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This won't hurt a bit..

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Rise and Shine early again after a 5am sleep..again. I got in the shower and then went to use my wifi - normal AM routine. Sarah said that her and Jenna had decided to go check out some nearby shops before our check out at 11am. I wasn't sure that I was up for more shopping, ill surely? So I went for a walk as it was MUCH needed. I wanted to find this massive food hall that I had heard about on the bus. I walked for ages but couldn't find it. A cute waiter smiled at me so I made the most of this and asked for directions. Thankfully his English was really good and he said I was heading in the opposite direction and advised me on how best to get there. I thanked him and set off. Funnily enough some lady stopped me on the street and asked for directions to the food market, clearly I look like a local of Spain!

I found the big blue Mosaic building and went in. It was HUGE. Pretty cool but every stall sort of had the same thing. It was either olives, anchovies and cheese or fruit or mass amounts of seafood on layers of ice. Looked amazing but there were about 60 stalls with the exact same things. It was still cool to wander around even if my stomach was churning at the sight of food. I did get a nice mango and strwaberry juice though. I was still not sure if I was going to get my tattoo, I didn't even have it printed out or anything so wasn't looking very likely. I had to go back to the Hostel and clean up my stuff and leave my bags in storage so I did this around 10:30 and then decided to finally go and get the Seafood Paella that I had so been dreaming about. I also wanted to get my agua di Valencia while I was there. I e-mailed Sven my tattoo and got him to print it for me before I left (just in case). It was usually easy to find eating places but I was struggling to find anywhere with my Paella. I finally found somewhere and then realised I didn't have enough cash so I had to go in search of an ATM. All of this done, I returned to my restaurant. I asked if they had agua di Valencia and they didn't, I contemplated going but figured it was okay if I could at least get my paella. I ordered a jug of Sangria instead. I decided at this point that I really did want to get my tattoo and was getting a little anxious as I only had a little time. I finished the whole jug of Sangria and my meal still hadn't come out! I asked the guy if he could get take away and he told me it was already ready and brought it out...ummm it was just sitting there for fun??? When he brought it out though, to my disgust, it was the meat one with chicken and rabbit. I so didn't want it so I told him I wasn't going to eat it and stormed inside to pay for my Sangria - furious that I had spent 45 minutes waiting to finally get my damn seafood paella. Clearly some things are just not meant to be! I pretty much ran down the street to get to my tattoo parlour. I was having another minor panic attack at this stage and couldn't stop my whole body shaking. I was so scared I would miss the bus if it took too long. But I SO wanted to get it so I didn't care! Maybe the Sangria helped this decision..who knows? The main reason I think was because I really loved Valencia and thought it would be cool to have gotten it done somewhere like that. Valencia is a pretty random city to get a tattoo done in though! I was in such a panic that I made the tattoo artist rush out mid-tattoo and he assured me that I would be done before 1 but I had to wait 15 minutes. I went and got a salad from our salad shop accross the road. When I got back I only had to wait for a little bit longer and they got the design happening. I went in the room to get my tattoo started. Probably not the best idea to get one from a chick who spoke no english at all! Lucky there was this guy with piercings that kept running in and translating what she wanted me to do! It literally took about 8 minutes I think! Didn't really hurt, I can't really explain it, some bits did I guess. Lozz, no words of my weakness please. I loved it so much when she had done though. LOVE IT.

I went back to the hostel after and still had 45 minutes to spare before the bus was due to leave. Sarah and Jenna were there so I showed off my tatt for a bit. Shortly after we got on the bus. It was painful waiting on the street as it was like 37 that day!

The trip from Valencia to Madrid was a pretty good one. I almost cried getting on the bus though as it was to be our last Bus About journey :( I can't believe how shattered I was at this. The experiences we have had and the awesome people we had met made this pretty much the saddest moment of my trip. Actually it really was because nothing about this trip has been sad.

I spoke to the guide on the bus to get directions to our hotel and mentioned I was really interested in seeing the Flamenco dancing that night. I had heard so much about it, I think it was the first ever Flamenco club and everyone just went on about how insane the show was. I knew I had to see it. Sarah wasn't that keen but that was cool, I was more than willing to go by myself. It didn't start until midnight but it was only about 15 minutes to walk there and I planned on getting a 5 euro cab on the way back. Sarah did decide to come at last minute so that was kinda cool. We met another girl on the bus who was going so we all planned on meeting up at their hostel at 11 to go together. We had already planned to be there as we were going to dinner with Jenna first as it was our last night together :(

