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Published: November 22nd 2019
A decision has been made, we are flying to Madrid, SPAIN. Walking to the bus, the skies start to spit rain, but arriving in Marsaille, and boarding the plane, the tarmac is like a shallow river. Am so relieved when the aircraft lifts off.
Once in Madrid, it is necessary to visit the Atocha train station to find out where we can get to from here, a process that takes two and a half hours. While waiting, we think about the fact that in 2004, this was one of the stations bombed by Al Qaeda, killing 193 people, and injuring 2,000, in opposition to Spain participating in the Iraq War. Cannot imagine the destruction and suffering.
Our apartment is in an 1800’s building, and since the elevator does not function, it is 70 slanted stairs up to the residence. A 91 year old woman lives on the floor above us. If she can do it, so can we.
The next day is 8 degrees C with a bitter wind. Walking in Parque Del Buen Retiro makes you feel removed from the bustling city of three million residents. The park contains a lake, sculptures, and even a rose garden
with branches espaliered into arches and swag shapes. This public 350 acres used to belong to the Spanish Monarchy. Then there is the melodious sound of a lone cornet player. Reminds me of Central Park in New York.
Lunch is the famous Spanish paella, which is delicious, but still not as good as what Chris prepares.
Last day in Spain, so it is a day of searching for all things Madrid is known for. In need of a coffee, we find an outdoor cafe and order churro’s which are a fried dough pastry roll that is dipped in melted chocolate. The chocolate is so good, that we add it to our coffee as well. All around the city are 80 sculptures of ‘ladies in waiting’. She is one of the main characters in the famous Las Meninas painting. A sculptor created the fibreglass woman, and distributed the replicas as a blank canvas to fashion designers, artists, and singers to design with consideration of the question ‘What is Madrid to you?’ We found several. One was done completely in bottle caps, and another as a blue sky with clouds to represent all the days of sunshine Madrid is known
In my research, there is a blue wine made from combining red and white grapes. Could not find a bottle of it anywhere, but finally discovered some at a grocery store. A picture will suffice. Lastly, tapas were consumed and enjoyed. A toast and farewell to Madrid. Truly a beautiful and friendly city.
Our host Maria, who has become a very good friend, tells us that Madrid is a ”series of small villages”. We concur, everything you need is close and it feels like a much smaller “village” than it obviously is.
When we are reluctantly ready to leave, Maria insists she assist with the luggage to the subway. She sheds tears saying goodbye, and we promise to stay in touch.
Madrid is special, we are coming back to Alma Suites Maria!
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