Friday, March 5, 2010
Buenos dias! Yes, it’s 7 pm (10 am in California) and I’m sitting in my hotel room just a block off of Puerta del Sol; the heart of Madrid and of the country of Spain. Hotel Asturias will be our home for the next five nights as we explore old and new sites in Madrid. This is my third visit and Jim’s second trip to Madrid. Jim’s sister has not been here for nearly twenty years.
Our trip got off to an auspicious start as starting at 4 am on Thursday morning, an alarm started going off every five minutes for a second or two. Nearly two hours later we discovered it was a cell phone with a low battery; by then we were wide awake and stayed up until the limo picked us up about 8:30 for our trip into LAX in Los Angeles. Anyone who has lived in Southern California knows that this is definitely not the best time to travel freeways. And, while we were on the 105 freeway we had multiple police cars with sirens blaring hurtling down the inside lanes. So, we were not surprised when we came to a dead stop…people were out walking around their cars talking to each other…when we heard on the radio that there had been a high speed chase from Orange County on the Freeways and they had stopped him inside of the Sepulveda tunnel at the off ramp of the 105 freeway! Yep…that was our highway! Fortunately, they soon opened the roads and though it was slow going because of the “rubber necking”…everyone wanted to look at the half dozen plus police cars and the culprit that were all still alongside the highway as we drove past; we were soon at the airport in plenty of time.
American Airlines was great…we loaded early and left right on time; arrived in Dallas with only an hour layover and then we were off again to Madrid. We arrived here on Friday morning at 10 am…right on schedule. All too often we don’t give credit… kudos to American Airlines
Decided to take a cab into the city instead of a shuttle; not much more and sooo much easier. Checked in and after a bit of unpacking Jim and I were out the door looking for a small museum that we’d not seen before. We walked uphill from Puerta del Sol following the street signs and our new map from the hotel. The rain started as we walked…we’d expected it and had our umbrellas. After about two miles we realized we must have missed a turn somewhere. We started asking for directions; everyone was so polite and helpful…..I do need to remember to first greet them and then ask the question. After the fifth person we found our Museo Romantico, tucked on a side street with very little signage. Jim asked for senior prices and we were told it was free instead of the expected four eruos, a nice surprise. We were allowed to take photos without flash and I hope that you’ll enjoy the selection I’ve added in the slide show. This was a private home that became a museum; most of the original furnishing remains and it was like wandering through someone’s home with additional pieces. There were many piano’s throughout the house; paintings of children were also very prominent along with displays of their toys.
We were back to the hotel by 3 pm; not bad considering that Jim is walking with a torn calf muscle…we walk s..l..o..w..l..y …. But the important thing is that we’re out there. We both slept several hours on the airplane and that has helped us stay awake today to reset our clocks.
Rested an hour and then back out for another stroll in the rain before ending up across the street for some pizza at 5 pm. Dinner’s here begin about 10 pm…we’ll be sound asleep by that time on most evenings. Italy will start a bit earlier, but it’s hard to find a restaurant with “early bird” menus in Europe. Sister Barbara decided to spend the day in the hotel; she’ll begin fresh tomorrow with us as we explore Madrid.