Bienvenido a Espana…first stop Madrid!

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DAY 1: Madrid 8, September 2009Well…we’re officially on our way now-onto this big adventure of a lifetime. On Sept. 7, 2009 at 6pm we took off from JFK airport on Iberia flight #6250 to Madrid. After a fairly uneventful flight and some complimentary champagne from our new flight attendant friend Daniel who was celebrating his birthday; we were off and running. We landed safely at Madrid’s airport this morning, caught the hotel shuttle (which was driven by a man with the personality of burnt paella) to the Tryp Diana Hotel at the airport; dropped our stuff as it was too early to check in to the hotel; changed (a girl can only be without her flip flops for so long you know) and hit the town. Bienvenido a Espana everyone.
We set out for the day to see some of Madrid’s finest sites. What we found was a city where no one seems to know or care about the negative effects of cigarettes, a city that was completely under road construction everywhere you turned (although the jack hammer guys were fun to watch) and some very nice people who loved that we were even trying to speak the language.So, we went for a wander on the metro which if you haven’t left Manhattan ever in your life, let me tell you, the subway systems are nothing in comparison to others around the world. Totally clean, air conditioned trains, mobile phone service everywhere and many shops in the stations as in London or Hong Kong, but not as many. We managed to cover a bit of ground in one day and saw where the Museo de Prado and what we would call Museum Row was located. We spent some enjoyable relaxation time in the Parco de Retiro which had gorgeous gardens filled with trees some of which looked like they jumped off of the pages of a Disney sketch artist and saw beautiful flowers, cool looking architecture, interesting statues, policia riding their horses (cavallos) and a lake in the middle to row boats…so of course…while in Madrid you know…we paid our 7 Euro and got a row boat for 45 minutes and enjoyed some time on the water (stop laughing…yes, Mathew rowed most of the time). {Mat note: Stacey rowed for a few minutes but we only went a few feet} We finished our water adventure, walked out of the park and we passed stores such as Prada and La Perla along the Calle de Serrano which seemed much like NYC’s 5th Avenue or London’s Oxford Street. For those who love fancy shopping (as our Minnesotan mate Cara does on streets such as the Michigan Mile) you’ll love this one. We headed onto the Torres Colon which is supposed to be some grand tower but was nothing really special and headed up to Bernabeu Stadium where the Real Madrid Futbol (soccer) club plays (for those who don’t know it’s David Beckham’s former team) to have a bit of a tour. Well, as it turned out, one of us had a drop in blood sugar and needed sustenance which came in the form of sandwiches but wasn’t enough to make me (Stacey) stay awake as I proceeded to have a bit of a snooze on a café chair on the streets of Madrid…travelling can relaly knock you out you know! My husband of course took pictures of this for proof…or blackmail. {Husband note: you never know} So, after a good nap and some more water, we headed to the staidum for an incredible tour filled with trophies, photographs, time on the pitch and in the tunnel and the home team’s substitue bench and then the visitor’s locker room and the ever famous press room. We looked at the top of the stadium, the middle and the bottom and ended as all good tours do…in the gift shop. The tour was really thorough and Mathew had a huge grin on his face the entire time. It seems that every young boy’s (and some girl’s) dream is to be on the hallowed turf of the most successful soccer club in the world.After an incredible day and an amazing afternoon, we went searching for dinner that found itself at VIPs off of the Alonso Martinez stop on the metro and filled our bellies with some much needed tucker. Then we hopped on the metro back to the hotel for the night; picked up our luggage, checked in using some forms of grammatically incorrect spanish and headed to bed. Definitely different than the usual September the 8th! Next stop…Barcelona!

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2 responses »

  1. Stacey and Mat you sound like you are having a wonderful time. After many attempts, I have finally made it on to be part of your adventures (minus being there) Cant wait to hear about the upcoming tales. Miss you and glad to hear you are having a wonderful time:)

  2. Hi Stacey and Mathew! This is amazing ~ you have done so much already and your journey has just begun! I don't think they could pay me enough to mow that field w/ my little mower ~ I can't wait to see all the pictures! I look forward to reading all about your adventures and hope to become a part of them as well! Take care of one another and happy travels. Miss you both lots ~ xxxxoooo

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