A Spanish Birthday Celebration - Man Down!! (Day 4)
September 2nd, 2015
The worst possible thing happened. Adele caught a cold. We had a sense last night that this was a thing that might be coming. But it is different to see it in action. We did some mental sleuthing and can pinpoint the cold to one of Adele's co-workers from the week before we left. Open Concept strikes again. Both Adele and I brought enough DayQuil to get through the cold here in Spain. Hopefully. Because if she has a cold now, it is only a matter of time before I am struck down as well.
Adele drugged herself up the best she could, and we walked back to the restaurant we visited the day before. La Rollerie is one of our favorite places in Madrid at this point. I decided to order the same thing Adele had the day before. Bread with jamon and a tomato sauce. Well, we don't think the server understood us (I mean understood Adele...we all know I can't communicate in Spanish), so there was no jamon. But there was great bread, wonderful olive oil, and tremendous tomato sauce. Even jamon-less, we loved our breakfast. And it turns out, multiple visits during a visit is not a weird thing. A family we saw yesterday returned again today as well. It's a thing!!
Yesterday, we passed by the Royal Palace of Madrid. The decision was made to go eat lunch instead of visit the palace. We knew we would be back the next day. And we were ready. For €10, we could walk through the first floor in the palace.
Touring the palace, I was reminded of some of the other "big homes" I've seen in the past. Versailles, Biltmore Estate, these are all homes that don't seem liveable. Especially now. But back in the day, it seems even less comfortable. I mean, really. When time travel becomes possible, I don't want to go back into the past. I don't care what Outlander says is wonderful. Let's be honest, a snarky, tattooed, technology freak with an asymmetrical pixie cut and a penchant for jeans would not do well in the past at all. I wouldn't really blend in to the background and would be burned at the stake for being a witch. Probably on Day 1. But these houses have never seemed like a place anyone would be able to comfortable to live in. I guess though, the owners of these homes wouldn't want for anything. Even if I could blend in during my time travel to the past, I wouldn't be in the Upstairs community. I'd be more of a Daisy versus a Lady Mary.
But I digress...
Walking through the palace, I came to the realization very quickly that I don't know the Spanish Monarchy. I would see names and paintings, but I didn't know who they were. As we walked through rooms, I could connect some of the names to what I saw in a previous room, but many of the people were a mystery to me.
I did come to love Carlos III, a nerdy looking King. He just seemed like the most anti-monarch there could be. And Charles IV and his wife Maria Louisa of Parma look like the same person, so that made me chuckle every time I saw the two of them.
We walked through the the palace, realizing we were going to need some food quickly. We thought about going back to the restaurant from yesterday afternoon, but we didn't need much. We just needed something little. So we did go back to a place where we visited earlier. We went back to the Mercado of San Miguel. A few cookies, a jamon sandwich and a sea urchin made up my meal. This, plus a glass of wine was perfect to tide us over.
Now we have whole heartedly embraced the siesta. Almost every day, we made our way back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon nap. This afternoon, the nap was needed for keeping Adele's cold at bay. Depending on the day, we would take between 30 minutes and two hours of a nap (or relaxation). After the nap, it was time for some light reading, blog writing or quiet time. The nice part about this is we are not falling apart with exhaustion.
Like last night, we were going to visit an art museum after hours. We chose Wednesday for the Reina Sofia because it saved us €8. And being at the museum for two hours for free helps give us an out for dinner.
The walk to the art museum was quicker than we expected, so we had some time before they'd let us in. We were close to the Madrid Atocha Train Station. This station was bombed in 2004 and the inside lobby was renovated in 2005 to memorialize the incident. There is a stream inside the building that houses turtles. Turtles!! We have never been so delighted by a train station.
The Reina Sofia is a museum that includes art which...lets just say is the art that I don't get. This is the national museum for 20th century art. Pieces by Picasso and Dali are the draw, but there is art from other contemporary artists.
Picasso's "Guernica" takes over a large chunk of the space on the 2nd floor, and that's where most of the visitors linger. I realized quickly that I do not know contemporary art or artists and I don't really care for them either. But it was nice to see a different type of art. I also was able to spout out some information about Dali and Walt Disney being friends, or at least Dali worked as an illustrator for a while. Half-Assed Trivia!!
Adele had taken additional meds and was doing pretty good at this point. Her main goal was to do some Tapas hopping, like the locals do. So we walked into a neighborhood area and started it off.
I'd like to say I know where we went. But I did not keep track of the locations. Or food. We stopped at one place, then fell into a wine shop next door (not literally...we had one glass of wine). The proprietor of the shop then sent us on a search for a sherry bar around the corner.
The sherry bar was an old school location, packed as much as it could be packed. We found a place and shimmied in to order a sherry. I learned I don't care too much for sherry. It was here where we met up with two older men who chatted us up for a while. The Spanish Phil Collins didn't speak any English, but he did find Adele fascinating, miming the Bugs Bunny "heart pounding out of his chest" motion at various times in their conversation. The Spanish Franciscan Monk did speak English and wanted to take his Harley to the U.S. to drive Route 66 one day. They loved us and wanted to follow us to the next place. But Adele and I were insistent in saying no. We live our lives with the words of wisdom of Jack Donaghy, "Never follow a hippie to a second location."
Ditching The Spanish Phil Collins and his friend The Spanish Franciscan Monk, we were going to go directly to get churros and chocolate. But after walking past a Steak and Shake (while shaking our heads dismissively at the line out the door), we saw one more bar and figured we should stop. So we did. Three bars, three drinks. Not too bad for a night out.
But our final stop for the night was something that should have happened days ago. Madrid (maybe even Spain as a country) is known for churros and chocolate. They're supposed to be eaten late at night. While it was barely 11p, we wanted them. And this was our last night in Madrid. It was our last chance.
We had seen a place near our hotel for the last few nights, so we found a seat at a table on the patio and waited for a waiter to come by to bring us all of the sugar. Our waiter was funny. When Adele mentioned she wanted one churro, he gave her a look. Then he looked at me. I mimed the "you got me" shoulder shrug. He shook his head, "No, no...you want four" Adele was insistent. She wanted one churro. Me, I ordered the four churro platter with ice cream. I've been at this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy.
The churros came and we ate. This was a perfect end of the night. Unfortunately, we had to pack our crap tonight. The Madrid leg of the adventure was nearing the end, but the next leg had plenty of surprises in store.