jerry and jean

jerry and jean

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Arrival in Madrid

Hola!  (And that is about the extent of my Spanish!)  We arrived in Madrid, Spain today at 10:15 AM after flying all night on an American Airlines 767. We had opted, and paid dearly, for what they call "Main Cabin Extra" seats for this trip.  This is not First Class, not Business class, but a little better than what I call "Sardine Class".  We had an extra 5 inches of leg room, which doesn't seem like much until you get it.  As I said last year it is the difference of being in the back seat of a Volkswagen and a mid size Chevy for 9 1/2 hours with 3 people.



The saving grace of international travel
Madrid airport


Flight information is boring, so let me assure you, we had it as good as we could afford, which wasn't very good, but we arrived at the same time all the rest of the people arrived safe and sound;  tired, stiff, and shell shocked.  Madrid airport is beautiful and we proceeded without incident.  Found an ATM and got some Euros, called the apartment manager that we were on our way, and proceeded to get a taxi into the city.

As mentioned before, our Spanish is ....limited.  We can say hello, good morning, afternoon, evening, good bye, do you speak English and yes.  This is the limited vocabulary that we had in Italy last year too.  Unfortunately, we have found that Madrid really is a Spanish city and the people here speak ....Spanish. Fewer English speaking tourists.  Fewer English signs.  Lots of Spanish.  Our taxi driver was one of those.  In other countries, the cabbies know a little English, but do know the city.  Not the one we got.  She didn't know where the apartment was, didn't speak English, didn't try to. We think she was a rookie.  She just talked really fast and louder.  I had written the address on an index card with the owner's name and phone number too, she called the apartment owner, and talked and talked and talked about where this apartment was.  We knew where it was on the map, but she didn't know how to get there.  Fortunately there was a maximum fee for the ride from the airport to the city, so we didn't get ripped off, but it was an arduous task just to get here.  And of course, we were TIRED! Note to self, next time get a cab driver who is an old man that looks like he has been driving for 50 years.

The manager, Sol, met us in the apartment and showed us around.  It is small but nice.  2 bedrooms, living space, bath with shower, nice little kitchen with dishwasher and sink, 4 burner stove, fridge, and a washer dryer for clothes.







 We are here 5 nights @70 euro a night.  Great location right near the Plaza Mayor.

Unpacked, and then lay down for a little rest.  2 hrs. later we are out walking the neighborhood.  The weather is 53 degrees F. so a fleece felt good, but bright sun.  Here are some shots of the neighborhood and our walk.









Found the daily market, Mercado, and again, what fun.  Lots of stalls, but the difference is that people eat there too.  Tapas is "small plates" of savory dishes, so you go around to these vendors and pick out some good snacks and then meet at a table. Like hors d'ouvers for a meal.   Kind of like the food court at the mall, but MUCH MUCH better food.


Little individual servings of sausage

Fresh potato chips--


Seafood always intrigues us
I had  2 cheese croquetas, an olive skewer with different kinds of olives and meat, and wine, Jerry ate a ham and cheese sandwich (which sounds boring, but it was really good).  Apparently, Madrid has elevated Tapas to an art form, and just about every restaurant you pass advertises Tapas.  Unfortunately, our Spanish, doesn't tell us what it is, so we are really just taking a shot in the dark.  We are studying up on something near us for the "Tapas crawl" tonight.

Walked and walked.  Saw the palace, the Cathedral, just saw.
Cathedral de Nuestra Senora de la Almudena

It's spring here!  Green grass!


The palace.

 Then bought some water and wine and came back for another nap.  It is 7:30 PM here now and we are planning a quick night out and then back to sleep.  We will get on schedule in a couple of days, but it doesn't matter.  Possibly tomorrow we will tour the palace, or see the Prado (art museum) but if you are tired, everyone is crabby and no one has fun, so that is first on the agenda....get rested up.  I will post where we went for dinner tonight in tomorrow's blog. Just wanted you to know we are here.  Adios!