Sunday, 27 May 2012

Fridge Magnets from Singapore and Thailand

My sister went to Singapore and Bangkok recently for work and she got me these fridge magnets:

 The one at the top doubles up as a bottle opener.

This design is probably the most popular from Thailand. And as usual, I was too lazy to remove the packaging.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review: Way Hostel in Madrid

I stayed at Way Hostel when I was traipsing in Madrid, home of Real Madrid and the famous bear & madrano tree. 

Way Hostel is a 90-bed backpackers hostel owned by a professional tennis player from Argentina. He was playing in a tournament in Syria when I stayed there.

I arrived in Way Hostel at around 8am after arriving from Barcelona by the overnight bus. 

Matheus manning the reception counter.

I like the stairs ...

... that leads to the rooms and dorms ...

The 12-bed mix dorm that I stayed in. Rate was 15 Euros per night. My bed is the one in the front left with the blue backpack leaning against it. The polka dot comforter is ultra comfy and kept me warm in the freezing temperatures of Madrid (I was there in December 2011).

Bathrooms are spacious and clean. 

Way Hostel has the most spacious chill-out area I've ever seen in all my travels. Maybe because the hostel has approximately 90 beds. So obviously the chill-out area has to be spacious enough to accommodate 90 pax or so if the hostel is running on full occupancy.

This is breakfast ...

... served daily in this ultra cool kitchen:

Way Hostel lived up to my expectations as a good hostel for backpackers.

Facilities are good and its location near Plaza Del Sol is excellent. The hostel also organises a free walking tour of Madrid which I would personally recommend you to join. You would get an insight into the history of Madrid and all sorts of interesting information about this marvellous city.

Another outstanding feature of Way Hostel are its friendly staff. Throughout my stay there I was greeted by name. I like to think that they remember my name because of my X-Factor qualities (kidding) but maybe it's just the way they are. Being greeted by name is something you only get in a 5-star hotel. So kudos to Way Hostel for its excellent customer service!

Despite singing praises for Way Hostel, I have 2 complaints.

First, is the the number of internet PC which is definitely not enough for 90 backpackers when the hostel is running on full occupancy.

Only 4 PCs for 90 backpackers? No wonder I was perpetually waiting for my turn.

My other complaint is about locating the hostel.

Based on the directions in the website, when exiting from Tirso de Molina subway station on Line 1, take the c/Magdalena exit and look for c/Relatores street where the hostel is located.

Tirso de Molina subway station.

Getting to Tirso de Molina station was a piece of cake for me. But locating c/Relatores was a nightmare because the bloody signboard was covered by a tree branch:

Before I left Way Hostel, I reminded the receptionist to chop off the bloody branch. 

I ended up walking up and down along the streets with my heavy backpack and was cursing, swearing and wondering if I'd ever locate the hostel.

In the end I approached a news stand vendor for directions. He could not speak English but by using body language and pointing, he showed me directions to c/Relatores where Way Hostel is.

When you exit from Tirso de Molina station via c/Magdalena exit, look for this red building on your left about 50 metres from the entrance of the station. This lane is c/Relatores and Way Hostel is about 20 metres from the entrance of c/Relatores.

However, these 2 complaints are overshadowed by the other excellent qualities of Way Hostel I mentioned earlier. And this is probably the reason why Way Hostel is perpetually running on full occupancy. So it's a good idea to make prior booking before going there. 

I would definitely stay at Way Hostel again if I return to Madrid. 

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