Monday, July 15, 2013

Madrid, Spain

I was only out of the hospital for less than a day before we left for Madrid. I was weak and tired but Tom found me apple juice, baby food and with massive dosages of antibiotics and potassium, I survived to live another day.

We headed to the train station where we caught the train to Madrid. I have to say that the train to Madrid was beautiful. It was roomy and clean. It was modern. And it went super duper fast. The trip took about 2.5 hours. I was glad I could rest for a while.

When we arrived in Madrid, we caught a taxi to our hotel. Our taxi driver was a woman and she kicked major ass. Because of all the austerity measures taking place in Spain, some streets were shut down for protesters. She started weaving in and out and cutting people off and cursing at all the bad drivers. She was a woman after my own heart. She got a big tip after she dropped us off.

Our hotel was not in downtown Madrid but further out. But it wasn't that far away. The hotel itself was an older hotel that in its heyday was probably the bomb. But it wasn't bad. The room was a good size and had a nice view from our balcony. The bathroom was big but the shower was a little willy-nilly and you had to be wicked careful not to slip and fall to your death.

We were in a good location because there were some restaurants around and a grocery store. It was great to go get some baby food, water and bananas for me. I had to be careful what I ate so it was nice to be able to get some foods that would agree with me. I was also able to buy a truckload of saffron to bring back home. And the saffron was cheap compared to the prices I pay for it here.

The first day we went out to grab some lunch, then I went back to the hotel to rest while Tom took a walk around the town. I was just too tired and weak to do anything else. I felt bad because I was such a Debbie Downer but there was nothing I could do.

The next day, we headed out to town to the Reina Sofia Museum to see the Dali Exhibition. Luckily, we went early because by the time the museum opened there was a huge line. We were in the front though. The exhibition started out just okay. But as we continued walking around, it got better. It turned out to be pretty amazing. Dali is a genius and I really enjoyed seeing his works. The other highlight was being able to see Guernica by Picasso that is housed in the Reina Sofia. I have always loved that painting so it was a huge treat! And, It was so much larger than I imagined.

We walked around the grounds for a while and then headed out to find some lunch. Luckily, we found a Thai restaurant and the food was good. I ate a little but it was nice to have real food. We also did a little shopping. We had not down much shopping in London, Paris or Barcelona, so we got a little crazy in Madrid. We headed back to the hotel and hung out and waited for dinner time.

Sidebar: Now I have a complaint about Spain. They eat way too late. Hey, we are like old Americans who eat at 5:30 or 6:00 pm. If we get crazy, we might go until 7:00 pm but never past that. That's just how we roll. So it was a little dicey when we were there. We would eat breakfast then head out. We figured out real fast that if we wanted a real meal, we would have to eat it at lunch. By the time dinner rolled around, we would end up in some little place eating tapas.

Now there is nothing wrong with tapas. I love them but tapas for dinner every night gets old. There is only so much meat and cheese you can eat. Any other time, this would have been great but when you were in the hospital a day or two before, it was not good. I got so desperate that I told Tom that we might have to visit the local McDonalds. But he refused. Damn all I wanted was a full meal! Anyway, I cannot tell you how many times we walked into a restaurant only to find that they were not serving food until 9:00 pm. WTH? It was nuts. Anyway, I digress.

The next day, we headed out to the see the Royal Palace. It was nice but once you have seen one Royal Palace you have seen them all. It was actually nicer than Buckingham Palace but they didn't have all the pomp and circumstance of the changing of the guard and all that jazz. We then walked to the Almudena Cathedral. Now I am not a churchgoer but I love churches because you know you will always find some really nice architecture. So we went in and were not disappointed.

It was pretty amazing. The stained glass was so beautiful and the statues were amazing. It was a really interesting church. And trust me, I am not a church kind of gal. But we were glad we stopped in because it was a great place to see.

From the church, we headed off to the old town area of Madrid. This was my favorite part. It was everything you would think Spain would be and more. The old buildings, the cobblestone streets, the little alley ways with stores tucked around them. It was beautiful. We ended up in Plaza Mayor.

At Plaza Mayor, there were several restaurants and we could sit there and people watch. Plus, we could get a full regular meal. Plaza Mayor was giant and several times while in Madrid, we saw several protests going on. We also walked around the area and checked out the stores and other places. It was so charming.

The third day, we had to indulge Tom's obsession for museums. So our first stop was the El Prado Museum. Like I said in an earlier post, I am not a museum type of gal. I tolerate them. I loved the Reina Sofia because of the Dali exhibition. The British Museum in London was okay because we were able to see different type of artifacts and art. El Prado was a bust!

Even Tom who loves museums, hated it. Oh dear lord, if you like stodgy paintings of the bad old days gone by, this is the place for you. It was room after room of old portraits and religious paintings. The religious paintings always freak me out. The portraits bore me to no end. After half an hour, I wanted to run screaming through the halls of the Prado screaming. I didn't though because I would have been arrested.

After an hour plus, I wanted to slit my wrists. Luckily, Tom was not feeling the vibe so we ducked out. Once outside, the suicidal tendencies tapered off and we headed off to the Parque de Buen Retiro. It is a huge park. It was very nice. I said I wasn't a museum girl and I am also not a park girl. I mean, I love parks, sometimes. But this one was actually quite nice. It had a huge man made lake and people were boating and hanging out. It was very relaxing.

Then we headed back to Old Town because that was the best part of Madrid. We did our people watching in Plaza Mayor, did some massive shopping, ate and had the best churros and chocolate ever!

I can't remember much else. I mean the trip was eons ago at this point. Thank god, I had pictures and Tom to sort of remind me what we did. Anyway, this ends the Europe stories. I will definitely have more Madrid pictures so keep an eye out!

1 comment:

  1. That 9pm dinner bell is insane, insane I tell you. I'm in jammies, sans makeup and possibly even in bed at that time.

    So sorry you started out so weak, but thank goodness you were able to go!