pacifico stop. Once we were out in the open, the cold started to bite and on went the extra layers, the remains of the fog lingered in the air, but we soon found our hotel and checked in.

Hey, we didn’t just throw this trip together, The General had sussed out that Second Division Rayo Vallecano were at home early evening, so as Kirstie and Nikki went up town to explore museums, the Freezing Five walked through the run down and strangely quiet neighbourhood, looking for bars on the way. Watering holes were scarce so we ended up at a bar near the ground, previously invaded by Tenerife fans last season. As we thawed out, the beer and tapas started flowing, it was fairly empty at first but a hoard of Numancia fans (above) descended, complete with drums and turned up the volume. We of course proudly uncovered our Tenerife colours and both the home and visiting fans were very friendly and welcoming.

Armed with our 15 euro match tickets, we grabbed a last cheeky beer opposite the entrance and took our place on the chilly terracing. Rayo is a 3 sided ground, flats are built at one end, the 11,500 crowd were pretty subdued, only breaking into song once they were 4-1 up well into the second half. We mingled a bit and tried to stop our feet from turning to ice, the Numancia fans up in the corner of one stand, did their best to life the atmosphere but lost heart as their team lost goals.

Heading back to the hotel, the streets had filled up, evening shopping seems the in thing at Rayo, we managed to resisit buying any of the tat on sale at the market stalls. Back at the hotel the girls were happy with their afternoons browsing and ready to join us for night time in the city centre. The metro system is clean and efficient and delivered us quickly to Sol, slap bang in the centre. You can never get enough football, so we found a large lively Irish bar with big screens showing the evenings games and set about demolishing a few cold Coronitas. Hunger was kicking in by this stage, so we found a big kebab restaurant, that worryingly had a huge painting of a horse on the wall-I was assured by those who indulged in a large kebab that the meat seemed true to its menu description.

Madrid is a lively and busy city, especially on a Saturday night, we had a little wander around the main square to take photos and everyone was friendly, enjoying the pre christmas lights , living art displays, and bustle. Three of our party went back to the hotel at a reasonable hour, while we headed to a rock bar, Parada de Los Monstrous, Â a short metro ride away in Iglesia. The beer was reasonable, especially the 6.5 % Yuste, and we even got a seat near the DJ, so we could feed him requests for old classics like New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen,he found most of them. By 2.30am we were flaging, even though the bar was just getting going, so we piled in a taxi and back for some sleep before the big day.