In typical Kimberle fashion, I managed to arrive in Madrid a full day ahead of my friend. Those tricky airline itineraries when you fly from the states to Europe, I always forget to add that +1 day. Last time I booked a flight from Madrid to Mallorca the day before I arrived.
I really CAN be smart, really. After some choice words directed towards myself I realized something. You know what? A day alone in Madrid can never be bad. And with that, the cloud vanished.
DAY ONE MADRID:
Checking into the Hotel Asturias was easy and got a room with a balcony to boot! Nice.
The day was looking good. The hotel was prime location, in the centre. I walked towards Plaza Mayor and sat listening to groups of men singing songs to their fellow comrades. A large group had already consumed an entire outside bar area and every few minutes another group would march around the corner singing and the large group would sing back. Let me tell you, it was much better than watching the sad Mickey Mouse try to make balloon animals for frightened children.
Finally tiring of the antics I walked a bit further and found myself at the Mercado de San Miguel. I wandered in and drooled: fresh fruit, sausage, cheese, mouth-watering sandwiches of all kinds, seafood, tapas, wines, champagnes. Quadruple YUM ( i would go higher than quadruple but not really sure what is after that), made a mental note to come back with friend for food and wine.
DAY TWO MADRID:
The birthday girl has arrived! Not the actual bday yet but when it’s your 40th you get the entire week …… or is it month?
We set off for café con leche by the Parque del Retiro where an old waiter dude mumbled something in spanish after we asked for la carte and then only ordered coffee. Que pasa? Maybe there was something tempting for my tastebuds? Grumpy old man.
While birthday girl worked through the jet lag we cruised down Calle de Alcalá where we spied an Annie Leibovitz Exposition. And it was free! Isn’t Annie going through bankruptcy? How is this free? Whatevs. I’ll take it and run. It was filled with the usual famous, gorgeous celebrity photos plus a lot of her family and her lover, Susan. And I never knew Annie had a baby at the age of 51! Wow. There IS hope!
Next up, lunch at Mercado de San Miguel. My step quickened at the colorful array of vegetables in the windows. We settled on oysters and an appetizer with green olives, pickled onions, sardines and pepperoncinis. The first drink? A crisp white wine from France. Heaven.
Dinner was close by the hotel, a wonderful mixture of tapas. And afterwards we were bombarded with free drink cards from every calle corner. The card said “Free Caipirinha” which turned out to be the tiniest shot in the world. But we were already in the door and there was an open booth. Three Caipirinhas later, we stumbled out the door to our home for the night.
Now, I am not one for violence, however I must admit I can be a bit sharp tongued when threatened or angered…. and um, have had a cocktail or two. A large group was a bit too close for comfort and I spun around and mouthed off a bit while birthday girl almost fell flat on her face cruising over the cobblestones. She jumped up, yelled “I’m up!” and mumbled “heart, heart” while making the heart symbol over her chest. We giggled all the way “home”.
Day three was rainy and cold. We wandered around in hopes to spy the prostitutes on Calle de la Montera, which we did see a group of four. I think, it could also have been teenagers dressed in their normal day clothes. And then we caught a taxi for the airport. The smiley taxi guy played Olivia Newton-John’s oldies but goodies, we sang all the way to the airport.
A few more pics of Madrid. Enjoy! (Click to enlarge)