Monday, May 12, 2008

Vale Vale Madrid!

It may be unfair to compare any city to the likes of Barcelona and Istanbul, but sadly Madrid was put in that position. And while it didn´t measure up to some of the other cities that we have visited, the city does have its charms. First off, Madrid is more of a business center it would seem than other cities. The effect is that there are large portions of the city that seem deserted during the day and other parts of the city that seem to be tourist theme parks. Of the tourist haunts, we dug The Prado, the Museum of Ham, and the huge park with a statue of Lucifer that is across the street. A full day was spent looking at paintings and watching ducks and turtles cavort. Sure beats working.

Perhaps the best thing about the first time that we were in Madrid was the neighborhood of our hotel. Sandwiched between the tourist section and what people in Madrid consider the ¨seedy¨part of town, our hotel was along a street filled with record store and silly goth clubs. Funny seeing a bunch of morose, black-clad kids shopping day and night.

Our second time through the city, we made the mistake of believing that cheap hotels would be a dime a dozen. At the start of the high season. On a weekend. As you might suspect from my poor grammer, that was not the case. After hours of searching, we were forced to treat ourselves to a 4 star hotel. I promise it was the cheapest available. For the first time in months, the chance of getting the tell-tale line of bedbug bites seemed only a distant possibility. This might explain why both K and I slept for twelve hours the first night.

The next two days, we got to hang out with my old college friend and roommate Andrew and his wife Anna and two cute kids. Doubt their cuteness? Check Flickr. After wandering around their neighborhood, failing to get a glass of blessed water a couple of days before a saint´s festival and being treated to the best tortilla in the world (thanks to Anna´s mother), we turned in at our hotel. Did I mention that we liked our hotel?

The following day, we prepared for our 13 hour overnight flight by wandering the Madrid streets and meeting up with Andrew, Anna and the kids for the ultimate Madrid treat: Churros and Chocolate. For those not in the know, Churros are a fried pastry that you can, and should, dip into the thick chocalate syrup that often comes with it. Being blessed by local chaperones, we were able to sample the delicacies at the preeminant location in Madrid. It´s good to have friends all over the world...

Sadly, we had to bid goodbye to the brood and head for the airport. Stay tuned for all of the (the next part of this sentence is dripping with sarcasm) wonderful experiences that Iberian Airlines added to our trip. Jackasses!

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