When the bus got there we got a map from the Bus About Hostel and I drew a line on it of where we had to go. I was fairly sick of being 'fairly' unorganised so I had googled the exact directions before we left for Madrid and also confirmed it with the Bus About guide. We found the Hotel really easy. The check in was really quick and easy and we were allocated room 336. We went into the room and it felt so luxurious compared to what we were used to. It was 2 star and back home we would have thought it was a joke but here it was like a 10 star compared to some of these hostels! We had 3 single beds in a row so we got one and a half beds each, a fan (OMG), a TV (CRAP), a bath (REALLY???), a full-length mirror (first time I had seen myself in 7 weeks, a good thing) and a wardrobe (GOD DAMN). It was all pretty cool and we were planning on relaxing for a bit. That didn't happen. When we got there I did my washing. Much needed, I have taken to buying new 1 euro undies rather than washing my old ones! Haha yep that's the lazy Ashton you all know and love. When doing my washing I remembered I had purchased a portable clothesline, yep in the 7th week I remembered! I found it right at the bottom and hung my clothes from one end of the bathroom to the other. poor Sarah must have found it really fun to bathe in the midst of my laundry. After this I decided I wanted to get a little dolled up for Flamenco. I put on my new grey dress, did the hair and make-up. It felt so weird to get dressed up after going out in the typical backpacking attire for so long, it was all very nice. By this time it was 8 and we had said we would e-mail Jenna by 8:30 to organise. I went downstairs to find out about the wi-fi - it was 6 euro for an hour, I wasn't too keen on paying like $10 AUD for an hour of net time so we decided just to make our way to the hostel and find her. We got there and you needed the key to get in but the reception girl was nice enough to let us get into the hostel common room. We expected Jenna to be in there as she is a bit of a social butterfly but we couldn't find her so we just sat down for a bit. There was a vending machine with 1 euro beers, I am sure you know how this ends. Soon enough Jenna came through and we decided to go out for dinner at a place called Piazza di Angel as there was meant to be a nice restaurant called 'Ginger'. Wayne that we had been out with in Munich had told us about it and given us the card and the Bus About guide also mentioned it so we figured it would be a good option. We got there in a couple of minutes and it looked really lovely and fancy. We were a little worried as we are on backpackers funds (diminishing) but upon looking at the menu we saw that you could get meals for around 6-10 euros which seemed pretty good. I had scoffed two cans of tuna when we got to the hotel so I really wasn't looking to eat too much anyway. We went in and were seated. We decided to order a bottle of Sparkling to order, I got a vegetable stack with goats cheese, Sarah got the duck upon Wayne's suggestion and Jenna got some crumbed chicken. The waiter brought over the champagne and an ice bucket, he even did the whole label showing and taste before pouring thingy - all for a bottle of like 12 euro champagne! It was crazy how fancy the restaurant was considering it had like Maccas pricing. As soon as the champagne was poured the meals came out. I think they took about 8 minutes from ordering! It was so good. The meals were first class - so yum. We had to meet the other girl at the hostel at 11pm so we thought we would have heaps of time, but after some champagne and a chat, it was around 10:30 by the time we finished. We went to a little souvenir shop on the way home. I bought this gorgeous little Madrid silver cup. It was so funny because when I went to pay I handed it to the girl and we got this massive electric shock, we were both so startled that I dropped it! The poor girl was sort of laughing with me but more just looking at me like I was a witch! After this we saw a gelati shop and decided we couldn't walk past without getting gelato. I got Panna cotta and mango flavours - Panna cotta is possibly the best gelato flavour ever for future reference.

It was 10:50 when we got back, perfect timing. Nadia was already waiting for us and she said she was meeting up with two other girls. We met the two beautiful exotic looking girls out the front and got excited about some Flamenco action. It was pretty funny as their names were Sarah and Anna, when the guide went up to them on the bus today to book their tickets they were like 'Sarah and Anna' and the guide was like 'yeah, Sarah and ASHTON are going..?' and they were all confused until they met us! I was put in charge of the map situation, I decided on a difficult path that would turn out quicker in the long run. There were so many little windy streets that I was sure we would get lost but we found the street pretty quickly/easily. Unfortunately we couldn't find the actual venue though! After getting some directions we found it on one of the corners. We were 15 minutes early so we just went around the corner to chat for a bit and then we were permitted entry. They went and sat us at a table near the front and we were given the option of a free drink. I got a Sangria becuase, um well I was watching Flamenco Duh! The Flamenco was insane, the things those girls can do with their bodies is insane. We were all a little tired though so we sort of struggled to keep our eyes open for an hour and a half until 1:30 even though it was highly entertaining. When it finished we rushed out of the door to get a cab. Sarah and Anna were planning on walking so we got one with Nadia. On the walk back to the hotel I was marvelling at how friendly and relaxed everyone was, they were all greeting us and the atmosphere with all the street music was great. I was thinking about how great it would be to go out there but I seriously didn't think it would be physically possible after an average of 3 hours of sleep for the past several nights. Then a guy handed us some sonic club entry card and Sarah said 'we should go out'. Well, you know how hard it is to twist my arm. I agreed, but 'I wil seriously only make it out for about 20 minutes'. We agreed to go and check a club or bar out just quickly and then get some sleep before our flight to Portugal the next day. So we walked out of our hostel and some guy handed us a card for 'Coco' which read that girls got free entry. We weren't keen on paying so it sounded okay to us, we weren't really expecting much. The guy actually walked us to the line, we didn't speak though as he didn't know English, and waited for about 30 minutes with us in line! While we were in line there was this freaky guy jumping around on these spring things on with a glittery g-string, the guy told us to stand with him and he would take a photo, so we did. When he got us in, he took us to the bar and got us a free shot of barcadi and then shook our hands and left - we were pretty sure he was the owner. OMG it was crazy inside, the lighting system was the best I have ever seen - there were like clouds hovering around you on the dance floor! It was so full on though so we had to go and have a straight shot of vodka to get into the vibe! Pretty soon we were dancing around and attempting to speak to people that spoke english (and didn't). The Spanish LOVE Sarah. Some guy was telling her she looked like a princess and calling her princess Sarah. The funniest thing about the clubs here is that they all play hard core tech music, but they all love 'Living on a prayer', they even played temper trap oddly enough! We had so much fun dancing the night away! So much fun dancing the night away then when we left it was 4:30am. And of course we were hungry so we went in search of food. We found a pizza shop which had this amazing pesto pitta pizza so we went halves and ran up the street to our hotel while chowing down on pesto pizza. I could only imagine how awesome I would be feeling on the train/plane tomorrow. We also planned on waking up at 8am as we had no idea how to get to the airport for a 12pm flight but we planned on braving the metro system rather than jumping in the nearest cab.


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Crazy 12 hours in Madrid

madrid, Spain