Prologue: When I planned for my trip, I got a lot of useful information from trip blogs that I found on the Internet. Hence, I choose to write a detailed journal as a way to give back to the community. I envision this journal to be an additional resource for people who plan to visit the cities we are visiting in Spain. What you'll find here would be mostly factual information and our impression of the hotels, restaurants and services that we had, or of the attractions that we saw. If I don't put any comment on any item in the itinerary, it means either we had to skip it, or the description from the schedule is enough.
Madrid airport: it looks so futuristic with wavy ceiling made with wooden planks. It is also quite ecofriendly. Solar panels are installed around each group of spotlights to recapture energy.
Madrid metro: We used Metrobus T-10 ticket that allows 10 units of trips in the Metro or bus. The cost is EUR 7.40, but if you plan to use it for two people, you can add another Euro for such flexibility. Keep in mind however that if 2 people travel in 1 metro trip at the same time, they will consume 2 units from your tickets. Hence, if more than 1 person plan to travel a lot of times with Metro or bus, it's better that each has his/her own Metrobus T-10 ticket. Note: a one-person ticket will have one asterix on the ticket, while a two-person ticket will have two asterixes on the ticket. I didn't know about this and got confused in the beginning. I expected to have 2 tickets produced by the ticket machine when I selected the option for usage by an additional person.
Hotel Asturias. (+): strategically located near Puerta Del Sol (lovely location), clean. (-): rather old, and noise insulation is not too great, so a rather loud neighbor can be a nuisance. If you plan to take Metro from the airport, then just exit at Sol Metro station. The hotel is less than 2 blocks away from this station.
Segovia Bridge: It's really worth your while to get across the Segovia bridge because you will have a really good view of the Palacio Real and Cathedral De La Almundena, both at the same time.
Palacio Real: Some rooms, like the Gesperian and Porcelain rooms, are just so beautiful. Imagine a very ornate chinaware, with all the decorations put inside. Then imagine you are inside that chinaware. :-) No pictures or videos in the premise. You will be immediately reminded not to do so if you try.
Check out Gran Via that connects Plaza De Espana and Puerta Del Sol. It's the main commercial road in Madrid, and it will be a good window shopping (, or real shopping for that matter) destination.
Plaza Mayor is like any other famous square in Europe. Be (very very VERY) aware of pickpokects! My gf got a bad experience here on Day 2. Having said that, if this misfortune falls unto you, you can find help at the Tourist Information center located in the square. They would let you use their phone to call your credit cards company, or whoever you need to call, and help you file a police report as well. If you want to have the official letter however, you still need to go to pick it up at the police station within the next 48 hours.
Museo De Jamon (Ham museum). Don't be mislead by the name. It's not quite a museum, but the name of a ham (meat store) and a restaurant. Apparently this place has a lot of branches all over Madrid. At least in Puerta Del Sol on Calle Mayor, there are two establishments almost right next to each other. The food is good, especially the ham (Doh. Pardon my repetition, but I am just trying to make a point). The mixed seafood fritters is also excellent. If you plan to have at least one tapa dining experience in Madrid, this has to be the place.