SPAIN! Madrid Day 1

Rusty and I divvied up blogging about Spain. So about half is his perspective, half mine. 

My parents and Carlie were not driving home until Monday morning.  Can I tell you how wonderful it was to leave the kids packing and picking up the house to them?  Seriously—it was wonderful.  I’ve never had a less stressful morning before a flight.  THANKS MOM, DAD and CARLIE.  You did all the hard work.

We got to DIA sooooo early.  But that’s ok, it gave us time to tune up our itinerary.  After carefully packing all our stiuff in a carryon bag, we had to check the bags anyway because the plane to Toronto was too small to hold even regular sized carry ons!  We prayed we’d see our bags when we got to Madrid!  We sat in the VERRRRY back seats on a VERRRY turbulent flight to Toronto.  We made it in one piece and had about a 2.5 hour layover.  The Toronto airport is pretty cool. It’s huge and has tons of tables for seating and every seat has an iPad.  This is awesome until you realize there is nowhere for anyone to wait for their plane to board.  So, there are crowds of people blocking the hallways as planes board.  Cool idea, poor execution.
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Rusty upgraded our seats to an exit row for the flight to Madrid, which, after our squished back to to Toronto, was HEAVENLY!  Our 7.5  hour flight left about 6pm, making it too early to really get any sleep.  I caught maybe 2 hours, and Rusty less than that.  We landed around 7:30am local time in Madrid.  After catching a Taxi to the hotel to store our luggage, we set out to explore!  Rusty was pretty jet-lagged most of the day.  In retrospect we decided it probably would have been a good idea to get the hotel room the night before and then sleep till noon or so before hitting the town.

Our first stop was Plaza Mayor and the San Miguel Market for breakfast.  We had Jamon de Iberico, nuts, fruit and juice.  We were not blown away with the ham, although most people rave about it.  Maybe it was our stomachs thinking it was like 3 in the morning.  We both felt a little unsettled.
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After breakfast we walked over in the direction of the Palacio Real.  We stumbled on the palace gardens, which were one of my favorite things! Everyone knows I have a real affinity for perfectly manicured gardens.  There were beautiful hedge mazes, flowering trees, and cute fountains.  I loved it!
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Next up was the Teleferico.  This cute little cable car takes you over Madrid to a hillside park.  A very dead hillside park.  The views were super fun, and we did manage to find a patch of grass to take a nap for a few minutes.
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Next we went to eat Paella. We really shouldn’t have done this. Neither of our stomachs were up for it, and it was expensive. Oh well. Live and learn. It is a beautiful dish, but I don’t think we could fully appreciate it. Rusty chomped on some chicken bones in his first couple of bites. That pretty much sealed the deal for him.
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On to the Palacio Real. What a beautiful building! It was fun to explore the grand rooms and we even got to see a Stradivarius! No pics were allowed inside.
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The Madrid Cathedral had my favorite interior of all the churches on our trip (Not including La Sagrada Familia which is in a league of its own). The patterned ceiling was bright, fun, and unique. And the stained glass was so different. It wasn’t in the usual gothic, ornate, formal style. It was fractured and modern.

At this point Rusty could barely keep his eyes open!
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So we hit up Churros and Chocolate at the famed San Gaines (and it was G, double O, D, good!) and then, after a HEAVENLY shower it was an 8:30 bedtime!

 

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And look how progressive Spain is 🙂
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