We woke up extra early to get to the airport for our flight. Flying has to be one my favorite things, mostly I think its because I know I am going somewhere. Two hour flight to Atlanta to jump on the next plane to Madrid! Flying Delta is always the best experience. The service, the food, the space. It was quite relaxing on the 11 hour flight over. As soon as we landed we found our bags and met with my brother Doug, who has been living in Madrid the last two years.
Our hotel check in wasn't until 2 so we dropped by his quaint little apartment, left our bags and headed out to explore the city. I love that everything is walking distance or just a bus/metro stop away. He lives in the oldest part of Madrid, The La Latina area. It was filled with street art and old buildings that dated back 1000s of years. Sky high apartments and so many clothesline. The people are everything you expect them to be, simple, wearing all black and sticking to themselves.
Walking after being on a plane for 13 hours wasn't the most glamorous feeling. We were jet lagged and tired but we pushed through. We walked to the Royal Palace, of course its closed one day a year and guess what, its closed on APRIL 22! So we walked around it, visited the gardens, Jardines de Sabatini, walked through the Plaza de Oriente, took a ton of photos of the scenery. They had a look out point down the street. The city is full of intricate details from the lowest point to the highest point. At the lookout they had artists selling their jewelry, couples holding hands and the cutest little dog, not on a leash, found a stick and kept placing in front of the couple sitting on the bench. They giggled and we giggled and they finally threw the stick. It went on about four rounds and the couple laughed and got up realizing the rotation wasn't going to be ending anytime soon.
Not far from the look out was an Egyptian Temple, The Temple of Debod. An actual temple from Ancient Egypt built in 200 BC dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid in 1968. It was really neat to walk through the temple and see the hieroglyphics on the walls. Truly an amazing exhibit. completely out of place in the middle of the Parque del Oeste!
We walked through one of the largest city centers, the Plaza de Espana. The weather couldn't have been more in our favor today. There is one thing I love about Europe is the sense of community it has. Everyone is always outside, snacking on tapas, drinking beer and just enjoying the life. I still can't believe we are here and with my brother at that!
Off to eat at Restaurant Botin, the world's oldest working restaurant, dating back to 1725. We read up on it before we came researching all of the places we wanted to visit. They say the artist Francisco de Goya worked there as a waiter and that Ernest Hemingway frequented the underground eating area and always ordered the roast suckling pig, which is their most famous dish. Frank ordered it! I was staying away from it and ordered the Clams, which we all decided was the best dish on the table. We had a pitcher of Sangria and finally got to laugh and relax for a second.
We were lucky enough to get a hotel package with our Delta flight and stay at the most amazing hotel, Dear Hotel just in the heart of Madrid, on the largest and busiest street, The Gran Via. We had a metro stop out front, an ATM on the corner and we were in walking distance to tons of food and mostly beer!
It had the most perfect designed room, with the twin beds that were pushed together. The view over the Plaza de Espana and the monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, who wrote Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. We both were so wiped out we decided to take a little nap, that turned into a bigger nap when we woke up and realized it was night and on the later side of dinner. We called my brother up, met him in his neighborhood where we walked what they deemed the "Indian Mile" and found an Indian food place still serving food and beer. I know, who goes to Spain and on the first night eats Indian?
After eating he brought us to probably one of the best bars where we danced and drank more beers under red lights and on broken glass. There is one thing today has taught me about Spaniards, they love their beer and they love to party all night. We were still pretty tired from the flight so we ended up coming back to the hotel.
With that I say goodnight, with love from Madrid!