I think my body is finally back on US Eastern Standard time, after a quick weekend jaunt over to Spain. Madrid is such a beautiful city. The people were kinda nice, too, but the architecture and the landscaping were just awesome. I think I’m going to approach this chronologically, like my Inauguration Day post. That seems like the easiest way…
Left DCA on Thursday evening headed first to Philadelphia, and then to Madrid. The Philly flight departed around 10pm, and I’d spent the previous 2 days staying up late and (trying to) get up early so I would sleep the whole way. This was my plan. My plan was ruined when I found myself seated next to Chatty Plane Guy. Don’t you hate CPG?! He SUCKS. He had no knowledge of Plane Rules, let alone simple common sense. I found myself knowing that CPG was 51 years old, was not from Spain, liked to travel, used to be married but his wife and son died — and this was all before the plane took off. Plane rule #1 – do not speak to your fellow passengers unless they seem interested in speaking to you. Chatty Plane Guy was in need of a friend, someone to talk to but since my plan of sleeping had been put into effect a few days prior to this trip…he was out of luck. I announced to CPG my intention to proceed into Dreamland, and he still talked to me intermittently but he eventually got the memo (I think he did – I fell asleep.)
CPG was not done, though. I was sleeping, not snoring, minding my own business. Do you know that this dufus poked me in the arm and woke me up and said – “Look…mountains…ahhhh…beautiful.” And he kept on saying, “Ahhhhhhh…just beautiful.” He sounded like a 7up ad from the 80s. More on Plane Rules in a later post.
I wanted to slap the teeth out of his mouth! I shook my head and said, “NO. Do NOT touch me. Going back to sleep.” Plane rule #2 – never ever touch a sleeping passenger that you don’t know, who is not blocking your way to the lavatories. I knew I’d see those mountains when I’d be awake on my return flight.
We landed in Madrid’s Barajas International Airport shortly thereafter. After clearing Spanish customs and getting our bags, we proceeded to be fleeced by some greedy jackalope cab driver who charged us 50 Euro for a cab ride that we found out later should’ve been 18. Circular route driving bama!
Pharma-T and I arrived at the apartment that Number 4 rented for everyone for the weekend. The accommodations consisted of a nice if spartan apartment in Central Madrid. Even though the weather outside was around 40 – 50F, it was so cold inside the flat that I thought I’d see my breath at night. Brrrr! We had to boil water and open the oven ghetto style to get it decent in there. But I digress…
We ventured out on the Metro to see the city. The Metro was clean but super crowded on the trains all the time. The stations weren’t that busy but man oh man those trains were packed! The apartment was near the Plaza Tirso de Molina station. Plaza Tirso de Molina is the biggest shopping tease ever. These three words, “venta al mayor”, crushed my spirits with every window that I saw in that plaza. Venta al mayor = wholesale buyers only. Doh!
After I picked up the pieces of my shopper’s heart, we went in search of food. This was a major task every day. Apparently, Madrilenos looove ham, chorizo, and more ham. There’s even a Museo de Jamon or Ham Museum. And they love seafood but not regular seafood – seafood with all the body parts attached (heads, eyes, tails, fins – everything! Yuck!) Pharma-T said this is the only vacation that she might’ve actually lost weight due to the lack of finding decent food. I’m not quite as picky as her (which might seem impossible to those who know me!) but it’s true. I had a hard time eating well, but I was ok.
We visited the Museo del Prado, where the Goya, Velasquez and other artists are showcased. These are the big spiritual depictions of Jesus in a variety of Biblical story illustrations, as well as Greek or Roman gods in their stories. Very imaginative and the sheer size of the paintings is breathtaking. (Could not take pics in the musuem)
On Sunday, after a run around town in search of the train station that didn’t exist, we ended up getting on one of those red double decker tourist buses that goes all around the city. I’ve done this in London and Cardiff. It sounds touristy – and it is, no doubt. But, it’s the best way to see the most of any city in the least amount of time and with little effort. We sat on the top and rolled out!
From our birds eye view, we saw the Palacio Real the former home of King Phillip the IV(?) The palace has more than 2800 rooms! I want to go back and go inside but it was closed by the time we got there on the bus. There were so many other sights to see as well, and we took it all in. Quite relaxing, and historically informative.
Sunday’s food expedition was especially arduous. Let me just say that we ended up eating two dinners within 20 minutes of each other because the first was so awful! I don’t want to relive that bad dinner memory but if you’re ever in Madrid steer clear of the Catedral Cafe. I am giving it two thumbs WAY down on this picture!
On Monday, we headed back to DC or Baltimore for Pharma-T or Hartford, CT, for Jdub and Number 4.
Overall, it was a really great trip. I got to see a lot of central Madrid, the musuem and entertainment district — and the wholesale clothing district! There’s so much more to see in Madrid and in Spain that I’m pretty sure I’ll go back and for a longer time, of course.
I know this was a long one but if you’re still here…thank you for reading! 🙂