June 30, 2009:
When we arrived in Madrid that evening we were exhausted, after an early start and two bus rides that day, and it was hot! From the transportation hub where we were dropped off we managed to get directions to take the subway to the area that our hotel was in. Down the stairs with our suitcases, one line change on the subway, and then out into the heat. In our rush to catch our bus to Madrid we hadn’t gotten a chance to draw or print a map to get to our hotel. So we had an address and knew we were in the general area, but we needed a map. Usually there are maps at the subway exits, but we hadn’t seen one. We were both frustrated and exhausted, so we decided just to take a taxi cab, since we didn’t know how to get to our hotel. When we got into the cab the GPS showed a route that looked like a triangle looping back to the starting point, but by the time I tried to point it out to George, it had already zoomed in. I kept waiting for the cab driver to turn right, but he kept going straight for quite a ways in bad traffic before turning. Then when he did drop us off he pointed us down an alley way, but the hotel wasn’t in the alley, so we asked someone for directions and found the hotel a bit before where the cab had dropped us. After checking in we walked down the road a block to the main road to find dinner, and low and behold, we were at the place we had gotten into the cab! Uuurg. We’d been taken for a ride for about US $1o. We were mad at ourselves. We had traveled for 7 months and not let that happen until now! I had been so nervous in Jakarta, Indonesia, but once we got to Europe I automatically felt safer, but that was silly, since Europe is probably more dangerous than most cities in Asia.
July 1, 2009:
The next morning we started our sightseeing and rather enjoyed our stay in Madrid. We headed out on foot into the heat (0ver 100 degrees Fahrenheit), armed with a water bottle. First we saw the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, but we chose not to pay the admission to go inside.
Next we visited the Royal Palace and saw the museum exhibits. We both liked the armor exhibit best! It was so cool to see real shining armor up close, and some pieces even had dents in them from battle. There were also full suits of armor for horses, and tiny suits for royal children. It was really interesting seeing the different styles of armor, many elaborately decorated, and the weapons.
Then it was time for a lunch break before taking a quick look at Plaza Mayor during the daylight.
Then it was time to head back to the hotel for a siesta before freshening up to go out to dinner. We were in a bit of a hurry to make it in time for our reservation and took a wrong turn and ended up in a crowded street where a pride concert was taking place. I lost George in the crowd for a minute, but we managed to squeeze through and make it to the restaurant on time. We had a wonderful meal of paella at La Barraca– highly recommended!
After dinner we took a stroll through Plaza Mayor. There were lots of street parties going on, but we were both tired and decided to call it a night.
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