Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Journey to Madrid, 4/27/11

Bless is My Adopted Galga.
Isn't she lovely?
Please pardon my pause in posting. Only took my iPhone to Spain, which worked out great. But since it's difficult to type entries, decided to journal everything and then post day by day to this blog.  I hope you'll enjoy hearing about my trip and adventures.  I had such a wonderful and rewarding trip, and am now home with my beautiful, loving Galga, Bless. 

Wednesday, 4/27

Up at 4:30 a.m. to get to SFO early for my flight to JFK/NYC and then Madrid.  Had a good flight. Met a very nice woman who was going to her granddaughter's graduation recital.  We talked about everything from A-Z.  Made the time pass quickly. Our landing was delayed because President Obama was on Air Force One, which was landing, and everything else had to be held back. We circled for about 45 minutes, and still made it in plenty of time.  Weather was foggy and misty rain.

Learned that my flight to Madrid was delayed for about an hour.  Diane and Lydia, from Scooby NA, who I was to meet with, called to let me know that their flight would not go out until the next day, because of the bad weather.  So now the adventure became more interesting.  I had one full day and one night in Madrid. What to do?

Thursday, 4/28

How did this happen? I put in for aisle seats all the way, but ended up in the middle seats all the way. Ugh!  Maybe it was fate.  Everyone tried to sleep on the flight from JFK to Madrid. I noticed that the young man to my right seemed to know a lot about Madrid, just from a few comments that he made. About 30 minutes before we landed, I asked him if he could recommend what to do and where to stay, since I had an unexpected stay in Madrid.  He was wonderful!  He told me to take the Metro, mapped it out for me, told me to get to Gran Via, and there would be hotels, food, shops, sight seeing, etc.  Wow! He was so right.  He even gave me 2 Euros to ride the metro because I hadn't converted any US $$ yet. His name is Oliver, and he's an English teacher, living in Madrid for 8 months, originally from Florida.  Wherever you are, Oliver, I thank you so much. You have no idea what you did for me that day! I hope to extend that kindness to others, as you did for me.

So Oliver gave me a plan of action, but I had that great big dog carrier. What to do with it?  Diane mentioned that there was someplace at the airport to leave it, but I walked to and fro in the Madrid airport, trying to find someplace, but to no avail. (BTW - the luggage carts are free in Madrid, $5 at SFO - ouch!)  I asked a few of the airport staff. They mentioned lockers, but said it was too big. I saw signs in various places for something called, "Left Luggage", which I was tired enough to think meant,  "Lost Luggage". Then something clicked and I thought it must be the place.  Wheeled the crate there. Even though I don't speak any Spanish and their English was a bit difficult to decipher, we figured out that I could leave the carrier there for 5.50 Euros/day.  Woo hoo! Left that baby and headed out on the Metro to Gran Via.

Oliver was right.  The Metro is a piece of cake to navigate. Reminds me of the "T" in Boston. All color coded. Every stop announced. Only costs 2 Euro to ride almost everywhere.  They charge an extra 1 E for going back to the airport.  When I arrived at Gran Via, and came out of the station, it was a gift.  Had everything, and reminded me of coming out of the station at Harvard: dozens of people on the streets, hotels, shops, restaurants, entertainment.

Oh my... but I needed to rest...  Checked at the first hotel that I saw. 135 E for one night.  Walked one block down, to another small hotel with a cute little cafe on the plaza. It was only 65 E for one night.  Checked in, took a nap, and awoke to my iPhone. Everyone was worried about me because I hadn't checked in.  Checked in with home base, freshened up and then went for a meal and walk-about.  Did lots of sight seeing. Shopped.  Ate Spanish food at the hotel cafe, and then called it a night.

I LOVE Madrid (and Spain)! :-) Can't wait to return.

I'll post further updates to this adventure in the next couple of days.  Thanks for your interest!

Please support Scooby!

Hasta Luego!

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